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Wi-Fi and Wi MAX

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Contents: What is Wi-Max and Wi-Fi Architecture Protocols Layout Comparison

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WiMAX
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access Brand licensed by the WiMax Forum. a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL WiMAX was seen as more of a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) technology providing a much larger coverage. Based on IEEE 802.16

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WiMAX
WiMAX, in fact, comes in two forms, a so called fixed WiMAX and a mobile WiMAX. WiMAX in its fixed form is seen as a possible alternative to expensive cable and fibre deployment. It is faster to deploy and less expensive and it also offers operators more flexibility in terms of deployment time frame and possible installation areas. 3G or other cellular network operators could see this as a potential substitute or as a complement to their cellular product.
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WiMAX Architecture

MIB Management Information Base

Wi-Fi
Stands for Wireless Fidelity. Brand licensed by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi is a local area network technology that was originally thought to replace the thousands of miles of LAN cables. Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) Based on IEEE 802.11

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Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi has grown from being just a LAN cable replacement technology to a public wireless access technology. Cheap and readily available equipment. WiFi has been viewed as complementary to 3G and other mobile standards as it has worked to enhance mobile services offered by operators. Its coverage is not as great as that of 3G, but it gives a much higher transmission rate than mobile technology. Handoff between WiFi access points is still not possible and, therefore, it is known more as a wireless access technology than a mobile technology.

Wi-Fi
New developments are taking place within the 802.11 standardization group With the increasing popularity of VoIP, many see WiFi as one of the possible means of using VoIP with some form of mobility 802.11r for wireless VoIP and other real time applications 802.11s for meshed WiFi networking Making WiFi more mobile could make it more of a substitute to mobile technologies

Wireless Systems

802.11 Protocol Stack

802.16 protocol stack

Scalability
802.11
Wide, fixed (20MHz) frequency channels

802.16
Channel bandwidths can be chosen by operator (e.g. for sectorization) 1.5 MHz to 20 MHz width channels. MAC designed for scalability independent of channel bandwidth MAC designed to support thousands of users.

MAC designed to support 10s of users

Bit Rate: Relative Performance


Channel Bandwidth 802.11a 20 MHz 10, 20 MHz; 1.75, 3.5, 7, 14 MHz; 3, 6 MHz
* Assuming a 14 MHz channel

Maximum Data Rate 54 Mbps

Maximum bps/Hz ~2.7 bps/Hz

802.16a

63 Mbps*

~5.0 bps/Hz

802.16a is designed for metropolitan performance

Coverage
802.11
Optimized for indoor performance

802.16
Optimized for outdoor NLOS performance Standard supports mesh network topology Standard supports advanced antenna techniques

No mesh topology support within ratified standards

802.16 is designed for market coverage

Range
802.11
Optimized for ~100 meters No near-far compensation. Designed to handle indoor multipath(delay spread of 0.8 seconds). Optimization centers around PHY and MAC layer for 100m range. Range can be extended by cranking up the power but MAC may be non-standard.

802.16
Optimized for up to 50 Km Designed to handle many users spread out over kilometers Designed to tolerate greater multi-path delay spread (signal reflections) up to 10.0 seconds PHY and MAC designed with multimile range in mind StandardMAC;Sectoring/MIMO/AMC for Rate/Range dynamic tradeoff

802.16 is designed for distance

Quality of Service (QoS)


802.11
Contention-based MAC (CSMA/CA) => no guaranteed QoS Standard cannot currently guarantee latency for Voice, Video Standard does not allow for differentiated levels of service on a per-user basis TDD only asymmetric 802.11e (proposed) QoS is prioritization only

802.16a
Grant-request MAC Designed to support Voice and Video from ground up Supports differentiated service levels: e.g. T1 for business customers; best effort for residential. TDD/FDD/HFDD symmetric or asymmetric Centrally-enforced QoS

802.16a is designed for carrier class operation

Security
802.11
Existing standard is WPA + WEP 802.11i in process of addressing security

802.16a
Triple-DES (128-bit) and RSA (1024-bit)

802.16a maintains fixed wireless security

WiMAX vs Wi-Fi

WiMAX vs Wi-Fi

Comparison of WiMAX, WiFi and 3G technology

802.11 vs 802.16: Summary


802.11 and 802.16 both gain broader industry acceptance through conformance and interoperability by multiple vendors 802.16 complements 802.11 by creating a complete MAN-LAN solution 802.11 is optimized for license-exempt LAN operation 802.16 is optimized for license-exempt and licensed MAN operation.

Will WiMAX displace WiFi?


WiMAX will not replace WiFi completely, but work TOGETHER Intel is currently integrating WiMAX and WiFi into a single Centrino chip. WiFis primary role will always be autonomous hotspot service areas (indoor and outdoor 0 ft. < cell radii <500 ft.). WiMax will ultimately replace WiFi in large-scale (greater than 1mi.Sq.) commercial and public roles.

Wi-fi and WiMax Together