Monday, November 7, 2011


In IEEE 802.16j low cost RSs are introduced to provide enhanced coverage and capacity. Using such stations, an operator could deploy a network with wide coverage at a lower cost than using only (more) expensive BSs to provide good coverage, and increasing significantly the system throughput. As network utilization increases, these RSs could be replaced by BSs as required. The mesh architecture defined in WiMAX is already used to increase the coverage and the throughput of the system. However, this mode is not compatible with the point-to-multipoint (PMP) mode with no support of the OFDMA PHY, fast route change for mobile station (MS), etc. Hence, the standards organization has recognized this as an important area of development, and today a task group is charged with drafting a new standard: the IEEE 802.16j mobile multihop relay design to address these issues. The first draft of the IEEE 802.16j standard has just finished in August 2007.


The IEEE 802.16j is aiming to develop a relay mode based on IEEE 802.16e by introducing RSs depending on the usage model:
  • Coverage extension
  • Capacity enhancement
In other words, the relay technology is first expected to improve the coverage reliability in geographic areas that are severely shadowed from the BS or to extend the range of a BS. In both cases, the RS enhances coverage by transmitting from an advantageous location closer to a disadvantaged SS than the BS. Second, it is expected to improve the throughput for users at the edges of an 802.16 cell. It has been recognized in previous 802.16 contributions that subscribers at the edges of a cell may be required to communicate at reduced rates. This is because received signal strength is lower at the cell edge. Finally, it is expected to increase system capacity by deploying RSs in a manner that enables more aggressive frequency reuse. Figure 1 illustrates the different scenarios in which relay mode could be used. However, introducing such RSs considerably alters the architecture of the network and raises many issues and questions. It is still unclear what system design is appropriate and can be realized at a low cost while still providing good coverage with an enhancement of the throughput.

Figure 1: IEEE 802.16j example use cases.
The 802.16j task group’s scope is to specify OFDMA PHY and MAC enhancement to the IEEE 802.16 standards for licensed bands. These specifications aim to enable the operation of fixed, nomadic, and mobile RSs by keeping the backward compatibility with SS/MS. In other words, the standard will define a new RS entity and modify the BS to support Mobile Multihop Relay (MMR) links and aggregation of traffic from multiple sources. An MMR link represents a radio link between an MMR-BS and an RS or between a pair of RSs. Such link can support fixed, portable, and mobile RSs and multihop communications between a BS and RSs on the path. An access link is a radio link that originates or terminates at an SS/MS. Table 1 illustrates the main scope of the project.
Table 1: IEEE 802.16j Project Scope 
Define New
No Change
Changes to BS
RS Entity
“802.16j Relay” Link Air Interface
  • To SS/MS
  • To 802.16e OFDMA PMP link
  • Add support for MMR links
  • Add support for aggregation of traffic from multiple RSs
  • Supports PMP links
  • Supports MMR links
  • Supports aggregation of traffic from multiple RSs
  • Support fixed, portable, and mobile RSs
  • Based on OFDMA PHY
  • MAC to support multi-hop communication
  • Security and management
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