Sunday, July 24, 2011


Mobile WiMAX operates in licensed frequency bands in the range of 2 to 6 MHz. The technologies employed by mobile WiMAX include the following:
  • Scalable orthogonal frequency division multiple access (SOFDMA) on the physical layer
  • MIMO
  • IP
  • Adaptive antenna systems (AAS)
  • Adaptive modulation schemes (AMS)
  • Advanced encryption standard (AES) encryption


Mobile WiMAX will initially operate in the 2.3, 2.5, 3.3, and 3.4–3.8 GHz spectrum bands using SOFDMA. OFDMA is perhaps the most important technology associated with WiMAX. SOFDMA is based on OFDMA which in turn is based on OFDM. OFDM is a form of frequency division multiplexing, but it has higher spectral efficiency and resistance to multipath fading and path loss compared to other multiplexing methods. It divides the allocated frequency spectrum into subcarriers which are at right angles to each other. This reduces the possibility of cross-channel interference thereby allowing the subcarriers to overlap. This reduces the amount of frequency spectrum required, hence the high spectral efficiency. The reduced data rate of each stream reduces the possibility of intersymbol interference because there is more time between the arrival of symbols from different paths. This feature of OFDM makes it resistant to multipath fading and ideal for nonline of sight (NLOS) applications. In OFDMA each frequency subcarrier is divided into subchannels which can be accessed by multiple users hence increasing the capacity of OFDM.
Scalable OFDMA is a form of OFDMA which allows variable channel bandwidth allocation from 1.25 to 20 MHz. SOFDMA has capabilities which make it ideal for the implementation of IP and hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ). WiMAX also uses other features to enhance the performance of OFDMA. They include dynamic frequency shifting, MIMO, AAS, and software-defined radios. Dynamic frequency shifting monitors the signal and changes frequencies to avoid interference. Software-defined radios are controlled by changing software settings and this gives the equipment more flexibility when switching frequencies.
MIMO is a technology that has already found use in WiFi (IEEE 802.11n). MIMO multiplies the point-to-point spectral efficiency by using multiple antennas and RF chains at both the BS and the MS. MIMO achieves a multiplicative increase in throughput compared to single-input, single-output (SISO) architecture by carefully coding the transmitted signal across antennas, OFDM symbols, and frequency tones. These gains are achieved at no cost in bandwidth or transmit power.
AAS are spatial processing systems which combine antenna arrays with sophisticated signal processing. They reduce the effects of interference from multiple signal paths thereby also contributing to high capacity of the system and the use of mobile WiMAX in NLOS environments.


The 802.16 MAC sublayer uses a scheduling algorithm for which the subscriber station only needs to compete for initial entry into the network. The scheduling algorithm also allows the BS to control QoS parameters by balancing the time-slot assignments among the application needs of the subscriber stations.
WiMAX supports QoS differentiation for different types of applications. The 802.16 standard defines the following types of services:
  • Unsolicited grant services (UGS): UGS is designed to support constant bit rate (CBR) services, such as T1/E1 emulation, and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) without silence suppression.
  • Real-time polling services (rtPS): rtPS is designed to support real-time services that generate variable size data packets on a periodic basis, such as MPEG video or VoIP with silence suppression.
  • Nonreal-time polling services (nrtPS): nrtPS is designed to support nonreal-time services that require variable size data grant burst types on a regular basis.
  • Best effort (BE) services: BE services are typically provided by the Internet today for Web surfing.
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