WiMax proponents claim the ITU decision will hasten the deployment of the wireless technology.
Once technology rivals, WiMax and 3G are now on the same wireless road after the International Telecommunications Union on Oct. 19 agreed to include WiMax-derived technology in the IMT-2000 set of standards. The decision puts WiMax on equal footing with 3G as a radio interface.
IMT-2000 is a global standard set by the ITU that defines the radio interfaces of advanced wireless communications systems. The decision to approve the WiMax as an IMT-2000 technology escalates opportunities for global deployment, especially within the 2.5-2.69GHz band, to deliver mobile Internet to satisfy demand in both rural and urban markets.
Originally created to harmonize third-generation mobile systems and to increase opportunities for worldwide interoperability, the IMT-2000 family of standards will now support four different access technologies, including OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access; includes WiMax), FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access), TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).
Click here to read about how Intel is working with Sprint Nextel and Clearwire to test WiMax networks.
"WiMax technology currently has the potential to reach 2.7 billion people," Ron Resnick, president of WiMax Forum, in Portland, Ore., said in a statement. "Todays announcement expands the reach to a significantly larger global population."
Resnick said the ITU decision will allow the WiMax ecosystem to benefit from greater economies of scale, reducing the cost to deliver broadband wireless services, including VOIP (voice over IP).
"This is a very special and unique milestone for WiMax technology," Resnick said. "This is the first time that a new air interface has been added to the IMT-2000 set of standards since the original technologies were selected nearly a decade ago."
In the United States, Sprint Nextel plans to deploy WiMax over the next few years to build a national network. Unlike Wi-Fi, which has a limited coverage range, a WiMax network can cover several miles or more.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.