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Wireless: WiMAX

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"Currently in development is “worldwide interoperability for microwave access” (“Wi MAX”). Wi MAX is a registered trademark term promoted by the Wi MAX Forum, a group of wireless Internet hardware and software providers that certify “802.16” products for network interoperability. An “802.16”network refers to a family of specifications approved by the IEEE in 2002 for a Wireless Metropolitan Access Network (“WirelessMan” or “WMAN”). Wi MAX “is capable of transmitting network signals covering in excess of 30 miles of linear service area” and could provide “multiple shared data rates of up to 75 Mbps,” a significant advance over current Wi-Fi technology.

"Future wireless Internet standards, such as a Wi MAX network, would likely be installed in a manner similar to a Wi-Fi network. Wi MAX antennas, however, are expected to provide Internet coverage over distances of several miles versus the few hundred feet covered by Wi-Fi antennas. Thus, Wi MAX, and standards with similar coverages, would generally require fewer antennas than Wi-Fi to provide wireless Internet access for a given area." FTC Report: Should Municipalities Provide Wireless Internet Service? p. 11 Oct 2006

System Type Channel Bandwidth Channel Capacity Range Mobility Standard Completed Comment
802.16 (WiMax) 2011 GHz 70 Mbps 50 km Fixed
802.16a Jan 2003 2 - 11 Ghz
802.16 revd 3Q04
802.16d DES 2004
802.16e Mobile 3Q05 Expected to dominate. adaptive antennas

Exhibit 3-E: Announced Upgrades to the US Mobile Broadband Network (Persons Covered) Natl BB Plan p 22

  Companies 2009 2010 2011 By 2013
  • Verizon
    (100 million)
  • AT&T (trials)
  • AT&T
    (start deployment)
  • Cox
    (start deployment)
  • MetroPCS
    (start deployment)
  • Verizon
    (entire network)
  • Clearwire
  • Open Range
  • Small wireless
    Internet service
    providers (WISPs)
  • Clearwire
    (30 million)
  • WISPs (2 million)
  • Clearwire
    (120 million)
  • Open Range
    (6 million)

Govt Activity


Draft SP 800-127 -- NIST announces the public comment release of Draft Special Publication 800-127, Guide to Security for WiMAX Technologies. Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is a wireless metropolitan area network communications technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standard. WiMAX technologies were originally developed to provide last-mile broadband wireless access, but are now more focused on cellular-like mobile architectures. Draft SP 800-127 explains the basics of WiMAX, provides information on the security capabilities of WiMAX, and gives recommendations on securing WiMAX technologies effectively. It also explains the security differences among the major versions of the IEEE 802.16 standard.

NIST requests comments on draft SP 800-127 by October 30, 2009.
Please submit comments to with "Comments SP 800-127" in the subject line


  • Non-line of sight.
  • Spectrum licensed and unlicensed 2 - 11 GHz
    • 2.5 Ghz - has ITFS spectrum
    • 3.5 & 2.5 GHz globally
    • Bit rate 75 Mbps at 20 MHz
    • 5-15 Mbps user performance peak for most users planned 2010
    • Latency <50ms
    • Channel Bandwidths: Selectable Channel bandwidths between 1.25 and 20 MHz
  • Mobility. Cellular architecture.
  • Under the right conditions Wimax can be an alternative to fixed wireless
    • Wimax profitability highly sensitive to several local parameters, primarily competition, current assets owned by the palyer (spectrum, towers, sites...), spectrum available, ARPU for broadband in the market as well as cost of CPE including installation. - Stagg Newman, State of Tech Dev, TAC July 2006
    • Wimax competitive for lower speed (1-2 mbps) fixed data replacement in markets with poor cooper plant and fewer 3G alternatives. Mesh Wifi comparable or better in dense urban geographies. - Stagg Newman, State of Tech Dev, TAC July 2006
    • Wireless access potentially a second choice access technology. For attackers, WiMax has a potential large sweet spot under right conditions. Technology with lowest cost per sub per month (2010) assuming comparable CPE costs. - Stagg Newman, State of Tech Dev, TAC July 2006
  • Intended to provides medium DSL speads and features. IP friendly.
  • First 802.16d products expected
  • Global deployment
  • Equipment regularly has wifi built in too
  • Open standard. Key sponsors include Intel, Koreans, 100s members of Wimax forum
  • Security:
    • Encryption
  • Service Providers
    • AT&T:
      • Download: 400-700 kbps Upload: 50-70 kbps
      • Price: $59.99 per month with a 2-year contract and subscription to a voice plan that's at least $39.99 per month. Or $79.99 per month with a 1-year contract. $36 activation fee $175 early termination fee. Numerous taxes, surcharges and fees
      • Service restrictions: "prohibited uses include, but are not limited to, Using services: (i) with server devices or with host Computer applications, including, without Limitation, web camera posts or broadcasts, Continuous jpeg file transfers, automatic data Feeds, telemetry applications, peer-to-peer (p2p) file Sharing, automated functions or any other Machine-to-machine applications; (ii) as substitute or Backup for private lines or dedicated data Connections; (iii) for voice over ip" "unlimited plans cannot be used for uploading, Downloading or streaming of video content (e.g. Movies, tv), music or games ." "Service is not intended to provide full-time connections, and the Service may be discontinued after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage. Cingular reserves the right to (i) limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny Service and/or terminate Service, without notice"
    • Sprint:
      • motorola CDMA
      • Rev A available to 100 million people
        • Download Speed: 600-1400 kbps
        • Upload Speed: 350-500 kbps
      • Price: $59.99 per month with a 2-year contract. Or $79.99 per month with a one-year contract. $36 activation fee $200 early termination fee. Numerous taxes, surcharges and fees
      • In non-Rev A coverage areas (available to 94 million additional people)
        • Download Speed: 400-700 kbps
        • Upload Speed: 50-70 kbps
      • Service restrictions:
        • "Use as a private line or frame relay service substitution, service, or like equivalent, is prohibited. Not available while roaming. Premium content not available. Shared data not available." "We reserve the right to limit or suspend any heavy, continuous data usage that adversely impacts our network performance or hinders access to our network. If your Services include unlimited web or data access, you also can't use your Device as a modem for computers or other equipment, unless we identify the Service or Device you have selected as specifically intended for that purpose."
    • Verizon
      • trial with Alvarion CDMA
      • Rev A coverage areas (available to 135 million people)
        • Download Speed: 600-1400 kbps
        • Upload Speed: 350-500 kbps
      • Price: $59.99 per month with a 2-year contract, and customer must also be a Verizon voice customer. Or $79.99 per month with a one-year contract. $25-$35 activation fee § $175 early termination fee.§ Numerous taxes, surcharges and fees
      • non-Rev A coverage areas (available to 67 million additional people)
        • Download Speed: 400-700 kbps
        • Upload Speed: 50-70 kbps
      • Service restrictions: "Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uploading, downloading, or streaming of audio or video programming or games; (ii) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing; or (iii) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. • Will terminate service if you exceed 5GB per month -- or about 6 CD's worth of data (800MB each).




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