IEEE approves 802.16e
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World Markets Analysis
December 09, 2005
By Adrian Baschnonga
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved the 802.16e standard for WiMAX product development, two months after the standard's specifications were finalised.
Mobile WiMAX trials and certification testing are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2006, organised by the WiMAX Forum, with products likely to follow in late 2006, leading to service provision in 2007.
Significance: The formal announcement of IEEE approval marks a sizeable step forward in the mobile broadband space. The final approval took twice as long as expected on the back of new participants in the working group process that revealed many new applications along the way. Nevertheless, challenges remain: the 802.16e portable standard is incompatible with the 802.16d fixed wireless standard, meaning that business models will vary depending on which standard service providers choose to deploy.
There are also spectrum issues to consider, namely that most European countries will pursue WiMAX deployment in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band, which is a fixed wireless broadband solution. As such, European states are mulling the benefits of a technology-neutral approach to the 2.5-2.69 GHz bands, which was previously earmarked for 3G technologies. However, such approval is only likely by 2008, making the European WiMAX market a fixed wireless broadband space for the time being.