WiMax counts as 3G, ITU says

The ITU has approved WiMax as an official 3G technology.

WiMax earned an important seal of approval last week when the Radiocommunication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union certified it as a 3G (third-generation) mobile data technology.

Heavily promoted by Intel and sometimes criticized as overhyped, WiMax is based on industry standards but has been the young upstart in the telecommunications industry. With this week's decision in Geneva by the radio group, also called ITU-R, it can finally rub shoulders with widely deployed technologies such as WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) and CDMA-2000.

Many governments dictate technologies when they allocate wireless spectrum, and they typically look to the ITU, which is affiliated with the United Nations, to say what technologies qualify. WiMax will now be one of their choices when faced with a requirement for 3G, which the ITU calls IMT-2000.

"Having the ITU say that it counts really opens up some opportunities," said Peter Jarich of Current Analysis Inc. In particular, carriers that participate in upcoming auctions in Europe may choose WiMax instead of the more established 3G systems, he said. Broader deployments of WiMax in Europe, which has seen a few rollouts so far, would help increase production volumes and in turn lower equipment prices worldwide, according to Jarich.

The ITU-R approval is a victory for advocates of technology neutrality, who want carriers to have more choices for high-speed wireless deployments, Jarich said. In most parts of the world, 3G is dominated by WCDMA, the next step on the migration path from GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). But the ITU-R has also recognized CDMA-2000, the 3G upgrade to CDMA networks, and TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code-Division Multiple Access), developed in China, as well as other technologies.

"To have WiMax approved as an IMT-2000 technology is a huge win for the WiMax Forum," said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMax Forum, the industry group that certifies interoperability of products using the technology.

What the standards body actually voted to support was OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing), which forms the basis of WiMax today but is also set to power future technologies, including LTE (Long-Term Evolution), a system now under development as the next step in the GSM migration path. Commercial LTE deployment is expected in 2009 or 2010.

WiMax, based on the IEEE 802.16 standard, is designed to deliver IP (Internet Protocol) data traffic at multiple megabits per second over a range of several kilometers. A fixed version is already certified by the WiMax Forum industry group, which plans to start certifying interoperability among mobile products next year. Sprint Nextel and Clearwire plan to deploy WiMax in markets across the US starting late this year in what is set to be the biggest rollout yet.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?