Rapid’s commitment to best of breed communication services is recognised through their longstanding partnership with Alvarion. Alvarion is a founder of the WiMAX industry and a long-standing wireless broadband pioneer, Alvarion’s technology, vast experience and know-how enable Rapid to continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the new wireless broadband experience.
What is WiMAX
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a telecommunications protocol that provides fixed and fully mobile Internet access. The current WiMAX revision provides up to 40 Mbit/s with the IEEE 802.16m update expected to offer up to 1 Gbit/s fixed speeds. The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum (of which Alvarion is a founder member), which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL". Operational in both licensed and license-exempt frequencies, the technology offers flexible and economically viable solutions for different deployment scenarios in urban, suburban and rural environments.
WiMAX refers to interoperable implementations of the IEEE 802.16 wireless-networks standard (ratified by the WiMAX Forum), in similarity with Wi-Fi, which refers to interoperable implementations of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN standard (ratified by the Wi-Fi Alliance). The WiMAX Forum certification allows vendors to sell their equipment as WiMAX (Fixed or Mobile) certified, thus ensuring a level of interoperability with other certified products, as long as they fit the same profile. The IEEE 802.16 standard forms the basis of 'WiMAX' and is sometimes referred to colloquially as "WiMAX", "Fixed WiMAX", "Mobile WiMAX", "802.16d" and "802.16e." Clarification of the formal names are as follow:
- 802.16-2004 is also known as 802.16d, which refers to the working party that has developed that standard. It is sometimes referred to as "Fixed WiMAX," since it has no support for mobility.
- 802.16e-2005, often abbreviated to 802.16e, is an amendment to 802.16-2004. It introduced support for mobility, among other things and is therefore also known as "Mobile WiMAX".
Mobile WiMAX is the WiMAX incarnation that has the most commercial interest to date and is being actively deployed in many countries. Mobile WiMAX is also the basis of future revisions of WiMAX.
The bandwidth and range of WiMAX make it suitable for the following potential applications:
- Providing portable mobile broadband connectivity across cities and countries through a variety of devices.
- Providing a wireless alternative to cable and DSL for "last mile" broadband access.
- Providing data, telecommunications (VoIP) and IPTV services (triple play).
- Providing a source of Internet connectivity as part of a business continuity plan.
Why use WiMAX
Companies are deploying WiMAX to provide mobile broadband or at-home broadband connectivity across whole cities or countries. In many cases this has resulted in competition in markets which typically only had access to broadband through an existing incumbent DSL (or similar) operator.
Additionally, given the relatively low cost to deploy a WiMAX network (in comparison to GSM, DSL or Fiber-Optic), it is now possible to provide broadband in places where it may have not been economically viable.
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