2.2 WiMAX Forum

2.2 WiMAX Forum

IEEE 802 standards provide only the technology. It is then needed to have other organisms for the certification of conformity and the verification of interoperability. In the case of IEEE 802.11 WLAN, the Wireless Fidelity Alliance (WiFi or Wi-Fi) Consortium had a major role in the success of the WiFi technology, as it is now known. Indeed, the fact that two WiFi certified IEEE 802.11 WLAN devices are guaranteed to work together paved the way for the huge spread of WiFi products.

The certification problem was even more important for WiMAX as many product manufacturers claimed they had verified the 802.16 standard (for pre-WiMAX products, see Section 1.4.2). The WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) Forum (http://www.wimaxforum.org) was created in June 2001 with the objective that the WiMAX Forum plays exactly the same role for IEEE 802.16 as WiFi for 802.11. The WiMAX Forum provides certification of conformity, compatibility and interoperability of IEEE 802.16 products. After a period of low-down, the WiMAX Forum was reactivated in April 2003. Some sources indicate this latter date as the date of the creation of the WiMAX Forum. Intel and Nokia, along with others, played a leading role in the creation of the Forum. Then Nokia became less active, claiming that it wished to concentrate on 3G. However, Nokia is again an active player of WiMAX.

WiMAX Forum members are system and semiconductors manufacturers, other equipment vendors, network operators, academics and other telecommunication actors. A complete list of the WiMAX Forum members can be found on the Forum Member Roster web page. A nonexhaustive list of WiMAX members is proposed in Table 2.2.

Table 2.2: Some WiMAX Forum members
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Airspan, Alcatel, Alvarion, Broadcom, Cisco, Ericsson. Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, LG, Lucent, Motorola, Navini, Nokia, Nortel, NEC Proxim, Sagem, Samsung, Sequans, Siemens, ZTE, etc.

Service providers

British Telecom, France Telecom, KT (Korea Telecom), PCCW, Sprint Nextel, Telmex, etc.

The site of the WiMAX Forum indicates that its objective is to facilitate the deployment of broadband wireless networks based on the IEEE 802.16 standard by ensuring the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless equipment. More details about WiMAX certification are given in Section 2.3.

2.2.1 WiMAX Forum Working Groups

The WiMAX Forum is organised into Working Groups (WGs). The scope of these WGs is given in Table 2.3, as indicated on the WiMAX Forum website.

Table 2.3: WiMAX Forum working groups. As of July 2006, the Forum website also indicates the Global Roaming Working Group (GRWG)
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Working group name


Application Working Group (AWG)

Defines applications over WiMAX that are necessary to meet core competitive offerings and are uniquely enhanced by WiMAX

Certification Working Group (CWG)

Handles the operational aspects of the WiMAX Forum certification program; interfaces with the certification lab(s); selects new certification lab(s).

Marketing Working Group (MWG)

Promotes the WiMAX Forum, its brands and the standards that form the basis for worldwide interoperability of BWA systems

Network Working Group (NWG)

Creates higher-level networking specifications for fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile WiMAX systems, beyond what is defined in the scope of 802.16; specifically, the NWG defines the architecture of a WiMAX network

Regulatory Working Group (RWG)

Influences worldwide regulatory agencies to promote WiMAX-friendly, globally harmonised spectrum allocations

Service Provider Working Group (SPWG)

Gives service providers a platform for influencing BWA product and spectrum requirements to ensure that their individual market needs are fulfilled

Technical Working Group (TWG)

Develops conformance test specifications and certification services and profiles based on globally accepted practices to achieve worldwide interoperability of BWA systems

The WiMAX network architecture as defined by the NWG is described in Chapter 13.

2.2.2 WiMAX Forum White Papers

The WiMAX Forum regularly publishes White Papers. These are a very useful information source about WiMAX, freely available on the Forum website. In Table 2.4, a nonexhaustive list of White Papers is proposed (until July 2006).

Table 2.4: WiMAX Forum (http://www.wimaxforum.org) White Papers, last update: July 2006. Table was drawn with the help of Ziad Noun
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Date of latest version

Number of pages

Brief description

IEEE 802.16a standard and WiMAX -Igniting BWA

Date not mentioned


An overview of IEEE 802.16a standard, its PHY and MAC layers; talks also about the WiFi versus WiMAX scalability

Regulatory position and goals of the WiMAX Forum

August 2004


Describes the goals of WiMAX Forum (interoperability of broadband wireless products); describes also the initial frequency bands (license and license exempt)

Business case for fixed wireless access in emerging markets

June 2005


Describes the characteristics of emerging markets and discusses the service and revenue assumptions for business case analysis (urban, suburban, rural)

WiMAX deployment considerations for fixed wireless access in the 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz licensed bands

June 2005


About the licensed spectrum for WMAN, the radio characteristics, the range and the capacity of the system in different sccnarios (urban, suburban. etc.)

Business case models for fixed broadband wireless access based on WiMAX technology and the 802.16 standard

October 2004


Describes the WiMAX architecture and applications, the business case considerations and assumptions and the services oftered by WiMAX

Initial certification profiles and the European regulatory framework

September 2004


Describes the profiles currently identified for the initial certification process and the tentative profiles under consideration for the next round of the certification process

WiMAX's technology for LOS and NLOS environments.

August 2004


About the characteristics of OFDM and the other solutions used by WiMAX to solve the problems resulting from NLOS (subchannelisation, directional antennas, adaptive modulation, error correction techniques, power control, etc.)

Telephony's ‘Complete Guide to WiMAX’

May 2004


About WiMAX marketing and policy considerations

What WiMAX Forum certified products will bring to Wi-Fi

June 2004


Why WiFi is used in WiMAX, the OFDM basics, the 802.16/HiperMAN PHY and MAC layers, the operator requirements for BWA systems and the products certification

What WiMAX Forum certified products will bring to 802.16

June 2004


The certified products: where do WiMAX Forum certified products fit and why select them?

Fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile applications for 802.16-2004 and 802.16e WiMAX networks

November 2005


Compares the two possibilities of deployment for an operator: fixed WiMAX (802.16-2004) or mobile WiMAX (802.16e)

The WiMAX Forum certified program for fixed WiMAX

March 2006


Describes the general WiMAX certification process and specifically the fixed WiMAX system profiles certifications

Third WiMAX Forum plugfest - test methodology and key learnings

March 2006


Describes WiMAX March 2006 plugfest

Mobile WiMAX - Part I: a technical overview and performance evaluation

March 2006


Technical overview of 802.16e system (mobile WiMAX) and the corresponding WiMAX architecture

Mobile WiMAX - Part II: a comparative analysis

May 2006


Compares elements between mobile WiMAX and presently used 3G systems (1xEVDO and HSPA)

Mobile WiMAX: the best personal broadband experience!

June 2006


Provides mobile WiMAX advantages in the framework of mobile broadband access market

Executive summary: mobile WiMAX performance and comparative summary

July 2006


Brief overview of mobile WiMAX and summary of previous White Papcr performance data