The WiMAX forum first recognised the Centro de Tecnología de las Comunicaciones, (Cetecom Lab) (http://www.cetecom.es), located in Malaga, Spain, as the first certification lab of WiMAX products. In February 2006, the WiMAX Forum designated the Telecommunications Technology Association's (TTA) IT Testing and Certification Lab in Seoul, South Korea, as the second lab available to WiMAX Forum members to certify compatibility and interoperability of WiMAX products. The first certifications of this latter lab are expected in 2007. The process for selecting a third WiMAX certification lab in China has been reported.
WiMAX conformance should not be confused with interoperability . The combination of these two types of testing make up certification testing. WiMAX conformance testing is a process where BS and SS manufacturers test units to ensure that they perform in accordance with the specifications called out in the WiMAX Protocol Implementation Conformance Specification (PICS) documents. The WiMAX PICS documents are proposed by the TWG (see the previous section). In the conformance test, the BS/SS units must pass all mandatory and prohibited test conditions called out by the test plan for a specific system profile. The WiMAX system profiles are also proposed by the TWG.
WiMAX interoperability is a multivendor (≥3) test process hosted by the certification lab to test the performance of the BS and/or SS from one vendor to transmit and receive data bursts of the BS and/or SS from another vendor based on the WiMAX PICS. Then, each SS, for example, is tested with three BSs, one from the same manufacturers, the two others being from different manufacturers. A group test, formally known as a plugfest , is a meeting where many vendors can verify the interoperability of their equipments.
The certification process started in the summer of 2005 in Cetecom. The first equipment certification took place on 24 January 2006. The complete list of certified WiMAX equipments can be found on http://www.wimaxforum.org/kshowcase/view. All these equipments were certified for IEEE 802.16-2004 profiles (fixed WiMAX). Certification of equipments based on mobile WiMAX profiles (or, soon on mobile WiMAX equipments) should take place in the first half of 2007.
The certified equipments are from the three types of WiMAX manufacturers:
pre-WiMAX experienced companies;
companies initially more specialised in cellular network products, e.g. Motorola, which is in these two categories;
newcomers that started business specifically for WiMAX products.
Agis, A. et al., Global, interoperable broadband wireless networks: extending WiMAX technology to mobility. Intel Technology Journal, August 2004.
WiMAX Forum White Paper, 3rd WiMAX Forum plugfest-test methodology and key learnings, March 2006.