An Overview of Broadband Wireless Access Standards

Broadband Wireless Access

Importance of Technical Standards

Standards can define key aspects of technology. With the advancement in standardization, consumers can purchase any type of XYZ battery, and be sure, it will work, if not all, devices that specify the use of this type of battery. While batteries follow global standards, power plugs can be defined on a national basis. Travelers are aware of this inconvenience.

When it comes to wireless communications, standards ensure interoperability between user devices as well as the radio network of several vendors. Standards include frequency bands, power levels, modulation techniques, and encryption. Now, let’s discuss broadband standards in detail.

BWA Standards - Broadband Standards


The International Telecommunication Union – Radiocommunication Sector, commonly known as ITU-R, defines the requirements for the 3rd generation of mobile communication systems. As an agency of the United Nations, the ITU includes the effort of governments as well as the telecommunication industries for global supported standardization. In the year 2000, the International Telecommunication Union approved the technical features for the 3rd generation of mobile networks and named as IMT-2000. The primary goal is to provide seamless delivery of services. The minimum requirements for data speed were 2 Mbps for stationary or walking users, whereas 348 kbps for fast-moving users in vehicles.

IMT Advanced

The ITU includes the term IMT Advanced or International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced to identify mobile systems whose capabilities can go beyond those of IMT 2000. When it comes to facing this new challenge, 3GPPs Organization Partners have agreed to broader 3GPP’s range to include the systems’ development beyond 3G. IMT-Advanced includes several features, including

           Worldwide functionality & roaming

           Compatibility of services

           Interworking with other radio access systems

The evolution of cellular networks known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) comes under the responsibility of the ITU as well as the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Program).

WiMAX Standards

WiMAX is generally based on the IEEE suite of standards 802.16. This standard was released in the year 2001. Hence, it is named 802.16-2001 accordingly. The main aim was to define a wireless broadband technology for fixed users that come with a range of up to 50 km as well as data rates that can compete with wireline Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). To meet coverage of wide distances, this standard needed a line of sight between the sender as well as a receiver, which was soon known as a limitation of the technology.

In the year 2004, the standard was updated. However, it still covered only fixed users. 802.16d-2004 is known as the current standard for Fixed WiMAX. The range of frequency (2 – 11 GHz) was added to the existing defined range (10 – 66 GHz).

802.16e-2005 was launched, and then 802.16m-2011 was defined as an advanced air interface with data rates of up 1 gigabit. It meets the formal needs of 4G networks as defined by the ITU.

LTE – Long Term Evolution

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It is defined by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership). It is a cooperation between groups of telecommunications companies. It is known for providing detailed technical specifications to include all aspects of a cellular communication network within the frameworks IMT-2000 as well as IMT Advanced of the ITU.

The standardization is known as Releases. Release 1 to 7 included 2G and 3G networks that consist of a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). Release 8 was published in the year 2008. The main aim was to define an evolutionary upgrade of cellular networks that provide higher data rates and enhanced quality of service. Unlike the WiMAX standard, Long Term Evolution standardization includes the whole network architecture that consists of the radio network, core network, and service architecture.

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