WiMAX, a standards-based wireless technology provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. Commercial WiMAX applications including “last mile” broadband connections, hotspots and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for business.
WiMAX broadband wireless technology, defined by the IEEE 802.16 standard is derived from the wireless fidelity (IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard) which currently serves hotspots and wireless local area networks throughout the globe and has also been widely accepted by the military. Unlike the WiFi, which covers few hundred meters at best, and has difficulty to propagate in an urban area, WiMAX, which can operate at higher frequencies, can serve subscribers over distances of up to 50 km when using stationary, line-of-sight connections. The network supports up to 50 Mbps data transfer rates, offering sustained user data rates of 0.5 – 2Mbps, allowing for simultaneous transfer of data (including high definition imagery), voice (VoIP) and video. This technology also provides effective services at distances 5 – 8 km for mobile users (without a direct line of sight).
As WiMAX uses higher frequencies than current military and commercial communications, existing antennas towers can “share” a WiMAX cell tower without compromising the current communications services. Such implementation can be used to deploy WiMax to increase bandwidth for specific data-intensive applications within an existing network. Furthermore, integration of WiMAX waveforms are already developed for future Software Defined Radios (SDR) and could be introduced in a future spirals of of the future JTRS radio – currently, this radio is planned to support Soldier Radio Waveforms covering the Wi-Fi at 2.4Ghz. WiMAX can also be used to support training areas, providing an infrastructure for realistic integration of live training and wargames simulation. An initial deployment of WiMAX has already been constructed by the US Army Fort Dix. The U.S. Army is testing prestandard WiMAX gear and Xacta Secure Wireless system from Telos Corp. in Fort Carson in Colorado for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communications. Eventually, WiMAX or one of the standard’s future derivatives, is expected to provide the foundation of future ad hoc Mobile Area Network (MANET) mesh networks.
first commercial deployments of fully certified WiMAX will occur in 2006 and that significant progress will be made in establishing the 802.16e standard for mobile WiMAX.