IEEE 802.16m Approved as IMT-Advanced Technology

The WiMAX Forum today recognizes the decision within the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approving the “WirelessMAN-Advanced” technology of IEEE 802.16m as an IMT-Advanced technology. One year ago, the WiMAX Forum and 50 leading ecosystem players announced the endorsement of IEEE’s submission to ITU-R proposing an IEEE 802.16m-based candidate for IMT-Advanced. Today’s unanimous agreement solidifies the strong consensus that has developed around the technology, indicative of its anticipated acceptance.

The key decision, taken by ITU-R’s Working Party 5D (WP 5D) at the conclusion of its meeting of 13-20 October in Chongqing, China, followed a rigorous evaluation and consensus-building process after the introduction of detailed technical proposals in October 2009, including consideration of exhaustive evaluation reports from nine expert groups from around the world. WirelessMAN-Advanced represents a group of three proposals, of which two (one by the Administration of Japan and one by Korea’s TTA) were considered technically identical to that of IEEE. During the meeting, WP 5D accepted an offer from the three parties to have IEEE complete and submit the full detailed specification of the technology at the following WP 5D meeting in April 2011. WirelessMAN-Advanced and LTE-Advanced were the only two technologies approved for IMT-Advanced.

In parallel with the finalization of IEEE 802.16m, the WiMAX Forum and its members are working to complete the detailed specification of WiMAX Release 2, which will take advantage of the new IEEE standard and ensure that WiMAX Release 2 networks and devices will offer capabilities and efficiencies to exceed the baseline IMT-Advanced requirements. WiMAX Release 2 will incorporate these capabilities while offering improved VoIP capacity, spectral efficiency, latency, handover speed, cell range, and coverage — with support for wider operating bandwidth in both TDD and FDD modes.

“WiMAX is a commercially proven technology with a vibrant ecosystem. Our industry is ready to make WiMAX Release 2 a strong option for networks requiring IMT-Advanced capabilities,” said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. “We have remained focused on bringing WiMAX Certified Release 2 networks and devices to market as quickly as possible, and today’s decision within the ITU further reinforces our confidence. This decision and the WiMAX industry’s commitment to Release 2, with all its benefits, should be of particular relevance to Indian Service Providers determining which technology options will best meet India’s broadband data requirements.”

The ITU’s IMT-Advanced requirements demand candidate technologies that will provide groundbreaking speeds, and IEEE 802.16m delivers. WirelessMAN-Advanced exceeds the requirements, offering as much as 180 Mbit/s of aggregate downlink throughput per site using a 20 MHz TDD channel in ITU’s real-world microcellular system model, with further support for nearly 2500 VoIP users per site. Depending on design goals, antenna configurations, and spectrum availability, significantly higher dates rates can be enabled.

“The IMT-Advanced requirements look to satisfy the booming mobile broadband demands of the next decade. Those farsighted requirements push technology beyond all current limits,” said Dr. Roger B. Marks, vice president for technology with the WiMAX Forum. “Fortunately, WiMAX Release 1 is built on a flexible framework that allows for the introduction of countless new innovations with maintaining legacy support. Hundreds of the world’s top technical experts have been perfecting the open IEEE 802.16m draft standard since 2006. WirelessMAN-Advanced provides the ideal technology foundation for the WiMAX Forum to quickly bring the backward-compatible WiMAX Release 2 to the market.”