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WiMAX Forum Certified products are not yet available. The first product certifications will not be issued before 2005. In order to ensure that a large number of vendors reach certification immediately, the first WiMAX profiles still include many different optional features, such as diversity, space-time coding and ARQ.
WiMAX will be deployed in multiple phases. Volume will be driven by portability/mobility applications, such as notebooks and PDAs. These volume benefits, as well as forward-compatibility of the evolving standard, will only be addressed in the 802.16e standard, scheduled for release in 2005.
The Significance of WiMAX
WiMAX will be used in urban, suburban and rural areas, particularly where other broadband means are not available or installations are expensive. Competition with DSL will not be fierce in areas where DSL
BUSINESS CONSIDERATIONS 193
CU^OOS WiMAX-Forum Certified 802 16-2004 base ë stations and CPEs
Late 2004 H1 2006
First pre-WiMAX First 802 16e
base stations & CPEs base stations
H2 2006 I HI 2007 802 I6e WiMAX Forum Certified base stations and CPEs
H2 2004O First 002.162004 chipsets
- 802.16-2004 chipsets available in volume
- First Pre-802 16e chipsets
2007 First WiMAX-enabied laptops
First WiMAX-enabied PDA
Standard and certification processes
1 Jan 2006 July 2006 HI 2006
Selection of First stage of fixed- First stage of 802.16e
cetecom labs WiMAX certification certification
Î Î Î
1 July 2004 July 2006
802.16-2004 802.16e to be
ratified by IEEE ratified by IEEE
Figure 8.12 WiMAX availability
is already established due to relatively low DSL costs and high penetration. Furthermore, a high density of WiMAX base stations will be needed in urban and suburban areas to be able to serve customers with self-installable CPE and reasonable data rates. In fact, the cell sizes under those conditions are only a few hundred metres (Figure 8.12).
WiMAX is likely to play an important role in serving rural areas. There, cell sizes of 5-10 km are possible, requiring outdoor antennas at the customer premises.
Can WiMAX Compete with DSL?
Competition is tough ...
• DSL providers see their infrastructure upgrades as sunk costs.
• DSL is often bundled with fixed services.
• DSL providers are usually not yet profitable, but it is possible to gain market share if:
î fixed coverage is limited, or service is inadequate; î fixed service offering is expensive, has limited features, or does not allow flexibility;
ECONOMICS OF WiMAX
î the WiMAX service provider can offer a richer service that includes VoIP, portability, mobility or other advanced features; î the WiMAX service provider charges comparable (or lower) prices.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)
Based on proved OFDM techniques (inherent robustness against multipath fading and narrow band interference), the strenghts are:
• low cost of deployment and operation (~$33 per home vs $300-600 for DSL);
• high speed (75 Mbps) and long range (50 km);
• adaptable and self-configurable system;
• centralized control in MAC enables simultaneous, varied QoS flows.
In addition to the general disadvantages for wireless broadband, specific shortcomings exist for different wireless standards including WiMAX. Some of them are:
• currently high power consumtion (still far from penetrating portable mobile devices);
• mobility not yet fully specified - could become complex to implement.
Higher frequency WiMAX signals, around 10 MHz and above, take on line-of-sight characteristics that require a free path for signal transmission.
The standard is not backwards-compatible with current wireless technologies; in other words, current wireless equipment of the 802.11 standard cannot directly receive or transmit 802.16 signals. As a result, completely new wireless equipment needs to be purchased by each WiMAX subscriber.
A final weakness for the WiMAX standard pertains to the location of the customer premises equipment. These subscriber station antennas can
be either indoors or outdoors for signal reception. However, indoor antennas do not guarantee signal reception in every building. In fact, a WiMAX infrastructure with any indoor antenna would require smaller cell sizes and result in higher costs for the network. The need to install outdoor antennas may turn users away from WiMAX networks.