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Broadband Wireless

and WiMAX
Comprehensive Report

Presented by the
International Engineering Consortium

Copyright 2004 by Professional Education International, Inc. All rights of reproduction, including that of
translation into foreign languages, are reserved. Requests for republication privileges should be addressed to
Publications Department, International Engineering Consortium, 300 West Adams Street, Suite 1210, Chicago,
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All opinions expressed in the Broadband Wireless and WiMAX comprehensive report are those of the authors and
are not binding on the International Engineering Consortium or Professional Education International.

ISBN: 978-1-931695-30-X
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Table of Contents
About the International Engineering Consortium ........................................................................................iii
University Program and Sustaining Sponsors.............................................................................................. iv
Consortium-Affiliated Universities and International Affiliated Universities.............................................. v
Media Sponsors and Partners....................................................................................................................... vi
Table of Contents by Author......................................................................................................................xiii
Acronym Guide......................................................................................................................................... 483
The Business of Wireless
On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology ........................................... 1
by a Mobile Operator
Maria Afioni, M.Sc., 3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network
Management Department, BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology
Section, COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.
Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., 3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network
Management Department, BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology
Section, COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.
Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., 3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network
Management Department, BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology
Section, COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.
George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing., 3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and
Network Management Department, BSS and New Technologies Division,
3G Technology Section, COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.
Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications.......................................................................................... 21
Ken Chauvin, Marketing Manager, Technology, Corning Cable Systems
Emerging Wireless Technologies ............................................................................................................... 55
Another Telecommunications Technology Disruption
Samuel Hughes, Senior Manager, National Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP
Trent Tishkowski, Manager, National Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP
Integration of Wireless Access with Wireline Networks: OAM&P Support.............................................. 59
Architecture with ITU-tML Technology
Dr. Wei Liu, Adjunct Professor, Shan-Tou University, and Senior Consultant,
BellSouth
How to Make Money in Broadband Wireless............................................................................................. 67
A Pragmatic Guide to Operator Profitability
R.J. Mahadev, Co-Founder and Executive Team Member, EuroWireless S.A
Converged Public and Enterprise Wireless Networks ................................................................................ 79
Sunil Mahajan, Chief System Engineer, Hughes Software Systems, India

vii

4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology................................................................................ 87


L. Calvin Price, President and Chief Executive Officer, ICON Corporation
An Overview of Wireless Fixed and Mobile Access Technologies ........................................................... 99
Fernando Ramrez-Mireles, Ph.D., Professor, ITAM/Digital Systems,
Instituto Technolgico Autnomo de Mxico
802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation.................................................... 109
James Tsai, Wireless Network and Mobile Platform Architect, Mobile Networking
Lab, Corporate Technology Group, Intel
Henry Mitchel, Systems Architect, Modular Communications Platform Division,
Communications Infrastructure Group, Intel
Sanjay Bakshi, Broadband Wireless Network Architect, Mobile Networking Lab,
Corporate Technology Group, Intel
Prakash Iyer, Senior Staff Architect, Mobile Networking Lab, Corporate Technology
Group, Intel
WiMAX
IP Data Communication over the Wireless Network................................................................................ 129
A WiMAX Challenge
Shilpa Bhatnagar, Technical Leader, Hughes Software Systems
Meena Belwal, Engineer Trainee, Hughes Software Systems
Madhav Kumar, Engineer Trainee, Hughes Software Systems
WiMAX
Overcoming the Limitations of Todays Fixed Wired Access Technologies ........................................... 139
Kathy Burrows, Siemens AG, ICN
Lutz Fielbrandt, Alvarion GmbH
The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana ................................................................. 145
A Case Study of a Multi-City Deployment
Phillip J. Curtiss, Division of Technology, InfoMine of the Rockies, Inc.
Kelson L. Colbo, Division of Administration, InfoMine of the Rockies, Inc.
Will WiMAX Work? ................................................................................................................................ 157
Baher Esmat, Unit Manager, Telecom Strategic and Technical Planning,
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Cairo, Egypt
WiMAX, NLOS, and Broadband Wireless Access (Sub-11Ghz) Worldwide.......................................... 167
Market Analysis 20042008
Adlane Fellah, Senior Analyst, MARAVEDIS Inc.
WiMAX versus Wi-Fi............................................................................................................................... 175
A Comparison of Technologies, Markets, and Business Plans
Michael F. Finneran, Independent Telecommunications Consultant,
dBrn Associates, Inc.

viii

A Business Justification: WiMAX Service Providers and Security Investments ..................................... 189
Ralph P. Martins, Jr., Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton,
and Graduate Student, George Washington University
WiMAX: The Next Generation of Wireless Communication?................................................................. 197
T I M Shaniur Nabi, Research Student, Centre for Advanced Technology
in Telecommunications, RMIT University
Richard Harris, Professor and Director, Centre for Advanced Technology
in Telecommunications, RMIT University
WiMAX Promises a New Era in Telecom................................................................................................ 207
Athena Platis, Wireless Industry Analyst, National Telecommunications
Cooperative Association (NTCA)
WiMAX: Outlining Business Strategies ................................................................................................... 211
Kotni Mohana Rao, Senior Software Engineer, Wipro Technologies,
Bangalore, India
WiMAX: Final Destination or Path .......................................................................................................... 219
Amit Rawal, Engineer, Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited
Simulation of 802.16a Deployment Scenarios and Their Performance Analysis ..................................... 227
Dr. Daniel Rodellar, Project Leader and Telecommunication Engineer,
Swisscom Innovations
M. Eng. Ludovic Fournier, Information and Communication
Technology Engineer, Swisscom Innovations
Dr. Christian Fischer, Senior Research and Development Engineer,
Swisscom Innovations
Wi-Fi and WLANs
Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications ............................................................ 239
Celal Ceken, Lecturer, Electronics and Computer Education Department,
Kocaeli University, Turkey
Ismail Erturk, Lecturer, Electronics and Computer Education Department,
Kocaeli University, Turkey
Cuneyt Bayilmis, Research Assistant, Kocaeli University, Turkey
Cellular and WLAN Convergence............................................................................................................ 259
Chandrakantha T.N., Software Engineer, Global Edge Software Ltd., India
Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN Communication Systems .............................................................. 267
Dr. Sathish Chandran, Chief Telecommunication Consultant
and President, International Union of Radio Science (URSI), Malaysia
Wireless LAN: Security, Reliability, and Scalability ............................................................................... 275
Vikas Koul, Technical Leader, Hughes Software Systems
Prashant Vashisht, Senior Technical Leader, Hughes Software Systems
Masood Ul Amin, Project Manager, Hughes Software Systems

ix

Wi-Fi Networks: A Discussion from the Carrier Perspective................................................................... 285


Ron Landi, Advisory Engineer, Network Architecture and
Advanced Technology, MCI
Operations Support System (OSS) Requirements and Solutions.............................................................. 295
for Carrier-Grade Wireless LAN Services
Monica Paolini, Founder and President, Senza Fili Consulting
Pronto Networks
Case Study: The City Of Fredericton Free Wi-Fi Zone............................................................................ 307
Mike Richard, Senior Project Manager and Vice President of Operations,
Information and Communication, Technology Division,
City of Fredericton, Canada
Wi-Fi Hotspots Deployment in a Next-Generation Network Environment.............................................. 311
Aladdin Saleh, Wireless Technology Planning, Bell Canada,
and Adjunct Professor, Waterloo University
3G Wireless
3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services.................................................... 317
Syed A. Ahson, iDEN Subscriber Division, Motorola Inc.
IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) .............................................................................................................. 335
Susan Barbier, Vice President, Mobility Applications and Services,
Lucent Technologies
Maria Palamara, IMS Mobility Offer Manager, Lucent Technologies
Jim Starkey, IMS Mobility Marketing Manager, Lucent Technologies
From Voice to Data: The 3G Mass-Market Challenge ............................................................................. 343
The Cube
Grard Bloch-Morhange, Manager, Alcatel do Brazil and Alcatel Thailand;
Former Vice President of Development, Asia, France Telecom;
and International Consultant
Emilio Fontela, Dean, The Nebrija University, Spain, and Former Professor
of Econometrics, Geneva University
UMTS 3G Technology in Broadband Wireless Applications................................................................... 359
Tom Flak, Vice President of Product Marketing, SOMA Networks, Inc.
Dr. Frank van Heeswyk, Chief Scientist, SOMA Networks, Inc.

A Mobility-Management Scheme in AllIP Integrated Network ............................................................. 369


Md. Abdur Razzaque, Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
University of Dhaka
Zia Ush-Shamszaman, Department of Computer Science, Bhuiyan Computers,
National University
Samiul Bashar, Department of Computer Science, Bhuiyan Computers,
National University
Jobeda Khatoon Sumi, Department of Computer Science, Bhuiyan Computers,
National University
Safina Showkat Ara, Department of Computer Science, Bhuiyan Computers,
National University
Impact of the Interference from Intermodulation Products on the Load Factor ....................................... 377
and Capacity of Cellular CDMA2000 and WCDMA Systems and Mitigation
with Interference Suppression
Francis J. Smith, Chief Technology Officer, Finesse Wireless Inc.
TDCDMA: Fusion of Broadband and Mobility...................................................................................... 399
James Teel, Director of International Wireless Product Management,
UTStarcom
Quality of Service in Wireless
Understanding MAC Protocol Architectural Implications of 802.11 QoS Amendments......................... 403
A Guide to IEEE 802.11e Technology
Simon Chung, Silicon & Software Systems
Kamila Piechota, Silicon & Software Systems
Quality of Service in Broadband Wireless Networks ............................................................................... 419
Mohamed El-Sayed, Technical Manager, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies
Amit Mukhopadhyay, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff,
Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies
Zulfiquar Sayeed, Member of Technical Staff, Bell Laboratories,
Lucent Technologies
Dong Sun, Member of Technical Staff, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies
Carlos Urrutia-Valds, Member of Technical Staff, Bell Laboratories,
Lucent Technologies
Bringing Quality in the 802.11 Wireless Arena........................................................................................ 443
Andreas Floros, Ph.D., Senior System Engineer, Multimedia and
Communications Group, ATMEL Hellas S.A., Greece
Theodore Karoubalis, Ph.D., System Concepts Group Manager, Multimedia
and Communications Group, ATMEL Hellas S.A., Greece
Stylianos Koutroubinas, Ph.D., General Manager, Multimedia and
Communications Group, ATMEL Hellas S.A., Greece
Managing Key Performance Indicators for Wireless Services ................................................................. 455
T. Ingvaldsen, M.Sc., Telenor R&D, Norway
T. Jensen, Ph.D., Telenor R&D, Norway
H. Kjnsberg, Ph.D., Telenor R&D, Norway
xi

Authentication in Wireless LANs ............................................................................................................. 465


Seema Kauser, Software Engineer, Global Edge Software Limited, India
A Novel Broadband/Wireless Routing Algorithm.................................................................................... 473
Deductive Probe Routing with MultiQoS Constraints
Yuxing Tian, Senior Engineer, GTSS, Motorola Inc.
Dr. I-Ping Chu, Associate Professor, CTI, DePaul University

xii

Table of Contents by Author


Afioni, Maria.........................................................1
Ahson, Syed A. ................................................. 317
Ara, Safina Showkat ......................................... 369
Bakshi, Sanjay................................................... 109
Barbier, Susan ................................................... 335
Bashar, Samiul .................................................. 369
Bayilmis, Cuneyt............................................... 239
Belwal, Meena .................................................. 129
Bhatnagar, Shilpa.............................................. 129
Bloch-Morhange, Grard .................................. 343
Burrows, Kathy ................................................. 139
Ceken, Celal...................................................... 239
Chandrakantha T.N. .......................................... 259
Chandran, Sathish ............................................. 267
Chauvin, Ken ...................................................... 21
Chu, I-Ping........................................................ 473
Chung, Simon ................................................... 403
Colbo, Kelson L. ............................................... 145
Curtiss, Phillip J. ............................................... 145
El-Sayed, Mohamed.......................................... 419
Erturk, Ismail .................................................... 239
Esmat, Baher ..................................................... 157
Fellah, Adlane ................................................... 167
Fielbrandt, Lutz................................................. 139
Finneran, Michael F. ......................................... 175
Fischer, Christian .............................................. 227
Flak, Tom.......................................................... 359
Floros, Andreas ................................................. 443
Fontela, Emilio.................................................. 343
Fournier, Ludovic ............................................. 227
Harris, Richard.................................................. 197
Hughes, Samuel .................................................. 55
Ingvaldsen, T..................................................... 455
Iyer, Prakash ..................................................... 109
Jensen, T. .......................................................... 455
Karoubalis, Theodore........................................ 443
Kauser, Seema................................................... 465
Kjnsberg, H. .................................................... 455
Koul, Vikas ....................................................... 275

Koutroubinas, Stylianos ....................................... 443


Kumar, Madhav ................................................... 129
Landi, Ron............................................................ 285
Lekakos, Petros ........................................................ 1
Lepidas, Nikolaos..................................................... 1
Liu, Wei ................................................................. 59
Lyberopoulos, George.............................................. 1
Mahadev, R.J.......................................................... 67
Mahajan, Sunil ....................................................... 79
Martins, Ralph P., Jr............................................. 189
Mitchel, Henry ..................................................... 109
Mukhopadhyay, Amit .......................................... 419
Nabi, T I M Shaniur ............................................. 197
Palamara, Maria ................................................... 335
Paolini, Monica .................................................... 295
Piechota, Kamila .................................................. 403
Platis, Athena ....................................................... 207
Price, L. Calvin ...................................................... 87
Ramrez-Mireles, Fernando.................................... 99
Rao, Kotni Mohana .............................................. 211
Rawal, Amit ......................................................... 219
Razzaque, Md. Abdur .......................................... 369
Richard, Mike....................................................... 307
Rodellar, Daniel ................................................... 227
Saleh, Aladdin ...................................................... 311
Sayeed, Zulfiquar ................................................. 419
Smith, Francis J.................................................... 377
Starkey, Jim.......................................................... 335
Sumi, Jobeda Khatoon ......................................... 369
Sun, Dong............................................................. 419
Teel, James........................................................... 399
Tian, Yuxing ........................................................ 473
Tishkowski, Trent .................................................. 55
Tsai, James ........................................................... 109
Ul Amin, Masood................................................. 275
Urrutia-Valds, Carlos ......................................... 419
Ush-Shamszaman, Zia.......................................... 369
van Heeswyk, Frank............................................. 359
Vashisht, Prashant ................................................ 275

xiii

On the Selection of the


Optimum Emerging Wireless
Broadband Technology by
a Mobile Operator
Maria Afioni, M.Sc.
3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network Management Department,
BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology Section
COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.

Petros Lekakos, M.Sc.


3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network Management Department,
BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology Section
COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.

Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing.


3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network Management Department,
BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology Section
COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.

George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.


3G Telecommunications Engineer, Switching and Network Management Department,
BSS and New Technologies Division, 3G Technology Section
COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A.
Abstract
Today, there is a great uncertainty in the wireless industry over the extent to which emerging wireless
technologies will supplement or displace existing ones to satisfy future mobile multimedia services
demands. Standards-based wireless technologies (e.g., universal mobile telecommunications system
[UMTS] time division duplex [TDD], high speed downlink packet access/high speed uplink packet access
[HSDPA/HSUPA], 802.16/Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access [WiMAX], 802.20/MobileFi) and proprietary ones (fast low-latency access with seamless handofforthagonal frequency division
multiplexing [FLASHOFDM], iBurst, etc.) are all vying for significant roles in the wireless industry.

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

The aim of this paper is two-fold:

To conduct a comparative study regarding the standards-driven emerging wireless technologies


including, technical capabilities, deployment status, interworking with existing operators
infrastructure, etc.

To propose and apply a methodology, which may facilitate mobile network operators to select the
optimum emerging wireless broadband technologythat best serves their business strategy
taking into account a variety of technical and nontechnical parameters.

I. Introduction
Mobile operators are increasingly faced with the dilemma of selecting the optimum emerging wireless
technology, such as WiMAX, Mobile-Fi, UMTS TDD, and HSDPA. The crucial question is, Should an
operator introduce a new wireless technology earlier and thus enhance its service offerings disregarding
possible interoperability issues, or should follow a standards-proposed evolution path (e.g.,
3G/WCDMA3G/TDDHSDPA) despite (possible) late availability of commercial systems/terminals?
Each technology exhibits certain advantages; however, the operators final selection should be in
accordance with its overall business strategy.
In this paper, initially, a comparative study is conducted, revealing the current standards/systems
development status of the emerging wireless technologies. As a second step, to facilitate a second- or
third-generation (2G/3G) mobile operator deciding on the optimum future wireless technology, an
evaluation methodology is proposed and applied. The methodology employs an algorithm, which takes
into account both technical and business-oriented parameters such as investment, risk, profitability,
fulfillment of customer/market needs, and marketability. Indicative evaluation results for two operators
that exhibit different business strategies (conservative vs. aggressive) are presented in section III, while
conclusions are drawn in section IV.
II. Emerging Wireless Technologies: A Comparative Study
A. WiMAX (IEEE 802.16)
Overview of WiMAX
While wireless local area network (WLAN) technology is designed to add mobility to private wired
LANs, WiMAX is designed to deliver a metro area broadband wireless access (BWA) service combining
nationwide coverage with high bandwidth. WiMAX promises to open new, economically viable market
opportunities for operators, wireless Internet service providers (WISPs), and equipment manufacturers.
The flexibility of wireless technology, combined with the high throughput, scalability, long-range and
quality of service (QoS) features will help fill the broadband coverage gaps and reach millions of new
residential and business customers worldwide.
WiMAX Standards: The 802.16x Family
The 802.16x standards genealogy [2] is shown in Figure 1, while a comparison study between the 802.16
versions is depicted in Table 1. As far as the WiMAX systems availability is concerned, we may note
that the following is true:

Proprietary 802.16 systems are available today


802.16 compliant systems expected to be available in Q4/2004
Systems on chip (PHY and MAC) expected to be available in Q1/2005
Complete vendor interoperability is foreseen in mid2005

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

802.16
(Dec 2001)
802.16c
(2002)

802.16a
(Jan 2003)

802.16REVd
(Q3 2004)
802.16e
(2005 exp.)

Figure 1: The 802.16x Standards Genealogy


802.16

802.16a/REVd
802.16a: Jan 2003

802.16e

Standards Status

Dec 2001

Airwave

Licensed & Unlicensed

Licensed & Unlicensed

Spectrum

1066 GHz

< 11 GHz

< 6 GHz

802.16REVd: Q3 2004

Estimated within 2005


Licensed & Unlicensed

Channel BWs

20, 25, and 28 MHz

Selectable channel bandwidths


between 1.25 and 20 MHz

Same as 802.16a with uplink


sub-channels to conserve
Power

Modulation

QPSK, 16QAM and


64QAM

OFDM 256 sub-carriers QPSK,


16QAM, 64QAM

Same as 802.16a

Channel
Conditions

LOS Only

NLOS

NLOS

Typical Cell
Radius

25 km

5 to 8 km: Max range 50 km based


on tower height, antenna gain and
power transmit

25 km

Mobility

Fixed

Fixed

Pedestrian Mobility
Regional Roaming

Bit Rate

32134 Mbps at 28 MHz


channelization

Up to 75 Mbps at 20 MHz
channelization

Up to 15 Mbps at 5 MHz
channelization

Applications

Point-to-Point Applications

Point-to-Multipoint Applications

Point-to-Multipoint
Applications

Table 1: Comparison between 802.16 Versions


WiMAX Network Architecture
The WiMAX architecture is composed of two key elements (see Figure 2):

Base station (BS)


Customer premise equipment (CPE)1

802.16a CPE: External box connected to PC with outside antenna; 802.16REVd CPE: External box connected to
PC with built-in antenna; 802.16e CPE: PC card
3

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

The BS uses an outdoor antenna (sectored/directional or omnidirectional) to send and receive high-speed
data and voice to CPE, thus eliminating the need for extensive and expensive wireline infrastructure and
providing highly flexible and cost-effective last-mile solutions. A fixed CPE typically uses directional
antenna while mobile or portable CPE usually uses an omnidirectional antenna.

Figure 2: The WiMAX Network Architecture [9]


Interworking with Existing Network/Services (2/2.5/3G)
Interworking with 3G will be supported by 802.16e only. As far as the standalone system is concerned:

Mobility will be supported by 802.16e and will target only urban usage, with up to 60 km/h
vehicle speed to maintain optimum throughput performance

Handover will be supported in future versions (802.16e)

Candidate WiMAX Applications [9]


802.16a applications:

E1/T1 service for enterprises


Backhaul for hot spots
Limited residential, broadband access

802.16REVd applications:

Indoor broadband access for residential users (e.g., high-speed Internet and voice over Internet
protocol [VoIP])

802.16e applications:

Portable broadband access for consumers


Always best connected

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

Terminals Availability 2
802.16a chipsets are currently available
802.16REVd chipset3, will be available by the mid2005
802.16e chipsets embedded in laptops and later on in other devices, enabling mobility (portable
Internet) will be available in 2006
Deployment Status [1]
Currently, a number of trials are in progress:

TowerStream and Bellsouth (New York, Chicago, and North Carolina for Nextel [USA])
BT (U.K.)
AT&T
Verizon (Oregon, USA)

In China, WiMAX will be deployed in six cities while Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, and parts of
Australia are willing to introduce WiMAX technology in their networks. Finally, Wi-Lan in France is
testing Libra 3000, a fixed wireless broadband technology that is offering a 802.16a network.
B. Mobile-Fi (IEEE 802.20)
Overview of Mobile-Fi
The next generation of mobile connectivity beyond WiMAX will be based on the (pending) Mobile-Fi
standard, which is being developed from the ground up as a mobile specification (see Table 2). The
physical (PHY) layer (i.e., radio front end and baseband signal processing sections) and data-link layer
(i.e., MAC protocol) are specifically designed for mobile requirements, such as adaptive antenna arrays.
Mobile-Fi Technology (IEEE 802.20)
Airwave

Licensed bands below 3.5 GHz

Channel BWs

Typical Channel BW< 5MHz

Mobility

Optimized for full mobility

New PHY & MAC optimized for packet data and adaptive antennas.

Packet-oriented architecture.

Channelization and control for mobile multimedia services. Mobile IPbased.

High efficiency data uplinks and downlinks.

Low latency data architecture.

Wireless data service provider-greenfield start or evolving mobile carrier.

Global mobility and roaming support.

Fully mobile, high throughput data user.

Symmetric data services.

End-user devices initially PC card enabled data devices.

Support of low-latency data services.

Technology

Service Provider

End User

Table 2: Mobile-Fi Characteristics

2
3

Access to the WiMAX network will be provided via PCMIA cards.


This will allow the development of cost-optimized CPE operating indoors (NLOS).
5

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

Mobile-Fi Standard Availability


The IEEE 802.20 standard will not be ratified until late 2004.
Mobile-Fi System Architecture [3]
A generic overview of the Mobile-Fi system architecture is depicted in Figure 3.

Pure IP
Architecture
(IEEE 802.20)

RADIUS
Foreign IP
Network

RADIUS

RADIUS

Mobile
Station

IP Base
Station

Home Access
Provider
Network

Home IP Network
SS7
Network

VLR

HLR

Broker Network

IP
Network

Home IP Network
RADIUS

Home IP
Network
RADIUS

Radio
Network
IP Network

Mobile
Station

BTS

BSC

RADIUS
Broker
Network

PDSN

Home IP
Network

Figure 3: Mobile-Fi System Architecture


Interworking with Existing Network/Services (2/2.5/3G)
Mobile-Fi standard foresses interworking with 3G. As far as the standalone system is concerned:

The air-interface shall support different modes of mobility from pedestrian (3 km/h) to very high
speed (250 km/h)

Handover will be supported (acc. to standards)

Candidate Mobile-Fi Applications


Full screen video
Full graphic Web browsing
E-mail
File upload and download without size limitations (e.g., file transfer protocol [FTP])
Video and audio streaming
IP multicast, telematics
Location-based services
VPN connections
VoIP
Instant messaging
On-line multiplayer gaming

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

Advantages and Disadvantages


The Mobile-Fi standard promises to combine many of the desirable features of 802.16e with those of 3G
cellular data networks, while reducing the limitations of both those modalities.
Mobile-Fi is an alternative type of 3G mobile systems. Today, the 2.5G/3G mobile technologies used by
mobile carriers still remain best suited for voice and low-bandwidth data applications, but these
technologies have limitations in offering high-speed data applications.
Mobile-Fi promises to support far more simultaneous users than mobile systems, with greater spectral
efficiencies and lower latency. Mobile-Fi will have double the spectral efficiency of current mobile
systems at 1bps/Hz/cell, with low latency and built-in QoS to give a similar experience to wired
connections4 [4].
According to [4], Mobile-Fi has three critical weaknesses:

WiMAX is starting to take on some of its remit


WiMAX has stronger and more aggressive support from key vendors
The mobile operators are relatively more friendly toward 802.16 than to 802.20
To have any chance of survival, 802.20 needs to work with the 3G groups such as ThirdGeneration Partnership Project (3GPP) to form better relationships with the carriers and provide
technology that works with 3G.

Deployment Status
Currently, a number of trials are in progress:

Navini Networks (USA) and KT (South Korea)


Hanaro Telecom (South Korea)
SK Telecom (South Korea)
Louisville, Kentucky

C. UMTS TDD
3GPP Standards and TDD Technologies
The 3GPP family of standards consists of three alternative air-interface standards, which all share higher
layer protocol stack and core network architecture. These air-interface standards are UMTS frequency
division duplex (FDD) (or more commonly wireless code division multiple access [WCDMA]) and two
variants of UMTS TDD. These two types of UMTS TDD technologies are characterized by different chip
rates and different bandwidths. More specifically, the chip rates are 3.84 Mcps and 1.28 Mcps, with the
corresponding bandwidths being 5 MHz and 1.6 MHz. Accordingly, the two TDD types are referred to in
literature as follows:

Wideband TDD (WTDD) and narrowband TDD (NTDD) or as

High chip rate (HCR) TDD and low chip rate (LCR) TDD or as

Time divisioncode division multiple access (TDCDMA) and time division-synchronous code
division multiple access (TDSCDMA)

Source: Mark Klerer, former chair of the 802.20 working group and an executive director at Flarion, the standards
main technical contributor
7

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

Overview of UTRA TDD Access Mode


TDD uses unpaired spectrum bands while FDD uses paired bands. The European spectrum allocation for
TDD is 1900-1920MHz and 2010-2025MHz and the channel spacing is 5 MHz for TDCDMA (and 1.6
MHz for TDSCDMA). In TDD, the downstream and upstream directions of the traffic are separated in
time, while in FDD are separated in frequency. The values of the main parameters of TDD and FDD
technologies are presented in Table 3.
Parameter

UTRA FDD

UTRA TDD

Multiple Access Method

DSCDMA

TDCDMA

TDSCDMA

Carrier Chip Rate

3.84 Mcps

3.84 Mcps

1.28 Mcps

Carrier Bandwidth

5 MHz

5 MHz

1.6 MHz

Frame Length

10 ms

10 ms

10 ms

Modulation

QPSK

QPSK

QPSK

Spreading Factor

Up to 256

Up to 16

Up to 16

Table 3: UTRA FDD/TDD parameters


TDD can provide multiple users 384 Kbps uplink and/or downlink data capability. For one user
maximum downlink data capability is 2 Mbps. TDD supports both CS and PS services. Initially, TDD
was designed mainly for high-density areas with low mobility requirements providing higher rates and
additional capacity in hot-spot areas. Later specifications and vendors solutions, however, state its
suitability for all deployment scenarios from rural to densely populated urban areas and indoor
applications as well as from stationary to high mobility.
The main characteristic of TDD is its support for asymmetric applications (e.g., mobile Internet), in
comparison with FDD, which is well suited for symmetrical traffic in both the uplink and the downlink.
Specifically, TDD adapts the uplink/downlink ratio according to the data load within a single unpaired
frequency thus utilizing the spectrum more efficiently.
One of the key requirements of TDD is efficient handover. TDD only supports hard handover, which
means that the mobile unit is only connected to one base station at a time. The handover decision is done
on measurements carried in its idle time slots. Each base station sends a list to the mobile unit. This list
contains information to facilitate the identity of the cells and the measurements required. The measured
received power provides information about the relative distance and potential quality of the mobile unit to
its surrounding base stations and this is used in the handover algorithms.
Impact on Existing Network
Typically, UMTS TDD can be integrated with existing GSM/GPRS/UMTS FDD core network
infrastructure, by deploying new/enhanced RAN equipment (Node-B, RNC)5. More specifically, TD
CDMA deployments (packet data implementations) use the following:

Common antenna with UMTS FDD system (via the use of appropriate UMTS FDD/TDD duplexer)
New Node-B
New RNC (dual-mode RNC [supporting both TDD and FDD] is expected)
Existing GPRS/UMTS FDD core network infrastructure

From a standards perspective, UMTS TDD intersystem/intermode handovers to/from GSM/GPRS/UMTS FDD are
supported. Handovers between UMTS TDD and FDD systems, however, have not been commercially
performedin trials only.

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

The TDSCDMA system uses the following:

New antenna (smart antenna which uses a beam-forming concept)


New Node-B
Enhanced (upgraded) RNC
Existing GSM/GPRS/UMTS FDD core network infrastructure

Benefits of Deploying UMTS TDD


The basic advantages of UMTS TDD are summarized below [8]:

TDD is suited for asymmetric traffic.

TDD is harmonized with FDD at the chip rate level, making TDD functionality a highly costeffective complement to existing FDD designs.

TDD is fully and seamlessly integrated with FDD in the UMTS air interface standards6 and
provides an opportunity for operators to make the most of their allocated 3G unpaired spectrum
while exploiting the inherent integrated user mobility and service roaming features of FDD and
TDD.

TDD is cost efficient for network deployment (improved spectrum efficiency, no need for softhandover and sharing of higher layer protocol stack and core network architecture with FDD). It
offers scalable capacity for hot spots, where combined voice and data traffic must be served
efficiently, through a tiered architecture, which may include macro, micro, and picocells.

TDD can provide an attractive wireless data solution for wide area coverage and islands of
coverage where there is a need for wireless asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) services
and outdoor WLANlike services.

TDD can adopt techniques such as channel sensing and adaptive antennas in order to improve
performance, coverage and capacity.

TDD is a commercially proven technology. There are commercial deployments (especially


packet-data implementationspacket switched domain) of TDCDMA. There, however, are no
commercial deployments of the TDSCDMA system.

TDD is 3GPP standards compliant. TDCDMA was introduced in R99 while TDSCDMA was
in R4.

Generally speaking, the combination of FDD technology and TDD technology in third-generation UMTS
can result in significant technological and financial benefits, including improved return on investment
(ROI) for network operators, equipment manufacturers and application developers. TDD can leverage the
infrastructure of a first-wave FDDonly rollout of 3G, which can further reduce the cost of deployment,
by being a part of a multilayered hierarchical deployment strategy. National regulatory bodies have
endorsed the proposed three-tiered network deployment and have allocated paired frequency bands for
FDD and unpaired licensed frequency bands for TDD as well as unlicensed bands for TDD.

Handovers between TDD and FDD systems, however, have not been commercially performedin trials only.
9

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

Terminals Availability
TDCDMA (packet data implementations):

Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) cards and desktop
modems are commercially available
Chipset is expected to be available in 2004

TDSCDMA:

A prototype handset (single mode) is available


Commercially available handsets are expected by mid2005

Deployment Status [20], [21]


Currently a number of TDCDMA commercial launches (packet data implementations) have been
announced7:

Australia: IQ Networks
Germany: Airdata
Malaysia: Atlas One
New Zealand: Woosh Wireless
South Africa: Sentech
United States: Maui Sky Fiber
Hong Kong: PCCW

Also, a number of TDCDMA (packet data implementations) and TDSCDMA trials are in progress:

Japan: IPMobile/NTT Communications (TDCDMA)


Portugal: SonaeCom (TDCDMA)
United Kingdom: PCCW (TDCDMA)
China: China Academy of Telecommunications Technology (TDSCDMA)

D. HSDPA
Overview of HSDPA
HSDPA is based on WCDMA evolution and is standardized as part of the WCDMA 3GPP Release 5
specification. HSDPA is a packet-based data service in WCDMA downlink with data transmission up to 8-10
Mbps over a 5MHz bandwidth. This means that HSDPA can coexist on the same carrier (5 MHz) as the
current 3G services, allowing mobile operators to introduce greater capacity and higher data speeds into
existing 3G networks. The most important thing with HSDPA is not the peak rate but the throughput capacity,
which increases significantly. This leads to more users being able to use high data rates on a single carrier.
HSDPA introduces several new key techniques, such as the following [17]:

Shared channel transmissionhigh speed downlink shared channel (HSDSCH)


Higher-order modulation
Short transmission time interval (TTI)
Fast link adaptation
Fast scheduling

The service offerings are provided to customers via PCMCIA cards and/or desktop modems.

10

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

Fast hybrid automatic-repeat-request (HARQ)

HSDPA is based on a new distributed architecture enabling low delay link adaptation, channel quality
feedback and HARQ processing. This is accomplished by incorporating many of the key scheduling and
control processes at the Node-B, as opposed to the RNC, and thus closer to the air-interface. Specifically,
the MAC functionality, which fully resided in the RNC in R99, is split between the RNC and Node-B in
Rel5. In Rel5, most of the key MAC functions critical to delay and performance are defined by the
MAC-HS, which is located in the Node-B [15].
HSDPA can be introduced where the WCDMA RAN has been deployed. This means that it will make use
of existing infrastructure in all parts of the network. It is envisaged, however, that initially, high-speed
services will be offered in a small part of the network, for example, in areas with heavy traffic, such as
city centers, office areas, and airports.
Although the main emphasis in air-interface optimization can be seen in the area of downlink high-datarate support, the uplink also needs attention. HSUPA will be standardized as part of the WCDMA 3GPP
Release 6 specification, which is ongoing in 3GPP and will be finalized by the end of 2004. Enhanced
data rates in the uplink will benefit the end user (e.g., in file transmission or when such office applications
as NetMeeting are used). It is anticipated that many of the same techniques used in HSDPA will be used,
but these still need to be formalized. Also, an optimized uplink will be introduced (comparable to that in
the downlink) to support lower terminal output powers.
Standards Availability
WCDMA 3GPP Release 5 specifications released in March 2002. HSDPA is one of the key Rel5
features that provide significant spectral/network efficiency, performance and functionality
advantages over the R99 and Rel4 standards.

WCDMA 3GPP Release 6 specifications will be available by the end-2004. The HSUPA will be
included in these release standards.

Impact on Existing Network


To enable the use of HSDPA in a 3G network, the Node-B hardware must be upgraded to support the new
baseband and MACHS processing. This could be done through remote software downloads to the NodeB or could require new hardware (e.g., new baseband channel cards) depending on the legacy Node-B
capabilities [15].
Given the increase in capacity in the Node-B, operators might eventually also have to expand transport
capacity. This can be done in a straightforward manner using statistical dimensioninginteractive traffic
uses remaining transport capacityto limit the initial cost of deployment [16].
The software in the RNC must also be upgraded to support HSDPA, but no hardware modifications are
foreseen.The impact on the core network from the introduction of HSDPA should be minor. The higher
bit rates provided by HSDPA signify that the radio access bearers (RAB) must be modified and
redimensioned to cope with larger data volumes.
Benefits for Mobile Operators and End Users
HSDPA/HSUPA will benefit network operators by doing the following:

Improving the WCDMA networks packet data capacity


Enhancing spectral efficiency

11

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

Using RAN hardware efficiently


Enabling cost-effective network implementation

Consequently, network operators that implement HSDPA will achieve a lower delivery cost per bit.
HSDPA/HSUPA will benefit end-users by providing the following:

Higher data rate


Shorter service response time
Better availability of services

Consequently, users will experience better quality of service.


Terminals Availability
New terminal devices are required to support the HARQ, multicode and control processing for HSDPA.
There are twelve different categories of mobiles defined for HSDPA that specify the modulations and
number of codes the terminals must support to be compliant with each category, allowing for various
complexities of terminals to be implemented [15].
Deployment Status
Lucent Technologies and Cingular Wireless recently announced plans to deploy a 3G UMTS trial
network in the Atlanta market that will include field testing of HSDPA. Lucent Technologies
demonstrated HSDPA capability initially in March 2003 at the CTIA Wireless 2003 trade show in
New Orleans and in March 2004 CTIA show in Atlanta. Lucent will make HSDPA available for trials
in the second half of 2004 and plans to have commercial HSDPA available in the second half of 2005
timeframe. Lucents HSDPA solution requires software-only upgrades, which can be downloaded
remotely to its R99/R4 UMTS RNC and Node-B.

Siemens and NEC are shipping their second-generation Node-B. For support of HSDPA, the U.S.
PCS 1900 MHz band capable Node-B requires software-only upgrades which can be downloaded
remotely when they become available in 2005. The first commercial HSDPAcapable terminal is
planned to be a PCMCIA form-factor data card, which will support the market trials and commercial
deployments expected to take place in 2005.

Nortel Networks has been shipping its HSDPAready Node-Bs for sometime now and all Nortel
Networks Node-Bs currently deployed across the globe will support HSDPA. Nortel Networks
expects HSDPA trials to take place later this year, with commercial deployments in 2005.

Ericsson successfully demonstrated a radio network emulator at the CTIA Wireless 2003 trade show.
Customer trials will start in 2004 and commercial systems will be available in the second half of 2005
globally.

Nokia Research Center Dallas completed its first HSDPA demonstration in January 2003. The system
was demonstrated publicly in Cannes at the 3GSM World Congress in February 2003 as well as in
New Orleans at CTIA in March 2003. Nokias current commercial UMTS system can be software
upgraded to commercial HSDPA, which will be available in the second half of 2005 timeframe.

NTT DoCoMo has indicated that they intend to have HSDPA live by the second half of 2005.

12

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

In Europe also, 3G mobile operators are now whispering that they are prepared to bring their HSDPA
rollout forward considerably, and word coming out of the vendors supports this. Even O2, which is
not the habit of trailblazing technology, has publicly stated that it is targeting HSDPA in 2006.

E. Comparative Results
See Table 4 for a comparison.
Emerging Wireless Technology Evaluation
WiMax (802.16)
802.16 & 802.16a:
completed
Standards
Availability
802.16REVd: Q3/2004
802.16e: within 2005
System
Availability

Terminal
Availability

Spectrum
Requirements

UMTS-TDD
TDCDMA: 3GPP (R99 &
onwards)
TDSCDMA: 3GPP (R4 &
onwards)
TDCDMA (packet data
implementations):
Commercial
TDSCDMA: Trials
TDCDMA (packet data
implementations):
Commercial (PCMCIA
cards, desktop modems),
chipset (to be available in
2004)
TDSCDMA: Prototype
(single-mode) handset
available commercially
available handsets by mid2005

HSDPA

Licensed

Licensed

Licensed

802.20: end
2004

Trials in progress (802.16a


network)

Not available

802.16a chipsets: Available


802.16REVd chipset: Mid2005
802.16e chipsets: Available
in 2006

Not available

Licensed & Unlicensed

Other:
Cell Range
LOS/NLOS
Data Rates
Mobility/Roaming
Handover
QoS
Security
Applications

Mobile-Fi (802.20)

Max range: 50 km (depends


on 802.16 "version")
Data rate: up to 75 Mbps
(depends on 802.16
"version")
802.16: LOS, PTP
applications, fixed mobility,
QoS, security
802.16a/REVd: NLOS,
PTMP applications, fixed
mobility, QoS, security
802.16e: NLOS, PTMP
applications, pedestrian
mobility, regional roaming,
QoS, security

Max range: 15
km
Data rate: up to
16 Mbps
802.20: NLOS,
PTMP
applications,
full mobility,
roaming, QoS,
security

Interworking with
3G: Handover,
Mobility/Roaming,
Impact on Existing
Network, MultiMode Terminals

Interworking with 3G,


Mobility/Roaming
Handover to be supported
by 802.16e only
Impact on Network
(standalone): new Base
Stations, CPE

Supported:
Interworking
with 3G,
Handover,
Roaming to be
supported
Impact on
Network: new
Base Stations

Max range: 29 km (TD


CDMA: Packet data
implementations) 40 km
(TDSCDMA)
NLOS, full mobility,
roaming, hard handover,
QoS, security
Data rate: up to 2 Mbps
Applications: high-speed
data, VoIP, CS services

Interworking with 3G
(FDDWCDMA):
Performed in trials only (no
commercial support)
Impact on Existing
Network: TDCDMA
(Packet data
implementations) [new
Node-B, new RNC (dual
mode FDD/TDD is
expected)], TDSCDMA
(new [smart] Antenna, new
Node-B, enhanced
[upgraded] RNC)

3GPP (R5, R6)

Trials in progress

Not available

Max range: Depends


on Node-B's vendor
and type
NLOS, full mobility,
roaming, hard
handover, QoS,
security
Data rate: up to 10
Mbps (downlink)
Applications: (highspeed data, VoIP)

Interworking with
3G (FDD
WCDMA)
Impact on Existing
Network: Node-B
hardware/software
upgrade, RNC
software upgrade
New terminals

Table 4: Emerging Wireless Technologies A Comparison

13

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

III. Evaluation Methodology


An evaluation methodology [7] that may facilitate a mobile operator to decide upon the selection of the
optimum wireless broadband technology, that best serves its business strategy, is described in this section.
The proposed methodology can be decomposed into the following subtasks (see Figure 4):

Identification of a nonexhaustive list of the decision-making parameters/factors


Definition of the algorithm according to which the evaluation will be performed
Application of the algorithm
Evaluation results: Selection of the optimum broadband wireless technology based on scoring

Investment
Investment

Payback
Payback
Period
Period

Implementation
Implementation
Timeframe
Timeframe

Profitability
Profitability
Competitive
Competitive
Advantage
Advantage

Outcome

Regulatory
Regulatory
Requirements
Requirements

Optimum
Technology

Companys
Companys
Brand Name
Brand Name

Customer/
Customer/
Market
Market
Needs
Needs

Response to
Response to
Competition
Competition
Risk
Risk

Marketability
Marketability

Figure 4: Evaluation Methodology


A. Decision-Making Parameters/Factors
A nonexhaustive list of the critical factors8 expected to affect the selection of the optimum wireless
technology is listed below:

Investment. The introduction of a new wireless technology needs certain investment. Investment
is affected by both CAPEX9 and OPEX10 costs.

Customer needs. Operators that will manage to satisfy market needs (such as, real-time multimedia
services, service personalization and customization, low tariffs, service differentiation, single terminal
equipment for all environments) will dominate the wireless market.

These factors are related to technical (see previous sections) and nontechnical parameters (risk, regulatory).
Investment required for the introduction of new elements (e.g., base stations, switches), as well as existing network
(2/2.5/3G) infrastructure upgrades (e.g., Node-Bs, BSC/RNC).
10
Investment required for spectrum acquisition (if applicable), network operation and maintenance, customer
acquisition/advertisement campaigns, transport network upgrades, handset subsidies, etc.).
9

14

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

Response to competition: Mobile operators may adopt a new technology simply as a response to
competition.

Competitive advantage: A technology that enables the operator to offer service differentiation
(mobility, handover, roaming) and QoS, enhancing thus the operators service portfolio, business
role and brand name may provide a competitive advantage.

Companys namepaybackprofitability: Companys brand name will be strongly affected by


the investment required, in conjunction with the expected payback period and the contribution to
profitability.

Marketability: A new technology supporting seamless interworking with the existing network/services
(2/2.5/3G)via multimode terminalswhile allowing the introduction of brand new applications
(e.g., VoIP, real-time advanced multimedia services) may offer marketing opportunities.

Risk: Business, cost, and companys size risk in conjunction with the business model and the
marketability of the services on offer should be also considered. Risk is also affected by the
payback period. The possibility of making an overestimated investment (including new
recruitment) and finally offering a cannibalized service should be eliminated.

Regulatory requirements: License-related requirements (e.g., coverage requirements within a


certain timeframe) should be also taken into account.

Implementation timeframe: This factor corresponds to both (commercial) system and terminal
availability.

In order to simplify the evaluation process, we map the decision-making factors onto five more generic
categories, which are given below:

Financial

(Q1)
(Q2)
(Q3)

Investment
Payback period
Contribution to profitability

Marketing

(Q4)
(Q5)
(Q6)
(Q7)
(Q8)

Building companys image and brand name


Customer needs
Marketability
Response to competition
Competitive advantage

Regulatory

(Q9)

Regulatory requirements

Risk

(Q10)

Risk (business, investment, size)

Implementation

(Q11)

Implementation timeframe

B. Algorithm Description
The general guidelines of the proposed algorithm [5], [6], [7] are given below:

Identify tradable and not-tradable criteria.

15

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

Tradable quantities are added together, so that it is the sum of the question responses (see Note 2)
that contributes to the overall figure of merit.

Not-tradable quantities (see Note 2) are multiplied. Not-tradable criteria contribute independently
to the quality of the triggering event. Multiplying independent criteria (or independent groupings
of tradable criteria) emphasizes the importance of each one individually and minimizes the
potential selection of triggering events that are extremely poor performers.

To weight the criteria so that they reflect the desired emphasis, tradable question responses in the
same added grouping are each multiplied by a weighting factor to reflect their relative level of
importance. Multiplied question responses in the same grouping are each raised to an exponent to
reflect their relative level of importance. Weights within the same (added or multiplied) group are
then independently normalized (see Table 5).

The proposed formula is given below [5], [6]:


Score = {Q1w11Q4w12Q5w13Q7w14Q9w15Q11w16 {[w21Q2+w22 (Q3w41Q8w42)]w51 (w31Q6+w32Q10)w52}w18 1}

Note 1: The quantity 1 should be abstracted to shift the range from zero to four, and then the entire
expression is divided by four to scale it between zero and one.
Note 2: As shown in Figure 5, the tradable quantities are (payback vs. profitability) and (competitive
advantage and marketability vs. risk).

Decision-Making
Parameters

Criteria

Q1
Company Name
Q4
Customer Needs
Q5
Response to Comp.
Q7
Regulatory Reqs
Q9
Impl. Timeframe
Q11
Q2, Q3, Q8,
Cost

Rest

Q6, Q10

Weight.
Factors

Scenario #1:

Scenario #2:

Conservative

Aggressive

VALUE

NORMALIZED
VALUE

Payback

Q3, Q8
Q2

Risk

Q6
Q10

0,217

0,048

w12

0,174

0,095

w13

0,174

0,238

w14

0,043

0,143

w15

0,130

0,048

w16

0,130

0,238

w18

0,130

0,190

21

w21

0,556

0,750

w22

0,444

0,250

w31

0,556

0,600

w32

0,444

0,400

w41

0,625

0,200

w42

0,375

0,800

w51

0,625

0,500

w52

0,375

0,500

9
Profitability
Competitive Adv.

Q3
Q8

8
Group 1
Group 2

Q2, Q3, Q8
Q6, Q10

Table 5: Weighting Factors Values

16

VALUE

9
Marketability

NORMALIZED

w11

23
Prof/Comp. Adv.

VALUE

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

Investment
Cost

Company
Company
Name
Name

Payback
Payback

Customer
Customer
Needs
Needs
Resp.
Resp.to
Competition
Compet.

Regulatory
Regul.
Reqs
Reqs

MarketMarketability
ability

Profitability
Profitability

Competitive
Competitive
Advantage
Adv.

Risk
Risk

Implem.
Timeframe

Not-Tradable

Tradable

Figure 5: Tradable and Not-Tradable Criteria


C. Application of the Algorithm: Example Scenarios
In the following, we apply the evaluation algorithm for the four emerging wireless technologies mentioned
above and for two distinct scenarios, each corresponding to a different operators business strategy.
The first scenario (conservative approach) represents a 2G/3G operator who does the following:

Cares for profitability but takes no major risks (financial, business)


Exhibits a hold-on strategy, waiting for the technology/market to mature before making a move
Has a strategy, concentrates on seamless service provision and thus, interworking with existing
2/2.5/3G network(s) is considered as of utmost importance

The second scenario (aggressive approach) describes a 2G/3G operator who does the following:

Takes risks in order to increase competitiveness and gain more market share (by introducing new,
bandwidth-consuming applications), disregarding interoperability issues11
Endeavors to cover all customer/market needs as soon as a (new) technology enables it12

Finally, Table 6 presents the overall scoring based on the values given to the evaluation criteria as well as
on the weighting factors values.
Note 1: The values assigned to weights reflect the different operators business strategies (see Table 6).

11

Examples might be those (2G/3G) operators who introduced i-mode technology, which necessitated the utilization
of new terminals while (currently) no interworking with 3G is supportedat least on the terminals side.
12
Note that the introduction of a new technology may be dictated by the competition itself (churn reduction,
alternative to a service offered by a competitor, etc.).
17

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

Note 2: The values given in Table 6 are the same for both scenarios. Note that the overall scoring (see
formula above) depends (also) on the values given to weighting factors (see Table 6) that differentiate the
operators strategy.
Note 3: The values of the decision-making parameters were given, taking into account a three-year
perspective on system implementation availability.
Scenario #1: Conservative
Financial
#

TECHNOLOGY

Cost

Marketing

Payback

Contr. To

Period

Profitability

Company's
Image &

Risk

Customer

Market-

Response

Compet.

Regulatory

Needs

ability

to Comp.

Adv

Reqs

Risk

Impl. TF
Implem.

SCORING

Timeframe

WiMAX (802.16)

Brand Name
3

0,5103782

Mobile-Fi (802.20)

0,6826044

UMTS TDD

0,5434879

HSDPA/HSUPA

0,7820767

Risk

Impl. TF

Scenario #2: Aggressive


Financial
#

TECHNOLOGY

Cost

Marketing

Payback

Contr. To

Period

Profitability

Company's
Image &

Customer

Market-

Response

Compet.

Regulatory

Needs

ability

to Comp.

Adv

Reqs

Risk

Implem.

SCORING

Timeframe

WiMAX (802.16)

Brand Name
3

0,4613516

Mobile-Fi (802.20)

0,7212362

UMTS TDD

0,5275592

HSDPA/HSUPA

0,7139285

Table 6: Weighting Factors Values


D. Evaluation Results
As shown in Table 6:

For conservative operators (Scenario I), HSDPA technology is the optimum technology to be
followed, assuring smooth network evolution and seamless service provisioning while needing
minimum investment and infrastructure upgrades/changes. Such operators should continue rolling out
3G and start building out HSPDA when available (on existing 3G sites) and finally, migrating highend users to HSDPA.

For those operators, the aggressive ones, who take risks on customers satisfaction, who want to be at
the forefront of the technology, who are eager to capture the critical mass of early adopters, should
(also) consider Mobile-Fi as an option. We should stress however, that the final decision would be
greatly affected by the system/terminal commercial availability (Mobile-Fi vs. HSDPA/HSUPA)13.

IV. Conclusions
It is envisaged that either standards-driven wireless broadband technologies (e.g., UMTS TDD, HSDPA,
WiMAX, Mobile-Fi) or proprietary ones (FLASHOFDM, iBurst, etc.) will create new market opportunities
for mobile operators, while, on the other hand, will enable end users to experience true real-time multimedia
services (e.g., voice/video/videoconferencing over IP, video/audio streaming, etc.).
As a result, the dilemma of selecting the optimum emerging wireless technology, i.e., the one that best
serves operators strategy, has already started torturing mobile operators. The crucial question is, Should
we introduce a new wireless technology earlier and thus enhance service offerings disregarding possible
13

18

At this stage, though, it seems premature to suggest certain implementation timeframes, as standardization and/or
trials are in progress. That is why we have assigned the same value for the implementation timeframe parameter
for all technologies.

Maria Afioni, M.Sc., Petros Lekakos, M.Sc., Nikolaos Lepidas, Dr.-Ing., and George Lyberopoulos, Dr.-Ing.

interoperability issues or follow a standards-proposed evolution path (e.g., 3G/WCDMA3G/TDD


HSDPA) despite (possible) late availability of commercial systems/terminals?
To facilitate operators answering this question, in this paper we have done the following:

We have conducted a comparative study focusing on technical-related parameters.

We have proposed an evaluation methodology, which enables an operator to select the optimum
emerging technology, by suggesting certain parameters so as to reflect its business strategy. The
methodology takes into account a variety of technical and nontechnical parameters (such as, risk,
marketability, profitability, and payback).

We have applied the proposed methodology for two scenarios exhibiting different operators
business strategies. The first scenario represents a conservative approach, while the second an
aggressive one.

Evaluation results have shown the following:

For conservative operators, HSDPA technology is the optimum technology to be followed,


assuring smooth network evolution and seamless service provisioning while needing minimum
investment in infrastructure upgrades/changes.

Aggressive operators should also consider Mobile-Fi as an option. The final decision, however,
will be greatly affected by the system/terminal commercial availability (Mobile-Fi vs.
HSDPA/HSUPA).

In any case, the introduction of an emerging wireless technology will bring innovative, advanced realtime multimedia applications (VoIP, video over IP, videoconference over IP, audio/video streaming, etc.),
and as such, it will contribute to churn reduction, generate of new revenues streams, and strengthen the
companys position in the market.
V. References
[1]

WiMAX Thoughtline, http://www.arcchart.com/blueprint/show.asp?id=348.

[2]

Caroline Gabriel, WiMAX: The Critical Wireless Standard 802.16 and Other Broadband Wireless
Options, Monthly Research Report, BluePrint Wi-Fi, October 2003.

[3]

Mark Klere

[4]

Caroline Gabriel, Examining the Hotzone: The Impact on Business and Community
Communications, Monthly Research Report, BluePrint Wi-Fi, January 2004.

[5]

Anne DePiante Henriksen and Ann Jensen Traynor, A Practical R&D Project Selection Scoring
Tool, IEEE Trans. on Eng. Management, Vol. 46, No.2, May 1999.

[6]

C.N. Konstantinopoulou, K.A. Koutsopoulos, G.L. Lyberopoulos, and M.E. Theologou, Core
Network Planning, Optimization and Forecasting in GSM/GPRS Networks, SCVT 2000, Leuven.

r, Introduction to IEEE 802.20, IEEE802.20-PD-04.

19

On the Selection of the Optimum Emerging Wireless Broadband Technology by a Mobile Operator

[7]

C.N. Konstantinopoulou, K.A. Koutsopoulos, G.L. Lyberopoulos, and M.E. Theologou, A


Methodology for the Derivation of Migration Path towards 3G, International Sympocium on 3G
Infrastructure and Services, Athens, Greece, 23 July 2000, pp. 314317.

[8]

Relative Assessment of UMTS TDD and WLAN Technologies, UMTS Forum Report 28 by
TDD Ad-Hoc Group.

[9]

WiMAX, making ubiquitous high-speed data services a reality, Alcatel Strategy White Paper.

[10] 3GPP TS 25.855, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA); Overall UTRAN Description.
[11] 3GPP TS 25.856, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA); Layer 2 and 3 Aspects.
[12] 3GPP TS 25.876, Multiple-Input Multiple-Output Antenna Processing for HSDPA.
[13] 3GPP TS 25.877, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) Iub/Iur Protocol Aspects.
[14] 3GPP TS 25.890, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA); User Equipment (UE) Radio
Transmission and Reception (FDD).
[15] 3G Americas, The Evolution of UMTS 3GPP Release 5 and Beyond, June 2004.
[16] Stefan Parkvall, Eva Englund, Peter Malm, Tomas Hedberg, Magnus Persson, and Janne Peisa,
WCDMA Evolved High Speed Packet Data Services, Ericsson Review, No. 2, 2003.
[17]

WCDMA Evolved. The First Step HSDPA, Ericsson White Paper, May 2004.

[18]

Nokia High Speed Packet Access Solution, Nokia White Paper.

[19] http://www.commsdesign.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=17300672
[20] http://www.tdscdma-forum.org/
[21] http://www.umtstdd.org

20

Fiber Optics for Wireless


Telecommunications
Ken Chauvin
Marketing Manager, Technology
Corning Cable Systems
1. Introduction
Fiber optic telecommunications are experiencing a second coming and the driving force is the demand for
readily available high-speed mobile access. In what has become a union of unlikely partners, fiber optics
is riding the wave of wireless access technologies, wherever they may go. The result is the combining of
two vastly different technologies, fusing the best of both worlds to create a capability that no one
technology alone could readily achieve. On the one hand are portability, scalability, and simplicity of
wireless communications that offers freedom from fixed lines and feeds the desire for 24/7 accessibility.
On the other is the virtually unlimited bandwidth capacity of optical fiber that fueled the meteoric
expansion of the Internet and serves as enabling technology for highly bandwidth-intensive applications.
Wireless has long been a primary communications tool for governments, corporations, television content
providers, and the relatively few private citizens enamored with the idea of talking to strangers, much like
themselves, in far away places. What have changed are the applications for wireless technologies and the
demographics of the user base. Conversely, fiber has long been the mainstay of long distance
telecommunications providers and for community access television (CATV) networks that rely on its
seemingly endless capability to deliver increasingly massive amounts of information near instantaneously.
The reliability, reach, and efficiency with which fiber moves information have fueled its proliferation,
which has been significant by any standard. The widespread adoption of fiber optics is now, in turn,
enabling the growth of current and next-generation wireless access technologies. This paper will discuss
common passive fiber optic components specifically needed to support high-data-rate wireless access
systems both indoors and outdoors. The focus of the outdoor discussion will be on distributed antenna
network (DAN) systems, which are efficient architectures for delivering wireless content over localized
geographic areas.
2. Structure of Hybrid Fiber Wireless Systems

2.1 System Basics


Optical fiber provides many fundamental advantages over copper-based transmission technologies in
supporting wireless access telecommunications applications, and is an enabler for the current explosive
growth of wireless communications. The comparatively limited performance of copper conductor-based
systems is well documented, requiring the use of costly signal conditioning and regeneration equipment
(e.g., amplifiers and repeaters) at much closer intervals than optical fiber-based systems. For example, a
single low-speed copper line system more than a couple of kilometers in length requires the use of in-line

21

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

signal processing for satisfactory performance. Even then, copper communications wires are subject to
the effects of interfering electromagnetic sources such as radio, television, cell phone, and air traffic
control broadcasts.
As more bandwidth-intensive end-user applications continue to drive increased throughput requirements
for the various wireless access technologies, the spacing between the repeater points for copper-based
support systems must decrease in order to maintain the same aggregate data rate capacity. Contrast that to
fiber optic systems that can support ten Gigabits per second (Gbs) transmission rates over hundreds of
kilometers without the need for signal regeneration. Also, the diameter and weight of fiber optic cables
are much lower than comparable copper cables, resulting in lower associated materials, installation, and
maintenance costs for fiber optic systems.
2.1.1 Architectures
Hybrid fiber-wireless systems take many different forms depending on the environment and application.
Figure 1 illustrates the most common wireless networks in use today.

Notes:
(1) Base Station Hotel Remote Antennae Host Platform
(2) Telecommunications Enclosure
(3) Remote Sites for Distributed Antenna Network (DAN)
(4) Corporation Business
(5) User Premises
Internet Access
VLAN Telecommuter
(6) Mobile User
(7) Remote Tower Antenna
(8) Airport/Hotel Hotspots

Figure 1: Common Wireless Network Applications 1


The following is a brief discussion on each of the primary types of wireless networks.
1

All figures provided courtesy of Corning Cable Systems LLC and Corning Inc.

22

Ken Chauvin

2.1.1.1 Indoor Wireless Networks


In indoor applications, wireless access points serve essentially the same function as any other access
media such as a fiber or copper connection at a desk top. Because of this the overall intrabuilding wiring
infrastructure does not change drastically when wireless is employed in either select areas (i.e., hotspots)
or as a complete overlay to an existing hardwired intrabuilding network. The system works by allowing
the user to establish a connection with the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11
wireless transceiver, which is connected to the building network just as an Ethernet router would be. Such
cabling systems should also be compliant to the relevant intrabuilding structured cabling standard, such as
International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC)
11801, Information Technology - Generic Cabling for Customer Premises.

Figure 2: Indoor Hybrid Network


2.1.1.2 Outdoor Wireless Networks
Unlike indoor networks, outdoor networks come in a much greater variety of architectures as shown in
Figure 3. The primary considerations when designing and engineering the outside fiber plant to support a
wireless network are the coverage area, the existence of any pre-installed fiber, and overall bandwidth
requirements. In the metropolitan outdoor environment DAN installations are the primary wireless growth
technology and one that benefits greatly from a coexistence with fiber optics.
In many cases, newer wireless systems may be placed in the same areas as their predecessors, typically in
metropolitan areas with a dense subscriber base. The reason is simply one of economics. In order to
justify the investment in materials, labor, and maintenance expenses, the system has to reach areas of
significant revenue potential, which in many cases may already be served by legacy wireless networks.
Another benefit in this arrangement is that the fiber plant for new systems can be served from the same
base station as the legacy wireless network, lowering the first-installed cost. The fiber network could
alternatively be built back to a cable television head-end, telecommunications central office, or other
metropolitan fiber system access point, depending on the overall systems requirements.
DAN systems specifically have significant advantages over previous generations of wireless systems
served by large A-frame towers or monopoles spaced several miles apart. Some of the key
disadvantages of legacy systems overcome by DANs include the characteristics of current antennae and

23

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

limitations on effective coverage. Current large antennae structures are not economical (high initial and
recurring costs) or aesthetically pleasing, rising well above surrounding landscape. Such systems have
to account for the following:

Higher associated maintenance costs


More extensive requirements for supporting base station with electronics and environmental controls
End of life costs should system have to be dismantled
Issues with land use rights and other recurring fees
Not in my backyard! (NIMBY) mentality

Moreover, effective coverage is limited by the following factors:

Limited uplink distance capability of mobile transceivers


Numerous gaps in coverage due to geography or the presence of other large obstructions such as
buildings
Transceiver coverage does not discriminate between areas with high subscriber potential and
those that are virtually unusable (rural, lakes and swamps, parks, etc.)
Systems must be heavily engineered due to the effects of the topography of surrounding
Environment on signal propagation, which can be significant
Ready access for repair and maintenance is often an issue
Special training and safety issues for tower workers

By comparison, DAN antenna sites (e.g., telephone poles, light posts, buildings, etc.) are readily available
and accessible, and installation and maintenance issues are comparatively very minor. The next sections
describe the fiber optic components needed to support the various emerging wireless technologies.

Figure 3: Outdoor Hybrid Networks

24

Ken Chauvin

3. Passive Components
3.1 Optical Hardware
Optical hardware serves many purposes in a telecommunications system, primarily:

Cable strain-relief and grounding (armored cables)


Termination and connection housing and protection
System management (flexibility point)
Connectivity to end equipment and interconnections
Connection to outside plant
Testing points

The hardware for the hybrid fiber-wireless system is best described by looking at the inside and outside
plants separately. For simplicity, the traditional outside plant long haul and metropolitan
telecommunications systems will not be discussed in detail as they are usually already in place, and the
wireless systems is simply connected at an appropriate location to the existing fiber optic plant.
3.1.1 Indoor Optical Hardware Wireless Local-Area Network (LAN)
The hardware components used in indoor systems are optimized for ease of system management and to
provide connection to the intrabuilding electronics serving the LAN. Indoor applications include
corporations, airports, hotels and the like where access to a private LAN (e.g., virtual LAN) or to the
Internet is needed for business or personal use. In indoor applications with an existing fiber infrastructure,
many of the network components may be in place and have sufficient capacity and space to handle the
additional needs of an intrabuilding wireless network. Fiber cables may be used to connect directly to the
antenna transceivers in the horizontal, but these wireless network access points may also be connected via
a copper cable run back to fiber fed electronics. See Figure 4.

Figure 4: Indoor Fiber Optic Hardware


In the telecommunications room specifically, the indoor plant is typically joined to the outdoor plant at
the main cross-connect. Jumper cables are used to connect the field-terminated indoor fiber distribution
system to pigtails spliced onto the outside plant cables. In multi-floor or other large indoor applications,
separate telecommunications closets may be located in each floor or zone to house the horizontal cross-

25

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

connect that serves each area. The main and horizontal cross-connects are linked via the intrabuilding
backbone cable, which is also called the riser cable in multi-floor buildings.
The foundation of the indoor optical hardware plant is the connection housing as shown in Figure 5,
which provides the connectivity for the various system components. Depending on the system specifics,
several different types of housings may be used including; connector housings, splice housings, or
combination housings that can serve multiple functions. Accessory components such as jumper panels
and slack storage housings may also be appropriate. The hardware connection housing is the flexibility
point that provides for ease of system management.

(a)
26

Ken Chauvin

(b)
Figure 5: Indoor Fiber Optic Housings Rack and Wall Mount
Housings can be mounted to free-standing frames or wall mounted with accessory brackets. The key
considerations for ordering optical hardware are connector type, connector capacity, and dimensions for
mounting. Removable adapter panels located in the housings provide for the mating and alignment of the

27

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

connector pairs. Housings can also support: splice trays (separately, or in combination with connector
panels), splitters, couplers, wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) modules, and attenuators.
3.1.2 Outdoor Optical Hardware
The outside plant is, of course, much more diverse and severe than the climate-controlled indoor
environment. Products placed outdoors must be able to withstand the rigors of the environment, such as
solar radiation, temperature extremes, wind, rain, and snow. In some applications, other potential hazards
such as gnawing rodents or shotgun blasts must also be considered. The primary components for the
outside plant are fiber optic cables, optical closures, passive components, and cable assembles. Figure 6
shows common closures for outdoor applications.

(a)

28

Ken Chauvin

(b)
Figure 6: Outdoor Fiber Optic Closures
Recent fiber optic product advances for the outside plant include a whole series of products specially
designed to improve the speed and efficiency with which hybrid fiber-wireless systems are deployed.
Factory-terminated drop cables can be pulled through existing conduit, buried, or strung aerially and
plugged into closures (terminals) specifically designed to accept rugged, environmentally secure threaded
fasteners without even having to enter the closure itself. These special fiber optic splice terminal closures
can also be used to extend the reach of a DAN system by providing ready access back to a distant base
station, central office, or other metro fiber system access point. Overall, pre-connectorized solutions
greatly simplify the placement of fiber network and provide significant labor savings. Figure 7 shows two
pre-terminated outdoor terminal solutions and a companion pre-terminated cable.

(a)

29

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

(b)

(c)
Figure 7: Pre-Connectorized Fiber Optic Terminals and Cable
Note that when ordering pre-connectorized cables, it is important to ensure ordered lengths are correct to
prevent delays in system start-up, and to allow for the protection of the connector ends during installation
with fitted pulling bodies. Working with a reputable manufacturer or supplier with experience in
designing telecommunications products will ensure that the ordered product is appropriately and correctly
designed, built, and installed.
3.1.3 Fiber Optic Connectors
Fiber optic connectors are devices that are installed (terminated) upon fiber ends to allow for the
interconnection and re-mating of optical fibers. The ferrule of each connector houses the fiber and is the
specific part of the connector aligned in a connector pair. When two connectors are mated, the fiber end
faces are mechanically aligned and held in physical contact to achieve the requisite insertion loss and
reflectance performance. The connector also allows the fiber to be easily mated into the input and output
ports of transceivers. Figure 8 shows commonly used fiber optic connectors.

30

Ken Chauvin

31

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

Figure 8: Common Telecommunications Fiber Optic Connectors


Connectors used to terminate indoor and outdoor cables can be either field-installed or factory terminated.
Field-installed connectors require the use of tool kits that vary in cost and complexity based on the types
of connections made. The use of furcation kits may also be required based on the cable type used. Figure
9 shows a typical furcation kit for outdoor loose tube cables. Factory pigtails provide the best overall
performance and consistency but require fusion splicing and may also require the use of hardware
designed to house and protect the splice points.

Figure 9: Outdoor Cable Furcation Kit for Connectorization

32

Ken Chauvin

Finally, as described earlier, cables (indoor and outdoor) may be pre-connectorized on one or both ends,
which can greatly simplify the overall system installation. Customers employing factory-terminated
cables do so because they find value in the relatively lower installation times and associated labor cost
savings, as well as the guaranteed factory-polished performance. For direct termination in the field,
connectors can also be installed with an epoxy and polish procedure similar to that used in the factory. In
any event, the performance distribution of field-terminated products is not as good as products terminated
by factory-automated means, nor are the quality checks performed usually as detailed. Field installed
connectors can be installed successfully in a wide range of applications but may not be appropriate in all
cases. The success of such products also depends upon the system optical loss budget (or specified
acceptance criteria) and the experience of the installer.
A more advanced method of field termination utilizes no-epoxy, no-polish connectors. In these products, an
optical fiber stub is cured into place in the fiber ferrule and polished at the factory. For installation in the
field, the field fiber from the cable is matched up to the fiber stub inside the connector body and a
mechanical or fusion splice is made as appropriate. These connectors are typically very quick to install and
require few consumables. Although single- and dual-fiber no-epoxy, no-polish connectors are the most
common types used, 12-fiber quick-mounting connectors are also available for use on optical fiber ribbons.
3.1.4 Hardware and Connectivity Checklist
The following table is provided as a guide for the key fiber optic hardware components used in a hybrid
fiber-wireless system. The list is by no means inclusive and is intended only to provide wireless carriers
with talking points when discussing options with a fiber optics manufacturer or provider.
Product Selection Considerations
Mounting Hardware
Distribution Frame
Wall-Mount Brackets
Jumper Management
Dimensions (Height
and Width)
Housings
Rack or Wall Mount
Termination Capacity
Connector Type(s)
Splice Capacity
Adapter panels
Simplex
Duplex
Miscellaneous
Labels
Cable Straps
Cable Trays and Conduit
Jumper Panels

Jumpers
Simplex or Duplex
Length(s)
Connector Type
UPC or APC
Fire Performance
Connectors
Field Installed
Factory Pigtails
Pre-Connectorized Cables
Connector Type
Passives
Coupler-Splitters
WDM Modules

Splice Trays
Splice Protection

Table 1: Wireless Network Fiber Optic Hardware Product Checklist


3.2 Fiber Optic Cabling
Fiber optic cables serve a number of purposes, the primary one of which is to house the optical fiber
contained inside and to protect it from external stresses. The main sources of external stress are those
associated with the shipping, handling, installation and termination of the optical fiber, and are relatively
33

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

short in duration. Other external stresses, such as those experienced over the life of the installation due to
the surrounding environment, are more long term in nature. In addition to protecting the fiber, the cable
structure must also organize the fibers and support the identification of individual fibers via printed
legends, color coding, groupings, or some combination of the three.
Most environments will fall into one of three main categories that are generally referred to as indoor,
indoor/outdoor, and outdoor. For each environment there may be numerous other specific considerations
that are germane to a particular application, such as sewer or shipboard environments, or to an installation
method, such as aerial self-supporting or jetting into miniature (micro) ducts. As with the optical
hardware, there are a number of unique cable designs optimized for various combinations of applications
and installation methods. The performance criteria for the most common designs are also specified by the
various telecommunications industry standards forums.
In wireless access system applications, one of the biggest issues is the ability to connect to base stations
or to existing fiber optic systems in densely populated areas, where construction costs can run high and
the time needed to secure access rights can significantly delay system start-up. However, lengths of fiber
optic cable can be installed employing a number of different methods including aerially, trenched or
buried in the ground, pulled or blown into ducts, placed in narrow grooves cut into road surfaces, and
potentially even placed into water or sewer pipes. These varied placement options can reduce the number
of system components, thereby making the overall installation of optical fiber based telecommunications
systems more efficient. The relatively small size of fiber optic cable also saves on valuable conduit space,
especially when considering some emerging micro-cable designs that are specifically engineered for use
with air-blown, or air-assist, installation techniques into very small micro ducts only about one centimeter
in diameter.
Another advantage of optical fiber and fiber optic cable is the inherent flexibility in design, allowing for
the development of innovative products for specific applications. Since optical fiber is a man-made
composite glass structure, it can be custom designed to meet optimal cost/performance targets in any
number of specific applications. As it does not conduct electrical current and is not affected by
electromagnetic interference, fiber optic cable can be made all-dielectric, thereby making it the ultimate in
electromagnetically compatible transmission media for wireless communications support systems. This
eliminates such issues as the effects of spikes or surges from the cycling of electrical equipment, and
requirements for separate conduits for metallic conductors. It also improves the security of controlled
transmission systems as it is much more difficult to tap into a fiber line than with copper systems.
Even though the details of a particular cable design depend on the application environment and
installation method, there are a few generalities. Various applications expose the cable to different
mechanical and environmental conditions that have the potential to stress the fibers contained inside. As
optical fiber technology continues to mature, end-users are becoming more concerned about expected
fiber optic cable lifetimes, especially where early generation cables have already been in place for more
than 20 years. To date, no absolute performance model exists to accurately predict all potential failure
mechanisms for every application or environment, so the best gauge of the health of a system is typically
the optical properties of the cabled fiber.
The ultimate performance of cabled fiber depends on a number of factors, including the cable environment,
the type of installation, cable design, and the cable materials themselves. There are multiple factors that may
affect certain installations: structural cable damage caused during or after initial installation, improper cable
design, the quality of the splicing and closure work, exposure to periods of severe environmental loading or
certain chemicals, or exposure to temperature and humidity conditions outside of specified operating
performance ranges. Evidence of performance degradation can be elusive and is largely dependent on the
specific characteristics of each installation and the type of cable design deployed.
34

Ken Chauvin

3.2.1 Environmental Considerations


3.2.1.1 Indoor
Premises cables are generally deployed to support backbone, horizontal, and interconnect applications.
Higher-fiber-count tight-buffered cables can be used as intrabuilding backbones that connect a main
cross-connect to an entrance facility or intermediate cross-connect. Likewise, lower-fiber-count cables
can link an intermediate cross-connect to a telecommunications room (i.e., horizontal cross-connect)
feeding multiple workstations. Simplex and duplex interconnect cables are then used to patch the optical
signal from end equipment (e.g., wireless transceivers) to the hardware containing the main distribution
lines in order to complete the passive optical path.
With regard to cables designed for indoor-only use, the overriding consideration among several is to
ensure that such cables do not significantly contribute to the spread of flame and/or the generation of
smoke in the event of a fire. Indoor cables contain comparatively fewer fibers than outside plant cable,
and infrequently go beyond 300 meters. Also, because the wireless electronic equipment served by such
cables is typically installed in an indoor, climate-controlled environment, these cables are not required to
be as mechanically or environmentally robust as cables designed for placement outdoors. Therefore, the
design considerations for indoor cables are significantly different than those for outdoor designs.
Although not as severe as those for outside plant cable, there are potential sources of stress for indoor
cables that must be accounted for. In tall buildings, high-fiber-count riser cables may go up several stories
to reach the various building distribution points. Because of the relatively high number of terminations
associated with such short distances, indoor cable must support quick and easy connectorization and be
available in variety of fiber counts, ranging from one to two fibers for wireless equipment connections all
the way up to 144 fibers or more for building backbone distribution cables. The fact that most indoor
cable is placed by hand in cable trays or pulled for relatively short distances into duct, conduit, or the like,
makes the installation aspect somewhat less critical of a consideration for such designs. For tall buildings
where the cable is placed vertically for several stories, it must then be supported periodically along its
length to prevent excessive stress from being placed on it.
3.2.1.2 Outdoor
Cables designed for placement outdoors are normally installed aerially, directly buried, or placed in
underground ducts, using various installation methods. These products normally convey communications
signals for extended distances and only penetrate the indoor environment far enough to support a
transition to indoor cabling, such as in a telecommunications room or main cross-connect. Specific
applications range from very long-haul spans running hundreds of kilometers (aerial, buried, or both), all
the way to relatively short spans of 100 meters or less, such as from a fiber network distribution point or
base station to a remote wireless node. In each case, the cable is exposed to the various rigors of the
outdoor environment, which can be quite extreme for some areas of the world.
As mentioned before, some of the primary benefits of fiber optic cable are the small diameter and low
weight when compared to copper cables of comparable transmission capability, providing advantages in
materials, installation, and maintenance related costs. For example, fiber optic cables can be used in large
antenna applications where size and weight are primary considerations to connect the antenna to the base
station radio. Though cable bandwidth is not typically a concern in such applications, first-installed costs
can be lowered significantly by reducing the physical tower requirements otherwise needed to support
long vertical runs of heavy copper data cables.
The specific type of cable employed in a given application depends primarily upon factors such as fiber
type and count, limitations on size, weight or cost, the proposed methods of installation and termination,
and perhaps even the need for specific performance capabilities. The latter may include items such as
resistance to extraordinarily high compressive forces, temperatures, or electric field potentials (e.g., aerial
35

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

installation along high-tension lines), or resistance to various chemicals or other organic hazards such as
gnawing rodents.
As fiber connections get closer to the remote DAN antennae sites, cable designs are changing to adapt to
this specific environment. Cable fiber counts for such applications are typically very low (two to four
fibers) and the distances involved are much shorter than for traditional outside plant cable installations
(hundreds of feet versus of hundreds of miles). Cables for this environment are usually termed drop
cables. Although the installation methods are generally the same as other outdoor cables, the placement
of drop cables often involves the use of manual labor to install, obviating the need for heavy equipment
and high tensile loads.
These cables can either be buried from the curb to the antenna electronics, pulled or blown into conduit,
or can be hung aerially from pole to pole and directly secured to the wireless electronics housing. This
environment allows for innovative cable designs and materials selection that can support lower cost
product solutions, which is critical in enabling the deployment of affordable cost-effective DAN systems.
3.2.1.3 Indoor/Outdoor
Indoor/outdoor applications involve cables which typically run short distances to make interconnections
within and between adjacent buildings. These cables are fully resistant to the typical outside plant
environment, but the overall performance requirements are typically not as stringent as those for longlength outside plant communications cables. These cables are used primarily to avoid the need for a costly
extra splice point where the telecommunication system cabling transitions from outside to inside, and thus
are employed in only relatively short lengths.
3.2.2 Installation Methods
There are a number of diverse installation methods for the various spaces in which fiber optic cable is
used. The installation methods discussed below are primarily associated with outside plant applications.
The relatively benign environment of the inside plant means that installation considerations are somewhat
less critical, although that is not to say such are unimportant.
3.2.2.1 Direct Buried
One of the most common and widely used installation methods is the placement of the cable directly into
the ground, which is known as direct burial. The traditional methods of direct burial are trenching and
plowing. Newer installation methods designed specifically for the types of crowded metropolitan areas
familiar to wireless providers include placing cable into narrow grooves cut into hard surfaces, such as
roadways or parking lots (also known as road cable). The obvious advantage to these types of installations
(i.e., buried) is the inherent measure of safety and stability provided by the cable surroundings if left
undisturbed. Buried cables are subject to damage from dig-ups due to subsequent construction, lightning
strikes, chemicals in the soil, gnawing rodents, and ground heaves. Protection against these dangers is
somewhat accounted for in the design of the cables used, which typically includes the incorporation of a
layer of protective metal armoring for most direct-buried applications without a duct.
For cables designed specifically for placement in road surfaces, such as asphalt or concrete, the process
for installation involves placing the cable in a narrow groove (about one inch wide) ground into the hard
surface of a road or parking lot. The cable may be secured in place with special hold-down spacers
pressed into the groove on top of the cable. The remainder of the groove can then be filled with bitumen
a common road repair materialto restore the road surface (see Figure 10). Since the process can be
done as a continuous operation, it minimizes the disruption to traffic flow. This method also boasts a
minimal impact to the useful life of the roadway because the groove is very narrow. Conversely,
traditional roadway trenching methods are comparatively more disruptive, costly, and also can
significantly reduce the life expectancy of the roadway surface, not to mention the repaired sites can be
36

Ken Chauvin

aesthetically unappealing. Many local governments have strict regulations covering roadway access, but
the groove method used with special road cable can obviate some of the more severe requirements
associated with obtaining installation permits.

3-to5-ingroove dept
h
(surface dependan
t)

Bitumen
Rubber Hold-Do
wn
Foam Spacer
MCS Road able
C

Figure 10: Road Cable Installation


3.2.2.2 Buried Duct
In duct installations, the duct is first installed below ground usually by trenching or directional boring.
The fiber optic cable is then subsequently installed within the duct using a number of methods that are
described below. One benefit of using duct is that several ducts comprising a duct bank can be installed
simultaneously. As ducting is generally less expensive than the fiber optic cable itself, this has the
potential benefit of reducing the system first-installed cost by leaving unneeded ducts vacant for future
use. Additional fiber optic cables can then subsequently be installed on an as-needed basis to support
future growth, vice all at once. This method also minimizes the likelihood of damaging installed cable
such as when new cables are added directly on top, as each can instead be installed into a separate
protective duct. Since the ducting itself must also be durable to support being placed in the ground, it
affords some additional measure of mechanical protection for the installed cables. This means that cables
designed for installation in ducts need not be as rugged as cables designed for direct-burial applications,
which typically equates to a lower cost for such cable types. Duct cables are generally not armored; hence
the term duct cable is often used to describe all-dielectric cables designed for placement in such ducts.
The most common method of duct cable installation to date has been to pull the cable through the
installed duct with a pulling rope or mule tape. Pulling distances, and thus installed cable lengths, can
be increased by the use of compatible pulling lubricants and mid-span assists, thereby allowing one longer
cable to be pulled into sequential segments of duct. In some cases, cables can be pulled into duct in
groups of two or more, or pulled in on top of other existing cables, but doing so can significantly reduce
achievable installation distances and increase the likelihood of damage to the cables themselves.
Another method of installing cable into duct that is gaining popularity is accomplished by moving the
cable along the duct length using the action of a high-velocity air or other compressed gas acting on the

37

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

cable jacket to drag the cable along. These air-assisted installation techniques, sometimes referred to as
jetting, may also involve pushing the cable with a tractor mechanism or pulling with tape while blowing
compressed gases into a pre-installed duct or miniature duct at a high speed. This technique allows the
cable to essentially float inside the duct during installation, minimizing the forces placed on the cable
due to friction between the cable jacket and the duct wall. Because of the limited stress placed on cables
when utilizing this installation method cables can be much smaller due to the lower tensile strength
requirements, thereby saving valuable duct space.
3.2.2.3 Aerial Installations
The common methods for placing cables aerially include lashing the cable to a pre-installed steel
messenger wire or employing the use of cable specifically designed to be self-supporting. Self-supporting
fiber optic cable designs are usually based on one of two primary designs. Figure 8 self-supporting aerial
cables consist of a fiber optic cable core and integrated messenger, typically made from steel. Both the
cable and the messenger share a common outer jacket resulting in the characteristic shape that gives these
cables their name. All-dielectric, self-supporting (ADSS) aerial cables contain no metallic elements and
are usually round in shape, although many smaller drop cables have a flattened shape to support the use if
inexpensive wedge clamp (also known as P-clamp) supporting hardware.
Aerial applications for fiber optic cable offer unique challenges. Planning for aerial cable installation for
wireless networks must include taking into account proper clearances over hazards, the cable types and
physical properties, and the mechanical stress loading placed on the cable over the life of the installation
due to the environment. Proper planning requires knowing the sag and tension characteristics of the cable
once installed. Sag is the amount of vertical distance the cable will hang, or droop, from an imaginary line
drawn between successive attachment points. The tension is the force the cable will experience under
various installation and environmental conditions at the attachment points. Understanding the stresses
placed on a cable installed aerially is important to ensure that safe operating conditions are not exceeded,
cable is not lifetime shortened, or that dangers from material failures do not occur.
There are also a number of other potential hazards that must be accounted for when installing cables
aerially because of the exposure. These include shotgun damage, lighting strikes, gnawing rodents, and
even the effects of high electric field potentials in installations where the cable is located near hightension power lines. Dielectric cables can minimize the effects of lightning or high field potentials, but do
not render such cables impervious to their effects. Armoring can improve the survivability of cables to
mechanical damage from gunshot and rodents, but adds considerable weight, which can limit achievable
span distances.
3.2.3 Cable Types
Combining the various attributes discussed to this point enables the construction of a wide range of cable
types for various applications. The most common cable designs are described in the following sections,
and the design of choice for a particular application depends on a number of factors. The primary
considerations are fiber count, installation method, and the environment. Specific designs based on the
basic constructions discussed below (i.e., stranded loose-tube, central tube, and tight buffered), but which
are specialized for a particular application, are discussed in Section 3.2.3.1 through 3.2.3.3. Common
fiber packing options for the primary cable design families are shown in Figure 11.

38

Ken Chauvin

Ribbon
Matrix

Optical
Fibers
(a)

900 m
Buffer
TB2 Coated
250 m Coated
Optic Fiber
(b)

Optical Fiber
(250 m Coated,
Colored)
BL
WH
GR
SL

Filling
Compound

OR
BR

Buffer
Tube
(c)

Figure 11: Common Fiber Optic Cable Fiber Packaging

39

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

Stranded (buffer tube) loose tube cables are the most common design of fiber optic cable and were also
the first ones in widespread use. The primary benefits of these designs are the large operating temperature
window, the ability to access fiber within a short length of cable (mid-span), and the relatively small size
at moderate fiber counts when individual colored fibers are used. Conversely, the main benefit of singletube designs is that they can have the smallest outer diameter size for a given fiber count. At counts above
12, the fibers in single (or central) cable designs must be grouped into ribbons or bundled together with
colored threads to support the identification of individual fibers. See Figure 12 for common outdoor
stranded and central tube cable designs.

OptionalRPE
T Outer Jacket
Ripcor
d
Dielectric
Stren
gth M em bers
W ater-Sw ella
ble ape
T
Buff
er ube
T
Fibers
W ater-Sw ella
bleYarn

(a)

PE Outer Jacket

W ater-Sw ell
able Fiberglass
Dielectr
ic Stre
ngth M emb er
Buff
erTube
Fibers

(b)
40

Ken Chauvin

PE Jacket
Stranded Steel
M essenger

PE Outer Jacket
Ripcord
Dielectric Strength M em bers
(as required)

W ater-Sw ell
able Tape
Fill
ed Buff
erTube
Fib
ers
W ater-Sw ell
able Yarn
Dielectric CentralM em ber

(c)

PE Jacket

SteelM essenger

PE Jacket
Buff
erTube
Fibers(1-12
fibers)
(d)
Figure 12: Common Outdoor Cable Examples

41

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

Tight-buffered cables, shown in Figure 13, were the first generation of premises cables and are still the
most commonly used due to the ease of connectorizing and handling such. The name tight buffered is
derived from the layer of thermoplastic or elastomeric material that is applied directly over the fiber
coating. The buffer coating on the fiber makes it easier to handle and supports the direct termination with
fiber optic connectors in the field, without the use of furcation kits.

Fiber (250 m)
Thermoplastic
Buffer
(900 m)

PVC Outer
Sheath
Dielectric Strength
Member

(a)

PVC Outer
Sheath
Dielectric Strength
Member (Aramid Yarn)
Fiber
(250 m)

Thermoplastic
Buffer
(900 m)

(b)

42

Ken Chauvin

Flexible PVC Jacket

Ripcord
Dielectric Strength Member
TBII Buffered Fibers
Dielectric Strength Member
Dielectric Central Member

(c)

(d)

43

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

Outer Jacket

Dielectr
ic Stre
ngth M emb er

12-FiberRibbon

(e)
Figure 13: Standard Indoor Fiber Optic Cables
A number of specific cable designs, based on the basic constructions listed above, are also available for
certain specific applications. Some of the most common types are described below along with their
potential uses.
3.2.3.1 Self-Supporting Aerial Drop Cables
Standard terrestrial cables, shown in Figure 12, are often used for aerial applications, but in such cases
they must be lashed to an existing aerial support messenger in the field, which increases installation time
and cost. Conversely, aerial self-supporting cables, as seen in Figure 14, can be installed much more
quickly and efficiently since the tensile bearing elements are integral to the cable design itself. Selfsupporting cable types are usually a variation of the loose tube design containing individual colored
fibers, though other variations such as ribbon designs may see limited use.

44

Ken Chauvin

PE Outer Jacket
Ripcord
Dielectr
ic Stre
ngth M em bers
(as re
quired)

W ater-Sw ell
able Tape
Fil
led Buff
erTube
Fib
ers
W ater-Sw ell
able Yarn
Dielectr
ic Centra
lM em ber

(a)

PE Outer Jacket
Ripcord
Strength Members
Water-Swellable Tape
Dielectric Central Member
Filled Buffer Tube
Colored 250 m Optical Fibers
Water-Swellable Yarn

(b)

45

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

PE Outer Jacket

Corru
gated SteelTape Arm or
Dielectr
ic Stre
ngth M em bers
W ater-Swell
able Tape

W aterSwell
able
Tape

Ripcord
Fill
erRods
W ater-Swell
able Yarns
Buff
erTubes

FiberRibbons

Dielectr
ic
Centra
lM em ber

(c)

PE O uterJacket
Corrugated Steel
Tape Arm or
Ripcords
Steel Stre
ngth M em bers
W ater-Sw ella
bleTape
Filled
Buff
erTube
O pticalFiberRibbons

(d)
Figure 14: Aerial Self-Supporting Loose Tube Cables
46

Ken Chauvin

3.2.3.2 Miniature Duct Cable


One way to improve the efficient use of premium duct space is to subdivide existing ducts using bundles
of miniature ducts, each one of which can be used to house a separate mini-cable. Because the primary
source of locomotion for such installations is the effect of a high velocity fluid acting on the cable jacket,
the forces placed on the cable during installation are minimal. The ducting also provides additional
mechanical protection for individual cables and isolates them from one another. For such applications, the
size of the cable is more important than its ultimate mechanical durability, so resistance to tensile forces
and other high mechanical loads, such as impact or compression, can be traded off somewhat to achieve
an overall smaller cable cross-section.

PE Outer Jacket
Dielectr
ic Stre
ngth M em bers
(>12Fibers)
Buff
erTube
Color-Coded BinderThread
FiberBundles

PE Outer Jacket
Dielectr
ic Stre
ngth M em bers (>12Fibers)
Buff
erTube
FiberBundles
Color-Coded BinderThread
Fillin
g Com pound

Figure 15: Cable for Air-Blown Microduct


3.2.2.3 Road Cable
To reduce the issues associated with installing cable in the last mile of all optical networks, especially in
densely populated metropolitan-type environments, innovative alternative deployment methods are being
developed. One promising method is the use of road cables, which are specialized cable designs
optimized for installation within finished road surfaces. Road cable is a small but very robust cable

47

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

utilizing a central metallic tube to house the optical fibers. The tube is then jacketed with standard jacket
materials to complete the cable.

Outer Jacket

CopperCentra
lTube

Colored 250m OpticalFib


ers

Figure 16: Road Cable Example


3.2.4 Cable Checklist
The following table is provided as a guide for the key fiber optic cable options for use in hybrid fiberwireless systems. The list is by no means inclusive and is intended only to provide wireless carriers with
talking points when discussion options with a fiber optics manufacturer or provider.
Products
Environment

Installation Method (outdoor)

Sheathing Options
Fiber Packaging
Fiber Type

Miscellaneous

Comments
Indoor
Outdoor
Direct Buried
Conduit Pulled
Conduit Air Blown
Aerial self-Support
Aerial Lashed
Other
Jacket Material
Armors
Loose
Ribbon
Tight Buffer
Single-mode
Multimode
Packaging
Test Equipment
Aerial Span Distances
Weight and Dimensions

Table 2: Wireless Network Fiber Optic Cable Product Checklist

48

Ken Chauvin

3.3 Fiber Types


There currently exists a plethora of different optical fiber designs for a wide range of uses. All
telecommunications-grade fibers can be divided into the two main types, which are known as single-mode
and multimode, as shown in Figure 17. These two types of fiber have vastly different transmission
properties that make each ideal for certain applications. Within these two types of fibers there exist a
number of different designs, each having properties optimized for specific applications. The various types
of commercially available fiber types that may be used for various wireless networks are discussed briefly
later on.

Coating

Single-mode

Cladding

Core

Multimode

Coating
Cladding
Figure 17: Optical Fiber Profiles
When designing and specifying a wireless telecommunications system the key factors to consider are the
transmissions speeds (i.e., bandwidth requirements), operating distances and wavelength(s), and system
installed costs, all of which play a role in choosing between the available options. It is also critical to
consider the flexibility and adaptability of the system, and thus its ability to support upgrades with
minimal expense (i.e., future-proofing). Conversely, the expansion of an existing infrastructure requires
that newer products also be backwards-compatible. With respect to what type of fiber to select, it is
usually easy to decide between multimode, which is typically used for intrabuilding networks, and singlemode, which is primarily used in the outside plant. The following sections provide general information
which can be used to better understand the primary types of fibers used today.
3.3.1 Single-Mode Fibers
Single-mode fibers have historically operated in one of the primary wavelengths regions around either
1310 or 1550 nm, although applications that take advantage of the extended operating spectrum in
between are already commercially available. The introduction of such equipment was slowed somewhat
early on in the new millennia by the burst of the telecom bubble which began at the end of 2001.
However, newer wireless architectures employing various wave division multiplexing schemes are
emerging to take advantage of this available space.

49

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

The strength of single-mode fibers lies in their inherently low attenuation and dispersion characteristics at
the primary operating wavelengths. As a result, single-mode fibers are used in applications to transmit
high data rates over distances from tens to thousands of kilometers, where the spacing between costly
signal conditioning and amplification equipment needs to be maximized. Single-mode fibers can be
generally categorized into two different types that are best differentiated optically by their dispersion
characteristics, and physically by the shape of their refractive index profiles as seen in Figure 18. Note
that under visual inspection, or without the benefit of complex test equipment, it is impossible to tell the
difference between any of the fiber types discussed herein, were they to be laid side by side.

Coating

Cladding

Core

N
D
Step Index Core

D
Segmented Core

Figure 18: SM Index Profiles


3.3.1.1 Non Dispersion-Shifted Single-Mode Fiber
Non dispersion-shifted single-mode fiber, sometimes referred to as standard single-mode fiber, was the
first single-mode optical fiber type in widespread use in telecommunications systems. Non dispersionshifted single-mode optical fiber normally has a simple step-index profile, but variations exist. It also has
a nominal zero-dispersion wavelength in the 1300 nm transmission window, but the dispersion coefficient
increases as a function of increasing wavelength to a maximum value of around 18 ps/nmkm in the 1550
nm transmission window (also known as conventional- or C-band).
In broadcast analog systems transmitting over standard single-mode fiber and employing remote optical
splitters to support feeding several nodes simultaneously, a limiting system parameter can be the amount
of optical power that can be effectively carried by the optical fiber downstream of the transmitter. Above
the effective power level, added power is reflected back to the transmitter due to a complex fiber
characteristic called stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS), which can increase system noise. To overcome
this limitation, newer generations of non dispersion-shifted single-mode fibers have been designed with a
refractive index profile that raises the effective power carrying capability of the fiber by about 3 dB,
thereby effectively doubling the power transmission capability. This change allows for a reduction in the
electronics (transmitter) requirements for stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) limited systems, thereby
reducing system overall cost.
3.3.1.2 Non-Zero Dispersion-Shifted Single-Mode Fiber
Dispersion-shifted fiber is a type of single-mode fiber that has its nominal zero-dispersion wavelength shifted
higher in the operating wavelength spectrum in order to optimize the fibers dispersion properties at longer
wavelengths. This is done to support newer generation long-haul telecommunications systems operating at the
longer wavelengths, where the intrinsic attenuation of the optical fiber is inherently lower.

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Ken Chauvin

In the early to mid-1990s, a better understanding of fiber non-linear effects resulted in the development of
non-zero dispersion-shifted fibers. These are fibers with segmented core profiles, but for which the zero
dispersion wavelength is shifted such that it falls outside of the intended operating window, or windows.
The amount of dispersion is controlled by managing the zero dispersion wavelength and characteristic
dispersion slope through the careful manipulation of the fibers complex index profile. Although some
amount of dispersion (positive or negative) is desired to minimize non-linear effects, the effects cannot be
eliminated entirely. Moreover, too much dispersion is not desirable either as it results in excessive pulse
spreading, which can limit achievable distances or data rates. The latest generation fibers are also
designed with a larger mode-field diameter to lower the transmitted power density, and thus further
reduce non-linear effects.
Table 3 summarizes some of the parameters for the various single-mode fiber types commonly used today
(typical values for cabled fiber are shown).
Non
Dispersion-Shifted Non-Zero Dispersion-Shifted
Single-Mode
Single-Mode

Parameter
Mode Field
Diameter

8.6 9.5 m
9.6 11.2 m1

8 11 m2

Numerical Aperture

0.13 0.14 (typical)

0.14 (typical)

Cutoff Wavelength

< 1260 nm

< 1480 nm

Cladding Diameter

125 .0 1.0 m

125 .0 1.0 m

Coating Diameter

245.0 10.0 m

245.0 10.0 m

Attenuation

1310 nm
1550 nm

< 0.4 dB/km


< 0.3 dB/km

NA
< 0.3 dB/km

Dispersion

O-band
C-band

< 3.5 ps/nmkm


< 18 ps/nmkm

NA
0.1 - 6 ps/nmkm 2

1.
2.

1310 nm
1550 nm

Not typically specified by industry standards.


Certain variants of non-zero dispersion shifted single-mode fibers, such as those specifically designed
to operate in metropolitan type applications with inexpensive Fabry-Perot laser sources, typically
have different specified requirements.

Table 3: Key Single-mode Fiber Attributes Cabled Fiber


3.3.2 Multimode Fibers
Multimode fibers are more suited for short distance applications where some distance capability can be
sacrificed for a lower installed system cost based on specific system, needs, such as in an intrabuilding
application. In indoor applications, for example, transmission equipment is located in reasonably close
proximity to one another. In many such cases, multimode fiber based systems are overall more
economical because of the availability of comparatively inexpensive connectivity components and low
cost electronics, such as light emitting diodes (LEDs) and vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers
(VCSELs). This allows the total system cost to be lower than an equivalent system based on single-mode
fiber and the associated electronics.
Multimode fibers generally operate at one of the two primary wavelengths of 850 and 1300 nm. All
telecommunication-grade silica-glass multimode fibers are characterized by a graded (i.e., curved)
refractive index profile as seen in Figure 19. The core has an index of refraction that is highest at the

51

Fiber Optics for Wireless Telecommunications

center, which then falls off approximately in a parabolic shape to where the value is that of the pure silica
glass cladding at the core-clad interface. The primary core sizes for graded index multimode fibers in use
today are 50 and 62.5 m. Other larger-core multimode fibers saw limited use early on in
telecommunications applications, but such are rare today and current large core multimode fiber designs
find service primarily in very-short-length, low-data-rate applications such as automotive, medical, and
similar uses involving imaging or low-intensity lighting.

Core = 50, 62.5


Cladding Diameter = 125 m
Coating Diameter = 250 m
Figure 19: MM Graded-Index Profile
Table 4 summarizes some of the parameters for the various multimode fiber types commonly used today
(typical values for cabled fiber are shown).
Parameter

50/125

62.5/125m

Core Size

50 3.0 m

62.5 3.0 m

Numerical Aperture

0.200 0.015

0.275 0.015

Cladding Diameter

125.0 2.0 m

125.0 2.0 m

Coating Diameter

245.0 10.0 m

245.0 10.0 m

Attenuation

850 nm
1300 nm

< 3.5 dB/km


< 1.5 dB/km

< 3.5 dB/km


< 1.5 dB/km

OFL BW

850 nm
1300 nm

> 160/200 MHzkm2


> 500 MHzkm

EMB

850 nm

> 500 MHzkm or


> 1500 MHzkm1
> 500 MHzkm
> 2000 MHzkm1

1.
2.

NA

New 50/125 m fibers designed and specified primarily for use in 10 Gbps serial systems laser-based
systems, but can also be used for legacy applications
Minimum bandwidth values vary from application to application.

Table 4: Key Multimode Fiber Attributes Cabled Fiber

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Ken Chauvin

Summary
As the wireless access industry grows and matures it will continue to reach further into our everyday lives
whether at work, school, home, or riding in a car, and bringing with it a wider variety of services and
improved quality of life. For outdoor applications specifically, distributed antennae networks are an
attractive technology that benefit greatly from the reach and bandwidth capability of fiber optics. In order
to properly design, specify, order, install and grow a hybrid optical-wireless system, wireless carriers
should work with reputable and knowledgeable industry fiber experts to ensure their systems are viable
and efficient to maintain and upgrade for current and emerging applications.
References
Hecht, Jeff, Understanding Fiber Optics, Fourth Edition, Prentice Hall, Columbus Ohio, 2002.
Commercial
Building
Telecommunications
Cabling
Telecommunication Industry Association, 2001.

Standard,

ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B,

EIA Standard Fiber Optic Terminology, EIA-440-A, Electronic Industries Association, 1989.
Optical Fibres Part 210: Product Specifications Sectional Specification for Category A1 Multimode
Fibres, International Electrotechnical Commission, 2002.
Optical Fibres Part 250: Product Specifications Sectional Specification for Class B Single-Mode
Fibres, International Electrotechnical Commission, 2002.
Recommendation G.651, Characteristics of a 50/125 m multimode graded index optical fiber cable,
International Telecommunications Union, 1998.
Recommendation G.652, Characteristics of a single-mode optical fiber cable, International
Telecommunications Union, 2000.
Recommendation G.653, Characteristics of a dispersion-shifted single-mode optical fiber cable,
International Telecommunications Union, 2000.
Recommendation G.655, Characteristics of a non-zero dispersion-shifted single-mode optical fiber cable,
International Telecommunications Union, 2000.

53

Emerging Wireless Technologies


Another Telecommunications Technology Disruption
Samuel Hughes
Senior Manager, National Advisory Services
Ernst & Young LLP

Trent Tishkowski
Manager, National Advisory Services
Ernst & Young LLP
Wireless technologies have become an alphabet soup that is extremely difficult for consumers and business
end-users to navigate. Even in the much more mature wireline broadband marketplace, many customers are
not fully aware of the fundamental differences between various flavors of Internet service, let alone the
meaning of acronyms like DSL. Imagine, then, the confusion a typical wireless user confronts when hit with
terms like wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA), general packet radio service (GPRS), wide
integrated digital enhanced network (WiDEN), and a host of other mysterious codes.
As Figure 1 illustrates, this alphabet soup can be broadly classified into four major buckets of second
generation (2G), 2.5G, third generation (3G), and fourth generation (4G), each aligned with the applications
that are enabled by their respective download speeds. To date wireless applications have been limited by
download speeds to basic, but highly utilitarian, applications such as text messaging, and the slightly more
advanced applications offered by services such as multimedia messaging service (MMS).
Technologies

Avg. Download

Applications

4G
4G

Flarion
WiMAX

~1.5 Mbps -- TBD

Video (medium -- possibly high -- quality)


Web browsing (very fast -- could possibly
compete with DSL, cable modem,
corporate WAN)
Large file downloads

3G
3G

CDMA 2000
UMTS/W-CDMA

~380-400 Kbps

Video (low-quality)
Web browsing (brisk)
Medium file downloads (e.g. MP3)

2.5G
2.5G

CDMA/1x
GSM/EDGE
GSM/GPRS
WiDEN

~35-115 Kbps

MMS (e.g. picture distribution)


Web browsing (sluggish)
Small file downloads (e.g. ringtones)

2G
2G

CDMA
iDEN
GSM
TDMA

~10-20 Kbps

Voice
SMS (e.g. text messaging)

Figure 1: Alphabet SoupOverview of Current and Emerging Wireless Technologies

55

Emerging Wireless Technologies

3G technologies will deliver much faster downloads, but still fall short of the much more rapid speeds
offered by wireline broadband services such as cable Internet or fiber-to-the premises (FTTP). This
performance gap has fueled the idea of a two-line world, wireless for voice and narrowband data needs,
and wireline for broadband Internet and video services.
4G wireless technologies hold the potential to overturn the two-line hypothesis. These emerging
technologies may potentially deliver end-user download speeds comparable to those offered by cable
modem service and faster than the DSL services that have been broadly deployed by the fixed-line
telephone incumbents. More importantly, these wireless technologies may require considerably less in
capital expenditures than wireline broadband.
As Figure 2 illustrates, 4G technologies such as worldwide interoperability for microwave access
(WiMAX) and Flarion are positioning to occupy a new space in wireless access networkingthe
metropolitan area network (MAN). These MAN offerings could fundamentally change the
telecommunications business model, presenting a new challenge to broadband wireline infrastructure.
802.16a enables
non-line of sight
transmission from
transmitter to
multiple users at
~1 Mbps average
speeds -- targeted
as a fixed wireless
solution rather than
a mobile
technology
802.16e, under
development,
enables portable
usage

Enables data
connections between
electronic devices in
the unlicensed 2.4
GHz spectrum band
Designed to replace
cable or infrared
connections for short
distances (~5-30 feet)

Metro Area
Network
(MAN)
802.20
(Flarion)

802.16
(WiMAX)

Local Area
Network
(LAN)

Specifically designed
for high-speed mobile
usage
End-user data
throughput speeds are
expected to be
comparable to
DSL/Cable modems
(~1.5+ Mbps)
Flarions solution
utilizes an all-IP
architecture for both
voice and data

802.11
(WiFi)

Personal
Area
Network
(PAN)
802.15
(Bluetooth)

Short-range (~100 feet),


high-speed wireless
networking applications
Users in Wi-Fi hotspots
frequently report
download speeds
comparable to DSL (i.e.
600 Kbps-1 Mbps)

Figure 2: The Expanding Wireless Access Network


Consider the challenge facing fixed-line broadband infrastructure in light of a wireless MAN offering.
Billions of dollars have been spent globally to upgrade the fixed line plant to offer DSL services,
including the conditioning of aging twisted pair local plant as well as the deployment of DSL access
multiplexers in central offices and costly remote terminals.
A high-quality 4G offering could pose a serious challenge to this fixed-line infrastructure. Wireless voice
could be bundled with true broadband Internet access at speeds that may be considerably faster than most
DSL customers can receive today. Wireless broadband would appeal to a wide variety of market
segments, including high-mobility customers (e.g. business travelers), roamers (e.g. students on college
campuses), and traditional consumers who simply desire the ability to utilize their laptop anywhere in
their home without worrying about cabling or wireless hub installation and configuration.

56

Samuel Hughes and Trent Tishkowski

The scope of the market disruption created by an economic wireless MAN solution would not be limited
to the fixed-line telephone incumbents; all wireline and wireless incumbent service providers could face
dramatic impacts. As Figure 3 summarizes, the nature of the impact to incumbents is driven by two
fundamental variables: the download speed and mobility of a next-generation wireless offering. Scenario
1 achieves high mobility, but with the trade off of slower speed; scenario 2 has higher speed, but
sacrifices true mobility (while still supporting portable applications).

Cable Video and


Broadband
SCENARIO 1
~1Mbps sustained
average data speed
Effective mobility (i.e.
seamless transfer of
data session across
coverage zones)

SCENARIO 2
~2-5Mbps sustained
average data speed
Portability, but limited
mobility (similar to
WiFi -- ability for endusers to walk
around)

Traditional
Wireline Telecom

Traditional
2.5G/3G Wireless

Modest impact

Very high impact

Very high impact

Data speed does not


support high-quality video

Data speed could be a


serious challenger in most
network topologies

Leapfrog technology
provides superior data
transfer speeds at
equivalent (or superior?)
cost economics

Limited end-user demand


for mobile video
applications
Cable modems can
continue to scale up data
transfer speeds to provide
a richer user experience
in the home or office

Could accelerate mobile


substitution of fixed lines
because of higher mobile
performance
VoIP deployments
negatively impact access
revenues and other enduser call settlement
charges

High impact

High impact

Modest impact

Data speed has the


potential to deliver highquality video streams

Data speed could be a


serious challenger in most
network topologies

Not a viable competitor to


mobile wireless offerings

Competitive data speed


for most end-user
applications (although
cable modems can
continue to scale up data
transfer speed if
applications require)

VoIP deployments
negatively impact access
revenues and other enduser call settlement
charges

Figure 3: Business Model Impacts of Next-Generation Wireless Service2 Scenarios


In the first scenario, a truly mobile next-generation offering, rather than a portable solution offered by
current wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks, has a modest impact on cable providers, since the download
speeds neither threaten cables video business nor can compete with cables current and future data
transfer speeds. Similarly, modest impacts on fiber to the premises (FTTP) deployments might be
expected to compete directly with cable services. However, this scenario severely impacts fixed-line
telecom infrastructure with an application that could pose a direct challenge to DSL. This scenario would
also mean a richer mobile wireless experience that could accelerate fixed/mobile substitution and provide
more opportunities to bypass traditional call settlement charges. Traditional wireless carriers with sunk
capital in 2.5G or 3G networks could find themselves competing against a superior data technology.
In the second scenario, a 4G wireless offering with very high speeds, but limited to portable applications
(not true mobility), could have a different set of impacts. Without a truly mobile offering enabling mobile
wireless handset usage at highway speeds (enabling mobile wireless handset usage at highway speeds, for
example), this technology scenario essentially introduces another broadband Internet access competitor
against well-established DSL and cable networks. Wireline cable and DSL providers might respond to
this threat by accelerating efforts already underway to integrate wireless networking solutions with their
broadband service, using 802.11, for example, dropping prices further to maintain their market share
position, and competing with product bundling and upgraded speed where plant allows. Traditional

57

Emerging Wireless Technologies

wireless operators might face only a modest impact in this scenario, since the new technology wouldnt
compete against truly mobile applications.
These potential impacts must be tempered against the fundamental questions that remain regarding the
marketplace viability of next-generation wireless technologies. A renewed--and healthy--focus on return
on invested capital (ROIC), rather than revenue growth at any cost, has forced wireless carriers to cut
through the technology hype and determine whether these emerging technologies can be implemented to
serve a sufficiently broad set of paying users to generate positive economic returns. Definitive analyses
required to answer this question have not yet occurred in the following five key areas detailed in Table 1:
economics, mobility, performance, scalability, and regulation.

Economics
Mobility

Performance

Scalability
Regulation

What are the infrastructure costs to support a critical mass of


paying customers?
What is the market-clearing price for broadband wireless
services, relative to existing wireline technologies?
Can users stay on-net at up to highway speeds, with
seamless hand-off across coverage zones?
Does performance degrade materially in non-line-of-sight
areas?
Is performance acceptable indoors?
Will downstream speeds consistently enable required
applications?
Is performance sufficiently reliable to trigger a product
replacement cycle?
Can the technology accommodate peak demand with data
speeds required to support end-user applications?
Will regulatory agencies allow access to requisite spectrum
bands?

Table 1: Key Questions Surrounding Emerging Wireless Technologies


So what are the implications for fixed-line and traditional wireless infrastructures in light of the emerging
threat of 4G wireless technologies? In short, exercise capital investment discipline or face the possibility
of stranded assets that can not deliver positive ROIC in excess of capital costs. Ongoing investments in
DSL and cable modem service, for example, should be modeled with realistic long-term penetration rates
and price points, as well as extensive sensitivity testing to understand the ROIC implications of disruptive
competition. Wireless providers must apply the same discipline to their 3G technology bets, with a robust
understanding of the applications that will drive average revenue per customer (ARPU) and differentiate
against potential 4G offers.
This type of business discipline is straightforward, but continues to be a challenge for many incumbent service
providers, who struggle with the challenge of deploying capital without adequate decision support information
or processes. The threat of 4G competition raises the stakes for incumbent providers to invest in these areas or
discover that the challenge of delivering ROIC to investors has gotten much more difficult.

The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of
Ernst & Young LLP.

58

Integration of Wireless Access


with Wireline Networks:
OAM&P Support Architecture
with ITU-tML Technology
Dr. Wei Liu
Adjunct Professor
Shan-Tou University
Senior Consultant
BellSouth
Abstract
Before the broadband wireless gains acceptance to replace wireline broadband in access, it needs
matching operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning (OAM&P) capability to be integrated
with the core wireline network. In this paper, we research the evolution of network and service
management technology frameworks; and we envision the new directions for integration of broadband
wireless access with interoperability and transformation as the key objectives.
1. Introduction
With recent advances in fixed wireless and broadband wireless, new alternatives in high-speed network
access become promising. Before the broadband wireless can become a dominating acceptance to replace
wireline broadband in access, it needs matching OAM&P capability to be integrated with the core
wireline network that remains fiber-optics broadband. In this paper, we consider the matching OAM&P
capability for broadband wireless access and devise a method to apply the general telecommunications
management network (TMN) model for the purpose of wireless and wireline integration.
This paper is organized as follows. In section 2, we summarize the evolution of TMN technologies from
the traditional open systems interconnection (OSI)based management framework to latest extensible
markup language (XML)based telecom markup language (tML)1 framework as well as other key
intermediate technology in TMN common object request broker architecture (CORBA) frameworks. In
section 3, we list a number of telecommunication management functions and new telecommunications
access services that have to be managed effectively with OAM&P capabilities. In section 4, we develop
1

tML (telecom markup language for TMN) starts with a lower case to distinguish it from the TML (telephony
markup language).
59

Integration of Wireless Access with Wireline Networks: OAM&P Support Architecture with ITU-tML Technology

an innovative management architecture framework that adopts the latest technical standards to support
telecom network and services management across wireline next-generation network as well as broadband
wireless access.
2. TMN Evolution
TMN [8] was originally developed due to the emerging of packet network technologies, as a supplement
to the transport circuit technologies. The goal was to provide a standard OAM&P infrastructure with
benefit of flexibility for growth and changes.
The original TMN data network, however, was only limited to a cumbersome OSI framework to provide
the necessary application layer service. As technologies progressed, new architecture framework
eventually replaced the OSIbased TMN architecture while reusing much of its management capabilities.
2.1 OSIBased TMN
The OSIbased telecom management architecture included the structure of management information
organized as a management information base (MIB). To specify the MIB objects and operations on them,
it supplied the guideline for definition of managed objects (GDMO) and abstract syntax notation number
1 (ASN.1). Only five operations (create, delete, get, set, and report/notify) were supplied utilizing the OSI
remote operation service between a manager and an agent, although any operations maybe emulated by a
combination of those primitives. There are techniques to deal with large-scale operations and efficient
information processing such as scooping and filtering functions.
The OSIbased common management information protocol (CMIP) and management framework
architecture has been successful in providing yesterday and todays network management solutions and
some service-management capacities. The latest application of the general definition of managed objects
(GDMO)/ASN.1/CMIP to the major telecommunications industry included the PIC model, which allows
the freedom of switching long-distance carriers [2]; and the local number portability (LNP) model, which
allows change of wireless carriers and wireline providers while retaining the same telephone number.
Due to new technology advancements, the telecom industry realized that the OSI/CMIP TMN framework
is no longer the best technologies in terms of cost, efficiency and availability of skilled resources. After
last implementation of CMIPbased PIC and LNP models, the TMN applications are no longer relying on
GDMO technologies.
The key alternatives are CORBAbased [11] or XMLbased TMN framework to be summarized in the
following subsections. While SNMP [7] enjoys successful applications in Internet network managements,
SNMP based management has not been approved in the telecommunications services management arena.
Thus, this paper intentionally excludes the SNMP as a major telecom management framework.
2.2 CORBABased TMN
When the Object Management Group (OMG) completed the CORBA software architecture [11] that enables
the distributed software to interact regardless of location and implementation, the telecommunications industry
took notice and eventually recommendations were made at the industry level to start adopting the CORBA
technology as an alternative to the CMIP technology.
Following the ITU-T tradition to provide a uniform approach to define various TMN application
interfaces, the standard organization led by the efforts of the committee T1M1 took the initiative and
developed the framework and IDL models [10]. A generic (TMN) managed object was defined in IDL
with native CORBA network management interfaces. While native CORBA services (such as
notification) were used whenever possible, basic TMN IDL models reflected much of the traditional
60

Dr. Wei Liu

GDMO/ASN.1 models. In addition, multiple-object operations had to be invented in order to simulate


scooping and filtering functionality.
Other enhancements overcome the limitation of IDL primitives in order to provide optional labeling at the
attribute level as well as deletion at the object level. To achieve interoperability, standard IDL models should
be extended from the same top-level managed object while following the information modeling guidelines.
The first successful application of the CORBA framework approach to TMN service management domain
was the ANSI standard for electronic access ordering (EAO) inquiry functions [3]. Furthermore, various
CORBA IDL models have been standardized for 3GPP next-generation wireless management activities.
Due to influence of Web technologies and architecture tools, the telecom industry realized that the
CORBA TMN framework might not be the best technology for service management in the TMN
environment. While the network models may continue to involve IDL models, the industry is focusing on
XML as the service-management models and tools.
2.3 XMLBased TMN
With the advances of Web and business-to-business (B2B) technologies based on XML, there was a need
for telecom service providers to support the XML interface with different or new interconnection carrier
partners. The wireline industry responded by developing the tML framework, while the wireless industry
has yet to define a corresponding capability for broadband wireless access.
The purpose of XMLbased TMN was to provide a standard definition for the development of
interoperable interfaces based on the use of XML within the TMN domain. A telecom markup language
or tML framework [9] defines rules and guidelines of telecom management schema definition and
vocabulary development. The framework provides supports for a global telecommunication data
dictionary (GTDD) for tML data to be exchanged and to be mapped to existing standards. In addition,
XML could help to connect the TMN business processes and service exchanges.
The operations on those tML data are not explicitly defined in the XMLbased TMN framework. To
some extent, tML is only a language derived from XML based on plain text tags that describe vocabulary
used in the exchange of data between the telecommunications entities including TMN entities. Exchange
of management information could rely on existing Web-based or B2B infrastructure for security,
connectivity, reliability, messaging, and transport.
In contrast to the TMN CORBA frameworks that focused more on the network management capabilities,
the tML framework emphasized in TMN data and in B2B applications to TMN services. Nevertheless, all
three major TMN technical frameworks serve the purpose of supporting OAM&P functions for
telecommunications management.
3. OAM&P Functions for Access/Core Networks and Services
Telecommunication management OAM&P functions (for access and core network and service
management) consist of mainly five areas: configuration management, fault management, accounting
management, performance management, and security management.
Configuration Management
The configuration management functional area includes all functions associated with service fulfillment,
such as service configuration, service activation, and inventory updates.

61

Integration of Wireless Access with Wireline Networks: OAM&P Support Architecture with ITU-tML Technology

Fault Management
Trouble resolution, testing, and tracking are important functions performed by fault management. Both
internally and externally generated troubles are handled in the fault management functional area.
Accounting Management
The accounting management functional area associates event data with the appropriate billing and/or
accounting system.
Performance Management
Performance management monitors and logs the performance of the entire network architecture. This
functional area helps ensure that the network and systems in place are performing at an expected level and
meet performance requirements.
Security Management
Security functions deal with access control, resource authorization, and implementation of security
policies from the network-element level to service-request level.
The above management functions are essentially important to the OAM&P for network-access and
service-management capabilities. The key management functions in broadband wireless access include
the following:

Preordering functions to determine the wireless local loop status or status of access points
Ordering and configuration of the wireless access as part of the tall service ordering
Provisioning and status updates in both access and PVC or SVC end to end setup and OSS
updates
Controlling and coordinating of the service view across the (wireless) access domain and the
(wireline) transport domain
Monitoring and assurances that a specific service class is performing according to specified
requirements
Providing network diagnostic and performance capabilities to the access network or even to the
end-user customers premises in a customer service domain
Managing end-to-end network views of each node and allowing integration wireless access
services in operation centers
Provisioning and modifying of network capabilities for the customer network management
Maintaining interface configuration and dynamic reconfiguration capabilities in a customer
network management environment
Maintaining statistics and history pertaining to sessions or connections across domains

The OAM&P functions are essential for broadband-wireless and broadband-wireline integrations. It is
imperative that a new unified architecture framework can provide the necessary management functions
while allowing integration of different types of network technologies.
4. New Architecture Framework and Technology
Figure 1 illustrates an innovative architecture for OAM&P functions in management of wireless
broadband access with integration to wireline-management capabilities.

62

Dr. Wei Liu

Broadband
Wireless
Access

Fixed
Wireless
Access

NETWORK
MIB

MIB

MIB

Management
center
gateway

gateway
tML CORE

VoIP
Business Rules

Business Process Scenario

Service Partner Profile/Agreement

Rules, Objectives,
Guidelines for tML

SLA
Monitoring

tML Schema

Messaging
Security

Structured according to tML Schema


Encoding
Connectivity
&Reliability

tML Document

Infrastructure Profile

CS
M

New
Services

Data & Vocabulary

ITU-tML Framework

CN

Multimedia

Self-Setup

New Framework for TMN

Service Partner Specification

middleware

SelfManagement

Figure 1
4.1 Standard-Based tML CORE
At the core of this architecture lays the fundamental model for standardized TMN in a next-generation
environment. Access business rules are to be defined with international standard vocabulary. Service
agreements will conform to standard tML language and associated management processes.
The ITU-tML will be the benchmarks and framework for guidelines, objectives, and rules. The
architecture framework for wireless and wireline integration extends the wireline-based tML rules [9] to
include wireless local loop and mobile broadband access networks.
A minimum set of infrastructure requirements will ensure the interoperability in messaging and encoding.
The infrastructure requirements also ensure security with universal and uniform access. Furthermore, they
are important for guaranteed reliability and performance of the user services such as voice over Internet
protocol (VoIP) and multimedia information-exchange applications. The implementation profiles and
rules of conformance provide a uniform approach to enable future integration of wireless access with
wireline networks.
As an example, consider the IEEE802.16defined access interface [6] and an asynchronous transfer mode
(ATM) based core network [5] being supported by service providers. The key 802.16 architecture
includes the air interface for 10-to-66-GHz devices, the air interface for licensed systems below 11GHz
and coexistence of broadband wireless access. The ATM architecture consists of the user-network
interface (UNI) and network-network interface (NNI). ATM also provides for cell relays with
corresponding transport encapsulation functions.

63

Integration of Wireless Access with Wireline Networks: OAM&P Support Architecture with ITU-tML Technology

The IEEE 802 management group defines MAC layer MIBs, primitives and actions. The 802.16 protocols
also define MAClevel support for service capabilities such as QoS by being able to allocate channel
capacity to satisfy service demands. At the service management layer, however, there is no standard MIB
or OAM&P functions spelled out for broadband access standards; and eventually, a network- and servicemanagement layer management functions and management information have to be defined and
standardized. The approach can be similar to the Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)
management solutions sets TS-32-101 to 111 specifications [1]. Furthermore, tML framework is followed
when defining those fault management, configuration, and other management functions.
The ATM Forum has completed the management models (for wireline telecom transport) in ATM Forum
M4 Interface. They contain the MIBs and management interface functions in CORBA IDL. In the
example being considered above, the UNI management model can be extended to include the broadband
wireless access management capability. The extension may be converted to the core tML models together
with the access management models, so that all can be incorporated or integrated for uniform processing
within this architecture.
With both the access management and ATM transport management converted to a uniform tML model,
the core management rules now can support single schema of service providers networks view to include
both wireless and wireline subnetworks. The uniform tML model will also implement simple object
access protocol (SOAP) to determine equipment status and trouble-ticket diagnostics; it will facilitate
network configuration, maintenance and monitoring network partitioning; and it will allow service
providers to resell bandwidth and services and allow a private network owner to share control of the
network functions either within a single wireline/wireless component domain or between different
network and service domains. Service providers can partition the network according to technology type
(i.e., wireless, IP, ATM) so that they can differentiate their OSS interfaces while maintaining a single
external management view.
4.2. Customer Network/Service Managements
Well-defined function blocks and interfaces unite diverse underlying networks and provide uniform
interfaces for customer network management (CNM) and customer service management (CSM).
CSM and CNM enable self-setup and proactive service-level monitoring. Additional self-management
functions include trouble ticketing, repair status, usage collection, and dynamic reroute or reconfiguration.
The CSM/CNM capabilities are derived from the TMN base functions. The TMN functional blocks cover
trouble ticketing and fault resolution, configuration management, billing and accounts, performance
threshold and reporting, as well as security management. Those TMN OAM&P functions were described
in the previous section.
By following the core support architecture, CNM and CSM solutions are also compliant to the tML
framework rules and guidelines. The benefits of compliance are interoperability across the wireless and
wireline domains; productivity improvement in reusing the industry practices, as well as data and
software portability in adopting XML.
In order to support various network technologies across multiple domains, a number of (tMLenabler)
middleware and gateways will provide the interworking between the management entities. For
examples, a self-provision service will interface with the wireless access local manager to setup the
required channel capacity while it interfaces to negotiate the traffic rate for ATM admission control.
Provision status shall be in a total view to include the edge as well as the transport for both the CNM
user and the management center.

64

Dr. Wei Liu

4.3 Management Centers


To provide an evolution (transformation) path for vendors to migrate to this new architecture, the
following manager functions are included:

Operational policies and practices during lifecycle of a CNM entity


Operational policies and practices during lifecycle of a CSM entity
Business scenarios/rules and service configuration
Translation and bridging of old MIB to new MIBs at network level
Translation and bridging of old MIB to new MIBs at service level
Definition of customer profile (or a service provider profile)
Handling of end-user customer requests and services.
Business request processes that links preorder, ordering, and ticketing
SLA and performance models
Data collection analysis capabilities
Partitioning and filtering capabilities
Complementary database functions
Reporting capabilities
Short message service (SMS)/network management service (NMS)/element management system
(EMS) command issuance
Logging capabilities

The management center is mainly for integration of views from network operator and service providers,
while CSM/CNM allows users to configure, provision, and monitor their portion of access and
networking resources.
The entire internal management center and the external customer network and service management share
and reuse the tML core management information. Data consistency and security are preserved by
operational policies as well as system supports.
5. Conclusions and Future Research
This paper considered the management capabilities to integrate wireless access to the core wireline
network. We summarized the evolution of TMN technologies from OSIbased GDMO/CMIP
framework, to the CORBAbased IDL framework, to XMLbased tML framework. Following the
technology trends and the needs of the industry, our research produced an innovative architecture for
telecom management applicable to networks in the wireless, wireline as well as integration of both
wireless access and wireline network.
The core of the architecture adopted the latest tML standards from the ITU while the overall applications
beyond the core could use other technology for transformation purpose. The new management
architecture model could supply OAM&P supporting functions for data/voice/video and multimedia
services. The presented architecture framework has incorporated the new notions of CNM customer
network management and CSM customer-service management.
Future research will incorporate traditionally nontelecom management domains (especially the SNMP
based IP network management). Additional development efforts are also required in order to provide a
complete set of service models as well as performance testing tools.

65

Integration of Wireless Access with Wireline Networks: OAM&P Support Architecture with ITU-tML Technology

6. References
[1]

3GPP, TS-32-101 to 111, Telecommunications Management Solution Sets, 2004.

[2]

ANSI, T1.246 Standard, W. Liu (technical editor), OAM&P Model for Preferred Inter-Exchange
Carrier (PIC) CARE, a GDMO/CMIP Model, 1999.

[3]

ANSI, T1.256 Standard, W. Liu (technical editor), OAM&P Model for Electronic Access Ordering
(EAO) Inquiry Functions, a CORBA/IDL Model, 20002001.

[4]

ATIS, www.atis.org

[5]

ATM Forum, AF-NM-002, 0058 & 0185: ATM Forum M4 Interface Requirements, 19942002.

[6]

IEEE 802.16, various parts, 20012004, at http://standards.ieee.org/ getieee802/ieee16

[7]

IETF RFC 3410-3418 for SNMP series, 2002.

[8]

ITU M.3010 Standard TMN Principles, a part of TMN Standard Series, 2000.

[9]

ITU M.3030 Standard, Telecom Markup Language (tML) Framework, 2002.

[10] ITU X.780 Standard, TMN Guidelines for Definition of CORBA Managed Objects, 2001.
[11] OMG, www.omg.org
[12] W3C, www.w3c.org

66

How to Make Money in


Broadband Wireless
A Pragmatic Guide to Operator Profitability
R.J. Mahadev
Co-Founder and Executive Team Member
EuroWireless S.A
Introduction
The success of 802.11 and the emergence of WiMAX have helped re-ignite the interest in broadband
wireless technologies. However, the notable difference between 802.11 and the proposed metropolitanarea network (MAN)/wireless-area network (WAN) standards is in the complexity of managing these
larger networks along with the requirement for a viable service provider proposition, something that
802.11 has neither needed nor successfully delivered. Despite the publicity surrounding hotspots, wireless
Internet service providers (WISPs), and other broadband service providers, the fact remains that none of
these operators has a sustainable and scaleable business model. Without this, non-third generation (3G)
broadband wireless cannot attract the significant investments required to turn it into the third pipe that
competes with digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable modems.
This paper suggests a strategy for creating an economically viable broadband wireless operator (non 3G).
It attempts to clarify the key strategic issues standing in the way of operator profitability and offers
solutions to deal with these threats today. By dealing with operators within the context of the broadband
wireless ecosystem, this paper also makes the case for creating a sustainable value proposition for every
member of the value chain. The starting point for achieving operator success is the existence of a robust
ecosystem, where every memberfrom the component manufacturers to the end usershas a reason to
invest in this technology.
Is the Wireless Broadband Ecosystem Ready for Primetime?
Despite the hype surrounding broadband wireless, almost all industry players appear to be merely
dabbling in broadband wireless rather than committing significant spending. Notable exceptions to this
are the handful of vendors and WISPs who struggle to turn a profit. An understanding of the industrywide inhibitors may shed some light on why this is the case and how it may be resolved.

67

How to Make Money in Broadband Wireless

Broadband Ecosystem

Vendors

Providers

End Users

Sector

BBW
Focus

BBW
Rev.

Components

No

Low

Equipment

Yes

Low

Systems

No

Low

Applications

No

Low

Service

Yes

Low

Business

No

Low

Residences

No

Low

Opportunities & Issues


While WiMax is a step in the right direction, emergence of a
carrier market may require a more GSM-like standard.
End-end systems platforms have yet to emerge.

Very little industry focus on development of killer applications


that are ideally suited for broadband wireless.
Need for service providers that have closer connections with
ISP, sattelite providers & other complementary networks.
No compelling end user value proposition such as mobile
data, last mile QoS or service bundles.
Not price competitive with DSL & cable modems

Figure 1: Broadband Ecosystem


Some of the things that may need to happen before this technology takes off include the following:

Development of a worldwide, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)like standard.


While WiMax goes some way toward doing this, the lack of an end-to-end standard means that
many of the key components in the base station, antennas, back office systems, and customerpremises equipment (CPE) are still hostage to proprietary solutions. This also inhibits application
development and market acceptance due to product differences. Of course, significant
deployments by any one technology may also create a default standard for the industry.1

Emergence of killer applications. Applications like mobility can draw end users away from
DSL and cable modems. Most successful telecom technologies only experienced widespread
end-user penetration after a common end-user value proposition was created. This requires
standardization of the product offering across markets and service providers and greater
dialogue among industry players.

Entry of the major players. The entry or creation of major operators will act as the catalyst for
established vendors, system, and application providers to enter this technology. For this to
happen, the service capabilities have to be core to the operators value proposition. Unfortunately,
non-3G broadband wireless technologies do not integrate well with the incumbentsregional
Bell operating companies (RBOCs), Post Telephone and Telegraph Administration (PTTs), and
mobile operatorseither strategically or operationally. This requires the creation of a new class
of carriers that may include Internet service providers (ISPs) and satellite providers. Rural
markets and developing countries do not offer a large enough scale to attract significant
investments and create a sustainable broadband wireless ecosphere.

Because of these issues, the best strategy for any broadband wireless operator may be to get in early to
build technical, operating, and market competencies, but delay full deployment until a technology and

Motorolas advanced mobile phone service (AMPS) platform and Qualcomms code division multiple access
(CDMA) technology are examples of this.

68

R.J. Mahadev

market direction appears. This creates the need for a phased deployment that balances the benefits of
early-market entry with the risk of making the wrong decisions.
Typical Deployment Milestones
A clear definition of the deployment phases will allow management to optimize resource allocation
and minimize external funding requirements. The table below contains an example of suggested
deployment phases.
Pre Formation
(6 months)

Key
Milestones

Other
Activities

Resources

Funding

Form company
Procure licenses
Finalize business
plan
Work on business
case and operating
plan
Identify merger/
acquisition partners
Finalize
compensation and
ownership plans
Core executive team
(three to five
resources)
External advisors and
consultants
~$500K in expenses
Necessary bank
guarantees

Timelines and Milestones


Phase I
Phase II
(12 months)
(2 years)
Develop
Meet business plan
Implementation plan
milestones:
Deploy pilot
customers, revenue,
network
network and
expenses
Secure funding
Identify growth and
Commence initial
exit options
operations

Phase III
Achieve positive
cash flow and
continued
performing
according to plan

Sign up initial
customers
Acquire equipment,
backhaul, and other
key n/w components
Build customer and
network operations

Implement
operating plan to
support businessas-usual operations
Expand into
additional markets
as desired

Full management
team and operations
team

Build senior and


management team
in line with
operating plan

Changes in
ownership and
management based
on exit event

25% of overall
funding

Remainder of
external funding

Self funded growth


or external funding
to buy out
investors

Phases I and II represent the most critical stages for the company. The Phase I proof of concept will
enable management to validate the technology and the market proposition. However, it is during Phase II
that the company will test its ability to scale and develop into a profitable business entity. The timing of
these phases also needs to coincide with achieving clarity around the technology.
Of course, developing an effective strategy requires a clear understanding of the critical success factors.
Considering what has caused operators to succeed or fail in the past will allow new entrants to position
themselves for future success.
Critical Success Factors for Broadband Wireless Operators
The way to make money in broadband wireless is like in any other business, charge more than it costs you
to provide the service. The complexity arises from the fact that revenues are earned over time and have a
tendency to decrease over time. Costs, on the other hand, are not directly driven by the monthly revenues,
i.e. the network requires money to be spent up front and operating expenses are driven by network costs

69

How to Make Money in Broadband Wireless

and usage, neither of which may be directly driven by revenues. Broadband wireless success requires a
company to address five critical issues. Optimizing the interplay between these areas has spelt the
difference between success and failure.
The Right Markets
Selecting the right markets is the most important requirement for the business. The business should be viewed
in the perspective of both a one-year and a five-year horizon. Adequate customers should exist initially so the
company can begin to offer services and generate revenues. However in five years time, the company needs to
be a significant player with a large enough customer base for the investment to pay off.
The Best Technology
The technology platform should at best offer a competitive advantage and at worst be comparable to the
best in the market. Good marketing and excellent customer service cannot compensate for a weak
technology over the long term. Given the high bandwidths and the bundling possibilities offered by DSL
and cable, the wireless operator must find USP to compensate for this.
Strong Systems
This area is often overlooked by most telecom operators and affects the operators ability to scale
effectively. Poor systems can quickly result in poor network quality and unhappy customers due to its
impact on network operations and customer service. Systems and processes should be scaleable and
should allow the company to migrate from a semi-automated solution that can be quickly implemented to
an automated solution that may require a larger investment but offers a lower per-customer cost.
Adequate Cash
Since the telecom battle is won over the long term, the company needs to have enough cash to survive
industry downturns. This requires an extremely sound understanding of the business case and financial
metrics so the company can optimize where funds are invested and ensure promised returns.
Strong Management
Telecom continues to be a dynamic environment that requires management to optimize across markets,
products, technology, and operational areas. Hiring a strong management team will allow the company to
build the operational competencies required to establish a strong competitive advantage. The risk of the
wrong decision far outweighs the cost of a good manager. It is also important to realize that the best and
the brightest can make expensive mistakes; hence the need for constant scrutiny and comparison to the
business plan.
A company that has the optimal combination of these five critical success factors has a good chance to
establish a strong market presence and a profitable business. As mentioned previously, articulation of a
clear strategy starts with a clear understanding of the market need and developing an appropriate product
strategy. Business profitability will continue to flounder until broadband wireless operators are able to
create a USP that draws customers away from DSL and cable modems.
Suggested Product Strategies
A clear articulation of the product strategy will provide the roadmap for the technology selection and
business case. This in turn depends on the dynamics of the specific market and the competitive space
available. Key questions to answer include the following:

70

Does the market have enough room for the incumbent and at least two other players today? As
the history of competitive local-exchange carriers (CLECs) and data local-exchange carriers
(DLECs) has shown, underestimating the incumbent is a surefire recipe for disaster. Always

R.J. Mahadev

factor in a strong competitive response from the incumbent at some point. Stealing market share
is never easy and often impossible. Focus on markets that are growing.

Is there a window of opportunity within which the company can establish a presence before a
strong competitive reaction? Being first to market is a significant advantage as long as the
company is able to consolidate its position.

Will the product offer be competitive? Obviously the company will have a difficult time
attracting customers in a market where the competition is offering lower prices or more
comprehensive bundles. Mixing voice and data will give customers what they want today and
will provide profitable growth areas for the future.

Strategies for Developed Markets


Markets like the United States, Western Europe, Korea, and Japan are characterized by incumbent
wireline-broadband technologies that offer low costs and speeds greater than one megabits per second
(Mbps). There is also a general move toward bundled data, voice, and video offerings. Success in these
markets would involve the following:

Cost parity with DSL and cable modemsan end-to-end capital per subscriber of around $400
today. Actual pricing will be based on what the market will pay.

Capabilities that incumbents are weak onportability, managed quality of service (QoS),
immediate activation, self-install, etc.

Strategic partnerships with at-risk incumbents like ISPs and satellite providers.

Focus on segments and verticals that value the unique capabilities offered by broadband wireless.
This includes the typical mobile segments like the construction and real estate industries, small
businesses, and professionals. Targeting segments like gamers, media streaming users, and music
download users is also profitable.

As complete an application bundle as possible. Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and streaming
media applications are a basic requirement.

Target both wholesale and retail customers. Wholesale customers will greatly increase network
utilization while retained customers will ensure higher average revenues per user.

Strategies for Developing Markets


Most markets in the rest of the world are nascent markets for broadband services characterized by both
demand and supply constraints. Success here would require the following:

More basic applications like Internet and low-cost voicekeep the product offering simple.
Offering speed and service options will confuse the market and delay adoption. Wait for the
market to mature and users to become more knowledgeable before trying to segment users.

Price to optimize profitability. The operators in these markets have a great advantage in being
able to charge more due to initial price inelasticity. This needs to be managed effectively; too
many operators drop prices to drive penetration, squeezing their margins without appreciable
revenue gains. One good strategy is for operators to focus on building a smaller network,

71

How to Make Money in Broadband Wireless

charging higher prices, and maximizing utilization so that the network costs are recovered in 12
18 months. Operators not following this path should be prepared for a long wait.

Offer a retail-only product initially to discourage wholesale entry and share loss.
Over time, as the market develops and competitors enter, a wholesale product should be offered
to increase network utilization.

Once the product strategy has been determined, the process of technology selection can truly commence.
Given that the network technology is the key determinant of future success, a number of strategic and
technical factors need to be analyzed prior to technology selection.
Selecting the Technology
The number of frequencies and technologies available further complicates vendor selection. Luckily the
frequencies dictate so much of the network behavior that starting with the frequency selection greatly
simplifies the process. The use of a technology selection matrix and a qualified consultant can help speed
through this learning curve.
Figure 2 represents a typical technology selection matrix. Comparisons to incumbent technologies like
DSL should be made to allow competitive benchmarking. Key issues to remember about the various
frequencies are as follows:

72

The sub six gigahertz (GHz) licensed frequenciesmultichannel, multipoint distribution system
(MMDS) licenses in the US, 3.5 GHz licenses in other parts of the worldoffer a number of
benefits over alternate frequencies, including licensed, interference-free operation, and non-line
of sight functionality (self-install, portable operation) at comparatively lower costs.

3G mobile solutions continue to be bandwidth-constrained and the mobility requirements


have imposed a high cost on the technology. While they will come into their own in the
future, there is still a place for the lower cost, higher bandwidth, portable solutions offered by
sub 6 GHz frequencies.

While a number of WISPs have selected to go with unlicensed frequencies, the significant
interference issues coupled with the bandwidth and power constraints limit the economic viability
of these networks.

R.J. Mahadev

Technology

Issues

Licensed
< 6 GHz

License acquisition

Licensed
>10 GHz

LOS requirements,
cost

Unlicensed
>6 GHz
3G Mobile

DSL

Portability

CPE Cost

Capex/Sub

Operational
Complexity

QoS
Capability

Install
Cost

Interference,
security, capacity
Capacity, cost,
speed
Deployment
issues, QoS, NMS
Legend:
Good

Medium

Bad

Figure 2: Technology Selection Matrix


Networks operating in frequency bands higher than ten GHz face severe line-of-sight restrictions that
greatly increase installation costs & market coverage, especially in urban areas.
Similar criteria can also be used to select vendors. However, given the level of buzz and hype
surrounding any given vendor, the true state of affairs is often difficult to establish. Vendors tend to
speak in terms of equipment features rather than operator or end-user benefits. Drawing these
benefits out is key to vendor selection.
Probably the most important (and least clear) issue with vendor selection is the technology roadmap for
the future. Vendors going out of business or halting product development have forced more than one
operator out of business. Especially given the technology uncertainty of broadband wireless as a whole,
operators should be prepared to completely swap out their network technology within two to three years.2
Key factors to consider in this regard include the following:

Selection of an all IP network reduces the operational complexity and the level to which company
operations are tied to a single vendor.

Look for software defined radios that can be upgraded less expensively and write key upgrades
into the vendor contract, along with penalties for non-compliance.

Almost all vendors are paying lip service to WiMAX. Although this standard has yet to be
finalized and is not comprehensive enough, also write WIMAX compatibility into the vendor
contracts to increase the number of options available.

Dont be fooled by terms like fourth generation (4G). Nobody really knows what this means, and
no commercial roadmap exists for getting there.

Most mobile operators have swapped out their networks at least twice in the last 7 years.
73

How to Make Money in Broadband Wireless

Figure 3 contains the important questions that need to be considered in selecting the technology platform.
Each of these issues could make or break the company and require in-depth discussion with prospective
vendors and their customers.

ATTRIBUTE
STRATEGY

COST

CAPABILITY

SCALEABILITY

METRIC

IMPLICATION

)Fit

9 Vendors stated interest to serve desired target


customers, markets and size of company

)Capex/sub
)Install cost/
sub

9 Capex per sub should allow for a 18-24 mo payback


based on rev/sub (<$500/sub end-end)
9 Self install, with CPE costs that are in line with
customers available budget (no subsidy)

)Reliability &
service quality
)Ease of
management
)Ease of
Operations

9 x9 reliabilityin line with current & future techs


9 CoS/QoS metrics in line with service being provided
(packet loss, latency, jitter, etc.)
9 Have required certification
9 HP Open view/SNMP traps for OSS/NMS &
alarming
9 Redundancy; low engineering, provisioning &
training requirements, etc.

)Interoperability
)Scale ability
)Future proof

9 Open-source & compatibility with standards


9 Ability to be competitive with substitutes at launch &
offer significant cost-elasticity wrt eq & operations
9 Product migration plan & vendor stability to ensure
usability over 10-year business planning period.

Figure 3: Technology Selection Questions


Almost as key as the radio technology selection is the selection of the back office systems and Internet
technology (IT). This choice drives the day-to-day network and customer operations, and is the key
determinant of long-term success.
Selecting the Systems Platform
IT and systems selection continues to be a dark science despite the number of years the telecom industry
has had to get it right. The reason for this is the close interaction of a number of intangible variables that
drive this decision. Although system complexity should be far less in an allIP network, key challenges
still include the following:

Developing a scaleable solution that allows for a low cost initial implementation without
constraining growth.

Provisioning and network management systems that allow for seamless service activation and repair.

Web-based customer care that minimizes support costs and enhances customer lifetime value.

The systems area also separates the ISPs from the telcos. ISPs often choose a low cost solution that allows for
fast entry but limits future growth due to high cost operating costs at scale. On the other hand, telecom
approaches have high upfront costs and often force operators to define business operations before they fully
understand the customer requirements. The savvy operator should select an initial solution that will get them
going and yet should be prepared to completely change their systems once they hit a certain scale.

74

R.J. Mahadev

Figure 4 contains the key systems components that need to be addressed by the broadband wireless
operator to support basic services. Services like VoIP and vertical applications will require additional
hardware and software.

Device Polling

DNS

Event Management

IRC

Event Correlation

Instant Messging

Ticketing

VOIP Gateways
SIP Servers
Shared Hosting

Maintenance Planning

Billing/Invoicing
Payment processing
General ledger
Workflow/Order Mgnt
Messaging/Colaboration
Fin. Reporting

C us tom e r S up po r t

Usenet News

Bus ine ss/Fin Too ls

Authentication Services

OSS

Serv ice s

Shared Information
Customer E-mail

SFA
Customer SelfCare
Availability Checker
Web Based Ordering
Web Based Configuration
Web Based Reporting

SLA Reporting
Network Visualization
Auto Provisioning/Config.
Inventory
Usage Accounting

Figure 4: Operator Systems Architecture


Building the Business Case
Developing the business case is probably the most important planning activity since it is here that the
market, technology, and operational interactions can be truly modeled and the difficult choice can be
made. The final business case should help trade off between various strategic and tactical options and
should provide operating budgets and targets.
Key steps in creating this business case are as follows:
Step 1: Project the Five-to-Seven-Year Revenue Potential
Project subscribers based on the size of the addressable market, penetration, and share levels
witnessed in comparable markets (countries/products) and available market studies.

Estimate pricing levels based on existing prices for broadband services, trends from comparable
countries, and operator pricing strategy.

Develop revenue projections considering the expected product mix and the diffusion of the
various customer segments.

Step 2: Estimate the Expenses Required to Support the Revenue


The radio access network is likely to be the single largest cost component and consists of the base
stations, the subscriber equipment, and the needed backhaul links.

The costs for operating the network and services customers are likely to be the next major
expense items.

Other capital expenditure includes licensing costs, data center, and IT networks.

Other operating expenses include the rental costs for site locations, salaries, and support expenses.

75

How to Make Money in Broadband Wireless

Step 3: Analyze the Cash Flows and Profitability


Determine expected returns such as NPV and IRR.

Project cash flows, funding required, and payback periods.

Compare margins and metrics to other countries and other businesses.

Identify how sensitive the business case is to pricing, market uptake, and technology choices.

Figure 5 provides the high level metrics of what a broadband wireless operator can expect to see. The
business modeled here covers approximately seven million people in a dense urban environment. As
discussed earlier, the business must focus on building and achieving a certain scale if it is to succeed.
Year 1
Subscribers
# BTS
% Seen/Sold
# Employees
Revenues
Operating Expenses
Capital Expenditure
Net Cash Flow
Cumulative Cash
ARPUs
Mo. Opex/Sub
EBIDTA Margin
Capex/Sub
Compounded NPV
Compounded IRR

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Total 6 Years

1K
6
20

11 K
26
11%
36

35 K
45
11%
56

87 K
47
11%
108

161 K
93
11%
149

236 K
146
11%
170

236 K
146
11%
170

$0M
($ 3 M)
($ 9 M)

$6M
($ 6 M)
($ 6 M)

$ 17 M
($ 11 M)
($ 9 M)

$ 42 M
($ 19 M)
($ 12 M)

$ 70 M
($ 33 M)
($ 27 M)

$ 91 M
($ 44 M)
($ 27 M)

$ 226 M
($ 115 M)
($ 91 M)

100%
-51%
-40%

$ 10 M
$ 17 M
($ 0 M)
$ 17 M
$
48 $
43
$ 22/Mo.
$ 21/Mo.
53%
52%
$
394 $
385
Operating Cashflow Breakeven
Net Cashflow Breakeven

$ 17 M

7%

($ 11 M)
($ 11 M)
$
NA
NA
$ 102 M
72%

($ 6 M)
($ 4 M)
$ 11 M
($ 17 M)
($ 21 M)
($ 10 M)
67 $
60 $
53
$ 64/Mo.
$ 40/Mo.
$ 24/Mo.
5%
33%
55%
$
1,312 $
685 $
419
External Funding Required
($ 21 M)
External Funding Period
36 Months

49%
20 Months
42 Months

Figure 5: Typical Operator Financials


As the table shows, the most significant expense in the first year is the capital expenditure for building out
the initial network. Effective management of capital expenditure will allow for this to ramp only in latter
years, as the revenue ramps. This can be best accomplished by doing the following:

Limiting initial capital expenditure to the absolutely necessary elements like the spectrum
licenses, sites required for the proof of concept, and a rudimentary back office system.

Delaying large-scale network deployments to match the market adoption and technology stability.

Focusing on driving cell site saturation in the early years to really understand how to maximize
network utilization.

Managing the seen-sold ratio (cell site over subscription) to conserve scarce radio and IP resources.

Recovering CPE costs through install fees.

The costs to operate the network will overtake the capital costs very quickly. Key components to this are
as follows:

76

Costs to provide and manage the network, including labor costs and backhaul/IP costs. Effective
systems are essential for managing these expenses.

R.J. Mahadev

Customer support expenses, including billing and customer care.

Due to high labor costs, selective outsourcing of non-core functions will reduce the companys
exposure to market fluctuations.

Minimal revenues should be expected in the first year, due to issues with ramping up the sales channels
and establishing customer and network operations. Even a relatively large number of customers may
result in low revenues due to service credits and billing issues. Wholesale revenues should be treated as
just as important as retail revenues since many ISPs are interested in alternative broadband connections.
A well managed broadband wireless networks should break even within 20 months and pay back the
investment in five years. A large portion of the value of the business will lie in its terminal value and the
ongoing cash flow expected. The key to maximizing profitability includes the following:

Maximize network utilization by offering off-peak packages (revenues with almost zero
incremental costs), tightly managing subscriber over subscription, and employing location-based
sales models.

Having a strong set of operating metrics such as per cell-site profitability, per customer revenues
and costs, and employee efficiency metrics.

Gating capital expenditures based on milestones such as meeting the business case, proving in the
technology, creating a competitive advantage, etc.

As discussed earlier, the development of a robust business case will allow for improved decision-making
and strategy development. This will provide a strong foundation for rapid deployment of the network.
However, it is also worth remembering that no amount of planning can compensate for a high enough
concentration of bad luck.

77

Converged Public and


Enterprise Wireless Networks
Sunil Mahajan
Chief System Engineer
Hughes Software Systems, India
Convergence is happening in almost all spheres of telecommunication domains with network, services,
and media all converging to a single unified network. Unified networks provide triple playvoice, video,
dataservices, converged services networks with one node catering to services requirements of mobile
and fixed networkssession initiation protocol (SIP)based application servers, and many more.
This white paper focuses on the convergence aspects of public mobile or cellular networks with wireless
enterprise networks. This paper explores the need of such convergence, technical issues involved, various
technical or protocol options available, and challenges that cellular operators will face in operating such a
converged network.
What Is Public and Enterprise Network Convergence?
Public and enterprise network convergence means a single network or a single operator of both public and
enterprise communication networks. This operator will install and create, manage, and provide services to
both public network users and also to enterprise users. The level of convergence can vary from operator to
operator or from enterprise to enterprise. For example, some enterprises might have only enterprise voice
services handled by a network operator and data services handled locally, while others might have both
voice and data communication needs handled by the operator. Another level of convergence sees both
voice and data services converged to a single IPbased packet network, as the cellular operator offers
both voice and data services to the enterprise users on a single unified packet data network.
This convergence already exists for voice services with public switched telephone network (PSTN)
operators offering Centrex or hosted private branch exchange (PBX) services to enterprises, where the
voice communication needs of the enterprise users is taken care of by the network operator and the
enterprise does not need to install any local PBX or local wiring for voice communication. The same level
of services are also offered by some of the wireless (cellular) operators where enterprise users can form
groups and make use of closed user group calling feature or Centrex features on the mobile switch.
However, in both these scenarios the actual voice communication between any two enterprise users
actually travels all the way from the enterprise equipment (fixed phone or mobile phone) to the network
and is then switched by network back to the enterprise, whereas with local PBX it is switched locally.
Therefore, even for local calling the network operator has to bear wasted bandwidth or spectrum.
Current enterprise networks maintain separate voice and data networks within the enterprise; to connect
these two networks to the public networks, there are two separate independent network connections at
times to two separate network operators, one offering voice services and the other offering data services.
79

Converged Public and Enterprise Wireless Networks

With the convergence happening in public networks and public network operators offering both voice and
data services, an enterprise can get both services from a single operator. Both PSTN (fixed network
operators) and mobile operators offer voice and data services, such as digital subscriber line (DSL)
connections, general packet radio service (GPRS), and third generation (3G) networks. Moving forward,
these networks will offer both services on a single unified network, and this network as per current
evolution is an IPbased packet network offering both voice and data services. Enterprise networks can be
expected to parallel the convergence happening within the public network. Within enterprise networks the
voice and data services will converge to a single unified IPbased packet network. In fact, some of the
other communication needs within an enterprise, such as announcement systems, will also converge with
IPbased networks.
The future convergence of enterprise and public networks will be based on single end-to-end packetbased networks with the public network operator offering both voice and data services to both public and
enterprise users.
There are a few other important requirements for the convergence of public and enterprise networks. A
true converged network will give a uniform feel to the end user and should also provide seamless roaming
between the two. Therefore, any services being offered by a public network should also be available to
enterprise users. A few examples of the existing services include short message service (SMS) and
multimedia messaging service (MMS) services available on the public mobile network. Another
important aspect is that the mobility of the user within the public network (including roaming) should be
available to enterprise users as well. This implies that any new service launched by the public network
operator should be instantly and simultaneously available to both public and enterprise users. However,
this excludes the set of services that are specific to one network or the other; for example, an enterprise
user may want an operator interface or front-desk key board system, which is not a requirement for the
public network user. Another example could be video on demand service, which may be of interest to the
public network user while not required by the enterprise user. One of the easiest ways to meet some of
these listed requirements is through convergence in the end-user device. This means that the device used
by the end user to access the services while in the public network and the device the end user uses to
access services within the enterprise should be unified to a single device. This device might support
different interfaces as required by these two networks, for example wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) within the
enterprise and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in the public network.
A true converged network will have many more requirements; however, convergence can also be
achieved through a smaller set of requirements, and then later such networks can move toward a true
converged network definition. In fact, a sudden change in the user interface or its behavior toward the
network will also inhibit deployment of such networks. Hence, such networks will slowly move toward a
real or true converged network.
Whats the Need?
The need for any such technology can be analyzed from two different perspectives. One is the pushing
factor, which considers whether there are any services or requirements that are not met by an existing
solution or whether the new technology offers additional gains over and above the existing technology.
This basically translates to ease of use or end-user savings along with gain to the public network carrier.
End user in this context connotes both users of the service and the enterprise as a whole. Some of the
push factors include the following:

80

More and more services getting added to the public mobile networks, such as SMS, MMS, PTT,
and many more, today are not available to enterprise users. Some of these services alone can
really enhance a users productivity and hence can become push factors.

Sunil Mahajan

Another example is user mobility within an enterprise, while remaining reachable, which is
directly related to improved productivity.

Currently within public networks a user can roam from one network to another, or from one city
to other, but does not maintain the same identity when moving from one enterprise office to
another. Convergence can provide seamless, consistent identity.

Other than the above mentioned push factors, there are many other gains or advantages that can help us to
save moneyor earn moreand can help increase productivity. A starting point is an analysis of the
benefits of a real or true converged network with respect to the various entities involved in it. Various
entities, which will gain from such convergence, include enterprise management, enterprise IT and
telecom departments, end users, and public network carriers.
Gains for Enterprises
With every converged technology there are some inherent gains attached, which also comprise part of the
convergence solution. When various network services are converged, such as voice and data on the same
network, less equipment and equipment management is required. This means that both capital expenditure
and operational expenses come down. Capital expenses are reduced as less equipment must be acquired
and operational expenses reflect this reduction. In addition, less space, less power, and fewer people are
needed to manage networks.

In this solution as the network is operated by the public network operator, enterprises need not
spend money on system acquisition and maintenance or on network maintenance and operations.
If the service providers monthly charge is higher than the operational and capital expenses, then
this is not a viable solution, unless it provides other benefits that justify the additional cost.

Another important gain related to system maintenance is the cost of equipment upgrade. With
each additional new feature, enterprises will need to spend additional money for system upgrade,
whereas with a converged solution, this expense is borne by service provider. Any new service
deployment by the service provider will also be instantly available to enterprise users.

Any expansion in the enterprise user base is also taken care of by the network operator, which is
again capital expenditure saving.

If an enterprise has multi-site offices, then connection across these enterprise offices is also taken
care of by the network operator. Enterprise users need not spend money on equipment, network
connection, or capacity expansion.

When uniform service is experienced, end users enjoy a high degree of satisfaction, resulting in
higher productivity.

When the end user can use the same device to access both public and enterprise networks, a lower
investment is required than when two separate devices are needed.

If enterprise network access is based on a wireless network, which supports mobility, reachability
is much higher and in turn results in higher productivity.

81

Converged Public and Enterprise Wireless Networks

Gains for Network Service Provider


As discussed in the previous paragraph, with every converged technology there are some inherent gains
attached that are also available in this convergence solution. If various network services are converged,
such as voice and data on the same network, less equipment need be managed. This means that both
capital expenditure and operational expenses come down. Capital expenses are reduced as less equipment
must be acquired and operational expenses reflect this reduction. In addition, less space, less power, and
fewer people are needed to manage networks. This applies to service providers as well; if service
providers deploy a converged technology to provide all services on a single IPbased network (end-to-end
IP) it will save on costs to the service provider too. However, in this section we will discuss gains with
respect to public and enterprise network convergence.

Public network service providers can increase their revenue by either increasing the subscriber
base or by increasing the average revenue per user (ARPU). With a converged network approach
the service provider can achieve both.

A larger subscriber base is available as the service provider can offer services to enterprise users,
which are not otherwise targeted by public network operators. The call volume generated by these
users is typically higher than that of network users.

The addition of new services in the network, which are typically used by users in public networks,
could now be accessed by enterprise users as well, which in turn will result in higher ARPU.

Service providers will also save on software upgrade costs, as the same set of services will be
made available to both public network users and enterprise users via a single network software
upgrade. Providers need not invest in two different systems for upgrade.

Service providers can also define new sets of services for the converged networks that are
typically not possible in two disparate or separate networkssuch as follow me across the
public and private networkto increase ARPU with additional charges for these added services.

Gains for End User


Converged public and enterprise networks are highly beneficial for end users too. With a uniform service
experience within enterprise and public networks, users productivity will go up and result in higher
revenue per user for the enterprise.

A uniform service experience achieves higher end user satisfaction, which means higher productivity.

With a single device to access both public and enterprise networks, end users and enterprises face
lower costs.

A greater number of services are available to the end user, as all the services that can be accessed
from the public network are also available within the enterprise or vice versa.

However, as it is not easy to build a true converged network to meet all of the requirements previously
listed, most of the deployments will take a step-by-step approach. There are many challenges to be
overcome and many problems to be solved before reaching a true converged network. Industry players,
consortiums, and standard bodies are currently working on these issues.

82

Sunil Mahajan

Technical Solution?
In order to achieve a real converged network, there are multiple requirements that a service provider must
meet. Additionally, a converged network also provides the option to enterprises or users to use only a
portion of the available services, for example, an enterprise might only be interested in converged voice
services and, for security reasons, does not require a data network to be integrated with the public
network. Another enterprise might only be interested in voice services, but over existing circuit networks
and not converged voice services on packet networks. Consequently, a service provider should be flexible
in its offerings.
An evaluation of some of the technical solutions that are available and possible for such a converged
network follows.

There is a requirement for the converged network to offer mobility to the enterprise users, which
implies that the access network within the enterprise needs to be wireless based.

There is a requirement from the perspective of the service provider network to do local switching
of calls within the enterprise for all local terminating calls, so as to save bandwidth or spectrum.

There is a requirement to save on equipment costs, so deployment should not require too much
additional equipment in the network.

There is a requirement to provide seamless roaming between the public network and enterprise
networks.

Converged networks must provide security as per the enterprises needs.

Such network deployment should not require too much infrastructure deployment within the
enterprise, such as additional wiring or replacing wiring, either by the enterprise or by the
service provider.

New services added to the public network shall also be available to the enterprise users; this shall
not require any upgrades of enterprise equipment.

The new converged network shall add new innovative services to enhance user experience.

In order to meet some of the basic requirements of a real converged network, service providers need to
rely on wireless access within the enterprise at the low cost. Wi-Fi or 802.11x standard can very well
satisfy this need and can also meet some of the other basic requirements such as support of both voice and
data. In order to meet some of the other basic requirements, such as local switching of calls within the
enterprise, the deployed network within the enterprise needs to be voice over IP (VoIP)based; signaling
will still travel to the service provider server, but real-time transport media (RTP) will be switched
locally. Further, to meet the need of innovative converged services, session initiated protocol (SIP) shall
be assumed as standard for VoIP deployment within an enterprise.
The convergence of an enterprise network with a public network based on these technical solutions
achieves the following:

A Wi-Fibased enterprise network which will be set up by the service provider providing both
voice and data services and requiring minimum equipment or wiring within the enterprise.

83

Converged Public and Enterprise Wireless Networks

Voice services will be locally based on VoIP protocols and data services will be directly provided
over a Wi-Fi network.

If the service provider upgrades its network to make it VoIPbased, then integration is
straightforward. Otherwise, it needs to deploy a gateway solution which can translate the
enterprise voice to a network-based solution.

In addition, service providers will also need to provide a solution to handle seamless roaming
between the public network and enterprise networks.

Considering that an enterprise network is Wi-Fibased and a public network is cellular


technologyGSM, code division multiple access (CDMA), or Universal Mobile
Telecommunications System (UMTS)based, end users must be provided with dual-mode
handsets, an additional investment by either the service provider or enterprise.

Any new service addition in the network will require interworking over Wi-Fi or VoIP protocols.

The service provider will need to provide security for all data access.

The service provider can use either a fixed line connection or wireless connection to connect the
enterprise to the public network.

The service provider may require a software upgrade to the switching software if it does not
already support enterprise solutions (like a Centrex or hosted PBX solution)

The above described solution will form the foundation of future converged networks where the service
provider will also upgrade its public network to support the real converged network (VoIP or in general
media over IPbased network), which will result in lower interworking requirements and hence lower
equipment cost.
Challenges Involved?
Building a real converged network will be a big challenge for service providers; however it will be
deployed on an incremental basis, with each step adding more convergence into the solution, either at the
network level or at a service level. Some of the basic issues that should be addressed for basic deployment
are as follows:

84

Wi-Fi network deployment within an enterprise should be resistant to security attacks, such as
parking lot attacks. (The IEEE is working on enhanced security standards.)

A Wi-Fi network shall provide quality of service for real time traffic, such as voice. (The IEEE is
working on quality of service [QoS] standards.)

Solution deployment shall support seamless roaming between enterprise and public networks. It
shall have common authentication and security mechanisms. (There are companies working on
roaming between GSM and Wi-Fi networks.)

Availability of dual-mode handsets will be a big challenge. (There are few vendors producing these.)

Interworking between Wi-Fi enterprise networks and cellular networks must be supported.

Sunil Mahajan

For data convergence, service provider networks must support enterprise specific security
policies, including firewalls and network address translations (NATs) for each enterprise solution.

A business model for both enterprises and service providers must be created.

Conclusion
As discussed, convergence is happening at various levels in the telecom domain, within both public
networks and enterprise networks. Enterprise and public wireless network convergence has started to
happen in a small way with the trials related to roaming between GSM and Wi-Fi networks, which is a
move toward real converged networks. It is apparent that public networks are converging to a single
unified networkIMS for 3Gand enterprise networks also converging to either VoIP or VoIP over WiFi with data over the same network, which will eventually lead to convergence of these two networks.
With the right business model from a service provider, converged networks will bring value to all users.
Though the discussions in this white paper primarily focused on convergence or public mobile networks
and enterprise (wireless) networks, the same principals can also be applied to convergence of public fixed
network operators and enterprise networks (wireless or IPbased).

85

4G Mobile IP Will Become


a Disruptive Technology
L. Calvin Price
President and Chief Executive Officer
ICON Corporation
Abstract
This paper will set out to analyze some of the current literature regarding the potential impact of the next
generation of wireless technology known as fourth generation (4G). There is increasing evidence to support
that this technology, unlike its predecessors, will have an immediate global impact. Simply put, there is now a
perception that 4G will become a disruptive technologynot just nationally, but internationally as well. Much
of the interest surrounding this topic has primarily been driven by the recognition of the inherent weaknesses in
current mobile technologies, namely, second generation (2G) and third generation (3G). These weaknesses
include the following: lack of standardization and interoperability, data rate limitations, quality of service
(QoS) limitations, and high infrastructure development costs. As the world moves towards a more global
economy, these weaknesses have now come to the forefront, knocking at the doors of our borders and forcing
us to confront the reality of what is now known as 4G.
Introduction
There are a number of definitions that have recently been ushered in to describe 4G. There also appears to be a
general consensus among telecom insiders regarding a 4G definition. Haraldsvik (2004), Vice President at
Flarion Technologies, states that, With the common goal of convergence, the two worlds of wired and wireless
networks soon will come together to create a truly converged communication network. This end point is also
referred to as 4G. (Haraldsvik, R. 2004, p.1). This paper will define 4G as a standard for the transmission of
integrated voice, video, and data over a converged mobile broadband wireless access (MBWA) and fixed
broadband wireless access (FBWA) allInternet protocol (IP) network. This paper will analyze the current issues
surrounding wireless mobility and then make the case for why 4G could become a disruptive technology. In order
to make this case, however, the paper will address four major issues that are associated with current wireless
standards: 1) lack of standardization and interoperability, 2) QoS limitations, 3) high infrastructure development
costs; and 4) data rate limitations. When discussing these issues, this paper will refer to the most recent wireless
(mobile and fixed) access technologies for comparisons with 4Gnamely 3G, 2G, and 802.11 technologies. In
addition, it will propose two 4G paths that will address these issues. One path for mobile wireless access
technology and one path for fixed wireless access technology with limited mobility.
Lack of Standardization and Interoperability
Looking across the horizon, it has become increasingly obvious that the world has entered a new realm called
the global economy. Society has also embarked upon a new era of increased competition that in the United

87

4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology

States, for example, has been triggered by the implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This
increased competition, along with the threat of market saturation looming, has forced telecommunications
companies to look across the border at the potential for acquiring a share of the global marketplace. However,
as we continue to enter into this realm, marveling at all of the possibilities, it has also become apparent that
standardization has become a critical issue. When telecommunications companies develop products, it is
important that these products can operate in a global economy, thus alleviating the necessity for creating
multiple telecommunications products that use multiple standards and protocols. From a wireless
telecommunications standpoint, the type of standard is characterized by certain factors such as the type of radio
transmission technology that is used, the frequency band that is used, and the modulation scheme that is used.
Though there are other factors that affect standardization, these three factors play a very important role.
Never has the issue of standardization been more apparent than it is in Asia, where there has been a
proliferation of telecommunications services. Just recently, Nihon Keizai Shimbun (2004) reported that
Japan, China, and Korea, in an effort to adopt a unified communications protocol, have decided to jointly
develop 4G technology and communications. This move alone could have a major impact on the
telecommunications industry given that these three countries combined account for 30% of all cell phone
users worldwide (Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 2004, P.1).
To better understand the impact of standardization and operability, two charts are used to highlight the
differences between existing wireless technologies. Table 1 provides a comparison between two mobile
access technologies, 3G mobile and 4G mobile. Table 2 shows a comparison between a number of fixed
access technologies including: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11a, 802.11e, 802.11i, 802.11h, 802.11j, 802.11n,
802.15.1 (Bluetooth), and 802.16a (WiMAX).
Characteristics

3G Mobile (with 2.5G)

4G Mobile

Major Requirement Driving


Architecture

Predominantly voice driven data


was an add-on

Converged voice, video, and data over IP

Network Architecture

Wide-area cell-based

Integration of WLAN (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth),


WiMAN, and IP Mobile

Speed

144 kbps to 2 Mbps (fixed)

20 to 100 Mbps in mobile mode

Frequency Band

Dependent on country or continent


(1800-2400 MHz)

Higher-frequency bands (28 GHz)

Bandwidth

1.25/5 MHz (cdma2000)

100 MHz (or more)

Switching Scheme

Circuit and Packet

All digital with packetized voice & data

Radio Transmission Technology

W-CDMA, 1xRTT, 3xRTT, EV-DO,


EV-DV, Edge, GPRS

OFDM and MCCDMA

Forward Error Correction (FEC)

Convolution coding rate 1/2, 1/3

Concatenated coding scheme

Component Design

Optimized antenna design, multi-band Smarter antennas, software multi-band, and


adapters
wideband radios

IP

A number of air link protocols,


including IP 5.0

All IP (IP v6.0)

Modified by L. Calvin Price

Table 1: Mobile Access Technology Comparison


88

L. Calvin Price

Physical
Layer

802.11 b
WiFi

802.11 g
WiFi

802.11 a
WiFi-5

802.11 e
QoS

802.11 i
Security

802.11 h
Europe

802.11j
Japan

802.11 n
(draft)

802.15.1
Blue-tooth

802.16 a
WMAN

11 Mbps

54 / 11
Mbps

54 Mbps

----

----

54 Mbps

54 Mbps

108 Mbps

10-55 Mbps
2-200 Kbps

70 Mbps

DSSS:
CCK/BPS
K/QPSK

OFDM/
CCK/
PBCC

OFDM

----

----

OFDM

OFDM

MIMOOFDM

FSSS/
w/GFSK

OFDM/
OFDMA

2.4 GHz

2.4 GHz

5 GHz

----

----

5 GHz

5 GHz

5 GHz

2.4 GHz

2 - 11 GHz

< 200 ft

< 200 ft

< 50 ft

----

----

< 1.5 km

< 1.5 km

TBD

< 30 ft.

4-6 miles

Coverage < 300 ft

< 300 ft

40-300 ft

----

----

1.2 - 9 km

1.2 9 km

TBD

30 300 ft

30 miles

Security

WEP /
WPA

WEP-152
bit

----

TKIP (1st)
AES (2nd)

WPA /
AES

WPA / AES

TBD

WEP 128
bit

Triple-DES
RSA-1024 bit

HDTV/
MPEG 2

QoS
w/ HCF

TKIP (1st)
AES (2nd)

TPC &
DCS/DFS

TPC /&
DCS/DFS

MIMO

cheap

Last Mile,
Q o S & TPC

Data rate
Modulation
Scheme
Freq Band
AP - AP

Distance

Special
Features

WEP64/128 bit
CD audio/
MPEG 2

Channels 11/(3) @ 22
Access
Method

11/(3) @
22 MHz

12/(8) @ 20
MHz

----

----

MHz

19 @ 20
MHz

4 @ 20
MHz

@20 MHz
or 40MHz

79 (3) @ 1
MHz

8/16 UL @
1.5-20 MHz

CSMA/
CA

CSMA/
CA

CSMA/
CA

HCF &
EDCF

----

CSMA/
CA

CSMA/CA

TBD

CSMA/CA

Dynamic
TDM/TDMA

Created by Lawrence Price

Table 2: Fixed Access Technologies


Third-Generation Issues
One of the greatest threats to the survival of 3G is its lack of interoperability between operating modes
within the 3G standard. Examples of operating modes would include wideband code division multiple
access (W-CDMA) and CDMA2000. Table 1 displays a number of 3G radio transmission technologies
(RTT). Each radio transmission technology is associated with a different operating mode and all of the 3G
operating modes are associated with the 3G standard. This standard is called IMT-2000 (International
mobile Telecommunications 2000), and was defined by the ITU (International Telecommunications
Union) in 1999. The ITU has defined five (5) separate operating modes: W-CDMA, CDMA2000, TDSCDMA, UWC-136 (i.e., EDGE), and DECT. The first three (3) are based on CDMA and the latter two
are based on TDMA. CDMA2000 and W-CDMA are the most widely used - with CDMA2000 being the
most dominant. According to 3G-Today (2004), there are a total of 103 commercially deployed 3G
networks in over 46 countries (3G Today, 2004, p.1). Presently, only one country, China, has decided to
deploy a network that uses TD-SCDMA. According to the TD-SCDMA Forum (2004), Chinas TDSCDMA network will be commercially available in 2005 (TD-SCDMA Forum, 2004, p.1). Thus, only
two of the five 3G operating modes are commercially in use: CDMA2000 and W-CDMA. This means
that interoperability within 3G networks is limited to two operating modes. However, this remains an
issue for both consumers and service providersespecially from a global perspective since CDMA2000
and W-CDMA each use different radio transmission technologies that are not inter-operable. Therefore, if
the goal for 3G was standardization, that is, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-2000, then it
has failed to meet this goal.
Of the radio transmission technologies noted in Table 1, four are associated with CDMA-2000: 1.25
megahertz (MHz) evolution radio transmission technology (1xRTT), 5 MHz evolution radio transmission
technology (3xRTT), evolution data only (EV-DO), and evolution data and voice (EV-DV). Only two of
these four are commercially available, 1xRTT and EV-DO. Marek (2003) notes that current CDMA2000
service providers who wish to improve data rates, can effectively upgrade their 1xRTT networks to EVDO through software and BTS module upgrades (although EV-DO requires dedicated spectrum). Service
providers can also upgrade their CDMA2000 networks from either 1xRTT or EV-DO to EV-DV. EV-DV
does not require dedicated spectrum since the same 1.25 MHz channel can be used. EV-DV also has
faster data rates than EV-DO (Marek, 2003, p.1). Thus, although there is intra-operability within the

89

4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology

CDMA2000 operating mode, interoperability between operating modes (CDMA2000 and W-CDMA)
does not exist and remains an issue for 3G.
Second-Generation Issues
2G, though not referred to in Table 1 experiences a slightly different but related problem. There are
actually multiple standards for 2G. 2G on its own is not formally considered a standard by the ITU. The
three most common 2G standards are CDMAOne (IS-95), Global System for Mobile Communications
(GSM), and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) (IS-136). Each of these digital standards can
operate in the same personal communications service (PCS) frequency range of 1.9 GHz. However, each
utilizes a different radio technology and modulation scheme, which are characteristic of the standard.
Therefore, the lack of interoperability in 2G occurs because of lack of standardization.
802.11 Issues
One problem surrounding the lack of standardization in 802.11 has to do with the use of different
frequency bands. In Table 2, each 802.11 physical layer (PHY) represents a different standard. A
comparison can be made between 802.11g wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) (802.11b upgraded) and 802.11a (WiFi5, i.e., 5 GHz) to highlight the issue of lack of standardization. An assumption is sometimes made that
the two standards are interoperable because they can theoretically achieve the same data rate54
megabits per second (Mbps). However, although both standards can operate at the same data rate
(theoretically), they do not share the same frequency band. Thus, interoperability between 802.11b/g and
802.11a is not possible. 802.11a operates in the less congested 5.5 GHz band while 802.11b and 802.11g
operate in the unlicensed and very congested 2.4 GHz band. On the other hand, 802.11g is backward
compatible with 802.11b since both standards can operate in the same frequency band (i.e., 2.4 GHz), and
share a common modulation scheme (complementary code keying).
In addition to the standardization issue associated with incompatible frequency bands, 802.11 standards
do not all use the same modulation schemes. For example, although 802.11b and 802.11g both use
multiple modulation schemes (i.e., adaptive modulation), namely orthogonal frequency division
multiplexing (OFDM), complementary code keying (CCK), and packet binary convolution coding
(PBCC), they both share the ability to use CCK modulation. This allows interoperability to occur between
the two standards. However, 802.11a does not use multiple modulations schemesit is limited to OFDM.
Although the use of OFDM in and of itself is not a bad thing, it does limit 802.11as ability to
communicate with 802.11b. Note that Intel has recently developed a chip that can be used to work with
both 802.11a and 802.11b. Thus, some efforts are being made to address some interoperability issues.
However, it is very clear that lack of standardization and interoperability are significant issues for fixed
access technologies such as 802.11.
Quality of Service
Convergence
An interesting trend has been witnessed recently. It would be difficult to deny the fact that technology and
demand are moving towards convergence, that is, the integration of voice, video, and data all traveling
over a converged mobile access and fixed access network. In order to support convergence, the necessity
for implementing QoS has become a priority. This is a crucial issue, especially when one considers that
voice and video are time-critical applications. In other words, unlike data transmission, voice and video
must be delivered in real time.
Black (1997) highlights several challenges associated with the integration of voice, video, and data
applications. First, voice and low quality video transmissions show a significantly high tolerance for
errors. However, data protocol data units (PDUs) show a low tolerance for errors. Second, there is the
issue of network delay. The ability to translate digitized voice back to an analog signal in real time
90

L. Calvin Price

requires a constant and relatively low network delay tolerance, typically less than 200 milliseconds (ms).
Therefore, timing between sender and receiver is crucial. Packet data, however, does not fall under the
same constraints since it can be transmitted asynchronously without regard to timing. Voice transmission
falls under similar constraints, but voice fidelity will not be significantly affected as long as packet losses
do not exceed more than one percent of the total packet transmission. Finally, in an effort to help reduce
delay and make it predictable, voice and video transmissions require short queue lengths at each network
node, even at the expense of experiencing some packet loss. In contrast, data packets require longer queue
lengths during overflow conditions to prevent packet loss (Black, U., 1997, P. 414).
Video transmission becomes an even greater issue in that it requires more bandwidth than voice and data.
Part of the bandwidth issue is addressed by creating bigger pipelines. It is also addressed by using
compression algorithms such as Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG)-4. Thus, there is a need to
allocate bandwidth dynamically. This is known as dynamic bandwidth allocationa key aspect of QoS.
Convergence QoS 4th Generation
Notice that in the above relationship, evolution went straight to 4G and not 3G. This is primarily because
3G cellular networks, like their 2G predecessors, were not originally designed for QoS. QoS was
developed to address real time transmission issuessomething that has not been satisfactorily addressed
in cellular networks, where the primary focus has been to deliver voice and some data. Now that the need
for convergence is imminent, 3G networks that are currently being built do not completely address the
need for convergence. The definition of 3G does not include convergence and when it comes to the issue
of convergence, these networks are only hybrid in nature at best, addressing voice and video transmission
separately. Additional modifications have to be made to 3G networks in order to allow them to address
the need for convergence.
Benefits of QoS
In many networks, QoS is the most important issue. In fact, in moving towards convergence many would
argue that QoS would rank first in comparison to other issues such as security, transmission speed,
interoperability, and spectrum saturation. Following are some of the reasons why this is so.
First, the goal of QoS is to provide a level of guarantee to all traffic within the network. This is especially
true for real-time applications such as voice and video. To be more specific, new applications such as
voice over IP (VoIP) and streaming video are less tolerant to network delay (latency) and as networks
grow larger, bandwidth management becomes even more crucial. Bandwidth management is an important
aspect of QoS.
Second, QoS is also designed to address such issues as denial of service (DoS) attacks. In other words,
QoS products are being tested and designed to handle and manage bandwidth, even in the face of DoS
attacks that can add significant amounts of congestion to a network.
Third, QoS can help address the issue of edge-network bottlenecks. For example, as high speed local-area
network (LAN) traffic is handed off to a lower speed wide-area network (WAN), a potential bottleneck
can occur. Traffic management helps to anticipate and alleviate this bottleneck.
Finally, from a business perspective, QoS will become even more vital as convergence looms nearer. This
is true not only because of applications such as VoIP or streaming video, but also for important and
specialized business applications and processes such as PeopleSoft. This can be a very intensive process
on a network and it must be assured network availability.

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4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology

High Infrastructure Development Costs


As previously discussed, there are inherent problems with 3G that have influenced the interest and
development of 4G. It is quite apparent that standardization and QoS issues are critical and need to be
addressed. However, the most important issue for service providers is probably the high cost of
developing a 3G infrastructure. In fact, this issue has triggered quite a bit of skepticism and
implementation delays in both the United States and abroad. In Asia for example, IDC Asia (2004), a
global telecommunications market intelligence and advisory firm, recently published a statement by
Indias new Minister of IT and communications, Dayanidhi Maran, that India will skip the development
of 3G technology and go directly to 4G. The premise of his position resides largely on an issue that many
agree with. That is, that packet-based equipment (i.e., 4G) is far less expensive (four to ten times less
expensive) to implement than circuit-switched equipment (i.e., 3G). In fact, Nextel communications has
also decided to bypass 3G, in favor of implementing its own version of 4G Technology known as
WiDEN. It would be a much more expensive proposition for Nextel to implement 3G technology.
According to CNET (2004), Nextel has already started 4G trials in the Raleigh-Durham market using
Flarions Flash OFDM equipment from Flarion Technologies. The company is also teaming up with some
of its current vendorsNortel Networks, IBM, and Cisco Systemsto do the testing.
There are several different paths that current 2G wireless network service providers can undertake in the
event that they wish to upgrade their networks from 2G to 3G. Each migration path has a significant
dollar amount attached to it depending on the magnitude of the upgrade. The migration path is also
limited by the type of 2G technology that the service provider currently has in place. The migration path
from a 2G standard such as CDMAOne (IS-95) to a 3G operating mode such as CDMA2000 (1x-RTT,
3x-RTT, EV-DO and EV-DV) is potentially a less expensive option than the migration path from a 2G
TDMA network to the W-CDMA 3G operating mode. However, both migration paths are relatively
expensive when compared to the migration path costs toward 4G. This is primarily because the cost of
circuit-switched equipment used in 2G and 3G is far more expensive than the packet-based equipment
that 4G would utilize.
Data Rate Limitations
Another issue facing wireless telecommunications is that there is an increasing demand for multimedia
applications. Although 3G networks, for example, will be able to provide data rates as high as 144
kilobits per second (kbps) mobile and two Mbps fixed, this bandwidth is typically shared among users
and thus effective data rates can be much slower. These data rates are insufficient to address true
convergence. The data rates promised by 4G can progress as high as 256 Mbps. Further, 4G bandwidths
may be on the order of 100MHz per channel versus that of a 1.25MHz 1xRTT channel or a 5MHz 3xRTT
channel. Please refer to Table 1.
It is just as important to study the data rate limitation issue from a fixed wireless access standpoint as it is
from a mobile wireless access standpoint. Although fixed wireless access technologies such as 802.11
provide much higher data rates than their mobile counterparts (2G and 3G), it has become increasing
obvious that even these data rates may not be sufficient to address the requirements for multimedia and
streaming video applications. This is not because some 802.11 (i.e., 802.11a or 802.11g) standards are
incapable of establishing high data rates; it is because in an environment of increased coverage and access
proliferation, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain truly effective throughput. For example,
802.11a operates most effectively at shorter distances than 802.11b/g (see Table 1). At the same time,
802.11b and 802.11g have better performance (data throughput) than 802.11a does at greater distances.
From the data on Table 2, 802.11a access points (APs) must be placed every 50 feet (ft.) compared to
every 200 ft for 802.11b/g. This also means that at the same data rate an 802.11a network is more
expensive to implement than an 802.11b/g network, since more APs would be required to achieve the
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L. Calvin Price

same performance. In addition, the coverage for a single 802.11a AP is between 40300 ft. However, the
high data rate of 54 Mbps promised by 802.11a drops off dramatically as the distance from the AP
increases, typically around 60 ft. This has a significant impact on 802.11a AP coverage. One of the not so
obvious reasons for this is that 802.11a operates at a higher frequency (5.5 GHz) band than 802.11b/g (2.4
GHz) and wavelengths (lambdas) are proportional to range or coverage.
Alternatively, many current users of 802.11 customer premise equipment are perfectly satisfied with
802.11b throughputs (up to 11 Mbps). They are not necessarily concerned with achieving the 54 Mbps
data rates offered by 802.11a (or 802.11g for that matter). However, as more and more bandwidth
intensity applications are added to fixed wireless networks, and as more and more users are added,
bandwidth and data rates will become a premium.
To look at this in more detail, note that 802.11a offers more bandwidth than 802.11b. 802.11a uses 12
non-overlapping channels. Most 802.11a products typically use only eight channels giving a maximum
throughput of 432 Mbps (eight times 54 Mbps). 802.11b products are designed for 11 channels, but only
three are non-overlapping (i.e., a maximum of three APs per area). This means that the maximum
throughput for 802.11b is around 66 Mbps (three times 11 Mbps).
This paper will now introduce two solutions to address these issues. One solution can be used to address
the mobile wireless access issues found in 2G and 3G, while the other solution can be used to address the
fixed wireless access issues found in 802.11. The first discussion considers the mobile access solution, 4G
mobile IP. This will then be followed by the second solution, 802.16e, WiMAX with limited mobility.
Both solutions are considered 4G.
Mobile Broadband Wireless Access 4G Mobile IP Solution
One of the primary advantages of 4G mobile IP is that it uses the IPv6 Internet protocol. The goal of 4G
is to forge standardization within the telecommunications industry by developing an all IPbased mobile
network. However, an allIP network is not its only advantage; 4G addresses all of the issues discussed in
2G and 3G. Along with adhering to a single and advanced IP protocol (IPv6) standard, 4G mobile IP uses
two advanced modulation schemes: OFDM and multi-carrier CDMA access (MC-CDMA). In addition,
4G mobile IP works in a very wide frequency band between two to eight GHz. In fact, 4G IP mobile is
compatible with and independent of most radio transmission technologies, including those for
CDMA2000, W-CDMA, 802.11, 802.16, 802.15, and Hyper-LAN I and II. Finally, 4G mobile IP will be
capable of achieving data rates as high as 256 Mbps with channel bandwidths of 100 MHz.
In addition, support for 4G is very strong, both nationally and internationally. Those companies that
support 4G have a common goalopen architecture. One such architecture is known as Open Wireless
Architecture. According to the Fourth Generation Mobile Forum (4GMF), the Open Wireless
Architecture, is designed to support the convergence of broadband wireless mobile and wireless
access, as well as convergence with wireline networks (4GMF, 2004, p.1). This architecture modifies the
application (IP), media access control (MAC), and PHY layers. Although 4G has not officially been
designated a standard, a number of organizations, both nationally and internationally, have began to lay
the foundation for 4G. The 4GMF is an international technical body whose primary focus is on broadband
wireless mobile communications. Probably the largest organization by far, which was created with the
goal of helping to accelerate the deployment of Internet-based standards for mobile wireless networks is
the Mobile Wireless Internet Forum (MWIF). Founding membership in the MWIF is a list of whos who
companies in the telecommunications industry. The list in alphabetical order includes the following:
Alcatel, Bell Atlantic Mobile, Celletra, Cisco Systems, Compaq, Comverse Network Systems, DDI
Corporation, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Hyundai Electronics, IBM, IP Mobile, KPMG
Consulting, LG Information and Communications Ltd., Lucent Technologies, Malibu Networks,
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4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology

Microsoft, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Nortel Networks, Orange, Portal Software, Qualcomm, Samsung
Electronics, Sharp Corporation, Siemens, SK Telecom, Solect, Sony, Sprint PCS, Sun Microsystems,
Synacom Technology, Tekelec, Telcordia, TELOS Technology, Telstra, Telesystem International
Wireless (TIW), Toshiba, 3Com,Vodafone AirTouch, and WIND.
Sun Microsystems, also an MWIF founding member, has taken on a research lead in an effort to develop
4G mobile IP. SUN is also attempting to create an open system environment, mainly for software and tool
development, based on the Solaris operating system. According to James Kempf (2002) of Sun
Microsystems, 4G is all about an integrated, global network that is based on an open systems approach.
The goal of 4G is to replace the current proliferation of core cellular networks with a single worldwide
cellular core network standard based on IP for control, video, packet data, and VoIP (Kempf, 2002, p.1).
Fixed Broadband Wireless Access WiMAX Solution
There are two modes of WiMAX (802.16a and 802.16e) and each has its own priority, although in general
they will serve similar purposes. WiMAX-802.16a is being primed to carry backbone traffic for WLAN
hotspots. It is also being promoted as a viable solution for one of the biggest bottlenecks in a
telecommunications network, the last mile. Those who are pushing 802.16a look to replace the
dependence on T-carrier one (T1), digital subscriber line (DSL), and cable and also look to deploy it in
areas where there is currently no wireline infrastructure in place. WiMAX-802.16e on the other hand, has
a different purpose. It is being primed as a means to add mobility to the WLAN or WiMAX network.
WiMAX-802.16e allows for the combined operations of both fixed and mobile wireless in the same
frequency bands. WiMaX also has a large following. A forum was created to address interoperability
issues based on the specifications from the 802.16 task group. This is called the WiMaX Forum and
includes companies such as Intel, Agilent, and Nokia, to name a few. Note that Intel plans to integrate
WiMAX into its mobile chipsets with Wi-Fi, so computers and laptops that use Intel chips can be
expected to be able to support both Wi-Fi and WiMAX (See Table 1).
Fixed Broadband Wireless Access WiMAX Benefits
Like 4G mobile IP, the benefits of WiMAX are numerous, giving rise to the opinion held by many who
perceive it as a disruptive technology. A selection of the benefits follows.

94

Designed with QoS. This means that as we move more towards convergence (ie. voice, video, and
data transmission all within the same network), WiMAX will already have the ability to manage
bandwidth between multiple applications such as VoIP, high speed data, and streaming video.

Designed with non line of sight (NLOS) in mind. The original 802.16 standard was designed for
frequencies between ten to 66 GHz (line of sight environments). The 802.16a standard is
designed to operate in the two to 11 GHz frequency range, making it possible for NLOS
environments. This was achieved because of modulation changes. 802.16a uses three modulation
schemes, single carrier (SC), 256-OFDM, and OFDMA modulation. OFDM modulation performs
well in NLOS environments and this is one of the reasons why OFDM is so important. Mesh,
beam forming, and multiple inputs, multiple outputs (MIMO) antenna technology helps to further
improve NLOS in WiMAX.

Designed to operate in both licensed and unlicensed frequency bands. 802.16a can cover a very
wide frequency range, from 2 GHz to 11GHz. 802.16e also covers a wide frequency range,
though slightly less, from 2 GHz to 6 GHz. Currently, it covers three primary bands: 2.5 GHz
(licensed); 3.5 GHz (licensed); and 5.8 GHz (unlicensed).

L. Calvin Price

Scalability. Supports multiple channel bandwidths (i.e., profiles):


o For 5.8 GHz unlicensed use 10 MHz and 20 MHz channels (5MHz for 802.16e)
o For 3.5 GHz licensed - use 1.75 MHz, 3.5 MHz, 7 MHz, and 14 MHz channels
o For 2.5 GHz licensed use 3 MHz and 6 MHz channels

Has a very high data rate. Typical channel transmission rates can reach 100 Mbps (theoretically)
and 70 Mbps (15 Mbps for 802.16e). Thus, a single base station with 4 access units could
conceivably deliver 280 Mbps.

Works with different packet delivery mechanisms including IPv4, IPv6, Ethernet, and virtual
local-area network (VLAN).

Highly secure. 802.16a uses triple data encryption standard (DES) (128 bit) security and RSA
(1024-bit)

Uses OFDMa very spectrally efficient (about five bits per second per hertz bps/Hz) modulation
scheme. OFDM was also chosen over spread spectrum technology (CDMA) because it is even
more spectrally efficient than CDMA (about 1.6 bps/Hz). CDMA modulation techniques,
especially direct sequence, use processing gain (PG) to overcome co-channel interference.
Therefore, the available bandwidth has to be larger than the data throughput.

Uses a dynamic access method for MAC. WiMAN-802.16a/e uses time division multiplex on the
downlink and time division multiple access on the uplink (TDM/TDMA) for efficient bandwidth
usage. This is a more versatile access method than CSMA/CAa contention-based access
method. TDM/TDMA is good for delay-sensitive applications such as voice and video and allows
for collision-free access to the channel. CSMA/CA does not offer guarantees on delay.

802.16a equipment has a range of up to 30 miles (three miles for 802.16e), outdistancing all other
WLAN equipment. With this kind of range, services can be delivered to numerous homes and
businesses without having to use multiple APs. Note that advanced antennae technology is also used.

Designed to use spatial diversity to enhance performance in multi-path fading environments.

Designed to use transmit power control (TPC). TPC was also included in standard specifications
802.11h (Europe) and 802.11j (Japan). TPC allows users that are close to an AP to reduce
transmission power in order to reduce interference with other users.

Fixed and Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Issues for Mobility


Although we have identified two 4G solutions (4G mobile IP and 802.16e) that could potentially be
disruptive, it is also necessary to highlight some of the potential problems that 4G has to face for it to
truly become disruptive. The following issues will need to be addressed:

How does the mobile network determine the optimal access technology to use during handoff? Is
the signal quality better on the WiMAX network or on the 4G mobile IP network?

QoS variations between networks or adaptation of multimedia transmission across networks. (i.e.,
what happens when the QoS requirements that manage bandwidth for multimedia are different
between two networks during a handoff? If this is not properly addressed, multimedia quality is
impacted, defeating the advantages of having QoS).

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4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology

Mobility between access technologies (i.e., during fast seamless hand-offs).

4G Mobility Issue
As noted, both 4G mobile IP and 802.16e are designed around the IPv6 protocol. However, it is worth
pointing out that from a mobility standpoint, there are some inherent problems with IPv6. One problem is
that when it comes to fast handoffs, IPv6 is only suited for global mobility, that is, inter-domain mobility.
Unfortunately, studies show that almost 70% of user mobility is intra-domain or site, or stated another
way, mobility between access points within a network. IPv6 falls short in its ability to address both
macro-mobility (intra-domain mobility) and micro-mobility (rapid mobile node movement between base
stations within a subnet/intra-subnet).
IPv6 also has problems with location mobility. Basically, it uses simple location updates that fall short of
addressing problems with signaling scalability (network performance as nodes increase) and hand-off
latency (delays associated with MN binding updates to the home address and correspondence hosts).
These are two problems that can have a serious impact on multimedia transmission.
IPv6 will have to be supplemented with protocols that can address macro- and micro-mobility handoff
issues. Some of these are cellular IP, tele-MIP, hierarchical MIP (H-MIP), HAWAII, TR45.6, and DMA.
Tele-MIP can be used for micro-mobility management and can also be used to reduce location updates.
However, it does not provide for macro-mobility. HMIP, HAWAII, DMA and TR45.6 can be used for
macro-mobility and global mobility, but not micro-mobility. On the other hand, cellular IP compares
favorably to the others. It addresses all three hand-off issues: intra-subnet, intra-domain, and interdomain. In addition, a new protocol, intra-domain mobility management protocol (IDMP), is being tested.
It provides for a multi-casting and duration-limited solution to the problem.
4G Paging Issue
Another problem regarding IPv6 is that it does not support paging, unlike what has been accomplished in
other cellular infrastructures. In IPv6, a location update is accomplished by the mobile or MN, not the
network (i.e., a mobile switch). This has a significant impact on battery power. However, by
supplementing IPv6 with cellular IP, this problem can be addressed.
Additionally, the use of mobility anchor points (MAPs) can be implemented into IPv6 to act as additional
nodes or middle-men to help reduce handoffs. IPv6 is not scaleable; as the number mobile node hosts
increase, so also do the binding updates that they send to the home address (HA) and correspondence
hosts. Unfortunately, this increases the overall signaling within a network, which increases network
congestion and delay. Since IP networks can be divided into domains and subnets, MAPS can be assigned
to each domain. A MAP can hide local mobility from the HA and correspondent agents. MNs need only
send one binding update message to the local MAP instead of sending multiple messages to the HA and
correspondence agents that are further away. This cuts down on congestion. Also, when the MN is outside
the domain, the correspondent agent is not notified.
4G Fixed and Mobile Wireless Access Technology WiMAX and 4G Mobile IP
Fixed and Mobile Wireless Convergence
A very important aspect to the development of 4G mobile IP is its parallel migration with 802.16
WiMAX. As noted previously in the introduction, 4G has been defined as a standard for the transmission
of integrated voice, video, and data over a converged mobile broadband wireless access (MBWA) and
fixed broadband wireless access (FBWA) allIP network. The diagram depicts the migration from
802.16e to 4G mobile IP. The ultimate goal is for WiMAX and 4G mobile to converge.

96

L. Calvin Price

2G
14 Kbps 144 Kbps
1.9 GHz

802.11 e
802.11 g

(QoS Enhancement)

22/54 Mbps @ 2.4GHz


OFDM

802.11 a
54 Mbps @ 5GHz
OFDM

802.11 n (Draft)
100 Mbps @ 5GHz

802.16 a (3G)

802.16 e (4G)

4G Mobile IP

70 Mbps @ 2-11 GHz


Backbone

70 Mbps @ 2-6 GHz


OFDM

100 Mbps @ 2-8 GHz


OFDM

802.11 i

HIPERLAN2
QoS & Security
54 Mbps @ 5 GHz
OFDM

3G
144 Kbps 2 Mbps
< 2.7 GHz

802.11 h & j

(Security Enhance)
WPA. TKIP & AES

802.20 (4G)
1 - 4 Mbps @ < 3.5 GHz
OFDM

54 Mbps @ 5GHz
OFDM
DFS, TPC, DCS

Created by L. Calvin Price

Figure 1
Summary
This paper has discussed four issues: lack of standardization and interoperability, QoS limitations, high
infrastructure development costs, and data rate limitations. The analysis described issues from a mobile
wirelessaccess perspectivenamely 2G and 3Gand also from a fixed wirelessaccess perspective
namely 802.11. After analyzing these issues, this paper proposed two solutions. 4G mobile IP was
introduced to show its potential for resolving the issues associated with previous mobile-access
technologies. 802.16e (WiMAX) was introduced (with 802.16a) to show its potential for resolving the
issues associated with previous fixed-access technologies. Also analyzed were some of the potential
problems that both solutions could face due to their reliance on IPv6, which was not designed for true
mobility. Finally, this paper shows how both solutions are connected in a way that they will converge,
creating a true 4G IPbased network.
References
Black, U. (1997). Emerging Communications Technologies, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall Series in
Advanced Communications Technologies.
Cyber-Media (2004), Sting Brings WiMax in a 'Box' to India. Retrieved August 8, 2004,
http://www.ciol.com/content/news/2004/104071608.asp
Das, S., McAuley A., and Dutta, A, (2000). IDMP: An Intra-Domain Mobility Management Protocol for
Next Generation Wireless Networks, Columbia University, Research Web Site:
http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~dutta/research/idmp.pdf
Haraldsvik, R. (2004) Two Worlds Come Together over IP, Wireless Week, 1. Retrieved August 12,
2004, http://www.wirelessweek.com/article/CA426379?spacedesc=Departmentsandstt=001

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4G Mobile IP Will Become a Disruptive Technology

Kupetz, A. and Brown, K. (2004). A Look into the Future of Wireless Communications, Rollins Business
Journal, 1. Retrieved August 10, 2004, http://www.crummer.rollins.edu/journal/articles/
2004_1_4G.pdf
Marek, S. (2003) U.S. Spotlight Shines on EV-DO, Wireless Week, 1. Retrieved August 12, 2004,
http://www.wirelessweek.com/article/CA292170?spacedesc=Wireless+Internetandstt=001
NEASIA (2004), Japan, China, Korea to Jointly Develop 4G Cell Phone Technology, Nikkei Business
Publications,
Inc.
Retrieved
August
10,
2004,
http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/wcs/leaf?CID=onair/asabt/news/299929
Mobile Info.com (2001), 4G Beyond 2.5G and 3G Wireless Networks. Retrieved August 10, 2004,
http://www.mobileinfo.com/3G/4GVisionandTechnologies.htm
Mobile Tech News (2000), Mobile Wireless Internet Forum Formed in Cannes, 1. Retrieved August 10,
2004, http://www.mobiletechnews.com/info/2000/02/03/141822.html
Sun Microsystems (2002), All IP Wireless, All the Time. Building the 4th Generation Wireless Network
with Open Systems Solutions. Retrieved August 10, 2004, http://research.sun.com/
features/4g_wireless/
TD-SCDMA Forum (2004), China Sees TD-SCDMA Ready by Mid-2005, TD-SCDMA News, 1.
Retrieved August 13, 2004, http://www.tdscdma-forum.org/en/news/see.asp?id=254
3G Today, (2004), 3G Is Here Today 3G Operators. Retrieved August 10, 2004, http://www.3gtoday.com/
4Gcoulk Limited.com (2004), 4G Wireless Trial. Retrieved August 10, 2004, http://www.4g.co.uk/
PR2004/Jan2004/2009.htm
4Gcoulk Limited.com (2004), Fast Track to 4G for India. Retrieved August 10, 2004, http://www.4g.co.uk/
PR2004/May2004/2024.htm

98

An Overview of Wireless Fixed


and Mobile Access Technologies
Fernando Ramrez-Mireles, Ph.D.
Professor, ITAM/Digital Systems
Instituto Technolgico Autnomo de Mxico
Introduction
The increasing demand for broadband services such as fast Internet access, corporate communications,
and multimedia delivery presents both a great challenge and a great opportunity for service providers. To
respond to this challenge, and to take advantage of the opportunity, the carriers in the telecommunications
industry must develop a coherent strategy that coordinates offerings and networks between their wire line
and wireless broadband infrastructures.
The array of new technologies, emerging in both the data network and voice mobile cellular arenas, is
based on clever implementations of highly efficient modulation techniques. The diversity of approaches
does not lead to convergence, requiring one not-so-easy effort of integration in mobile broadband
solutions. The deployment of third generation (3G) technology must deal with compatibility with legacy
systems, disparity in standards, new handsets, and desirable content to be accessed mobile. Data networks
need a completely new infrastructure, and each standard addresses a specific demand, using modems
connected to the same old laptop or computer, and providing backhaul services.
In the voice mobile cellular arena the deployment of mobile broadband solutions such as 3G is starting a
new era in wide area broadband wireless communications. By trading data rate, these services allow wide
area coverage and mobility.
In the data network arena, new international standards for fixed wireless broadband last mile provide a
wireless solution to the bottleneck for providing high performance bandwidth to consumers. Two
prominent standards, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.16 and the
European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI) HiperMAN, are emerging with
capabilities that allow them not only to complement wireline services such as digital subscriber line
(DSL) and cable modem, but actually provide a highly competitive solution allowing data rates similar to
very-high-data-rate DSL (VDSL) at distances similar to asymmetric DSL (ADSL), and in some cases
even longer. Although limited in mobility, these services allow portability. A third future standard, IEEE
802.20, will allow data rates in excess of 1 megabits per second (Mbps) at vehicular speeds.
With the advent of these standards, a carrier must re-think strategies based solely on for 802.11x (Wi-Fi)
networks. The aim of this document is to provide an overview of wireless access technologies to
understand their capabilities and basic tradeoffs and to facilitate the choice of radio interface technology.

99

An Overview of Wireless Fixed and Mobile Access Technologies

3G Technologies
What Is 3G?
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Mobile
Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) is the global standard for 3G wireless communications, defined
by a set of interdependent ITU Recommendations.
The IMT-2000 provides a framework for worldwide wireless access by linking the diverse systems of
terrestrial- or satellite-based networks, exploiting the potential synergy between mobile communications
networks technologies and networks for fixed and mobile wireless access systems.
The ITU activities on IMT-2000 reflect international standardization, including frequency spectrum and
technical specifications for radio and network components, tariffs and billing, technical assistance, and
studies on regulatory and policy aspects.
In the ITUs vision, the 3G services should provide the following:

144 kilobits per second (kbps) high mobility (vehicular) data transmission
384 kbps low mobility (pedestrian) data transmission
Two Mbps stationary (untethered) wireless data transmission

These data rates should allow a new variety of services offered over the wireless mobile network, such as
on-line gaming, broadcast video, multimedia messaging, video on demand, fixed broadband, push-to-talk,
camera phone, notebook personal computer (PC) access, Web content, and of course, telephony.
The ITU also identified the following bands for IMT-2000 3G services:

806 960 megahertz (MHz)


1710 1885 MHz
1885 2025 MHz
2110 2200 MHz
2500 2690 MHz

There are various incompatible air interfaces in 3G, leading to several implications. The most obvious is
that users traveling worldwide will need more than one phone until multimode phones are available in the
market. Moreover, the radio interface determines the capacity of the network and dictates how the system
deals with such issues as multipath effects, interference, and handing off active calls from one base station
to another as users move from cell to cell. Figure 1 shows the IMT-2000 Terrestrial Radio Interfaces
defined in ITU-R Rec. M.1457.

100

Fernando Ramrez-Mireles, Ph.D.

CDMA
CDMA

CDMA

FDMA
TDMA

TDMA

TDMA

IMT-2000
CDMA
MULTICARRIER

IMT-2000
CDMA
DIRECT SPREAD

IMT-2000
CDMA
TDD

IMT-2000
TDMA
SINGLE CARRIER

IMT-2000
FDMA/
TDMA

(CDMA2000
1X AND 3X)

(UMTS: UTRA FDD)

(UMTS: UTRA TDD


& TD-SCDMA)

(UWC-136: EDGE)

(DECT)

Figure 1: The Radio Interfaces in IMT-2000


(Multiple Access Technologies and Common Names for the Respective Standards)
In the 3G code division multiple access (CDMA) systems the physical layer (PHY) includes a variable
bit-rate transport mechanism required for bandwidth-on-demand user applications. These allow
multiplexing of several services onto a single connection between the network and the mobile terminal.
Each 3G option accommodates a specific second-generation (2G) predecessor, and uses that legacy
protocol as one of its operating modes in 3G. Figure 2 shows the evolution from 2G and 2.5G to 3G, and
the 3G standards that comprise the IMT-2000, as well as other existing standards.
WCDMA
Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) is the 3G technology that is the 2G evolution of the time division multiple
access (TDMA)based Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), allowing connection to the
core network based on GSMs mobile applications part (GSM-MAP). During the evolution process the
GSM handsets can be accommodated in the enhanced 3G network extension. The 3G Partnership Project
(3GPP) formulates the WCDMA extensions to GSM and support GSM-MAP.
In the wideband approach, the transmission rate is augmented by allowing for multiple connections to a
mobile terminal and through the use of variable spreading factors, allowing bandwidth allocations in each
channel in an independent fashion; the larger the spreading factor, the lower the data rate allocation, and
vice versa. Duplex operation is based on both frequency division duplexing (FDD), which uses different
uplink and downlink frequency bands, and also time division duplexing (TDD), which uses the same
frequency band for uplink and downlink, with time-sharing transmissions in each direction. The FDD
requires the operators to have enough bandwidth allocated for the service and the TDD mode could be
useful for indoor applications or for operators with spectrum restrictions.
The Universal Mobile Telecommunications Services (UMTS) defines the evolution of GSM into 3G.
Their WCDMA radio interface is denominated UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA). UTRA is
favored in those situations where there is enough bandwidth available to support the increase in
bandwidth to five MHz.

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An Overview of Wireless Fixed and Mobile Access Technologies

DECT
Up to 500 kbps
Circuits
RF Channel
1728 MHz
2G: GSM
Data 9.6 kbps
Circuits
RF Channel
200 KHz

DECT
Up to 2 Mbps
Circuits
RF backward
Compatible
2.5G:GSM/GPRS
Data 40 Kbps
Packets
RF backward
compatible

3G: UMTS
384Kbps-2Mbps
Packets
New RF 5MHz
Bandwidth

2G: IS-136
Data 9.6 kbps
Circuits

2.5G: IS-136+

2.5-3G: EDGE
384 kbps
Packets
RF
compatible

2G: IS-95-A
Data 14.4 kbps
Circuits
RF Channel
1.25 MHz

2.5G:IS-95-B
Data 64 kbps
Packets
RF backward
Compatible

CDMA200
1X MC
153 kbps
Packet
RF backward
compatible

PDC
Data 9.6 kbps
Circuits

PDC
28.8 kbps
Circuits
RF backward
Compatible

CDMA200
3X MC
384 kbps
Packet
RF backward
compatible
1xEV-DO (HDR)
PHASE 1
2.4 Mbps
Packet
RF backward
compatible

1xEV-DV
PHASE 2
2.4 Mbps
Packet
RF backward
compatible

W-CDMA
(JAPAN)

1995-1999 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003

2003-2005

Figure 2: The Standards Evolution Paths in IMT-2000


(Approximate Timeline for Terrestrial Interfaces).
CDMA2000
CDMA2000 is the 3G technology based on multicarrier CDMA that is the 2G evolution of the CDMA
based interim standard (IS)95, allowing connection to the core network that conforms to the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)/ Electronic
Industries Alliance (EIA)41. It is expected that the multicarrier mode will be extended to allow
connection to core networks based on GSMs MAP. The 3G Partnership Project Two (GPP2) formulates
the CDMA2000 extensions to IS-95 and supports ANSI41. It is preferred by U.S. manufacturers such as
Qualcomm, Lucent Technologies, and Motorola, Inc.
In the multicarrier approach, the transmission rate is augmented by establishing multiple parallel
connections in up to three CDMA carriers. There are several operating modes, including the one-carrier
mode compatible with IS-95 and the new three-carriers three-times operating mode. This allows IS-95
handsets to work in the enhanced 3G network. Duplex operation is based on FDD

102

Fernando Ramrez-Mireles, Ph.D.

Standard

Nickname

Data Rate
Data Rate
Forward Channel Reverse Channel

1x
153 kbps
(also called 1xRTT)
CDMA2000 Rev. A 1xEV-DO
2.4 Mbps
CDMA2000 Rev. B
CDMA2000 Rev. C 1xEV-DV
3.1 Mbps
CDMA2000 Rev. D 1xEV-DV
3.1 Mbps
CDMA2000 Rev. 0

153 kbps
307 kbps
307 kbps
1 Mbps

Table 1: Summary of Different Versions in CDMA2000


TD-SCDMA
Time-division synchronous code division multiple-access (TD-SCDMA) is the 3G standard developed
jointly by China and Siemens that takes elements from WCDMA and CDMA2000. Combining time
division and CDMA gives TD-SCDMA the capability to handle high data rates and offer high flexibility
to support asymmetric traffic.
Cellular Packet Radio Networks
The 3G networks added a packet-switched network to the existing circuit-switched network. These
options allow operators with limited spectrum allocation to enhance their networks to be able to deploy
3G services. The TDMA and GSM communities have a common radio interface for outdoor
environments and two different interfaces for indoor environments
EDGE in GSM
The GSMpacket radio scheme is called enhanced data rate for GSM evolution (EDGE). EDGE is
modified from general packet radio service (GPRS), among other things, by using adaptive modulation
with Gaussian minimum shift keying (GMSK) and eight-phase phase shift keying (8-PSK). EDGE has all
of the 3G features except for its two Mbps indoor data rate. To handle indoor office applications up to two
Mbps the TDD mode in the circuit-switched WCDMA interface is used.
EGPRS-136/136HS in UWC-136
The Universal Wireless Communication Consortium defines its standard UWC-136 based on 2G TDMA
ANSI-136. The UWC-136 packet radio scheme for outdoor is called 136HS Outdoor (also called EGPRS136), and is almost identical to EDGE. Indoor applications up to two Mbps are handled using a scheme
called 136HS Indoor, also called WTDMA.
HSDPA in WCDMA
High speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) is a packet-based data service in WCDMA downlink with
data rates up to eight to ten Mbps over a five MHz bandwidth in the WCDMA downlink. HSDPA
implementations include adaptive modulation and coding, multiple-inputs, multiple outputs, hybrid
automatic request (HARQ), fast-cell search, and advanced receiver design. HSDPA is evolved from and
backward compatible with Release 99 (Rel99) WCDMA systems.
1xEV-DO in CDMA2000
The CDMA2000 1xEV-DO (the migration path of 1x systems to higher data-only packet data rates) is a
wireless technology, also known as high data rate (HDR) or standard IS-856, introducing a new air
interface with a peak data rate of 2.4Mbps and an average throughput of about 600 kbps on the forward
link, providing operators with up to three times more data capacity than current CDMA2000 1X
networks. 1xEV-DO is optimized for the bursty, high-speed, broadband-access characteristics of the

103

An Overview of Wireless Fixed and Mobile Access Technologies

Internet data model. Enhancements to the 1xEV-DO standard, referred to as Revision A, increase data
speeds, reduce latency, and provide quality of service (QoS) mechanisms making the standard viable for
real time applications such as voice over IP (VoIP).
1xEV-DV in CDMA2000
The CDMA2000 the 1x evolution to data and voice (1x EV-DV) provides support for voice, mixed
voice and data, dedicated data, and real-time two-way services on a single carrier. A single 1.25 MHz
bandwidth is shared between voice and data users. It provides 3.1 Mbps peak data rate, and voice
users are usually scheduled first. The ability to support simultaneous (circuit) voice and packet data
sessions to the same terminal is extremely important in establishing a smooth migration path to
3GPP2s all-IP environment.
Standard

Radio
Channel
200 KHz
200 KHz

Peak Data Rate


per Carrier (kbps)
114 kbps
384 kbps

GPRS
EDGE
CDMA2000 1X
1.25 MHZ 153 kbps
(voice and data)
CDMA 1x-EV-D0
1.25 MHz 2.4 Mbps
(data only)
CDMA 1x-EV-DV
1.25 MHz 2.4 Mbps
(voice & data optimized)
2 Mbps (fixed)
UMTS
5 MHz
144 kbps (mobile)

Average Data Rate


per User (kbps)
50 kbps
130 kbps
38 kbps
100 kbps
600 kbps
187 kbps

Table 2: Summary of Data Rates and Bandwidths in the Different 2.5G and 3G Systems
GSM and GPRS
Same spectrum
Same cell sites
Voice (GSM)
Packet data (GPRS)
Low speed data
200 KHz radio channel

UMTS
New spectrum allocation
New cell sites
Higher capacity voice
Higher speed data
5 MHz channel space

IS-95 and cdma2000 1x


Same spectrum
Same cell sites
Higher capacity voice
Higher speed data
1.25 MHz radio channel

1xEV-DO
Same spectrum
Same Cell Sites
Packet data only
Higher speed data
Multimedia services
1.25 MHz radio channel

Table 3: Summary of Features for the Different 2.5G and 3G Systems

104

Fernando Ramrez-Mireles, Ph.D.

Wireless Data Network Technologies


The IEEE has been realizing standardization efforts for data-oriented networks. Among those standards
are wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), WiMAX, and 802.20.
Latency
Bit error rate
Traffic criteria design
Dependence of data rate on
radio conditions
Quality of service
Multiplexing

Network Designed for Data


Not critical
Low (below one in one million)
Not necessarily to exceed the
busy hour peak
Data rate improves with better
radio conditions
Not necessarily uniform for all
users
Statistical

Networks Designed for Voice


Extremely low (few milliseconds)
High (one in one thousand)
To exceed the busy hour peak
Not applicable, fixed-rate designed
for worst condition
Uniform for all users in the cell by
design
Fixed assignment

Table 4: Main Differences between Data Networks and Voice Networks


802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g (WLAN)
The 802.11x is a series of IEEE standards for wireless local area network (WLAN). There are commercial
products for the three of them. The Wi-Fi Alliance certifies interoperability of WLAN products based on
the IEEE 802.11 specification. The most popular is the 802.11b. The 802.11b and 802.11g operate in the
2.4 GHz unlicensed band and run on three channels. The 802.11a operates in the five GHz band and runs
in up to 12 channels. More channel transmission supports a higher density of users per access point.
The 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g support a maximum data rate of up to 11, 54, and 54 Mbps,
respectively. However, actual data rates of data communications networks are lower than maximum rates
because of packet overhead. A wireless data network also suffer from interference, which further reduces
the actual data rates to 15-20 Mbps, four to six Mbps, and 15-20 Mbps for 802.11a, 802.11b, and
802.11g, respectively. The 802.11b and 802.11g achieves these rates at a range of 20 to 60 feet, and
802.11g at a range even shorter.
If not connected to a backbone, a WLAN needs backhaul that can be provided by various technologies
such as DSL or cable modem, WiMAX, E1/T1 over cable/wireless, etc.

Public access

802.11a
54 Mbps
5 GHz
OFDM
25-75 feet
Incompatible with
802.11a & 802.11g
Limited

Interference issues

Cordless telephones

Standard
Maximum data rate
RF operation band
modulation
Range
compatibility

802.11b
11 Mbps
2.4 GHz
Direct sequence
150 feet

802.11g
54 Mbps
2.4 GHz
DS/OFDM
100-150 feet

802.11g

8021.11b

Maximum
Microwave ovens,
cordless telephones,
Bluetooth

Normal
Microwave ovens,
cordless telephones

Table 5: Main Features of 802.11x WLAN

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An Overview of Wireless Fixed and Mobile Access Technologies

802.16a (MAN)
The 802.16 is the IEEE standard for fixed wireless metropolitan area network (MAN), called the
wireless last mile. It provides different data rates depending on the band of operation and the
propagation conditions. The 802.16 operates in the band ten GHz to 66 GHz. In fixed position and line of
sight (LOS) propagation conditions it can provide up to 134 Mbps in a 28-MHz-wide channel, suitable for
business-to-business communications.
The 802.11a, approved in January 2003, operates in licensed and unlicensed frequencies between two and
11 GHz that support non LOS (NLOS) communications suitable for residential and small business users,
can have a data rate of up to 70 Mbps per sector, a range of up to 30 kilometers (km), and can support
thousands of users. The ETSI standard HiperMAN is based on a subset of 802.16a).
WiMAX can provide backhaul for Wi-Fi Spots. It also can be use to create hot areas bigger than hotspots,
for example, areas of service not limited to designated lounges, but anywhere in an airport.
The WiMAX Forum is an industry-led, nonprofit corporation formed to promote and certify compatibility
and interoperability of broadband wireless products. Their member companies support the industry-wide
acceptance of the IEEE 802.16 and ETSI HiperMAN wireless MAN standards.
802.16e (MAN)
The IEEE 802.16e mobile wireless MAN standard is a revision of the 802.16 that supports roaming for
low-speed mobile users at pedestrian speed. This standard explicitly does not target high mobiles users.
The applications will include support for both low-latency data and real-time voice services. 802.16e
mobile devices will be backward compatible with 802.16a fixed stations. It has a target data rate of 70
Mbps; it will operate in the two to six GHz licensed bands, with typical channel bandwidths ranging from
1.5 to 20 MHz.

802.16
Air Interface
10-to-66 GHz
LOS

2001

802.16c
Amendments
System
Profiles
10-to-66 GHz
LOS

2002

802.16a
Amendments
MAC & PHY
2-to-11 Ghz
NLOS

2003

802.16d
Revision
PAR for
802.16 &
802.16a

2004-2005

802.16e
Amendments
for pedestrian
mobility
speeds
2-to-6 GHz
NLOS

2006-2007

Figure 3: Roadmap for IEEE MAN Wireless Networks Standards


802.20 (Proposed for WAN)
The 802.20 mobile wireless wide area networks standard aims to enable high-throughput data rate with
NLOS links for mobile users traveling up to 250 km per hour in a metropolitan area network. The vision
supports data rates greater than one Mbps at ranges of 15 km or more, operating in licensed bands below
3.5 GHz. It will incorporate globally mobile, real time traffic with latency of 20 milliseconds or less
allowing support of VoIP. Typical channel bandwidths will be less than five MHz

106

Fernando Ramrez-Mireles, Ph.D.

Standard
Maximum data rate
RF operation band
Channel
bandwidths
Range
Mobility
Advantages

802.16a/Rev. d
6070 Mbps per sector
2-to-11 GHz
Flexible between
1.25 and 20 MHz
4-8 km typical,
up to 30 km NLOS
Fixed
(indoor and outdoor)
Long range, high data
throughput, thousands
of users per site

802.16e
Up to 15 Mbps
2-to-6 GHz
Flexible between
1.25 and 20 MHz

802.20
1 Mbps
500-to-3500 MHz
Open

25 km NLOS

Up to 15 km NLOS

Portable/Mobile

Mobile

Regional roaming for


nomadic users at
pedestrian speed

High mobility with


global roaming

Table 6: Main Features of 802.16x MAN and 802.20 WAN


Propietary WAN
There are proprietary solutions for WAN such as Alvarion, ArrayCom, Flarion, and Navini.
Summary
The main summary of the systems described in this document is shown in Table 7 and Figure 4.
Wireless Data Networks
802.16a/Rev
802.16e
Standard
d.
OFDM
Modulation OFDM
15 Mbps
70 Mbps
Max
Max
Data rate
3-to-5 Mbps
20-to-30
Mbps typical typical
RF channel
RF band
Area of
service
(cell)

3G
802.20

UMTS

1xEVDO

EDGE

OPEN

WCDMA
2 Mbps
(fixed)
144 kbps
(mobile)

TDMA

215 km
NLOS

1.5-to-20
MHz

1.5-to-20
MHz

OPEN

5 MHz

2-11 GHz
Licensed &
Unlicensed
4-to-8 km
typical,
30 km Max
NLOS

2-6 GHz
Licensed &
Unlicensed

500-3500
MHz
Licensed

Contained
in 1.7-to-22
GHz

CDMA
2 Mbps
Max
600 kbps
typical
1.25, 2,5
and 3.75
MHz
Contained
in 1.7-to-22
GHz

2-5 km
NLOS

Up to 15
km
NLOS

215 km
NLOS

220 km
NLOS

1 Mbps

384 kbps

200 KHz
800, 900,
1800, 1900
MHz

Table 7: Summary of Features of Wireless Data Networks and 3G

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An Overview of Wireless Fixed and Mobile Access Technologies

range

30 m

3 Km

15 Km

20 Km
30 Km

Data
rate
50 Mbps

802.11x 802.16a

15 mbps

802.16e

802.20

3G/CDMA2000

1 Mbps

Fixed/nomadic

Low mobility

high mobility

mobility

Figure 4: Relation between Data Rate/Mobility/Range for the Different Technologies


Copyright 2003 & 2004 Fernando Ramrez-Mireles. All rights reserved.

108

802.16 Broadband Access:


Evolving from Fixed to
Mobile Operation
James Tsai
Wireless Network and Mobile Platform Architect, Mobile Networking Lab,
Corporate Technology Group
Intel

Henry Mitchel
Systems Architect, Modular Communications Platform Division,
Communications Infrastructure Group
Intel

Sanjay Bakshi
Broadband Wireless Network Architect, Mobile Networking Lab,
Corporate Technology Group
Intel

Prakash Iyer
Senior Staff Architect, Mobile Networking Lab, Corporate Technology Group
Intel
Abstract
IEEE* 802.16 is an emerging global broadband wireless access standard capable of delivering multiple
megabits of shared data throughput supporting fixed, portable, and mobile operation. The standard offers
a great deal of design flexibility including support for licensed and license-exempt frequency bands,
channel widths ranging from 1.25 to 20 MHz, quality of service (QoS) establishment on a per-connection
basis, strong security primitives, multicast support, and low-latency/lowpacket loss handovers1 such as
soft handoff and fast cell search features. Predominant deployment of subscriber stations (SS) and access
points2 (AP) for portable and mobile services are expected to be based on scalable orthogonal frequency
* All other brands are the property of their respective owners.
1
Optimization of PHY and MAC handover primitives is ongoing in the 802.16e Task Group and is expected to be
completed by the end of 2004.
2
In this paper the term access point is synonymous with base station.
109

802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

division multiplexing with multiple access (OFDMA). Initial deployments are likely in licensed
frequencies below 11 GHz. A key to broad industry acceptance of 802.16 is a significant reduction in
overall operational expenditure (OpEx) and capital expenditure (CapEx) at comparable or better
performance relative to cellular data networks. This paper describes an open, extensible Internet protocol
(IP)based end-to-end network architecture framework that can be built using IP common off the shelf
(COTS) technologies and flexibly support a variety of radio access network topologies while
accommodating a number of new and incumbent operator IP backend networks. Topics core to an end-toend framework such as QoS, security, mobility management, interworking, and access to managed IP
services are discussed in more detail.
Introduction to MBWA and 802.16
IEEE 802.16 is an emerging suite of air interface standards for combined fixed, portable, and mobile
broadband wireless access (MBWA). Initially conceived as a radio standard to enable cost-effective last
mile broadband connectivity to those not served by wired broadband such as cable multiservice operators
(MSO) or digital subscriber line (DSL), the specifications have evolved to target a broader market
opportunity for mobile, high-speed broadband applications. The 802.16-2004 [1] standard supercedes all
previous versions as the base standard. The 802.16e [2] amendment and the soon-to-be-approved 802.16f
and 802.16g task groups will amend the base specification to enable fixed, portable, and mobile operation
in frequency bands below 11 GHz. 802.16 is optimized to deliver high, bursty data rates to subscriber
stations but the sophisticated medium access control (MAC) architecture can simultaneously support realtime multimedia and isochronous applications such as voice over IP (VoIP) as well. This means that IEEE
802.16 is uniquely positioned to extend broadband wireless beyond the limits of todays Wi-Fi* systems,
both in distance and in the ability to support applications requiring advanced QoS such as VoIP,
streaming video, and on-line gaming.
The technology is expected to be adopted by different incumbent operator typesfor example, wireless
Internet service providers (WISPs), cellular operators (3GPP and 3GPP2) and wireline broadband
providers. Each of these operators will approach the market with different business models, based on their
current markets and perceived opportunities for broadband wireless as well as different requirements for
integration with existing (legacy) networks. As a result, 802.16 access network deployments face the
challenging task of needing to adapt and integrate or interwork with different backend network
architectures and provide low-latency and optimized mobility management, while still supporting
standardized components and interfaces for multivendor interoperability.
To address the challenge and enable multi-vendor interoperability, this paper proposes an end-to-end
architecture framework built around open, IP standards. An allIP end-to-end architecture approach can
deliver significant CapEx and OpEx gains, examples of which are mentioned in the following:

110

CapEx: CapEx benefits over 3Glike deployments will come from lower equipment acquisition
and deployment costs, due to the use of COTS network elements. Dependence on widely tested
and deployed IP standards leads to Internet economies of scale. Furthermore, a common radio
access network (RAN) and consistent end-to-end architecture that is incumbent operator type
agnostic avoids unnecessary proliferation of incompatible networks, thereby simplifying
multioperator, multinetwork interworking.

OpEx: OpEx benefits are likely to come from lower cost to rollout services to users and network
maintenance, cheaper and faster network capacity augmentation, optimal backhaul dimensioning,
and use of lower cost, potentially unlicensed spectrum backhaul wireless links. The use of COTS
software on open mobile client platforms such as laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs),
use of Internet-scale interoperable solutions for network management, network redundancy, and

James Tsai, Henry Mitchel, Sanjay Bakshi, and Prakash Iyer

overlay of traffic engineering, QoS and fast switching capabilities over less-reliable backhaul
links can all contribute to the desired savings.
Broadband Wireless Usage and Deployment Scenarios
Initial deployments of IEEE 802.16 standards-based networks will likely target fixed-access connectivity
to unserved and underserved markets where wireline broadband services are insufficient to fulfill the
market need for high bandwidth Internet connectivity. Prestandard implementations exist today which are
beginning to address this fixed-access service environment. Standardization will help accelerate the ramp
for these fixed-access solutions by providing interoperability between equipment and economies of scale
resulting from high volume standards based components.
As IEEE 802.16 solutions evolve to address portable and mobile applications, the required features and
performance of the system will increase. Beyond fixed-access service, even larger market opportunities
exist for providing cost-effective broadband data services to users on the go. Initially this includes
portable connectivity for customers who are not within reach of their existing fixed broadband or wireless
local-area network (WLAN) service options. This type of service is characterized by access that is
unwired but stationary in most cases, albeit with some limited provisions for user mobility during the
connection. In this manner, 802.16 can be seen as augmenting coverage of 802.11 for private and public
service networks and cost effectively extending hotspot availability to wider ranges of coverage. Based on
this described capability, this phase of deployment is referred to as portability with simple mobility.
The next phase of functionality, known as full mobility, provides incremental support for low-latency,
lowpacket loss real-time handovers between APs at speeds of 120 km/hr or higher, both within a
network and between networksdelivering a rich end-user experience for high quality multimedia
applications. Figure 1 summarizes our deployment evolution vision of the 802.16 standards.

Figure 1: 802.16 Standards and Deployment Evolution

111

802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

To support the incremental functionality beyond fixed-access deployment, there are required
enhancements to both the air interface and network infrastructure. Both of these enhancements must also
be standardized before the realization of interoperable services meeting end user demands can be
achieved. To understand these requirements, we need to examine usage models and service models for
each stage of 802.16 deployment. From these usage expectations, we can then draw conclusions about
required system capabilities that must be driven into the end-to-end architecture, interfaces, and network
features. The usage evolution is depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Usage Evolution


Service and consumer usage of 802.16 for fixed access is expected to mirror that of fixed wireline service
with many of the standards-based requirements being confined to the air interface. Because
communication takes place via wireless links from customer premises equipment to remote nonline of
sight (NLOS) APs, requirements for link security are increased beyond those needed for wireline service.
The security mechanisms within the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard may be adequate for fixed-access service
but need enhancements for portable and mobile applications.
An additional challenge for the fixed-access air interfaceas well as subsequent portable and mobile
serviceis the need to establish high-performance radio links capable of data rates comparable to wired
broadband service using equipment that can be self installed indoors by users as is the case for DSL and
cable modems. Doing so requires advanced physical layer (PHY) techniques to achieve link margins
capable of supporting high throughput and indoor signal penetration in NLOS environments.
As 802.16 technology evolves to address portable and mobile service, so do the feature requirements of
the air interface and RAN network, interoperability demands, and interworking with other dissimilar
networks like Wi-Fi and 3G. The simple fact that mobile clients can dynamically associate and perform
handover across APs crossing large, possibly discontiguous geographic regions and operator domains
drives the need for a number of network-related enhancements.
The simplest case of portable service (referred to as nomadicity) involves a user transporting an 802.16
modem to a different location. Provided this visited location is served by wireless broadband service, in
this scenario the user reauthenicates and manually re-establishes new IP connections and is afforded
broadband service at the visited location.

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James Tsai, Henry Mitchel, Sanjay Bakshi, and Prakash Iyer

This usage enhancement over fixed access requires enhancements to security such as strong mutual
authentication between the user/client device and the network (AP) supporting a flexible choice of
credential types. Portable and mobile devices need a means for authenticating trusted APs and detecting
rogue APs. Such mutual authentication is not present in the fixed access standard. A common
centralized mechanism for user authentication is also needed as users may move between different APs
within an IP prefix or subnet, or across APs in different subnets, or even roam to other service
providers in different locales.
The next stage, portability with simple mobility, describes a more automated management of IP
connections with session persistence or automatic reestablishment following handovers between APs.
This incremental enhancement allows for more user-transparent mobility and is suitable for latencytolerant applications that use transfer control protocol (TCP) [13] while not providing adequate handover
performance for delay and packet loss sensitive real-time applications such as VoIP.
In the fully mobile scenario, user expectations for connectivity are comparable to those experienced in 3G
voice/data systems. Users may be moving while simultaneously engaging in a broadband data access or
multimedia streaming session. The need to support low-latency and lowpacket loss handovers of data streams
as users transition from one AP to another is clearly a challenging task. For mobile data services, users will not
easily adapt their service expectations based on environmental limitations that while technically challenging
are not directly relevant to the user (such as being stationary or moving). For these reasons, the network and air
interface must be designed up front to anticipate these user expectations and deliver accordingly.
The 802.16 Radio Scaling to Full Mobility
The 802.16 standard provides an excellent framework upon which systems can be built to satisfy the
broad spectrum of usage models described above. Of the three PHY supported in the standard, scalable
OFDMA is the most versatile and the one preferred for operation across channel widths ranging from
1.25 MHz to 20 MHz. Single carrier access (SCa) will likely be considered for backhaul links while
OFDM with 256-point fast fourier transform (FFT) is best suited for fixed access in up to 10 MHz
channel widths. Scalable OFDMA supports features (enhanced over OFDM) that are especially suited for
high-speed mobile operation such as the following: downlink and uplink subchannelization, fixed
subcarrier spacing (by maintaining constant ratio of FFT size to channel width), and reduced overhead for
cyclic prefix (CP) by keeping its duration constant at 1/8th the OFDMA symbol duration.
The 802.16 MAC is designed primarily for point-to-multipoint (PMP) applications and is based on collision
sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA). The 802.16 access point MAC manages uplink
(UL) and downlink (DL) resources including transmit and receive scheduling. The MAC incorporates several
features suitable for a broad range of applications at different mobility rates, such as the following:

Four service classesunsolicited grant service (UGS), real-time polling service (rtPS), nonrealtime polling service (nrtPS), and best effort (BE)

Header suppression, packing, and fragmentation for efficient use of spectrum

Privacy key management (PKM) for MAC layer security. PKM version 2 incorporates support for
extensible authentication protocol (EAP)

Broadcast and multicast support

Manageability primitives

113

802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

High-speed handover and mobility management primitives

Three power management levelsnormal operation, sleep, and idle (with paging support)

These features combined with the inherent benefits of scalable OFDMA make 802.16 suitable for highspeed data and bursty or isochronous IP multimedia applications.
End-to-End Architecture Evolution
Figure 3 conceptually depicts the architecture evolution for 802.16. A basic 802.16-2004based fixedaccess (indoor3 and outdoor) deployment is typically accomplished via a static provisioning relationship
between an SS and an 802.16 AP. The collection of APs and interconnecting routers or switches comprising
the 802.16 RAN can be logically viewed as a contiguous cloud with no interAP mobility requirements
from an SS perspective. The 802.16 RAN(s) interconnect via a logically centralized operator IP core
network to one or more external networks as shown. The operator IP core may host services such as IP
address management, domain name service (DNS) [12], media switching between IP packet-switched data
and public switched telephone network (PSTN) circuit-switched data, 2.5G/3G/Wi-Fi* harmonization and
interworking, and virtual private network (VPN) services (provider hosted or transit).

Figure 3: 802.16 Architecture Evolution

Indoor operation may require use of beam forming or multiple input multiple output (MIMO) advanced antenna
systems (AAS) which are supported in the 802.16 standard.
114

James Tsai, Henry Mitchel, Sanjay Bakshi, and Prakash Iyer

Going from fixed access to portability with simple mobility involving use of mobile SS (MSS) such as
laptops and PDAs introduces network infrastructure changes such as the following: the need to support
break-before-make micro- and macromobility4 handovers across APs with relaxed handover packet loss
and latency5 (less than 2 seconds), cross-operator roaming, and the need to support reuse of user and
MSS credentials across logically partitioned 802.16 RAN clouds.
Going from Portability to Full Mobility requires support in the 802.16 RAN for low (~zero) packet loss
and low latency (< 100 msec) make-before-break handovers and mechanisms such as idle mode with
paging for extended low power operation.
Besides mobility another important design consideration for the design of 802.16 RAN is QoS. The
802.16 RAN will need to deliver bandwidth and/or QoS on demand as needed to support diverse realtime and nonreal-time services over the 802.16 RAN. Besides the traditional best-effort forwarding,
the 802.16 RAN will need to handle latency intolerant traffic generated by applications such as VoIP
and interactive games. Fixed access and portable usage models need only support acceptable QoS
guarantees for stationary usage scenarios. Portability with simple mobility introduces the requirement
to transfer the service-level agreement (SLA) across APs involved in a handover, although QoS may
be relaxed during handovers. Full mobility requires consistent QoS in all operating modes, including
handovers.
The decoupling of the 802.16 RAN from an operator IP core network permits incremental migration to
fully mobile operation. An operator must however give due consideration to the 802.16 RAN topology
(such as coverage overlap, user capacity, and range) to ensure that the physical network is future-proof for
such an evolution.
End-to-End Reference Architecture
Figure 4 depicts an end-to-end reference architecture for 802.16. Various functional entities and
interoperability interfaces are identified. The network essentially decomposes into three major functional
aggregations: the 802.16 SS/MSS, the 802.16 RAN and the interconnect to various incumbent operator
core and application provider IP networks. The IP core network a) manages the resources of the 802.16
RAN and b) provides core network services such as address management, authentication, service
authorization, and provisioning for 802.16 SS/MSSs.

Micromobility refers to handovers between APs within the same IP prefix or subnet domain. Macromobility refers
to handovers across APs in different IP prefix or subnet domains.
5
Latency may be unacceptable for real-time IP services such as VoIP during handovers but acceptable for TCP and
VPN services as well as store-and-forward multimedia services.
115

802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

Figure 4: 802.16 Reference Architecture


The reference architectureespecially interconnectivity in the 802.16 RAN and interconnects to operator
(service provider) core networks, is based on extensive use of native IP protocols that in turn can deliver
desired economies of scale. In the sections below, we describe three entities: the radio network serving
node (RNSN), AP, and SS/MSS. We also briefly describe the interoperability interfaces identified in
Figure 4.
RNSN
A RNSN is a logical network entity that interfaces the 802.16 RAN with the operator IP core network,
application service provider (ASP) networks and other service networks such as the IP multimedia
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subsystem (IMS), remote enterprise intranets, the PSTN, and the Internet. Each RNSN instance manages
a cloud of APs across a hybrid wireline/wireless backhaul network and is responsible for radio resource
management (RRM), data forwarding, and interconnects to backend networks. Functions such as QoS,
mobility, and security are cooperatively managed as a network of managed APs. An RNSN may also host
802.16 RANspecific centralized functions such as paging groups and macro mobility agents, an example
of which could be a mobile IP (MIP) foreign agent (FA) and so on. When interworking with existing core
networks, an RNSN may be rendered via enhancements on a convenient existing network element such as
a packet data gateway (PDG) [5] in 3GPP networks or an equivalent gateway in a 3GPP2 network or a
broadband remote access server (BRAS) [16] in xDSL networks or on a standalone router platform.
AP
An 802.16 AP (referred to in the 802.16 standard as a base station) is a physical entity that implements
802.16 compliant functions such as SS/MSS admission control, uplink and downlink scheduling, over the
air traffic forwarding, handovers and enforcement of over the air QoS, and encryption. We envision a
number of 802.16 RAN topologies as depicted in Figure 5.

Figure 5: 802.16 RAN Topologies


An AP may be implemented as an integrated MAC/PHY entity or may take on a more distributed
architecture involving an AP controller (APC) and AP transceivers (APT) that would render cells in
groups. An AP may also form a subnet/prefix boundary as indicated by an AP router (APR) in the figure.

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802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

A combination of an APC with one or more APT instances may render a multi-sector cell. Where
multiple APTs are managed by an APC, the APC may host a common MAC instance across all APTs or a
dedicated MAC instance for each APT. An APC would typically localize all micromobility functions
across its managed APTsand as such would support all relevant 802.16 PHY, MAC, and convergence
sublayer (CS) service access point (SAP) primitives. An APC may also host optional wireless link
services such as header suppression, payload compression, and MSS paging.
An AP hosting more than one logical APC instance can optimize control and management plane functions
across all hosted instances. Factors such as projected scalability requirements (coverage, user density),
degree of mobility, and need for incremental network growth would drive an operators choices between
the different AP configurations. The architecture framework, however, is agnostic to specific 802.16
RAN topologies and can support a mix of all possible variants simultaneously.
Mobile/Fixed Subscriber Station (MSS/SS)
MSS/SSs form the third most important functional aggregation in the end-to-end framework. We envision
that most operator networks would over time have to support a mix of SSs with varying degrees of
mobility support.
Interoperability Interfaces
Figure 4 identified several key interoperability interfaces within the end-to-end framework. The
functionality and purpose of each of these interfaces is discussed below. All interfaces are bidirectional
unless noted otherwise.
SS/MSS and AP Interface
This is the control, data, management and service plane interface between fixed-only or mobile subscriber
stations and 802.16 APs. The functions supported over this interface include but are not limited to the
following:

SS/MSS connectivity provisioning and admission control


Over-the-air and end-to-end security
Mobility management
Device management
Uplink and downlink data exchange
Authorization and tunneling for specialized IP services
Application layer end-to-end signaling
Advanced functions such as power management (paging), compression, and data reliability

As noted earlier, the 802.16 standard presents a rich selection of optional features, which in turn presents
significant interoperability challenges to the Industry. We expect the WiMAX* Forum to define profiles
targeting operation in specific frequency bands, channel widths, PHY modes and duplexing modes to
drive multi-vendor interoperability. All such applicable profiles will be incorporated in this interface
between the SS/MSS and AP.
Access Network to Core Network (CN) Interface
This interface has two variants. One represents the control, data and management planes between 802.16
ANs and an operators core network (with interfaces in turn to other remote networks). The other one
represents control, management and service planes to ASP networks. Both of these interfaces are exposed
by the RNSN and enable a consistent allIP interface to diverse core networks. The functions modeled
over this interface may be provided by a cluster of servers, for example, dynamic host configuration

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protocol (DHCP), DNS, IMS Core Network components such as proxycall session control function (P
CSCF), interrogatingCSCF (ICSCF), servingCSCF (SCSCF), media gateway (MGW), and so on.
These interfaces may also host IP tunnels to carry data between provider networks.
The functions supported over this interface include but are not limited to the following:

Assignment of traffic engineering parameters for provisioned QoS for both control and data
plane traffic

User authentication via authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) intermediaries


and servers

Services authorization, access control and charging

IP connectivity management and security (for example, domain firewall)

Troubleshooting network access problems, application-specific problems, and 802.16 RAN


event handling

Data traffic and macromobility management

Interface Between Two RNSNs


This is the control, data, and management plane interface between two RNSNs that logically may
demarcate two 802.16 RAN clouds. The interface typically handles interRNSN mobility management
control and data plane traffic (including temporary data tunneling between RNSNs for serving and target
APs during handovers).
Interface Between RNSN and AP
This is the control, data, and management plane interface between an AP (or any of its control plane
variants) and an RNSN. This interface demarcates the two endpoints of the 802.16 RAN across which
intra802.16AN micro- and macromobility functions are performed. The interface also supports functions
such as paging.
Key Ingredients of an End-to-End 802.16 Network Architecture
Mobility Management
The 802.16-2004 standard defines a base station as a single sector entity supporting one frequency
assignment. The 802.16e amendment defines MAC message primitives to support network or MSS
initiated handovers. The very basic handover scenario for a real-world multisector AP would be an
intersector handover. The amendment defines handover optimization flags representing levels of
handover context information that is shared between neighbor AP entities (sector line cards in a
multisector AP or between the sector line cards in two different APs). The optimization flags
consequently enable modeling of all possible handover scenarios from the most basic nomadic access
scenario (where no network entry context is shared between APs across a handover) to scenarios
involving intersubnet, interfrequency assignment, idle mode, and interphysical AP handovers.
Furthermore, optional advanced features such as soft handover (with PHY layer macro diversity) and fast
base station switching are being defined to support zeropacket loss, low-latency intersector handovers.
The design goal for mobility management is to build on these primitives to deliver the desired handover
performance. Fixed access and nomadic access require no handover support. Portability implies fast
intraRAN switching with potential data loss during handovers and even more latency and data loss

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802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

during intersubnet handovers. Full mobility requires zero/lowpacket loss and low-latency handovers that
are acceptable to real-time applications such as VoIP.
The end-to-end reference architecture classifies mobility management into macromobility and
micromobility, as illustrated in Figure 6. Micromobility management refers to the set of procedures that
detect the movement (handover) of an MSS between two APs within a single 802.16 RAN administrative
domain, and switch all data flows from the previous (serving) AP to the new (target) AP while attempting
to ensure minimal delay and data loss during the transition. Micromobility may or may not involve a
change in the IP address used to route data to the MSS. In other words, micromobility implies MSS
movement when the IP address via which it was reachable does not change. It utilizes address registration
and associated traffic redirection procedures that are transparent to protocols and procedures operating at
layer 3, i.e., IP (and above) in the protocol stack of the MSS (i.e., micromobility procedures and protocols
operate at layer 2 [and below] in the protocol stack of the MSS.) For the transport mechanism within the
802.16 RAN, this paper recommends the use of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) [11] or IPinIP
tunneling with DiffServ [10] provisioned QoS to switch data paths across traffic engineered backhaul
links during handovers for micromobility. With MPLS, we recommend fast-preprovisioned label
switched paths (LSP) switching between the RNSN and AP/APC, which perform the role of label edge
routers (LER). Efficient MAC layer handover triggers and limited micromobility signaling would be used
to initiate traffic forwarding/multiple unicasting and switching to minimize handover latency and data
loss between RNSN and AP/APC.

Figure 6: Mobility Management


Macromobility enables MSS to maintain its IP sessions even when the IP address via which it was
reachable changes. It is invisible to the air interface specifics and utilizes address registration and
associated traffic redirection procedures impacting protocols and procedures operating at layer 3, i.e., IP
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(and above) in the protocol stack of the MSS. For macromobility this paper recommends the use of
session initiation protocol (SIP) mobility for real-time low-latency interactive applications like VoIP and
mobile IP for all other generic applications.
The 802.16 RAN can leverage the IP differentiated services QoS model or MPLSbased traffic
engineering technologies to provide appropriate forwarding treatment to end-user traffic flows as they
traverse between an RNSN and APs.
Harmonization and Interworking with Public Wi-Fi, 2.5/3G, and xDSL Networks
As noted earlier, different incumbent operators are likely to deploy 802.16 networkseither as a data
overlay network or as a standalone broadband access network. Integration with an existing operator
network would involve either harmonization or interworking as subsequently defined.
Interworking
Interworking refers to the technical and business relationship between two operators that have deployed
access networks using the same or different radio technologies. This relationship enables subscribers to
authenticate/authorize to their home operator network via the visited network and utilize system functions
and IP services offered by both networks.
Figure 7 depicts two operators in an interworking relationship, each with an independent core network,
having different types of radio access technologies. In such a relationship, roaming subscribers may be
offered different tiers of seamless service experience in the visited network.

Figure 7: Interworking
Harmonization
Harmonization is defined as the deployment scenario wherein two or more access networks using same or
different radio technologies and operated by a single operator are offered as an integrated network to
subscribers. Figure 8 depicts a simple harmonization scenario wherein a 3GPP operator offers an 802.16
RAN and 3GPP RAN as an integrated network to its subscribers. In this scenario the 802.16 RAN does
not have an independent core but is connected directly into the operators 3GPP core network via an
appropriate gateway. Roaming subscribers may be offered different tiers of seamless service experience
in the visited network.

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802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

Figure 8: Harmonization
For interoperator 802.16 interworking, the interworking framework should support the following goals:

An operator typeagnostic one-bill roaming (via common, extensible remote authentication dialin user service (RADIUS) [6] and DIAMETER [7] accounting primitives) framework across
802.16 networkseventually leading to seamless IP services mobility across these networks.

Support reuse of credentials and cryptographically strong bilateral authentication and session key
management across these networks.

A provisioning and access framework for advanced IP services that is compatible with the
architecture for Wi-Fi hotspots.

Enable offering of multiple IP services with attributes such as provisioned bandwidths, SLAs,
QoS, and variable tariff profiles.

Interworking and Harmonization with Wi-Fi


The all SLA IP architecture framework for Wi-Fi hotspots and 802.16 permit both loosely and tightly
coupled harmonization scenarios. Figure 9 conceptually depicts these two forms of interworking. The
loosely coupled framework is preferred in scenarios involving interworking between 802.16 networks and
Wi-Fi hotspots managed by different operators.

Figure 9: Loose and Tight Coupling of Wi-Fi and 802.16 Networks

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Interworking and Harmonization with 2.5G/3G


This paper recommends a loosely coupled integration approach for 802.16 and 2.5G/3G networks. Both
3GPP [4, 5] and 3GPP2 have ongoing efforts to develop an interworking architecture between Wi-Fi
hotspots and 2.5G/3G networks. The loosely coupled interworking model is consistent with the
developments in these two organizations. Figure 10 depicts the interworking model for 3GPP and 3GPP2
networks.

Figure 10: Reference Model for 802.16 Interworking with 2.5G/3G


3GPP has defined a public Wi-Fi IP interworking entity called the PDGto be incorporated in Release 6.
With adaptations as needed based on functional requirements, the PDG can serve as the ingress to the
operator IP core network (the 802.16 core network). 3GPP2 has a similar ongoing effort for Wi-Fi
3GPP2 interworking and will also identify a transport and signaling gateway that essentially supports
integration of a 802.16 RAN into a 3GPP2 IP core network via the packet data serving node (PDSN).
Interworking and Harmonization with xDSL
Figure 11 illustrates the integration with an xDSL network. The DSL Forum has defined a network
aggregator/sharing entity called the BRAS in TR-059 [16]. With the BRAS, The network access provider
(NAP) can provide an access network to different independent network service providers (NSPs), which
provide services such as IP connectivity. An 802.16 RAN can enable an xDSL NSP to provide broadband
wireless access by connecting to a BRAS via an IP router.

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802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

Figure 11: Integration of xDSL and 802.16 Networks


End-to-End Session Management and Security
Figure 12 conceptually depicts end-to-end AAA on 802.16 networks supporting portability and fully
mobile operations. The figure borrows terminology from Wi-Fi and is built on the three-party protocol
(PKM v2) foundation being defined in 802.16e.

Figure 12: 802.16 Security Framework


As shown in the figure, over-the-air authentication and encryption (security association) is established
using the product knowledge managementextensible authentication protocol (PKMEAP) protocol. EAP
is carried over RADIUS or DIAMETER to the AAA backend. The use of EAP enables support for
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cryptographically strong key-deriving methods such as EAPAKA and EAPMicrosoft challenge


handshake authentication protocol version 2 (MSCHAPv2). Use of an end-to-end tunneling protocol such
as protected EAP (PEAP) or tunneled transport layer security (TTLS) is also recommended to afford
mutual authentication and 128bit or better TLS encryption to further enhance end-to-end security
(especially in situations where cryptographically weaker EAP methods may be deployed). The AP or
APC or APR serves as the authenticator and hosts a RADIUS or DIAMETER AAA client. All AAA
sessions are terminated on an AAA server, which may be in the operators IP core network or an external
IP network in roaming scenarios. The RNSN is merely a conduit for the AAA messages and does not play
a significant role in the AAA process. In some instances, the network may employ an AAA
aggregator/intermediary but the architecture is not impacted in those cases. Additionally, the RNSN may
host a firewall to filter downstream traffic to a RAN.
End-to-End QoS Architecture
To provide end-to-end IP QoS, it is necessary to manage the QoS within each domain, as well as the
interaction between domains. As shown in Figure 13, there are three domains: (1) over-the air between
MSS and AP, (2) the backhaul between AP and RNSN/gateway, and (3) the Internet.

Figure 13: End-to-End QoS


For the over-the-air domain, IEEE 802.16 defines the concept of service flows that are unidirectional
mappings between AP and SS/MSS MAC peerseach of which is identified by a unique connection
identifier (CID). The CID is mapped to a service flow identifier (SFID), which defines the QoS
parameters, latency, and jitter, of the service flow associated with that connection. The service flow
parameters are established during the initial network entry and can be renegotiated dynamically after the
service flows are established. Working with the 802.16 MAC during the establishment of service flows,
the radio bearer QoS manager between the SS/MSS and AP is responsible for negotiating the QoS
parameters, providing admission control, policing, and resource management. In addition, the radio bearer
manager is also responsible for mapping the application and transport layer QoS parameters to
appropriate parameters in the 802.16 classifier. Figure 14 from the IEEE-RevD-draft 5 shows an example
of downlink mapping.

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802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

Source: IEEE 802.16D


Figure 14: IMS with 802.16 Access Network
The transport QoS manager between the AP and RNSN (gateway) is responsible for managing the
backhaul QoS. Depending on the type of backhaul, the signaling along the path between an AP and
RNSN could use signaling protocols such as resource reservation protocoltraffic engineering (RSVP
TE) for IP QoS or LDPCR for MPLS backhaul cloud or something else. In addition, the transport QoS
manager is also responsible for packet marking or labeling along the flow path.
Accessing Managed IP Services
The end-to-end framework presumes clear logical separation between the 802.16 access network and
managed IP services networks delivering services such as VoIP, gaming and 3GPP/3GPP2 IMS [17]. As
shown in Figure 15, the managed IP services network can evolve independent from the 802.16 access
network and interconnected via an IP cloud of routers.

Figure 15: IMS with 802.16 Access Network

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James Tsai, Henry Mitchel, Sanjay Bakshi, and Prakash Iyer

In general, a gateway between the managed services network and 802.16 RANs is configured and
preprovisioned to associate with one or more service session management entities in the service network.
Case Study: Accessing VoIP Service in IMS
As SS/MSS acquires its IP connectivity during network entry followed by acquisition of its corresponding
PCSCF. Then, the SS/MSS registers with the SCSCF. The registration request is forwarded via the P
CSCF. Assuming that the end user of the MSS has subscription with this IMS provider, SCSCF
authenticates the MSS and retrieves the user profile. After successful authentication, the MSS is
registered and ready to initiate or receive VoIP (SIPbased) calls. To setup a VoIP call, the SS/MSS sends
an INVITE to the SIP infrastructure and addressed to the correspondent callee. The PCSCF forwards the
request to the callees SCSCF based on the setup service route information. The SS/MSS always
exchanges SIP signaling such as call setup for exchanging audio codec, bit rate, and quality of service
parameters with its correspondent callee via the PCSCF. When the SS/MSS receives an ACK back from
the corresponding callee, the VoIP call session is established. Note that the MSS may change its subnet
address, as it moves around in the 802.16 access network. When the IP address of the MSS changes, the
MSS needs to register the new IP address with its SCSCF and a REINVITE SIP message is sent to the
MSSs corresponding callee.
Conclusion
Although wireless networks and radio coverage in general has proliferated over the years, data service
offerings continue to be either limited in range (as in 802.11) or deficient in data speed and cost as in
wireless wide-area networks (WWANs). Wireless data rates for WWANs are limited and high-cost partly
due to the inherently granular physical and network layer specifications that burden the WWAN RAN and
core switching fabric, and partly due to the limited available bandwidth for operation. As extended battery
life and reduced size of laptops affords increased portability, so does the need for ubiquitous connectivity
with rich data content at affordable prices. By delivering a combination of higher modulation schemes
within greater channel bandwidths and link budget margins that are comparable to wide area wireless
systems, IEEE 802.16 is uniquely positioned to extend broadband wireless beyond the small islands of
service afforded by Wi-Fi systems today. But one of key requirement for widespread deployment and
adoption of WiMAX is a RAN that is not only improves on CapEx and OpEx requirements over existing
cellular network but can also seamlessly interwork with existing networks. This paper presented a flexible
end-to-end network architecture that can be built using off-the-shelf IPbased building blocks and thus not
only brings Internet scale economies to WiMAX RAN but can also interwork with existing network easily.
References
[1]

Part16: Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems, IEEE P802.16-REVd/D52004

[2]

Part 16: Air Interface for Fixed and Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Systems, IEEE
P802.16e/D3-2004

[3]

WiMAX PICS for WirelessMAN-OFDM and WirelessHUMAN(-OFDM) Rev.7f (2004)

[4]

3GPP TS 22.234 Requirements on 3GPP System to WLAN Interworking (Release 6)

[5]

3GPP TS 23.234 3GPP System to WLAN Interworking; System Description (Release 6)

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802.16 Broadband Access: Evolving from Fixed to Mobile Operation

[6]

RFC 2865, Remote Authentication


http://www.freeradius.org/rfc/

[7]

RFC 3588, DIAMETER base protocol

[8]

RFC 3344, IP Mobility support for IPv4

[9]

RFC 3775, Mobility support in IPv6

Dial

In

User

Service.

Related

RFCs

at

[10] RFC 2475, An architecture for differentiated services


[11] RFC 3031, Multiprotocol label switching architecture
[12] DNS RFCs can be found at http://www.dns.net/dnsrd/rfc/
[13] RFC 793, Transmission Control Protocol
[14] TR-25, Core Network Architecture Recommendations for Access to Legacy Data Networks over
ADSL at http://www.dslforum.org/
[15] TR-58, Multi-Service Architecture & Framework Requirements at http://www.dslforum.org/
[16] TR-59, DSL Evolution Requirements for the Support of QoS Enabled IP Services, at
http://www.dslforum.org/
[17] 3GPP TS 23.228 IP Multimedia Subsystem Stage 2 (Release 6)
[18] 3GPP TS 23.981 Interworking aspects and migration scenarios for IPv4 based IMS
Implementations (Release 6)

128

IP Data Communication
over the Wireless Network
A WiMAX Challenge
Shilpa Bhatnagar
Technical Leader
Hughes Software Systems

Meena Belwal
Engineer Trainee
Hughes Software Systems

Madhav Kumar
Engineer Trainee
Hughes Software Systems
Objective
The objective of this paper is to suggest a solution for internet protocol version four (IPv4) data
communication over the 802.16 media access control (MAC). It shall be noted that the technical
challenges, solutions as well as assumptions that are mentioned in this paper might be applicable to other
packet data services in some form or the other. An attempt has been made to discuss at length two basic
implementations IPv4 over 802.16 and IPv4 over Ethernet (802.3) over 802.16. This paper also gives a
complete overview of the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology and
all the enhancements made in this domain to address issues like mobility.
Evolution of Wireless
The wireless revolution for packet data services started in the 1970s at the University of Hawaii with a
simple bi-directional wireless computer network in the star topology which led to further work in the
scientific and industrial sectors into the mid 1980s. In 1985 the band between 902 megahertz (MHz)
and 5.85 gigahertz (GHz) was thrown open to the public. This sparked the development of wireless
adapters by a host of companies and the need for a standard was apparent. The Institute of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802 group that had built the 802.3 and 802.5 standards initiated the
802.11 standard for wireless networks. This standard is limited by the fact that the range of operation is
short and the number of users supported is fewer. With a growing number of consumers, this standard
became insufficient.

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IP Data Communication over the Wireless Network

Recently broadband technology has become a product required by a high percentage of the worlds
population. In the past two years alone, the demand has risen rapidly, with a worldwide installed base of
57 million lines in 2002 rising to an estimated 80 million lines by the end of 2003. A healthy growth rate
is expected to rise steadily over the next few years and reach the 200 million mark by 2006. Digital
subscriber line (DSL) operators, who initially focused their deployments in densely populated urban and
metropolitan areas, are now challenged to provide broadband services in suburban and rural areas where
new markets are quickly being established.
The broadband wireless access industry, which provides high-rate network connections to stationary sites,
has matured to the point at which it now has a standard for second-generation wireless metropolitan area
networks. IEEE Standard 802.16, with its air interface, sets the stage for a worldwide revolution in
network access.
What Is WiMAX and 802.16?
The WiMAX organization is a nonprofit association formed in 2003 by equipment manufacturers to
propagate wireless equipment compliant with the IEEE 802.16 Wireless Metropolitan Area Networking
(WMAN) standard. The main focus of this forum is to ensure the compatibility and interoperability of
broadband wireless access equipment for 802.16 networks. As a result 802.16 technology has come to be
known as WiMAX.
WiMAX will primarily be aimed at making broadband network access widely available without the
expense of wires (as in cable-access broadband) or the distance limitations of a digital subscriber line.
This will lie to rest the last mile problem or the expensive and time-consuming process of wiring
subscribers to their immediate network.
In this context, the purpose of 802.16 is to standardize broadband wide area wireless networking for both
fixed and mobile connections, offering extremely high bandwidth connections without requiring line-ofsight communications between the device and the broadcast antenna.
The standard 802.16 specifies the air interface of a fixed point-to-multipoint broadband wireless access
system providing multiple services in a wireless metropolitan area network. The MAC layer defined in
this standard is capable of supporting multiple physical layer specifications optimized for frequency
bands of applications. This standard specifies the physical layer operational on 1066 GHz frequency
ranges and hence line of sight. The MAC is comprised by three sub-layers: the service specific
convergence layer, the common part layer, and the privacy layer.
Service Specific Convergence Layer
The service specific convergence layer is responsible for converting the service specific protocol data
units (PDUs) to the data units which the underlying layer understands and initiating the appropriate
signaling. There are two basic types of convergence sub-layer specifications depending on the overlying
services that are being used, e.g. asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and packet data. Over these two
client signal (CS) layers various applications can reside. In the case of ATM, it can be ATM adaptation
layer two (AAL2) and, in the case of packet data, it can IPv4 Stack or internet protocol over Ethernet
(IPoE ) amongst others.
Common Part Sub Layer
The second layer, which forms the backbone of the layered stack, is known as the common part layer.
This layer is responsible for the following: systems access, bandwidth allocation, connection
management, connection maintenance, packing, concatenation, and fragmentation.

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Privacy Layer
The third layer, which deals with data security, is the privacy layer, which is responsible for
authentication and data encryption and decryption.
In this version of the 802.16 standard, a backbone of base stations is connected to a public network, and
each base station supports hundreds of fixed subscriber stations, which can be public Wi-Fi "hot spots" or
fire-walled enterprise networks. The base stations will use the Media Access Control layer as defined in
the standarda common interface that makes networks interoperableand would allocate up-link and
down-link bandwidth to subscribers according to their needs, on a real-time basis. There are two basic
transmission modes: the continuous mode and the burst mode. This is provided by the time division
duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) support. Time division/demand multiple access
(TDMA) is used in the up-link and time division multiplexer (TDM) in the downlink. On the downlink
path, the subscriber station is associated with a specific burst while on the up-link path the subscriber has
to contend for bandwidth and the time at which it can transmit information. The subscriber station does
not transmit and receive simultaneously.
The network is organized in point-to-multipoint (PMP) architecture. The subsequent amendments in the
802.16 systems have standardized the support for meshed network and hence in some way they are
multipoint-to-multipoint. The MAC layer in these systems is connect-oriented and supports different user
environments. There is a protocol independent core (ATM, IP) and the MAC supports multiple 802.16
physical layers.
Subsequent Amendments
With the limited feature set provided by 802.16 and its support of only fixed wireless systems and non
line of support, various amendments are being made over and above this standard to support features like
high mobility, non line of sight, and efficient packet data services. The sections given below capture the
work done and the amendments made in this regard.
802.16a
802.16a was approved as IEEE standard on January 29, 2003 and published on April 1, 2003. It operates
in the 211 GHz frequency band over a theoretical maximum range of 31 miles with a theoretical
maximum data transfer rate of 70Mbps and can support thousands of users.
Since the standard 802.16a specifies that the physical layer is operational in 211 GHz frequency range, it
has the non line of sight support due to larger wavelengths. Hence, 802.16a greatly improves non-line-ofsight performance, and it is the most appropriate technology available when obstacles such as trees and
buildings are present. Stations can be mounted on homes or buildings rather than towers on mountains.
The aspects of 802.16a that are instrumental in powering robust performance include the following:

Support for licensed and license-exempt band operation below 11 GHz


High spectral efficiency, which reduces carriers' costs and improves users' experiences
Forward error correction, for more reliable transmission
Support for advanced antenna techniques to improve range and capacity
Space and time coding to enhance performance in fading environments
Adaptive modulation support, which allows for trade-off of bandwidth for range to reach
customers up to 30 miles away

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IP Data Communication over the Wireless Network

802.16a technology also provides low latency for delay-sensitive services such as circuit-switched
voice traffic or voice over IP, optimized transport for video, and prioritization of data traffic. This is
especially important for businesses that require voice, in addition to data services, from their
broadband service provider.
802.16b
802.16b operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band over a theoretical maximum range of 100 meters with a
theoretical maximum data transfer rates of 11Mbps and can support dozens of users. An amendment over
this was further made which captured the interoperability issues among various vendors as well as welldefined test suite structures. The standardization of these test suite structures was imperative to solve the
interoperability issues.
802.16e
A breakthrough in WiMAX occurred with the formation of 802.16e working group to standardize the
broadband wireless access for both fixed and mobile access systems. With 802.16e, WiMAX is expected
to support mobile wireless technology in terms of wireless transmissions directly to mobile end users.
This will be similar in function to the general packet radio service and the "one times" radio transmission
technology (1xRTT) offered by phone companies.
The network model as per this specification is such that each base station (BS) unit serves a multiple
services switching system (MSS) over a predefined area. For the mobility across these predefined areas
each BS unit is connected over a backbone network. This backbone network can be provided by different
vendors and could be of different natures. The subscriber stations (SS) in 802.16e are known as mobile
subscriber stations (MSS) as they are no longer fixed. The backbone networks can have there own
authentication and accounting procedures. Due to the existence of this backbone network the BS stack
contains additional support in the MAC known as the mobility agent (MA). This MA is responsible for
de-capsulation of the data arriving from MSS home network, as well as encapsulation when it is destined
to its home network. It is also responsible for connection management for the arrival of new MSS and
departure of the old ones.
802.20: An Introduction
The enhancement of the 802.16 standard to meet mobility requirements was good idea in that
standardization was easier over the existing architecture and backward compatibility was maintained with
systems under development. However, with its enhancements, 802.16 retained its existing disadvantage,
inefficient adaptive antenna support and handoff procedures. Hence a decision for writing a completely
new standard for the mobile wireless access systems was made and 802.20, the IEEE standard for
wireless wide-area networking (WWAN), came into being. The aim of IEEE 802.20 is to develop the
specification for an efficient packet based air interface that is optimized for the transport of IPbased
services. The goal is to enable worldwide propagation of cheap, omnipresent, and interoperable
multivendor, mobile, broadband wireless access networks that meet the needs of business and residential
end user markets. The standard will enable a single base station to support both fixed and mobile
broadband wireless access (BWA). It hopes to bridge the divide between high-data-rate wireless localarea networks (WLAN) and high mobility cellular wide-area networks (WAN). The basic advantage of
802.20 is that it supports mobile devices, a capability not supported by 802.16 until the 802.16e standard
is ready.
802.20 is currently under development and no products supporting 802.20 are expected before 2006.
However, the IEEE Standards Board has approved a mobile broadband wireless access (MBWA) working
group for the establishment of IEEE 802.20.

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Shilpa Bhatnagar, Meena Belwal, and Madhav Kumar

The focus of MBWA is specification of physical and medium access control layers of an air interface for
interoperable mobile broadband wireless access systems, operating in licensed bands below 3.5 GHz,
optimized for IP data transport, with peak data rates per user in excess of one Mbps. It supports various
vehicular mobility classes up to 250 Km/h in a metropolitan are network (MAN) environment and targets
spectral efficiencies, sustained user data rates, and numbers of active users that are all significantly higher
than achieved by existing mobile systems.
Plans have been proposed to support 802.20 MBWA using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing
(OFDM). This is an inverse multiplexing technology that divides a single high-speed channel into
multiple parallel low-speed channels that do not overlap. It is similar to dense wavelength division
multiplexing. In theory, OFDM can offer excellent throughput and reliability.
Comparative Study: 802.16e and 802.20
Both emerging 802.16e and 802.20 standards will specify new mobile air interfaces for wireless
broadband. The basic difference between these two standards is that the 802.16e specification will be
based on an existing standard (802.16a), while 802.20 is starting from scratch. This means that products
based on 802.16e will likely hit the market well before 802.20 solutions. The table below captures the
basic differences between these two mobile technologies

Table 1
The 802.20 interface seeks to boost real-time data transmission rates in wireless metropolitan area
networks to speeds that rival DSL and cable connections (one Mbps or more). Based on cell ranges of up
to 15 kilometers or more, it plans to deliver those rates to mobile users even when they are traveling at
speeds up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour). This would make 802.20 an option for
deployment in high-speed trains. However, the 802.16e project authorization request specifies that it will
only support subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds and hence not at very high speeds.
Although these two technologies differ in their mode of operation they both work on packet data
architecture and ensure low latency.
Data Communication over Wireless
After the advent of wireless for voice communication the most intuitive thing was to communicate data
traffic over the wireless air interface. Although conceptually the communication of voice and data was not
a very different task, the major challenge was to deliver high quality and efficient data services. In case of
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IP Data Communication over the Wireless Network

data traffic, latency is not an issue; it really doesnt matter while browsing a page that one receives the
text first and then the graphics. However, when using some state of the art packet data services like
video on demand, latency is a critical issue. Consumers would not accept technology that delivers
pictures first and then voice. These challenges were even bigger since all this transmission had to happen
over the wireless network.
There are various features that should be part of the MAC layer over the wireless physical layer to
provide reliable data communication service. These are header processing, signaling, payload processing,
and interworking with a packet data layer two functionality. One such example is address resolution
protocol (ARP) resolution when the IP data traffic has to be communicated over the Ethernet packet data
link layer, which exists over a wireless MAC. The core competency of any such implementation is
mapping of the signaling that exists in the wireless network to the signaling that exists in the packet data,
as well as mapping of the parameters across the two technologies.
Two such packet data technologies, IPv4 over 802.16 MAC and IPv4 over Ethernet (802.3) over 802.16
MAC, have been taken as case studies and their implementation in the real time systems is discussed in
the following section.
Technical Considerations of IPv4 over 802.16
As discussed in the sections above, one of the most important functions of any implementation used for
communicating IPv4 data over the 802.16 MAC should be the signaling management and the parameter
mapping. A management entity is thus required for keeping such mappings. The signaling, however, shall
be initiated by the applications existing on the IP stack based on when they generate the start and stop
requests for data transmission.
In the case of IPv4, a key factor for IP data forwarding and routing is the resolution of destination IP
address into its appropriate machine address. This machine address is then used for packet forwarding by
the underlying MAC. The ARP resolution does not make any sense in the case of 802.16. This is because
it is a point to multipoint system. In the uplink direction each SS knows beforehand that its data can be
destined to go anywhere in this world, but it will have to go through the BS. Therefore, it always has to
deliver data to its designated BS. In the downlink direction BS sends the data to SS by sending it on the
appropriate caller identification (CID), rather than the machine address which is a part of the payload. So
ARP resolution can either be straightaway bypassed or can be statically configured during startup. At
startup when SS enters the network, its IP address is either configured statically or is fetched from the
dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server. The mapping of this IP address and the CIDs
corresponding to it is maintained at BS. Based on the destination IP address of the data and the
corresponding CID stored in the database at BS, the BS knows to which SS the data is destined. On the
other hand, 802.16a considers the fully meshed network and interSS communication. In this context,
ARP resolution becomes extremely important.
In the 802.16 networks the data is carried over time domain channels multiplexed over the uplink and the
downlink frequency. These channels are identified by a channel identification also termed as CID. There
are some predefined CIDs that are used for management message communication. For the data traffic this
CID is dynamically allocated by the BS. Allocation of these CIDs, along with connection setup and
management, comprise the signaling for a particular data connection. Based on the IPv4 parameters like
source IP address, destination IP address etc., a mapping is maintained between these parameters as well
as the CID. This mapping database also contains the entries based on their priority and quality of service
(QoS) parameters. The parameters mentioned here along with the ones specified in the IEEE 802.16
specification are collectively known as classifiers. The classifier/CID management is a part of the
management entity
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Shilpa Bhatnagar, Meena Belwal, and Madhav Kumar

In Figure 1, sample data illustrates that IP traffic originating from SS will terminate on BS.

Figure 1
When the DSARSP comes to central procession system (CPS) with the CID, a confirmation is sent to
the MAC CS. The MAC CS then places the CID in the database corresponding to that service classifier in
the management entity database. The management entity will then communicate this to MAC CPS. On
getting this confirmation, the MAC CPS sends back a DSAACK. This ensures that the CID is now
available in the SS database for further data communication.
For details on all the message types and the layered architecture of 802.16a refer to references, number one.
Technical Consideration of IPv4 over 802.3 over 802.16
For IPv4 over 802.3 i.e. Ethernet over 802.16 the main difference is that for the IP stack the MAC layer is
Ethernet, however the actual MAC layer is 802.16. Hence, the interworking should be such that the IP
stack is independent of the existence of 802.16. In other words, it is the Ethernet MAC layer that is
modified to exist on top of the 802.16 MAC. Since IP stack is independent of the underlying 802.16
MAC, the link layer functionality of ARP resolution becomes of prime importance. In the case of pointto-multipoint systems like 802.16 this can be statically configured during startup or during initiation of
the first connection. However, in the case of meshed networks as mentioned in 802.16a, this has to be
dynamically populated. This is so because the topology might keep on changing with multiple SSs
entering and leaving into the network.

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IP Data Communication over the Wireless Network

In Figure 2, sample data illustrates that IP traffic over 802.3 Ethernet, originating from SS, will terminate
on BS.

Figure 2
This data flow scenario makes the assumption that matching classifiers and service flow exists in the
convergence sub-layer, either through provisioning or dynamic creation. At the IP level it means the ARP
resolution has already taken place. Incoming packet PDU from the user layer, in this case IP over
Ethernet/802.3, gets matched according to particular criteria, as per the classification process at the CS
layer. The packet is then delivered to the CPS for forward delivery using the connection defined by the
CID to the peer entity, in this case, BS.
For details on all the message types and the layered architecture of 802.16a refer to references, number one.
Challenges
There are various challenges involved in the architecture and design of such packet data systems
mentioned above. These challenges include the following:

136

Design of the interworking or mapping database and the points of its access
Synchronization of this database with the events in the real time
o How will the database on the BS side be flushed when an SS is removed from the
network?

Shilpa Bhatnagar, Meena Belwal, and Madhav Kumar

How will the ARP entries be flushed in a meshed network when an SS is removed from
the network?
IP stack implementations across various OS and its compatibility with the existing 802.16
o

Another very important area, one that should be targeted at the time of design, is how these systems will
be tested.
A sample testing approach is explained in detail in the following.
Sample Testing Approach
For the purpose of IP traffic generation any existing IP stack implementation can be used. IP applications
like ping can used to verify the data flows over the existing MAC. A suggested testing strategy is
described in the sections below. This approach can be used over any OS platform with an IP stack
Two personal computers (PCs) can be connected over Ethernet back to back or via LAN. One PC can act as
the IP traffic generator and will have a normal IP over Ethernet stack and the 802.16 packet encapsulation
stub. The second PC can act as the host machine into which the 802.16 MAC implementation will be
plugged and tested.
For generating traffic IP applications like ping, telnet can be used. The technique of plugging the 802.16
in the OS kernel for testing has been suggested, as this is conceptually an elegant way of generating
Ethernet frames with IP payload.
Setup for Receive Packet Processing
When an Ethernet frame arrives on the prototype host, i.e. PC with stack under test, it is delivered to the
kernel through the device drivers, which have been attached to the kernel by opening up device files.
These frames are typically received by the Ethernet entry point function of the kernel. The packet is
processed, its Ethernet header is detached and the packet is sent to 802.16 stack entry point. After
processing, the stack passes frame to the upper layers. In the case of IPv4 over Ethernet over 802.16
scenario, the frame is again sent to the Ethernet layer which will eventually send it to IP stack.
Setup for Send Packet Processing
On receiving an IP based Ethernet frame from upper layers, 802.16 stack on the prototype host (i.e. PC
with stack under test), delivers the frame to Ethernet layer again so that it can be sent to the peer machine.
The peer machine has 802.16 receive stub, which analyzes the packet and establishes the connection by
forwarding it to upper layers on that machine.
Conclusion
Based on the above discussion it can be concluded that providing IP data services over the wireless air
interface should not be the main objective of any wireless access system. The objective should be to
provide these services in such a way that they are highly efficient, high speed, and minimally latent. This
discussion can be carried further to apply to other packet data services like IP over point to point protocol
(PPP) over Ethernet over 802.16 and IPv6.
The broadband wireless access systems based on 802.16 face competition from wide area cellular second
and a half and third generation (2.5G/3G) technologies. In addition, the IEEE 802.20 standard, defined for
wireless WAN access, could potentially compete with WiMAX since both standards could be seen as
separate solutions to a similar problem.

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IP Data Communication over the Wireless Network

One major factor by which these wireless technologies can win over each other is their time to market.
However, their co-existence with each other still remains a debatable question.
References
IEEE Std. 802.162001 Part 16: Air interface for fixed broadband wireless access system,
http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802/download/802.16-2001.pdf
IEEE Std. 802.16a2003 Part 16: Air interface for fixed broadband wireless access systems Amendment
2, http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802/download/802.16a-2003.pdf
IEEE Std. 802.16e03/07r1 2 Part 16: Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
Amendment 4: Mobility Enhancementshttp://ieee802.org/16/tge/docs/80216e-03_07r1.pdf
IEEE 802.20 Mobile Broadband Wireless Accesshttp://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/20/

138

WiMAX
Overcoming the Limitations of Todays
Fixed Wired Access Technologies
Kathy Burrows
Siemens AG, ICN

Lutz Fielbrandt
Alvarion GmbH
Executive Summary
Governments globally are starting to prioritize broadband as a key political objective for all citizens to
overcome the broadband gap also known as the digital divide. In last mile markets where traditional
cable or copper/fiber infrastructures are either saturated, outdated or simply out of reach, broadband
wireless access (BWA) technology fills the void admirably, providing highly efficient and cost effective
access services for a large number of subscribers who would otherwise be left out of the loop in
developed markets.
With the advent of WiMAX, BWA is undergoing a dramatic change. What differentiates WiMAX from
earlier BWA developments is standardization. Current broadband wireless deployments are based on
proprietary solutions in which each BWA vendor custom-builds their solution, which adds time and cost
to the process. Similar to what has happened recently in the wireless local area network (WLAN) arena
with wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), WiMAX plans to enforce standards compliance among vendor members.
This compliance will result in interoperability and ultimately plug-and-play products, the cost of which
will benefit from economies of scale and hence bring dramatic improvement to the business case for the
operator. First WiMAX products will be available by the beginning of 2005 and is set to become the
mainstream broadband wireless platform with more than 50% market share used by the predicted 3.8
million broadband wireless subscribers in 2008. While the overall number of subscriber lines is quite
small relative to DSL or cable, the dollar value is growing to the point where even major carriers are
beginning to pay close attention.
It is not only the developed markets that can benefit from WiMAX. For emerging markets, operators
are interested in using WiMAX for low cost voice transport and delivery, which has been very
difficult with proprietary solutions. Overall, the markets without any fixed infrastructure pose the
greatest opportunities.
2006 will see the start of the second stage in the WiMAX evolution with WiMAX chipsets embedded
in laptops and other mobile devices. This step will lead to broadband portability and to CPEless
business model, which makes the case even more compelling for an operator, because the user is
subsidizing the model.

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WiMAX

1. Outlook for Broadband Wireless Access


1.1 Historical Challenges
In the past, many operators analyzed the business case for deploying non-standardized broadband wireless
access as an alternative to digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable. Although a few operators made
deployments, many operators decided not to invest in this equipment and some of the reasons for them
not having done this were the following:

Non-standardized equipment using proprietary interfaces leading to high risk one-vendor


strategies
Uncompetitive prices for broadband wireless equipment in comparison to wire line equipment
with lower throughput (including customer premises equipment (CPEs))
Line of sight requirements in densely populated areas
No clear unique value added differentiator (wireless could only deliver services similar to
traditional wired technologies)

All of these reasons together lead to the fact that the fixed broadband access business case was not
compelling. This is changing.
1.2 The Wireless (R)Evolution and WiMAX
Figure 1 illustrates the improvement and advancement of broadband wireless technologies from 2000 to
2005 as well as the evolution from proprietary to standard-based solutions.
2000

2001 2002

2003 2004

Proprietary
Solutions

2005

Standard-based
Solutions

Data rate: 2-11 Mbps peak

Data rate: 6-54 Mbps peak

Data rate: Up to 72 Mbps peak

Chip sets: use 802.11 RF


and PHY or proprietary

Chip sets: OEMs forced to


develop their own Silicon - Some
use 802.11a RF & PHY

Chip sets: Volume silicon


supplier

Air Interface: frequency hopping


and Direct Sequence

Air interface: OFDM & S-CDMA


approaches

Air Interface: 256 FFT OFDM


and OFDMA

Figure 1: Broadband Wireless Product Development


1.2.1 Standardization
The telecoms industry has recognized the shortcomings of non-standardized broadband wireless access
and, as within the wireline sector, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) has been
working towards an extension of the 802.16 standard for 1066 gigahertz (GHz) published in April 2002.
The sub-11 GHz frequency ranges are standardized in IEEE 802.16a. IEEE 802.16a is also known as the
IEEE WirelessMAN air interface.
WiMAX is a non-profit industry organization formed by equipment and component suppliers to promote
the adoption of IEEE 802.16 compliant equipment (such as base stations and CPEs). While vendors have
been providing proprietary solutions for many years now, WiMAX promises to standardize the equipment
(base stations and CPEs), making it interoperable and more affordable. This will in turn lead to less risky
multivendor strategies for operators.

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Kathy Burrows and Lutz Fielbrandt

Internationally, WiMAX has agreed to cooperate with European Telecommunications Standards Institute
(ETSI) to support certification of products employing the ETSI high performance radio metropolitan area
network (HIPERMAN) standard for European broadband wireless metropolitan area access.
1.2.2 Volume Production
Major chip vendors, such as Intel, are developing standards-based WiMAX chipsets, (which can also later
be integrated into laptop computers), and are leading this revolution towards volume production which
will in turn help to reduce equipment prices ensuring that wireless products can be competitively
positioned against their wired counterparts. WiMAX promises to drive down the costs of broadband
wireless equipment, allowing operators to expand networks and provide lower access fees.
1.2.3 Overcoming the Technical Limitations of Todays BWA
The WiMAX frequency ranges can be licensed or license-exempt and enable non-line-of-sight (NLOS)
performance, making the IEEE 802.16a standard the appropriate technology for carrier-grade last-mile
applications where obstacles like trees and buildings are often present and where base stations may need
to be unobtrusively mounted on the roofs of homes or buildings rather than towers on mountains.
1.2.4 Portability and CPE Elimination
A further enhancement (the second stage) of the standard is the IEEE 802.16e extension, which enables
nomadic capabilities for laptops and other mobile devices allowing users to benefit from metro area
portability of an xDSLlike service. This extension will boost development of built-in chipsets thus
eliminating the external modem altogether and allowing transmission directly to the laptop. This built-in
CPE could lead to a CPEless business model, which makes the case even more compelling for an
operator, because the user is subsidizing the model.

Subscribers (000s)

1.3 Broadband Wireless Access Market Trends


The BWA is an industry that is growing at a rapid pace regardless of WiMAX. The following market
forecasts do not account for WiMAX, since it is assumed that WiMAX will only increase the size of the
market (in revenues or subscriber lines) from 2006. After 2006, the second-stage WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e
and mobility) could have a significant impact on subscriber lines and revenues.

5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
0
2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Source: Pyramid Research

Figure 2: Global Broadband Fixed Wireless Subscriber Lines


While the overall number of subscriber lines is quite small relative to DSL or cable, the size of the market
and the revenues associated with it is growing to the point where even major carriers are beginning to pay
more close attention.

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WiMAX

The 802.16 standard is set to revolutionize the broadband wireless market with research showing that by
2008 up to 50% of all broadband wireless equipment could support this standard.

Large BWA vendors are concentrating on developing WiMAX equipment because they also see
many benefits from migrating to WiMAX, such as exiting the CPE business and concentrating on
their core business: base stations.
Operators can improve their business model by deploying interoperable, lower-cost equipment,
which is particularly important in emerging markets.

Siemens believes that the BWA market will have a substantial share of the broadband access market and
that WiMAX is going to change the broadband map globally.
2. WiMAX Equipment and Networks
2.1 Application Scenarios
Typical point to multipoint BWA systems are composed of two key elements: base station and subscriber
equipment. The base station connects to the network backbone and uses an outdoor antenna to send and
receive high-speed data and voice to subscriber equipment, thereby eliminating the need for extensive and
expensive wireline infrastructure and providing highly flexible and cost-effective last-mile solutions.

Figure 3: Application Scenarios with WiMAX Equipment


The main business advantages of wireless systems based on IEEE 802.16 are as follows:

142

The ability to overcome the physical limitations with ranges of traditional wired infrastructure
and still provide residential and business users with comparable throughputs at up to 40km
Broadband service provision in areas where existing plant is not allowing copper based xDSL
based services
Cost-efficient service supply in areas where traditional xDSL is not suitable due to small number
of customers per DSLAM
The avoidance of steep installation costsno outside plant costs necessary for copper/fiber
The ability to quickly provision service, even in areas that are hard for wired infrastructure to
reach, helping operators to overcome the digital divide

Kathy Burrows and Lutz Fielbrandt

2.2 Equipment Capabilities


This 802.16 technology is designed from the bottom up to provide wireless last-mile broadband access in
the metropolitan area network (MAN), delivering carrier-class performance comparable to traditional
cable, DSL, or E1/T1 offerings.
The main technical properties are as follows:

Broad bandwidthup to 134 megabytes per second (Mbps) in 28 megahertz (MHz) channel
Multiple services supported simultaneously with full quality of service (QoS) to efficiently
transport multifaceted protocols like internet protocol version four (IPv4), IPv6, asynchronous
transfer mode (ATM), Ethernet, etc.
Bandwidth on demand (frame by frame)
Media access control (MAC) designed for efficient used of spectrum
Comprehensive, modern, and extensible security
Multiple frequency allocation support from 211 GHzorthogonal frequency division
multiplexing (OFDM) and OFDMA for non-line-of-sight applications (licensed and licenseexempt spectrum)
Time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD)
Link adaptation: Adaptive modulation and codingsubscriber by subscriber, burst by burst,
uplink and downlink
Point-to-multipoint topology, with mesh extensions
Adaptive antennas support and space-time coding
Conformance test specifications as defined in IEEE 802.16d
Mobility extensions (IEEE 802.16)

3. WiMAX: The Business Case


3.1 Business Case Overview
Siemens and Alvarion have completed a techno-economic assessment together to analyze the effects of
introducing WiMAX based equipment in various scenarios by performing detailed business case analysis.
The demand driven approach taken brings clarity and understanding to the development process of a
competitive business plan that embraces alternative market, technical, and economic futures
3.2 Major Assumptions
The market investigated consists of both residential and business users who subscribe to various services
similar to those offered by existing wireline broadband operators. The base station equipment used to
address these customers is modular and scalable, allowing operators to pay-as-you-grow.
The most common 802.16a/d configuration consists of a base station mounted on a building or tower that
communicates on a point to multipoint basis with subscriber stations located in businesses and homes (as
shown in Figure 3). Depending on topography and antenna height, IEEE 802.16a/d based equipment may
achieve up to 50km of range with a typical cell radius of six to ten kilometers.
Since the high cost of CPEs has been the principal obstacle to making the consumer fixed wireless
business model work in the past, the business case has been considered for different types of CPE
(depending on end-user needs).

A modem attached to an external antenna


A modem with an indoor antenna

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WiMAX

Integrated antenna since as further integration into silicon by major chip suppliers takes hold;
CPEs can be integrated into laptops, phones, and other devices

3.3 Key Findings


The results of the investigation show that there is a positive business case for operators who want to add
services and applications which are comparable to other existing broadband technologies (e.g. cable or
DSL) for both high-volume residential and high-revenue business customers in greenfield and overlay
scenarios and to address the problems associated with the digital divide (e.g. limited range and hence
limited penetration in underserved areas).
The growing demand for broadband services on a global scale is clear and uncontestable. Businesses,
public institutions and residential users regard it as an enabling technology and it has become a given
requirement for delivering communications services in the information age. DSL operators, who initially
focused their deployments in densely populated urban and metropolitan areas, are now challenged to
provide broadband services in suburban and rural areas where new markets are quickly taking root. In last
mile markets where traditional cable or copper/fiber infrastructures are either saturated, outdated or
simply out of reach, BWA technology fills the void admirably, providing highly efficient and cost
effective access services for millions of subscribers who would otherwise be left out of the loop.
The emerging markets can also benefit from the WiMAX technology, particularly those operators who are
interested in using WiMAX for low cost voice transport and delivery, which has been very difficult with
proprietary solutions. Overall, the markets without any fixed infrastructure pose the greatest opportunities.
They benefit from the avoidance of steep installation or rental costssince no outside-plant costs are
necessary for copper/fiber and from scalable equipment, matching the rollout to the acquired subscribers.
4. Conclusion: Increased Revenues with WiMAX
Broadband wireless access is being revolutionized by standardization. Operators can benefit from
interoperability and economies of scale of WiMAX equipment that will dominate the wireless
technologies available on the market, with first products becoming available later this year.
While operators have deployed broadband services to many subscribers who are within reach of central
office locations, there is still an untapped market of subscribers who do not benefit from broadband
services. Governments globally are starting to prioritize broadband as a key political objective for all
citizens to overcome the broadband gap also known as the digital divide. With WiMAX, operators are
being given the chance to extend their customer base to include these subscribers using a highly efficient
and cost effective complementary access technology. In emerging markets, operators will be able to
capitalize on the benefits that are associated with standardized equipment, economies of scale.
WiMAX deployment will follow at two-stage development. Once mobility and broadband have been
combined in step two in the form of in integrated CPEs in 2006, WiMAX will coexist alongside UMTS.
Copyright Siemens AG 2004 Information and Communication Networks Munich, Germany
This whitepaper contains general descriptions and performance characteristics, which in case of actual
use will not always apply as described herein, or which may change as a result of further development of
the products. An obligation to provide the characteristics as described in this whitepaper shall only exist
if expressly agreed to in the terms of contract. Availability and technical specifications are subject to
change without notice.

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The Application of WiMAX


Technologies in Rural Montana
A Case Study of a Multi-City Deployment
Phillip J. Curtiss
Division of Technology
InfoMine of the Rockies, Inc.

Kelson L. Colbo
Division of Administration
InfoMine of the Rockies, Inc.
Abstract
Rural America, with its large open spaces between its population centers, creates an environment not well
suited for the kinds of telecommunications investment seen in other, more densely populated areas, where
broadband access arises in almost all forms: digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, and wireless, to name
just a few. Yet the very population that can benefit the most from broadband wireless technology
investment is, in fact, rural America. These sparsely populated areas are struggling with a severe
transformation from their humble origins as mostly an agrarian lifestyle to that of a knowledge-based
economy. There is no shortage of individuals wanting to relocate to rural America, to live and work in
settings resplendent with 360 degree mountain views, open rolling vistas, and lakes as clear and deep as
anyone can imagine. But how can this economic development take place? How can this transformation
happen when there is seemingly no business case for making the technological investment in these areas?
Ultimately then, a business case must emerge; one that brings together the right technology investment to
meet the unique needs and struggles of rural America. Such companies are unlikely to be incumbent
players, as the change in business model and the risk of such an investment would never see the light of
their boardrooms. Instead, smaller emerging telecommunications companies tightly tied and already
invested in the rural communities they serve, will likely adopt such a business model and take the risk to
find the capital to implement the model and report to the wider telecommunications community their
findings. Many such projects are well underway; however, only just now are the wireless technologies
that will be central to the adoption and success of such business models becoming visible. The
technologies built around the WiMAX standards will play a pivotal role in these emerging business
models, and this paper provides a case study of such a model that is underway in rural Montana.
Introduction
A business that operates just outside of Butte, Montana in Galen (a small, historically farming
community) is currently provided voice, data and video services by three different providersall of

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The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana

which, of course, are overlay networks riding on the aging, over-burdened public switched infrastructure
in the subscribers rural area which hasnt seen any public switched telephone network (PSTN)
investment in decades. They are totally exasperated with their providers. They can no longer deal with the
poor quality, frequent outages, long response times, lack of any real service level agreement and worst of
all, high price for the poor services they are receiving. They beg and plead for help from a new provider
to offer services for less cost, with a real service level agreement, and at speeds that provide the quality
they desire because they hope that a new network can enforce an end-to-end quality of service model.
How to tell this extremely frustrated customer that a new provider can meet every requirement and
expectation they have, and can do it for less than they have historically been paying? How to get away
from having to make use of the same poorly maintained public network? It is possible for the company
who has created an end-to-end wireless network that needs only connect to the PSTN for the purposes of
exchange with other carriers.
This network is inexpensive to operate as there are no ongoing costs to lease overlay networks from the
incumbent carriers nor is there any cost to operate the infrastructure itself, other than maintenance and
provisioning, once the capital costs of the infrastructure have been paid. The nature of a single network
owned and operated by this company makes the provisioning, servicing, and expanding of the network
easier and less expensive as there is no need to interact with other providers or carriers to accomplish
these tasks. Generally speaking, this means that provisioning procedures, and other operations support
system (OSS) duty cycles, can be streamlined, allowing response to customers to be exceptional as
compared to other providers. Further, the end-to-end network being operated solely by this company
means the technology required to implement service level agreements (SLA) can be put in place;
ultimately providing customers with the levels of service they desire to accomplish their work.
If all of this sounds like a dream, it rather is at this point. However, there are examples of this kind of
provider popping up on the radar, such as the much lauded TowerStream and Airspan. What they all seem
to have in common is their infrastructure is either entirely wireless (end-to-end) or is mostly wireless,
with backhaul services being provided by a technology partner that is not an incumbent carrier of any
kind. In addition, these new business models are not being brought to bear in the market place by the
incumbent carriers, rather, they are relatively new start-up companies1 that have developed a business
model and are in the process of implementing the model to varying degrees of success. More to the point,
they seem to be finding a niche market that has historically been overlooked; the T1 to 100-Mbps
broadband space.
However, what is missing from the radar screen are any blips of providers operating these new kinds of
wireless networks in rural areas of America such as Montana, as suggested in the above example. This is
extremely unfortunate as the population in rural America stands to benefit the most from these newer
wireless broadband technologies, such as those built on the emerging WiMAX standards2.
What Is WiMAX?
WiMAX is actually a set of Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards (802.16(a
e)) that, unlike the 802.11 set of IEEE standards associated with the wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) movement,
have been engineered to be compatible with their equivalent European standards. This North American
and European compatibility is central in motivating the manufacturers to adopt the 802.16 set of WiMAX
standards and will likely play a pivotal market driver in forcing lower the cost of chip sets and resulting
customer premises equipment (CPE) hardware, adding to quick adoption. However, unlike the adoption
rates associated with the Wi-Fi 802.11 set of IEEE standards, the WiMAX standards are more likely to
1

TowerStream began operating in Providence, RI, in 2001.


WiMAX is also known as the IEEE 802.16(a-e) or the Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access
Systems.

146

Phillip J. Curtiss and Kelson L. Colbo

have adoption rates similar to broadband DSL and cable3. This is primarily due to the incremental
adoption of the full set of 802.16 standards. Table 1 shows the differences between the different IEEE
802.16 addenda.
IEEE
Standard
802.16
802.16(a)
802.16(bc)
802.16(d)
802.16(e)

Description
Fixed Wireless; 1066 GHz; Line-of-Sight Requirement;
Fixed Wireless; 211 GHz; Non-Line-of-Sight Requirement; 70
Mbps; 31-Mile Range
Fixed Wireless; 1066 GHz; Interoperability with Protocols and
Test-Suite Structures
Fixed Wireless; 211 GHz; NLOS; 70 Mbps; 31-Mile Range;
Ratifies 802.16(c) and Forms the Base Standard for Developing
Access Points
Mobile Wireless; < 6 GHz; NLOS; 15 Mbps; 3-Mile Range

Standard
Adoption
April-2002
April-2003
January-2003
July-2004 (est.)
3rd-QTR-2005
(est.)

*All data extracted from the IEEE Working Group Web site; adoption dates are IEEE publication dates.

Table 1: IEEE 802.16 Standards Showing Features


From Table 1 you can see that there are a couple of different goals engineered into the IEEE 802.16
standard. The first is the establishment of two different frequency profiles; namely the 211 GHz profile
and the 1066 GHz profileand later, a profile for the mobile 802.16e standard. These two profiles allow
for a licensed version and an unlicensed version of the WiMAX standard. The licensed standard is
essential to providing carrier class last-mile and backhaul broadband wireless utilizing the WiMAX
standard. The unlicensed profile allows for the adoption of the standard by current wireless Internet
service providers (WISPs) who are sure to move to the WiMAX standard once the CPE price point begins
to drop, primarily to take advantage of the higher throughput and larger number of subscribers per sector
of base-stationa critical economic factor for WISPs.
One of the amazing aspects of WiMAX is the ability to have overlap with European efforts to create
similar standards within the same frequency profiles. This allows manufacturers of the equipment to have
a world-wide market place, driving down costs, and quickening adoption of the standard.
The mobility standard, 802.16e, has great promise, allowing for true cellular like mobile connectivity
which has heretofore only been seen in third generation (3G) networks and the one times radio
transmission technology (1xRTT) networks. Of course, the mobile WiMAX standard comes complete
with nonline-of-sight (NLOS) as well as considerably higher bandwidth (approximately 15 Mbps).
Providers that map the work being done in the mobile Internet protocol (IP) technology space to the
mobile infrastructure of 802.16e WiMAX will produce carrier networks that begin to realize the goal of
pervasive connectivity at the local and metropolitan area network levels.
The Domestic Digital Divide
There are many differing views of just what the term digital divide means. For our purposes, we adopt the
notion as put forth by the people at bridge.org; namely that the digital divide represents a disparity in access
to and use of information and communications technologies (ICT) between different populations. In
particular, bridge.org further qualifies access to and use of ICT to mean access beyond just physical
3

WiMax starting to make its move by Stephen Lawson, Network World, 06/07/2004
147

The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana

access and suggests that access to and use of ICT should make it possible for people to use technology
effectively, as a means to improve their lives. As such, they have produced the following qualifying criteria:

Physical Access. Is technology available and physically accessible?


Appropriate Technology. What is the appropriate technology according to local
conditions and how people need and want to put technology to use?
Affordability. Is technology access affordable for people to use?
Capacity. Do people understand how to use technology and its potential uses?
Relevant Content. Is there locally relevant content, especially in terms of language?
Socio-cultural factors. Are people limited in their use of technology based on gender,
race, or other socio-cultural factors?
Trust. Do people have confidence in and understand the implications of the technology
they use, for instance in terms of privacy, security or cybercrime.
Legal and Regulatory Framework. How do laws and regulations affect technology use
and what changes are needed to create an environment that fosters its use?
Local Economic Environment. Is there a local economy that can and will sustain
technology use?
Macro-Economic Environment. Is national economic policy conducive to widespread
technology use, for example, in terms of transparency, deregulation, investment, and
labor issues?
Political Will. Is there political will in government to do what is needed to enable the
integration of technology throughout society?

With telecom companies unable to build a business case for investing in rural America and providing the
same broadband access to telecommunications services that can be found in more densely populated areas
of the country, much of rural America is simply on the wrong side of the digital divide, unable to have the
kind of access to ICT envisioned by bridge.org. The consequence to this is not unlike any other disparity
in what has become a vital socio-economic element of these communities economic structure. Small
rural communities are seen struggling to adopt new knowledge-based industries and markets simply
because the access to the required ICT is missing, being instead invested in other communities in larger
service areas where the return on investment can be more readily computed and returned more quickly.
This is true of communities in Montana, for example, that were once thriving city centers of commerce
within the state and the country; such as Butte, Montana, home of the Copper Kings a vibrant economy
of the past. Recently, Butte, Montana was the corporate seat of Touch America, a high-technology
company that sought to be the carrier to the carriers, like so many during the emergence of the tech
bubble. Unfortunately, even when Touch America was operating in the community of Butte, very little
ICT investment was made in Butte or the state of Montana. Most of Touch Americas investments were in
large backhaul fiber networks designed to link carriers in the eastern third of the country to those in the
western third of the country, leaving Montana communities with aging infrastructure unable to support
the broadband capacities required by todays ICT; streaming video, voice over IP, real-time processing,
large data-base operations, and the like.
Economic development companies (EDCs) within each Montana community struggle to attract hightechnology, or other clean industries to the area due primarily to the lack of viable infrastructure and
the cost associated with accessing the services required to do business in the new global economy.
Access to high-speed (broadband) telecommunications that leave the state and connect to other carriers
is still exceedingly expensive as are telecommunications links between cities within the state. Montana
is such a large geographic state, that it contains two local access and transport areas (LATA) within its
borders. Therefore, to get a single T1 communications link from Bozeman, Montana to Helena,

148

Phillip J. Curtiss and Kelson L. Colbo

Montanaa mere 95 milesrequires an IXC to bridge the LATA; driving costs as high as $1,250
$1,780 per month depending on the interexchange carrier (IXC) used to bridge the LATA. Montana,
however, is not alone. The same limitations of investment in ICT can be seen throughout almost all
rural American communities.
EDCs have a formidable job to be sure and are actively seeking strategies to build the necessary ICT
infrastructure that will lead to a much easier development of technology industry within their
communities. However, EDCs alone are usually not in a position to rally enough of the political will and
action to make investments in the current PSTN elements possible; access, under the bridge.org
definition, remains denied. EDCs will ultimately have to nurture not the incumbents, rather the new
technology innovators that are starting to emerge; who are assuming the risk of adopting new
technologies in hopes the adoption cycle is measured in decades instead of years.
A Difficult Recipe
The way toward getting a viable infrastructure that begins to bridge the gap of the digital divide is to
assemble a wide array of community players who are aligned to the same goal of ICT access for all in
their community. These individuals frequently include as many of the following entities as possible.
Entity
New ICT Companies
Incumbent Carriers
Local and State Government
Economic Development Companies
Chambers of Commerce
University Systems and Colleges
School Districts and Community Institutions
(Libraries)
Hospitals and Health Care Providers
Financial and Banking Institutions
Large Enterprise Businesses (Regional/National
Chains)
High-Technology Small Businesses

Role
Will assume the risk and provide the innovation
Necessary for linking to other carriers and
networks
Provide tax and other incentives and help with
regulation
Establishes links to out-of-state business
opportunities
Represents small businesses within the community
Provides the necessary training opportunities for
use of ICT services and a resume pool for
businesses
A historically large consumer of ICT services and
lays a foundation for training opportunities for
ICT companies
A historically large consumer of ICT services
A historically large consumer of ICT services and
a potential source of seed funding (with other
guarantees)
A historically large consumer of ICT services and
a potential investor in the ICT infrastructure
Consumers and innovators of ICT services

Table 2: Community Entities and Their Roles in ICT Infrastructure Adoption


With these individual entities properly aligned, a number of different business models can emerge that
result in an investment in (and creation of) an ICT infrastructure. Of course, the establishment of a broad
coalition made up of the entities shown in Table 2 is no small task and can consume many years to
establish. Once established, there must be a viable technology available to use to create the ICT
infrastructure. In southwestern Montana, there is a viable coalition of entities as shown in Table 2
established and the new broadband wireless products built upon the WiMAX standards form the basis of
developing an ICT infrastructure business model.

149

The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana

A Case Study
The goal of this project is to create an infrastructure that provides broadband access to a wide array of
application domains while providing extremely high reliability (optional to the end user) and end-to-end
quality of service capability; allowing for service level agreements. The infrastructure must connect
subscribers in three extremely rural cities in southwestern Montana using wireless broadband
technologies based on the WiMAX standards and also interconnect these cities together using WiMAX
backhaul equipment.

Figure 1: Geographic Layout and Demographics of Cast Study Cities


Figure 1 shows the demographic information of our case study cities. As can be seen, the population
and average income of a typical residential subscriber in each city is very low, yet the land area is
relatively high for the population. The population cited in these demographics4 is assumed to sparsely
fill the land area shown. As such a wireless technology is well suited to provide the best opportunity
to serve as many individuals with ICT services as possible. Adequate repeater site locations are
assumed in the economic breakdown between each city location to assist in establishing a high-speed
backhaul between the cities in our case study. Where possible, WiMAX equipment that is designed
4

Based on estimated 2002 Census for State of Montana

150

Phillip J. Curtiss and Kelson L. Colbo

for point-to-point applications would be used in our case study to maximize the distance covered for
our city to city backhaul applications.
Each city in our case study will consist of at least two base stations, allowing for the possibility of two
fault tolerant links from any subscriber station; one to each base station. Each of the base stations will
have high-speed interconnect links, providing a well connected topology and varied route paths.

Figure 2: Topology Detail of Case Study City Showing Subscribers


For our case study purpose, we have favored a larger amount of municipal and small and medium sized
business customers over residential customers, which is more likely given the demographic data for each
of the three cities. City, county and state government agencies are not only the largest number of
subscribers in each city, but also account for the largest consumers of bandwidth; for example school
districts, city/county governments, etc.
151

The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana

Application Domains
Before investigating the economics of the case study, it is important to review the various applications
that the case study network must support in order to be a viable option for community entities to
subscribe. No longer is it just possible to offer a faster, larger pipe as a means or incentive to have a
business switch their existing provider and move to the product being offered. In the broadband markets,
adoption of new service providers is driven primarily by the value added services that are provided (or
available) along with the access being provided. Very few entities will switch merely to have access to a
larger or faster access provider, but many will switch if various ICT services are provided on the network
that are not available through competitors.
Application Domain
Internet Access

Voice-overIP Services
Videoconferencing Services
Video-on-Demand Services
Medical Information
Management Services (ASP
Model)
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Services
Enterprise Security
Management Services
Homeland Security Services
(Video Surveillance)

Tourism Broker Services

Description
Broadband (high-speed) access to the Internet at SLAs of T1 up to
multiple T3 speeds; residential competition at the < T1 market levels
will take place but accounts for < 5% of the financial analysis
performed in our case study.
These services include network-based inter-office PBX connectivity;
aggregated voice trunks for both local service, local-long distance
and long-distance; unified messaging services; toll-bypass services.
Real-time, two-way, high-quality ( 768 kbps) IPbased
videoconferencing from the desktop and boardroom.
These include VoD services to the hospitality markets as well as to
the local cable operators.
This is an ASP model designed to consolidate medical information
management in a single location (City-1) and provide ASP access to
this service to all health care practitioners in the three city case
study.
VPN services to link corporate offices within the three city case
study as well as outside of the case study cities.
Manage network security for the participating subscribers; mostly
large customers, such as Hospitals and the like.
Real-time, high-quality video surveillance services to City,
County and State Governments to protect municipal assets; this
same information can be provided to the Department of
Transportation for highway and weather conditions within the
three city case study.
One of the largest industries in rural America is that of tourism. The
ability to provide visitors to the region with information about the
region and other areas within the state is vital; this information can
be provided and updated daily if need be.

Table 3: Case Study Real World Application Domains Considered


Financial Analysis
The following financial analysis uses the average costs of a number of manufacturers pre-WiMAX
equipment to provide an estimate of what is likely to be available should this case study be implemented.
All manufacturers promise an aggressive upgrade path to WiMAX standard equipment once available and
tested within their platform benchmark standards. In particular, the costs associated with the WiLAN
LIBRA MX, Aperto PacketWave and Alvarion products as listed at full retail from information acquired
from the manufacturers Web sites and trade journal reviews of these products.

152

Phillip J. Curtiss and Kelson L. Colbo

Estimates are provided for all application domain capital equipment costs, recurring costs and the
associated revenue streams. Again, the purpose of this case study is to show how a three city deployment
would work in a real world rural area.
Capital Costs
The tables that follow show the capital costs of establishing the WiMAX network in each of the three case
study cities and the backhaul element between the three cities. In addition, the capital costs for
establishing the Internet access and the voice over IP services are shown.

Item
1
2
3
4
5

Capital Expenditure
Wireless Base-Station Equipment
Wireless Backhault Services
Internet Access
Voice over IP Services
Total Capital Expenditure

City-1
Subscriber
Base
75
$
191
$
75
$
22
$
$

Cost
45,116.00
23,875.00
3,400.00
3,850.00
76,241.00

City-2
City-3
Subscriber
Subscriber
Base
Cost
Base
Cost
250
$ 77,758.00
250
$ 75,958.00
191
$ 23,875.00
191
$ 23,875.00
250
$
6,400.00
250
$
6,400.00
75
$ 13,125.00
100
$ 17,500.00
$ 121,158.00
$ 123,733.00

Case Study Location


Expenditure
City-1
$ 76,241.00
City-2
$ 121,158.00
City-3
$ 123,733.00
Total Case Study Capital Cost $ 321,132.00

Table 4: Case Study Capital Costs


Item 1 includes all of the wireless base-station costs, the IP routing and switching fabric, and the number
of CPEs as shown in the table.
Item 2 includes all of the wireless point-to-point WiMAX equipment to establish links between the cities.
The number of subscribers is that projects number of subscriber traffic that would need to be carried
between cities; City-1s subscriber base is made up of the subscribers in City-1 communicating with
subscribers in the other cities.
Item 3 includes all of the routing and switching equipment required to establish connections to Tier-1
Internet Service Providers (ISP) and with in-state peering sites5.
Item 4 includes all of the routing, switching and voice gateway equipment required to establish
connections to the PSTN in each city location.
Fixed Recurring Costs
The following fixed costs recur with a monthly frequency and reflect the costs for co-location space for
equipment and towers, salaries for engineering staff, advertising and marketing and Tier-1 ISP costs. The
engineer who has monitoring responsibilities is also assumed to be responsible for provisioning.

YRIX (Yellowstone Regional Internet Exchange)


153

The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana

Item
1
2
3
4
5
6

City-1
Costs
900.00
1,083.33
1,666.67
1,000.00
900.00
5,550.00

Fixed Recurring Costs


Rental Space for Tower
Field Tech Salary (Gross)
Engineer for Monitoring (Gross)
Marketing/Advertising
Tier-1 ISP Costs
Total Fixed Recurring Costs

$
$
$
$
$
$

Case Study Location


City-1
City-2
City-3
Total Case Study Recurring Cost

Expenditure
$ 5,550.00
$ 5,550.00
$ 5,550.00
$ 16,650.00

$
$
$
$
$
$

City-2
Costs
900.00
1,083.33
1,666.67
1,000.00
900.00
5,550.00

$
$
$
$
$
$

City-3
Costs
900.00
1,083.33
1,666.67
1,000.00
900.00
5,550.00

Table 5: Case Study Fixed Recurring Costs


Per-Subscriber Non-Recurring Costs
With the addition of each new subscriber to the network, there is a small incremental one-time cost
associated with the provisioning, installation, and testing of the new customers CPE. In addition, there
are costs on the back end of the process to perform the necessary CRM tasks. The following table shows
these non-recurring costs which are the same no matter the city in which the customer subscribes.
The total quantity for each non-recurrent cost is the sum of all anticipated customers in the case study
across all three cities.

Item
1
2
3
4

Description
Provisioning
Installation
Testing
Back-Office

$
$
$
$

Unit
20.00
150.00
75.00
20.00

Qty
575
575
575
575
Total

Cost
$ 11,500.00
$ 86,250.00
$ 43,125.00
$ 11,500.00
$ 152,375.00

Table 6: Case Study Per-Subscriber Non-Recurring Costs


Monthly Recurring Revenue
Having shown the real world costs associated with establishing the three city WiMAX network for this
case study, this paper will now look at the revenue side for the considered application domains across the
three cities in the case study.

154

Phillip J. Curtiss and Kelson L. Colbo

Item
Recurring Monthly Revenue
1 Internet Access
2
Market T1
3
Market T1 to 5Mbps
4
Market 5Mbps to 100Mbps
5 Voice over IP Services
6
Total Monthly Revenue

City-1
City-2
Subscriber
Monthly
Subscriber
Monthly
Base
Revenue
Base
Revenue
75
250
5
$
449.75
38
$
3,418.10
67
$ 33,500.00
200
$ 100,000.00
3
$ 15,000.00
12
$ 60,000.00
22
$ 2,948.00
75
$ 10,050.00
$ 51,897.75
$ 173,468.10

City-3
Subscriber
Monthly
Base
Revenue
250
45
$ 4,047.75
192
$ 96,000.00
13
$ 65,000.00
100
$ 13,400.00
$ 178,447.75

Case Study Location


Revenue
City-1
$ 51,897.75
City-2
$ 173,468.10
City-3
$ 178,447.75
Total Case Study Recurring Revenue $ 403,813.60

Table 7: Case Study Monthly Recurring Revenue by Application Domain


The revenue by application domain shows a breakdown of the subscriber base among the two application
domains considered. Obviously there will be loss of subscribers from month to month and growth will
occur faster in some application domains over other, however, this revenue shows a best case feasibility
of possible revenue generated from the case study network utilizing the WiMAX equipment and
providing the considered applications to the subscriber base shown.
Analysis
The analysis presented below shows the total fixed costsboth upfront capital costs and recurring
monthly costsas well as the monthly profit and loss (P/L). The figures in the table reflect the network at
capacity and provide no real growth model for the network. This analysis has been done for this real
world case study; the network does not begin to break even until the 18th month of operation6.

Item
1
2
3
4
5
6

Case Analysis
Capital Costs
Per-Subscriber NRC Costs
Total Fixed Costs
Monthly Recurring Costs
Monthly Recurring Revenue
Monthly Recurring Gross Profit

$
$
$
$
$
$

City-1
(76,241.00)
(19,875.00)
(96,116.00)
(5,550.00)
51,897.75
46,347.75

City-2
City-3
$ (121,158.00) $ (123,733.00)
$ (66,250.00) $ (66,250.00)
$ (187,408.00) $ (189,983.00)
$
(5,550.00) $
(5,550.00)
$ 173,468.10 $ 178,447.75
$ 167,918.10 $ 172,897.75

Table 8: Case Study Analysis Showing Fixed Costs and Monthly P/L
Conclusions
This paper has examined the reasons why it is central to rural American communities to have increased
levels of investment in information and communications technologies (ICT), even as such investment is
not forthcoming due to the sparsely populated, geographically challenging, low median income of the
states that tend to contain much of rural America. Not surprisingly, there are few dots on anyones
broadband maps that show such states as Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, North and South Dakota, and the
like. Some states, even with significant rural populations, such as Kansas, have managed to develop
centers of high-technology that bring into the state clean high-tech businesses and add to the economic
development of the region. However, more remote and rural areas of even these states do not have
6

The monthly growth analysis detail can be provided to any interested reader by sending an e-mail to the author at
curtiss@imrockies.net and requesting this analysis.
155

The Application of WiMAX Technologies in Rural Montana

adequate investments in ICT to rise to the occasion of closing the digital divide as defined by bridge.com;
the disparity in the telecommunications haves and have-nots remains formidable.
We have shared substantive excerpts from a case study currently underway here in the southwestern
region of Montana that is designed to analyze the feasibility of and establish a business case for
developing and deploying a three city end-to-end wireless broadband wireless network. Due to the
distance, speed, nonline-of-sight, and quality of services features of the WiMAX standard, this wireless
technology was selected as the basis for the wireless components of the network. Of course, there are
many other factors to consider, many raised in this paper, many not, but the bottom line is that new
business models are required to provide the necessary ICT infrastructure that will help rural America
transform into having a viable knowledge-based economy that will greatly benefit from the migration of
clean high-tech industry to these areas. Without such an investment, it remains unclear how these rural
communities will ever bridge the digital divide and fully participate in the ever growing knowledge-based
sectors of out national and global economy.

156

Will WiMAX Work?


Baher Esmat
Unit Manager, Telecom Strategic and Technical Planning
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Cairo, Egypt
1. Executive Summary
Broadband wireless access (BWA) has assumed an increasing importance over the past few years and is
envisioned to pervade in the future. Offering broadband or high-speed access has been a challenge for
many operators and service providers, and with the advent of mobile data services this challenge has
become even more insistent. Although BWA is not new as there have been many technologies offering
what used to be called fixed wireless access (FWA), the scene today is different, and the BWA market is
looking ahead to some major changes over the next few years. To date, the innovative technology known
as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) has gained considerable popularity over
the past year and there have been a lot of arguments about what it can actually deliver down the road.
This paper reviews the evolution of some BWA technologies trying to highlight their strengths as well as
their shortcomings while at the same time shedding some light on how WiMAX has learned from such
technologies. The paper mainly endeavors to draw a realistic picture for the potential of WiMAX without
exaggeration, so it is not necessarily going to be another failure story in BWA, nor will it be the sole
technology that replaces everything from fixed-line access to third-generation (3G) mobile. The paper
also shows how WiMAX can complement and integrate with other services and the different players that
are expected to have a stake in this business. In the long term, the theme that WiMAX will rule the BWA
world seems to be a bit imprecise, while the most realistic vision perceives WiMAX among other
technologies such as wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) and 3G as the founders of the new world of broadband
mobility. The paper concludes that the WiMAX evolution is taking place gradually as its real
breakthrough is not predicted before 2008, and hence there is no logic behind leapfrogging into it.
2. Background
In recent years, with the advent of broadband services, the issue of the last mile and how to reach the end
user has become more imperative than ever for almost all fixed-line operators. No matter what scale of
operator we are talking about, or which last-mile technology is being deployed, what concerns any
operator is how to offer high-speed access for multiservices with guaranteed quality of service (QoS).
With the difference in scale, this new generation of services is becoming a necessity for developed and
developing countries in rural as well as urban areas. In the developed world, because wired infrastructure
in urban areas is massive and reaching almost every household, the idea of having a wireless solution for
last-mile access may not be persistent. Yet for those countries, wireless solutions are quite tempting for
rural areas where infrastructure is lagging behind. Therefore, solutions based on code division multiple
access (CDMA), local multipoint distribution service (LMDS), multichannel multipoint distribution
service (MMDS), satellite as well as many other proprietary technologies have been widely deployed in
such areas.

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On the other hand, the quality of copper infrastructure in many developing countries may not be qualified
for high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) access, and the situation is even worse in rural and
underserved areas where copper is either insufficient or households are so far from central offices.
Therefore, having a last-mile wireless access seems to be an ideal solution for those countries primarily
for rural areas and in some cases for municipalities, too. The problem in most of the developing nations is
that broadband services are still growing and due to the economies of such countries, service charges
constitute a major factor in penetration. With the growth in Internet usage, however, the aspiration for
broadband access in parts of the developing world is becoming more demanding and here where
broadband wireless may have a great opportunity. A recent report from Pyramid Research shows that the
annual growth in broadband wireless users in the developing countries will be 54 percent over the next
five years vis--vis 34 percent for the developed nations [1].
Nowadays, because the term broadband has become synonymous with high speed, we may first need to
identify what a broadband access is, or in other words to specify the speed at which a connection is
considered a broadband connection. As a matter of fact, the FCC has defined 200 kpbs as a minimum
speed for a broadband link [2], though this figure seems to be quite humble for some countries where
speeds below 1 Mbps are not seen as broadband. This shows that the term broadband is a bit elastic and
based on the applications and their development from time to time and from place to another, so what is
broadband today might not be broadband tomorrow, and if a 256 kpbs connection is a broadband in
Egypt, it might be a legacy service in South Korea. While talking about trends and with the rapid
development in telecom services and applications, however, it does not really make sense to presume that
speeds below 2 Mbps are broadband even for wireless access, especially as to date there are wireless
technologies that do support speeds at 2 Mbps and higher such as LMDS, MMDS, CDMA2000 1xEVDV, IEEE 802.11, and 802.16.
3. Broadband Wireless Revolution
Traditionally, the wireless last-mile access used to be known as FWA. But with the advent of applications
that are bandwidth thirsty such as audio and video downloads, the term broadband has been introduced
for both fixed and wireless access, and the latter has become BWA. Moreover, the mobile revolution has
also influenced the BWA market in the sense that mobile phones can have a BWA, too. Therefore, there
are today FWA services that are not necessarily broadband and BWA services that are not necessarily
fixed. Anyhow, in this paper the term BWA will be used to point out the wireless high-speed access for
both mobile and fixed services.
The telecom world has recently been undergoing new technological trends that may reshape the whole
industry in the near future. In the mobile arena, there have been some 3G success stories as mobile
operators have finally had their 3G services rolled out. At the same time, broadband access seems to be
the name of the game while applications as well as end users are both eager for high-speed access from
anywhere and at anytime. WLAN or more popularly Wi-Fi is another trend for broadband wireless access,
and there has been a lot of controversy about integrating Wi-Fi hotspots with 3G networks to get the best
of each technology. Now another broadband wireless contender is arriving, the WMAN or WiMAX,
which is seen as the natural evolution for Wi-Fi as higher access speeds are sought over further reach.
Compared to Wi-Fi, WiMAX challenges are much more difficult and the disputes around it are even more
furious because it arrives at the time when the whole world is talking wireless, and the fact that it
generated a lot of hype and promised very much of success before it is actually there.
It is quite evident that the demand for wireless access is growing while at the same time the boundaries
between fixed and mobile users are vanishing. In other words, wireless technologies are evolving today in
a sense that the whole world is becoming mobile, and the need for a ubiquitous high-speed access is
essential for everyone around. This ideology was at the core of 3G since the early days of its
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development, and today following the boom of Wi-Fi hot spots along with the propaganda surrounding
the emerging WiMAX technology it should come at no surprise that a major shift in the wireless
landscape is predicted over the next few years. How is this going to happen and when? What is the role of
WiMAX in this revolution? This is what this paper will try to answer.
4. IEEE 802.16: WiMAX
The IEEE 802.16 Working Group was founded in 1999 to expand the work of the 802.11 and develop a
global standard for BWA. So, while the 802.11 is the universal WLAN standard, the 802.16 is its
extension toward the metropolitan size of networks known as WMAN.
4.1 IEEE 802.16 Standards Overview
The first release of the standard named 802.16 was approved in December 2001, working within high
frequency bands between 10 - 66 GHz, and therefore supporting only Line-of-Sight (LOS) operations.
Significant amendments were made to 802.16s physical (PHY) and medium access control (MAC) layers
in order to support operation at lower frequencies within 211 GHz and consequently allow for nonlineof-sight (NLOS) deployments. This modified release was eventually the 802.16a standard that was
approved in January 2003 [3, 4]. In fact, 802.16a has gained a lot of popularity over the past 18 months
but because it was merely focused on fixed broadband access, it only supports outdoor CPEs, thus there
was an enhanced version called 802.16 RevD, which addressed the indoor CPE and was just ratified in
June 2004.
Although both 802.16a and 802.16 RevD support speeds up to 75 Mbps, this is actually the maximum
data rate shared among the users of one cell, provided that 20 MHz channel is utilized. If less channel
size is available, which is most likely the case, the data rate will decrease accordingly. On the other
hand, as the current WiMAX standards claim to reach distances up to 50 km, this requires optimum
conditions that can realistically be unfeasible. Practically speaking, and according to WiMAX
equipment manufacturers, NLOS operation would afford distances around 5 km, while with clear LOS
this figure may go up to 15 km.
The next coming standard is 802.16e, which will support mobility so that the end user can move with his
laptop, personal digital assistant (PDA), or any mobile device while maintaining high-speed access all the
time. The 802.16e which is not expected to be finalized before the second half of 2005 is in fact
overlapping with the mandate of the IEEE 802.20 Working Group that is concerned with wireless wide
area networks as a migration for the current mobile systems (2.5G and 3G) toward what may be called 4G
mobile [5].
4.2 WiMAX Forum
The WiMAX Forum is a nonprofit organization established in 2003 aiming to promote and certify BWA
products that comply with both the IEEE 802.16 and the ETSI HyperMAN standards in addition to
interoperability between different vendors products. Members of the WiMAX Forum represent more than
100 equipment vendors and chip manufacturers as well as telecom operators. The forum has been
working on defining procedures for interoperability conformance and soon will start conducting the tests
and certify products that should be available by early next year [4]. The role of the WiMAX Forum with
802.16 is equivalent to that of the Wi-Fi Alliance with 802.11. Throughout this document and for
simplicity, we will refer to any of the 802.16 variants as WiMAX, while keeping in mind that the current
standard specifications are within the fixed wireless access boundaries, whereas the future enhancements
are supposedly to provide full mobility.
Because BWA products have never had a standard regarding the frequency bands used, the WiMAX
Forum believes that one of the driving forces for its technology is to harmonize the worldwide spectrum
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of WiMAX. So, as part of the certification process, the Forum will ensure that the first generation of
certified products to support the unlicensed 5 GHz as well as the licensed 3.5 GHz. Also, the licensed 2.5
GHz is highly considered by the Forum, though may take a little bit of time to materialize. On a longer
term lower-frequency bands such as the 700 MHzused by TV broadcastcould be an attractive
candidate to WiMAX because they have good penetration characteristics. Moreover, the WiMAX Forum
has recently formed a regulatory working group (RWG) to address governments from all over the world
in order to get feedback on their countries spectrum regulations for broadband. Setting up the RWG is an
attempt in the same direction to streamline efforts towards unifying the WiMAX frequency bands
worldwide so that the technology can fly, penetrate and maintain sustainability over time [4].
5. WiMAX Propaganda
There is no doubt that momentum is growing in the broadband wireless arena. The advent of the
Internet and its rapid development over the past decade has let everyone eager to be always on.
Almost over the same period of time, the mobile industry was soaring and demand for mobility has
become as important as being always connected to the Net. Blending both Internet and mobile has
caused a tremendous shift in long-standing telecommunication paradigms and led to the ever-increasing
thrust in broadband wireless that we live through nowadays. Needless to say that the growth in
applications has been going in line with the advancements in communication technologies to the extent
that it is uncertain whether communication protocols and standards are driving applications, or visaversa, or perhaps they are evolving in such a harmonized manner as part of a new converged world in
which the main investments are put in infrastructures (communication platforms) whereas the majority
of revenue streams come from services (applications).
Having said that, and observing what have been said about WiMAX over the past 18 months, there are
many questions that WiMAX has posed and need to be answered in order to realize what this technology
is about. Is WiMAX a new technology? Why is it gaining this popularity? What makes it different from
previous BWA technologies? Will it rule the broadband world? When is this expected to take place? To
answer these questions, we have to go few years back and recall some incidents as we presently may be
more able to analyze them.
5.1 Is WiMAX New?
As mentioned earlier, BWA is not new especially when we talk about fixed wireless, it has been there for
many years, and there have been many technologies providing this kind of services. The problem with
those technologies has always been lack of standardization, and even standard ones have never
guaranteed interoperability. It was evident that as the demand for BWA goes up, the call for a global
standard that allows this market to grow increases too. This fact was realized by the IEEE and thats why
they developed 802.11 and because it had limitations in its reach, the 802.16 Working Group was formed
and WiMAX came out to life. Realistically, WiMAX as a technology was more or less there, all what
IEEE did was the adoption of several BWA technologies in order to standardize the physical as well as the
MAC interfaces, hence offering better and more widespread services. Because the IEEE is only concerned
with the development of the standard rather than the way vendors implement it into their products, the
WiMAX Forum was established to develop the conformance and interoperability tests and certify
products accordingly. So, WiMAX is not new, it is actually the base standard for many proprietary
technologies with the assurance that various vendors equipment do interoperate in order to achieve wider
dissemination and meet the growing demand of the BWA market.
5.2 BWA: Limitations and Shortcomings
Looking few years back, there have been many wireless technologies that promised much more than they
did actually deliver, even those who did, never made it on time. For FWA, although LMDS has gained
some edge in parts of the world, it has never made a global impact. Mobile Internet on the other hand was
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the main pitch that third-generation mobile networks have always promised to deliver, but has 3G come
on time, or has its roadmap ever been clear? Even the road towards Wi-Fi has never been straightforward
since the early development of WLAN systems in late 80s till Wi-Fi was eventually booming couple of
years ago. So, lets look at each of these examples with a bit more of a focus to see how WiMAX has
learned from them.
LMDS has been approached by many operators and service providers in North America and other
scattered spots around the world, but it has never made a real breakthrough in the BWA market
worldwide. The technology by itself seemed to be ideal not only for rural areas where there is not plenty
of wired infrastructure, but also for downtowns where demand for high-speed last-mile access is
ascending while digging through the roads is impossible. Except for mobile operators that exploited
LMDS for backhauling, large service deployments are no more than a handful and accordingly the
shipments of base stations and CPEs have drastically declined over the past couple of years. The main
reason for that was the lack of standardization, which led to high equipment prices, as each vendor used
to build his own proprietary platform, and operators consequently had to put more investments so that
their business cases have appeared to be more unfeasible.
On the mobile side, the amount of argument 3G has made among the industry analysts, and the challenges
it brought to operators were unique. The standard bodies were established in the early 90s and vendors
together with operators have been active since then to come up with the first releases of standards by end
of the last decade. At the same time, the telecom regulators started to put in place the licensing framework
so that many licenses were actually issued between years 1999 and 2001. Nevertheless, and with the
exception of Japan and South Korea, it was not until second half of 2002 when 3G networks have
commercially been kicked-off. Although the reasons why 3G services rollout have been delayed are
complex and may differ from one country to another, the truth is that it was not due to the lack of
standards. Without going into too much of details, we can briefly say that operators burdened by 3G
license fees while not gaining yet any return on general packet radio service (GPRS) (2.5G) services,
doubts surrounding the availability of 3G handsets with reasonable prices, visibility of content and new
applications that would stand for a viable business case and most of all the industry downturn experienced
at that time, were all to be blamed for this delay [6].
Even the recent propaganda of Wi-Fi did not happen overnight, nor was it on the roadmap of the IEEE
802.11 Working Group when it was set up back in 1987. It took IEEE 12 years till 1999 when the
802.11bthe standard that is well known to everyone todaywas released. During the 90s there were
tens of proprietary wireless local area network (WLAN) products that were mostly used on the enterprise
or the campus level to peer between two end-points instead of laying fiber between them [7]. In late 90s
as the Internet started to change and twist a lot of concepts, and with the increase of laptops, it was
evident that WLAN was gaining more weight and endorsement from the whole industry. As a result the
standards have come through: 802.11a/b (1999), 802.11g (2003), and 802.11n is yet on the pipeline and
not expected to be ratified before 2005 [5]. Also, the Wi-Fi Alliance was established in order to set the
procedures and tests for interoperability, and certify products. So obviously, WLAN or Wi-Fi has passed
through a rough road probably with some disappointments along the way, and as things changed and
mistakes were resolved, hot spots are today the name of the game in BWA.
5.3 Learning Lessons
So what has WiMAX learned from those previous examples? Being standardized by IEEE and with the
support of giant telecom providers and manufacturers, WiMAX products will shortly be available offering
solutions for last-mile high-speed access. Although the first generation of equipment will be a bit
expensive, which may sound like another LMDS version, the fact that WiMAX has emerged with a
standard as well as a body that looks after interoperability issues, in addition to the unprecedented support
from the largest microprocessor builder (Intel), all this can eventually give WiMAX good economy of
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scales and drive the costs down. At the same time, WiMAX is not another next generation network. In
other words, it is not like 3G in the sense that there are new generations of applications and advanced
handsets so that the absence of one would make the other useless and the shortage of both would lead to
delay in service launching. That is exactly what happened with 3G when the standards were ready; the
new generation of handsets and applications were yet not commercially matured. The beauty of WiMAX
is its ability to complement and integrate with other technologies. It is on the last mile to extend the fiber
metro to end users without the need to lay more cabling infrastructure. It can also help mobile operators
and wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) expand their networks coverage leveraging the high
capacity it can provide in backhauling. It is also doubtless that WiMAX has benefited a lot from the WiFis success, and that is why it gained much of its hype. There was a sincere effort to avoid the drawbacks
of Wi-Fi at the beginnings of WiMAX.
This is mainly what makes WiMAX different from other previous technologies and gives it this
popularity. We yet need to see if WiMAX is going to rule the BWA market and when this is possibly to
happen. This is what the next section aims to answer.
6. Who Are the WiMAX Players?
This section intends to look at three various categories of operators and service providers and see the
different possible scenarios of incorporating WiMAX into their networks. The discussion below illustrates
that almost all service providers can benefit from WiMAX as it is more integrating with current
technologies more than competing with them. In addition, the section provides a brief perception about
the future of the mobile world in which several BWA technologies are collaborating to provide
ubiquitous, high-speed services to end users.
6.1 Fixed-Line Operators
Today, WiMAX is a new candidate in the last-mile business, offering superior QoS and much higher
speeds than those provided by other BWA technologies. To date, with its ability to actually reach
distances between 515 km offering shared bandwidth of 75 Mbps, it seems to be a superlative fixed
wireless access technology. WiMAX, however, is yet not the cheapest technology as prices of the first
generation of CPEs, which is due to arrive in Q1 2005 will be around $350, and the second generation of
CPEs expected to be available in Q3 2005 will be priced around $200. But as WiMAX services spread
out, volume of products increases so that prices will continue to decline and should eventually fade away
when Intel incorporates the WiMAX chipset into its processor [8]. More importantly, because WiMAX
supports QoS with variable bit rates [9], it can carry and deliver any real time applications, so it is not
only data and Internet, it can actually deliver VoIP and on-demand video. There will also be commercial
WiMAX CPEs that provide E1/T1 interfaces for integrated services digital network (ISDN) and legacy
voice services.
Another reason why WiMAX should be appealing to fixed operators is the fact that the capital investment
for a WiMAX infrastructure is significantly less than copper and cable infrastructures. Consequently, in
the developed countries where last-mile copper and coax are mostly saturated particularly in urban areas,
fixed operators may think of confining their expansions in building new infrastructures and enlarge their
WiMAX coverage instead. It may even be more compelling for the developing nations to overcome their
lifelong problems of last-mile by capitalizing on a standard-based BWA technology like WiMAX.
Once WiMAX starts to pick up, however, fixed-line operators will have to revisit some of their business
models. In other words, although it is predicted that services like DSL, cable, and fiber-to-the-home are
not going to disappear, the potential generated by WiMAX is raising many questions about pricing
pressure it may bring to those services.

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6.2 Mobile Operators


The past couple of years have witnessed the launch of many 3G networks around the world providing
voice and high-speed data services. As mobile data traffic grows over time, the main concern of many
mobile operators today is to provide the appropriate backhaul capacity that accommodates this
tremendous traffic. Even for conventional 2G networks, they keep on growing and always seek larger
backhaul pipes. As mentioned earlier, using broadband wireless in backhauling has been quite common,
LMDS most success stories were on the backhaul side. With WiMAX, the support of point-to-multipoint
backhaul allows the base station to share the bandwidth dynamically among the different cells so that the
overall bandwidth requirements are less and the operation cost declines accordingly. Unlike LMDS,
WiMAX does not necessarily require LOS, and therefore providing greater flexibility and time saving in
setting up the backhaul network.
Although WiMAX operates within unlicensed as well as licensed frequencies, mobile operators will
mostly prefer the latter for their backhaul implementations. Being used to carry the traffic from the
mobile stations (BTS) down to the controller (BSC) over secured dedicated lines, mobile operators are
not willing to jeopardize the level of services and transfer their customers calls over wireless medium of
unlicensed spectrum that is available for everyone to utilize. Consequently, mobile operators may need to
acquire WiMAX frequencies in the 2.5 or 3.5 GHz bands, or perhaps they can lease this backhaul service
from a WiMAX provider.
6.3 Wireless ISPs
Wi-Fi public hot spots, while penetrating everywhere offering high-speed access, they are yet limited in
coverage and mobility. To date, the majority of WISPs are connecting their Wi-Fi hot spots to network
backbones using leased lines, which are to a great extent expensive. At the same time, there are few
implementations for meshed Wi-Fi networks in which hot spots are interconnected using proprietary
systems. Similar to mobile networks, WiMAX should be an excellent, cost-effective, standard-based
technique for hot-spots backhaul.
Unlike traditional mobile operators, WISPs have been offering Wi-Fi services through a number of
unlicensed bands and are most likely willing to expand with WiMAX while maintaining their operation
within the unlicensed spectrum. This is because Wi-Fi hot spots though they are boosting, the revenues
that come out of them are still minimal. Therefore, WISPs are not interested in making any additional
investments to acquire spectrum. In the long term, however, if such public hot spots will eventually carry
voice and possibly roam with other cellular networks, WISPs may reconsider the use of unlicensed
spectrum. Anyhow, there are many aspectslike size of the hot-spot zone, traffic volume, cost of
equipment, and spectrum license if neededthat are crucial and should be highly taken into account as
WISPs are developing their business models.
6.4 The New World of BWA
3G mobile has one day promised to connect end users anywhere, anytime and provide them with voice as
well as high-speed data access. In actual fact, existing 3G networks cannot so far achieve the ubiquity
principle that was at the core of the technology since the early days of development. This is due to the fact
that data services throughput is not guaranteed, and, depending on the capacity of the cell and its
utilization and also interferences caused by any obstacles especially indoor structures, this throughput
may enormously fall down. This indeed has never been an issue with previous mobile generations that
were more voice oriented. But because this assumption is not valid anymore, work has recently started to
enhance the air interface and develop what is beyond 3G (B3G) [10].
The belief is that the next-generation mobile or as many people like to call it 4G mobile, will be a
combination of 3G technologies along with Wi-Fi and WiMAX. Because 802.16e has promised to
incorporate WiMAX into laptops and mobile phones, it is envisaged that future mobile chips will support
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both Wi-Fi and/or WiMAX together with 3G, so that while the mobile user is indoor he will be on the WiFi mode and once he gets outside he can switch to WiMAX and/or 3G. This is not science fiction,
research and development is underway and as 802.16e is expected to be ratified by 2006, it is inevitable
that commercial products shall take another couple of years to 2008 till they see the light. On the other
hand, previous experience with 2G and 3G has shown that developing standards for each generation takes
around 10 years, and then there is another 10 years for the technology to be commercially matured [10].
Having this concept in mind, the development of the new 4G air interface that will be able to detect and
deal with multitechnologies such as 3G, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX, will take approximately 10 years. So, we are
basically talking about 2015 till 4G becomes a reality.
The above analysis shows that 3G operators should not be anxious about their investments. It is at least
another 10 years till they need to migrate, during which they can benefit from Wi-Fi and WiMAX in order
to boost their data services. Also, the same analysis demonstrates that future mobile networks are going to
be broadband, flexible, scalable, and built around multitechnologies. So there is not a single BWA
technology that is going to rule, and WiMAX among other technologies will shape the world of BWA in
the coming future.
7. Conclusion
Interoperable BWA equipment has always been a dream for operators and service providers, and with the
arrival of WiMAX this dream has finally come true. Thanks to a standard that is extraordinarily backed by
giant industry leaders aiming to draw the new map of the wireless world. Like any other technology,
however, WiMAX is not going to happen overnight and though products will be available next year as
outdoor CPEs, the real WiMAX breakthrough will not happen till the chipset is incorporated in laptops
and, the industry hopes, other portable devices, so that prices are pushed down, and this pragmatically
makes us talk about 2008.
At the same time, the integration between WiMAX and other technologies like Wi-Fi and 3G is legitimate
and should be beneficial to the different parties involved: fixed operators, mobile operators, wireless ISPs
as well as the end customer. Again, this will take some time to materialize because not only many players
will be involved but also regulatory and business aspects should carefully be taken into account.
The general theme that WiMAX will solely rule the broadband market is not to a great extent realistic.
The most pragmatic vision is that 3G, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX will integrate together while providing
seamless roaming so that to build the future mobile world known today as 4G. We must bear in mind that
this development is yet in its infancy stages and is unlikely to see the light of day before 1015 years in
the future, in addition to the fact that everyday there are new evolving technologies that generate
innovative services along with irregular business models. Accordingly, the panorama that anyone would
envision today for this 4G world may dramatically be changing over time.
8. References
[1]

A. Reinhardt, The Next Big Thing for Wireless?, Business Week Online, January, 2004.

[2]

S. Ismail and I. Wu, Broadband Internet Access in OECD Countries: A Comprehensive Analysis,
A Staff Report of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis and International Bureau,
October, 2003.

[3]

IEEE 802.16 Working Group Web Site: www.ieee802.org/16

[4]

WiMAX Forum Web Site: www.wimaxforum.org

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[5]

M. Paolini and S. Fili, Wi-Fi, WiMAX and 802.20 The Disruptive Potential of Wireless
Broadband, BWCS Ltd., UK, 2004.

[6]

K. Wieland, The Long Road to 3G, Telecommunications International, pp. 1620, February, 2003.

[7]

T. S. Rappaport, Wireless Communications Principles and Practice, Pearson Education Inc., India,
2002.

[8]

R. Resnick, The WiMAX Bridge to Broadband, Telephony, pp. 1819, May, 2004.

[9]

WiMAX Forum White Paper, IEEE 802.16a Standard and WiMAX Igniting Broadband Wireless
Access.

[10] J. L. Hurel, C. Lerouge, C. Evci, and L. Gui, Mobile Network Evolution: From 3G Onwards,
Alcatel Telecommunications Review, Q1 2004.

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WiMAX, NLOS, and Broadband


Wireless Access (Sub-11Ghz)
Worldwide Market Analysis
20042008
Adlane Fellah
Senior Analyst
MARAVEDIS Inc.
Introduction
Broadband wireless access (BWA), sometimes referred to as fixed wireless access (FWA), is a pointto-multipoint technology whereby a base station located on the top of a building or tower transmits
and receives data and voice via electromagnetic waves at high frequencies (above 2Ghz) called
microwaves. Some systems use frequency bands below 2 GHz, in particular 900 and 700 MHz to
allow for better propagation.
BWA is used by carriers to provide telecom services to end users such as small and medium enterprises
and residential consumers. Those services include high-speed Internet, telephony, virtual private networks
(VPNs), intranets, leased lines, etc. BWA competes against other broadband access technologies such as
cable and digital subscriber line (DSL).
From a regulatory standpoint, 3.5 GHz remains the most popular frequency band for BWA services
with licenses granted in the Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Canada. In fact, shipments of 3.5 GHz
systems represented the largest opportunity for BWA with 40 percent of total sales followed by the
5.25.8Ghz band. We believe the 2.3 and 2.52.7Ghz market share will grow to 25 percent of the
market by 2008
The greatest advantage of unlicensed bands is that operators do not require a specific license to operate a
network in the spectrum. While this can significantly reduce the costs associated with a wireless network
and reduce the time it takes an operator to open up shop, it leads to congestion, sometimes severe (see
Figure 1).

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WiMAX, NLOS, and Broadband Wireless Access (Sub-11Ghz) Worldwide Market Analysis 20042008

Figure 1: BWA Frequency Spectrum


Why BWA?
Wireline options can be costly. Only larger enterprises can afford to pay $1,000+ per month to lease a 45
Mbps connection. While purchasing T1 lines at $300 per month can be an option for some medium-sized
enterprises, most small businesses and residential customers are still confined to dial-up Internet access.
Where available, DSL and cable modem offer a more affordable solution for data. These technologies,
however, are difficult and time consuming to implement for the following reasons:

Fiber: Theres not enough fiber; it still only reaches a fraction of the users demanding largebandwidth, high-reliability connections; fiber also requires costly additional electronic equipment
on both sides.

xDSL: Efficiency is limited by distance to the central office and the quality of copper.

Cable modems: The bandwidth is shared by a number of subscribers and the service deteriorates
as more residents go online. In addition, the installed base of cables passes through residential
areas and not through business regions.

In rural and underserved markets, these wireline choices are simply not available as an option. In current
commercial deployments, broadband wireless networks can deliver more bandwidth than traditional copper
cables and are cheaper and faster to deploy. Historically, many operators worldwide have used broadband
wireless technologies (namely point-to-point [PTP] radios) as a proven, service-provider class method of
connecting long-haul networks. PTP technologies have also been used for access in isolated cases with
mixed results. With point-to-multipoint (PMP) BWA, service providers will be able to provide broadband
services over large geographic areas with greater flexibility and improved economies of scale.
What Is WiMAX?
Broadband wireless access technology has not proliferated as was expected by proponents. Systems were
based on proprietary technologies, tying service providers to just one equipment vendor. The effect of this
is that no individual system was able to gain share and reduce production costs.

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In early 2003, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), responsible for setting global
communications standards, approved the 802.16 air interface for fixed broadband wireless access systems
(wireless MAN) interface communications protocol, which uses the 2 to 11 MHz frequencies.
The practicality of the standard, however, was limited by the fact that there were neither test
specifications nor conformance statements established yet. That is why in order to ensure interoperability
between vendors competing in the same market, the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access
(WiMAX) technical working groups were created by the leaders in IEEE 802.16 technology.
Issuing a WiMAX Certified label will serve as a seal of approval that a particular vendors system or
component fully corresponds to the technological specifications set forth by the new wireless MAN
protocol. That will in turn reduce customers confusion.
The whole concept around standardization is to reduce equipment and component costs through
integration and economies of scale that will, in turn, allow for mass production and hence less expensive
equipment. In particular, current chipsets are custom built for each BWA vendor making equipment
development and manufacturing both costly and time consuming.
With large volumes, chipsets could sell for as little as $25 and other BWA components could benefit from
these mass volumes as well. We expect the cost reduction impact to be mostly on the CPE in the first two
years of WiMAX deployments as base station costs are more complex to deal with despite the promise of
base station cost of under $20,000. Base stations, however, are less of a factor in the operator economic
equation for deployments.
The other notable WiMAX benefit will be to reduce customers confusion and the advent of a WiMAX
compliance label. Service providers are becoming familiar with WiMAX and include it in their review of
equipment suppliers. That trend will become more important when WiMAX compliant equipment is
deployed in real networks and delivers on its promises. WiMAX, however, will not necessarily bring
higher performance systems in the short term as quite a few current proprietary systems are already
delivering on WiMAX coverage, cost, and performance promises.
Beyond lower cost and compliant equipment, service providers need better coverage to make money.
They need the ability to deliver access without truck roll to all their potential customers around the base
station regardless of natural and other obstacles (trees, buildings, etc.). In fact, people in the industry often
state that their customers would like to have a triple 50: equipment providing 50 Mbps up to 50km
radius with $50 CPEs!
WiMAX Roadmap
The availability of 802.16-compliant equipment on the field will be the result of a sequence of events
which includes the following:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Availability of proprietary 802.16 compliant systemsNow


Availability of first-generation 802.16 chipsets (PHY only)Q3 2004
Availability of 802.16 systemsQ4 2004
Availability of systems on chip (PHY and media access control [MAC])Q1 2005
Completion of test profilesQ3 2004
Complete vendor interoperabilityMid-2005

169

WiMAX, NLOS, and Broadband Wireless Access (Sub-11Ghz) Worldwide Market Analysis 20042008

What Do Operators Need to Know to Deploy WiMAX Systems?


For service providers, that means the ability to provide triple play services in the long term with data,
voice, and video services to their customers, the same way innovative competitive local exchange carriers
(CLECs) like Fastweb in Italy are providing real time, symmetric services to both residential and business
users with fiber.
More realistically, both proprietary systems and WiMAX are aiming at improving the coverage and
penetration limitations of existing systems. The fact is that no system can go beyond the laws of physics
and every deployment will face different challenges.
For service providers to deliver the bandwidth and associated services in a profitable way using BWA
equipment, they need to consider a combination of factors, depending on the environment in which they
operate and against whom they are competing. In a rural environment, there is often no other broadband
alternative than wireless. There the current generation equipment is pretty much doing the job, even
though cheaper equipment resulting from standardization will always help. In a more competitive
environment, in order for BWA to become a viable alternative to DSL or cable it needs, above all, true
plug-and-play capabilitiesavoiding the associated costs of truck rollsand true nonline-of-sight
(NLOS) capabilities within a decent radius (eight miles or more) of the base station.
802.16 a/d does not need a line of sight between the base station and terminal. Where there is no direct
line of sight, such as in cities, the signal broadcast in the direction of the terminal is bounced off obstacles
(such as building walls) to reach its final destination. These products will support distances of up to 50
kilometers (30 miles), supporting spectral efficiencies of up to 5 bps/Hz. With frequency reuse, base
stations can support hundreds of megabits per second (Mbps) of link capacity to service hundreds of
business and residential customers.
IEEE 802.16 products are in the early phases of commercial development. Initial trial deployments are
expected to take place during the first half of 2005.
Mobility Trends
Approved in February 2002 by the IEEE, the 802.16.e standard is aiming at providing broadband access
to the mobile user walking around with a personal digital assistant (PDA) or laptop while 802.20, if it
ever materializes, will address high-speed mobility issues. The amendment to 802.16, which is also called
the wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) standard, will enable a single base station to support both
fixed and mobile BWA. It aims to fill the gap between high data rate wireless local area networks
(WLAN) and high mobility cellular wide area networks (WAN).
Cellular WAN technologies face market credibility challenges. Although nobody is looking for Ethernet
performance, the goal of achieving DSLclass performance is more reasonable. That means delivering
downstream throughput in excess of 1 Mbps. Several technologies have that potential, including
proprietary systems from Flarion or Internet protocol (IP) wireless among others. To predict which
mobile standard will win the battle is difficult at this time.
Today at least eight major BWA vendors are committed to implementing 802.16e in their product
roadmaps. More importantly, more service providers among which mobile players are joining WiMAX
ranks. This trend will be a driving force for the implementation of specifications that make business sense
for carriers to provide a mix of fixed/mobile services. Intel should start implementing its 802.16e chipsets
in laptops starting in late 2006. Mobile operators who are already adopting Wi-Fi for hot spots will
embrace WiMAX as they move to some form of IPbased systems. The big backers of 802.20, Motorola
170

Adlane Fellah

and Cisco (which backs Flarion) are aiming at influencing heavily the standard and are clashing in
standard battles with Intel and Nokia in the race for delivering components to mobile broadband devices.
Solution Vendor Trends
There are both WiMAX want to be as well as proprietary solution vendors. There is also a great variety
of products in the market. Indeed some systems only offer data services including voice over IP (VoIP);
others also provide E1 and plain old telephone service (POTS). Some systems are plug-and-play, others
are outdoor only. Some offer 2 Mbps at the CPE while others, 512 kbps, etc.
Alvarion, the market leader with 25 percent market share across frequencies, may not have the highest
performance system in the market, but it beats every competitor according to several important business
metrics such as customer base, installed base, revenues and financial position. It is followed by
SRTelecom with 12 percent and Proxim with 9 percent.
Some notable subtleties exist when the market share position is analyzed by frequency market. Already
12 vendors offer a 3.5 GHz product and 4 more players will offer a 3.5 GHz product in 2004, which will
render that band market even more competitive.
Among plug and play, NLOS, portable systems, IP wireless is the leader in shipments and revenues,
followed by a small group of companies that include Navini, NextNet Wireless, or SRTelecom (Angel). It
is however difficult to subsegment the whole market on system capabilities (see Table 1).
Vendor
Airspan
Alvarion
Aperto
Axxcelera
BeamReach
Cambridge Broadband
Harris Corporation
Motorola
Navini Networks
NextNet Wireless
Proxim
Redline Communications
Solectek
SRTelecom
Trango Broadband
Vyyo
Wi-LAN
Waverider
ZTE
Others
Total

Market Share
7%
25%
6%
1%
1%
3%
3%
5%
3%
2%
9%
3%
1%
12%
1%
1%
3%
3%
2%
9%
100%

Others include IP Wireless, REMEC,


Soma Networks, and L3 Communications.

Notes: Market shares were estimated from shipments of base stations and CPEs from vendors. Discrepancies can occur
from noninclusion of services revenues, which are not provided by all vendors. We have tried to include only broadband
PMP products as per our definition of broadband specified in section 2 of this report in order to compare apples with
apples. Figures do not include narrowband wireless local-loop products such as Swing or Proximity. Market shares are
based on revenues from manufacturing shipments rather than final sales value through distributors.

Table 1: BWA Market Share per Vendor for All Frequencies < 11 GHz in 2003
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WiMAX, NLOS, and Broadband Wireless Access (Sub-11Ghz) Worldwide Market Analysis 20042008

There is a continued industry consolidation. Chinese vendors such as ZTE will take more space in the
BWA market. We also see a clear, growing interest by major infrastructure suppliers in the 802.16
technology for use with their mobile and PTP radios platforms. 802.16 compliant vendors will have to
differentiate themselves from one another once the standard is in place and becomes widely adopted. Will
WiMAX be dominated by nonstartups such as Intel and Nokia (for the base station) like it happened with
Wi-Fi? Specialization and the ability to integrate the product into a turnkey solution will be the key to
success. Expect partnerships with infrastructure suppliers to flourish. Vendors of fixed CPEs will need to
adapt to a market where the line between fixed and mobility applications is increasingly blurred.
Chipset Vendor Trends
The whole industry is benefiting from the late entry into the market of Intel, which is behind most of the
publicity around WiMAX. Intel has signed partnerships with Aperto, Alvarion, and Airspan (among
others), which together already hold more than a 40-percent BWA market share. But Intel did not enter
the game simply to address the fixed BWA market. It is betting heavily on the migration of chipsets into
the millions of mobile devices.
Intel is sometimes perceived as arrogant toward certain solution vendors, as the silicon maker seems to
be pushing its own roadmap towards the integration of chipsets into laptops while the integration of
802.16 at the base station does not seem to be its priority. Other chipset makers such as Wavesat have
more experience in developing OFDM chipsets but only the future will determine if know-how will
triumph over reputation, size and clout. Other serious 802.16chipset contenders include Fujitsu in
partnership with Wi-Lan.
Market Forecasts
Currently, single carrier PHY layer dominates deployments with about 50 percent of modems shipped
worldwide. Maravedis, however, forecasts that both single carrier and CDMA systems will lose market
share, as OFDM/802.16d becomes the widely adopted standard for air interface of BWA systems. Various
flavors of CDMA should however remain strong in niche markets for mobility (see Figures 2 and 3).
Wimax Penetration Rate
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Figure 2: The WiMAX Market Penetration (Percent), 20042008

172

Adlane Fellah

The Wimax Market Penetration


2000000000
1500000000
1000000000
500000000
0

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Wimax Base Case Impact

11185644.7 67375991.9 166817673 405252786 897660681

Proprietary Systems

548096589 606383927 667270691 752612317 734449648

Figure 3: The WiMAX Equipment Market Penetration in Dollars, 20042008


Conclusion
A lack of healthy competition and market complexity has also held back standards-based development.
The varying frequency regulations from country to country, for example, have led equipment
manufacturers to use only proprietary air interface technologies. This in turn has inevitably led to the
evolution of multivendor networks over time as networks continue to grow.
With the advent of WiMAX Forum Certified products, each base station will be able to support hundreds
of products from different vendors. This means that Asian service providers will enjoy the most effective
wireless infrastructure for broadband data services, including fixed (permanent), nomadic (portable), and
eventually, mobile (fully transportable signal delivery). WiMAX standard will allow Asian BWA
operators to provide triple-play services with cheaper and more performant equipment supported by one
single label.

173

WiMAX versus Wi-Fi


A Comparison of Technologies, Markets,
and Business Plans
Michael F. Finneran
Independent Telecommunications Consultant
dBrn Associates, Inc.
Wireless local-area networks (LANs) based on the IEEE 802.11 or wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) standards
have been a resounding success, and now the focus in wireless is shifting to the wide area. While Wi-Fi
has virtually obliterated all other contenders in the local area, the wide area market is still up for grabs.
The cellular carriers got into the market first with their 2.5G/3G data services, but their offerings are
positioned as an add-on to what is essentially a voice service. Sales have been lackluster to say the least.
The real challenge to the cellular data services will come from the two emerging data-oriented
technologies, Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) and Mobile-Fi. With chiplevel components due for shipment in the last quarter of 2004, WiMAX will be the next to debut.
WiMAX is defined in IEEE 802.16 standards, and is being promoted by the WiMAX Forum. The Forum
looks to develop interoperability test suites to ensure a multivendor solution that will result in lower cost
products based on open standards. Internationally, a European Telecommunications Standards Institute
(ETSI) initiative called HIPERMAN addresses the same area as WiMAX/802.16 and shares some of the
same technology.
With increased market recognition for WiMAX, it is now regularly compared with Wi-Fi. While the two
do indeed share some fundamental technical characteristics, they are approaching the wireless space from
completely different perspectives. Further, different design approaches will make it unlikely that the two
will actually compete except by coincidence. The purpose of this paper is to provide a technical and
market comparison of the Wi-Fi and WiMAX technologies highlighting their similarities and
fundamental differences and to identify the applications each will address in the coming years.
WiMAX/Wi-Fi Market Overview
The most fundamental difference between WiMAX and Wi-Fi is that they are designed for totally
different applications. Wi-Fi is a local network technology designed to add mobility to private wired
LANs. WiMAX, on the other hand, was designed to deliver a metro-area broadband wireless access
(BWA) service. The idea behind BWA is to provide a fixed location wireless Internet access service to
compete with cable modems and digital subscriber line (DSL). So, while Wi-Fi supports transmission
ranges up to a few hundred meters, WiMAX systems could support users at ranges up to 30 miles.
This difference in focus helps to explain why there has been less market buzz surrounding WiMAX.
Where Wi-Fi marketing targeted the end user, WiMAX is intended as the basis of a carrier service. As a

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WiMAX versus Wi-Fi

result, the WiMAX Forum has been working primarily with component and equipment suppliers to
develop base stations and premises equipment that carriers will use to deliver the service.
The market view of WiMAX has also been confused by the range of applications for which it has been
proposed. According to Margaret LeBrecque, marketing manager for the broadband wireless division at Intel
Capital and former president of the WiMAX Forum, three major phases in development are anticipated:

Phase 1Fixed-location private-line services or hot-spot backhaul: The initial application for
WiMAX type technology is a service that provides traditional dedicated lines at transmission
rates up to 100 Mbps using outdoor antennas. These systems typically use radio equipment that
predates the WiMAX standards. Companies like TowerStream offer wireless Internet access at
speeds ranging from fractional T1 to 100 Mbps (see TowerStream Delivers).
Recognizing the proliferation of hot spots, WiMAX is also being positioned as a means of aggregating
that traffic and backhauling it to a central, high-capacity Internet connection. Equipment suppliers
have also found a market for these point-to-point systems internationally, where they are used for
cellular backhaul or to deliver basic telephone service in hard-to-reach areas.

Phase 2Broadband wireless access/wireless DSL: The first mass-market application for
WiMAX would be broadband wireless access or wireless DSL, offering data rates between
512 kbps and 1 Mbps. The key will be to deliver low-cost, indoor, user-installable premises
devices that will not have to be aligned with the base stationthe antenna in the premises
equipment would be integrated with the radio modem. In the late 1990s, Sprint and MCI
pioneered this type of service, deploying point-to-point systems in about a dozen markets. They
subsequently shelved the idea while waiting for a functional nonline-of-sight radio technology
like the one described in the WiMAX standards.
Currently dozens of small-scale BWA services are cropping up around the country using
prestandard WiMAX technology. The Web site BBWExchange.com lists the top 10 wirelessaccess suppliers in the United States, the largest being DTN Speed of Omaha, with 5,100
subscribers as of April 2004.
The WiMAX Forum hopes to see that figure grow exponentially when larger carriers begin
deploying networks using low-cost ( $200), silicon-based products early next year. Currently
Verizon, Bell South, Nextel, and Earthlink are all testing BWA services.

Phase 3Mobile/nomadic users: Initially, WiMAX was conceived as a fixed-location wireless


technology. With the use of lower frequencies (211 GHz), however, and the development of the
IEEE 802.16e mobile WiMAX standard, the technology could also support mobile subscribers
traveling at speeds up to 75 mph. The mobile service will operate in the lower part of the band (<
6 GHz) and will use the same access protocol as the fixed-location systems. The mobile service is
planned to operate on a shared 15Mbps channel, supporting user data rates around 512 kbps.
According to Margaret LeBrecque, Wi-Fi and mobile WiMAX could potentially be supported on
the same card, so a user could access the Internet in a 100-meter hot spot or a 6-km WiMAX hot
zone. The 802.16e specifications are expected by the end of 2004, and this will put WiMAX in
direct competition with 2.5G/3G cellular services and the emerging IEEE 802.20 or Mobile-Fi
standard for mobile broadband wireless access (see Figure 1).

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Michael F. Finneran

Wi-Fi
Hot Spot

Home User

Nomadic
User

Figure 1: A WiMAX Cell


TowerStream Delivers
While many potential carriers are waiting for lower-cost WiMAX-compatible radio equipment,
TowerStream has been delivering wireless Internet access to commercial customers for almost four
years. According to CEO Phil Urso, the company currently operates networks in six markets
including New York, Boston, and Chicago, with plans to expand.
A citywide network typically includes several POPs interconnected by point-to-point 18-GHz radio
links with connections to two or more ISPs. The POPs are connected in a ring configuration with an
automatic fail-over that provides SONETlike recovery.
Each POP covers a cell with a radius of about 10 miles and connects customers on links that range
from 512 kbps to 100 Mbps. According to COO Jeff Thompson, the customer access uses a prestandard version of 802.16 that offers many of the same capabilities, including QoS support. Rather
than the WiMAX preferred 256-channel OFDM, their systems use a single-carrier TDD radio link
that provides flexible frequency reuse. Access links operate in the unlicensed 5-GHz UNII band
using either line-of-sight or nonline-of-sight radio equipment, depending on the transmission rate
required. To improve reliability, each customer site is homed on multiple base stations, and
switchover takes less than a second. So the network features both backbone and access redundancy.
The company claims 600 customers, from financial services to universities and hospitals. In one case,
the Boston Public Library dropped a 32-node frame relay network and replaced it with an MPLS
based VPN service using TowerStreams radio access network.

WiMAX versus Wi-Fi Radio Technology


Besides the obvious difference in transmission range, there are a number of improvements in the radio
link technology that distinguish WiMAX from Wi-Fi. The IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN standards describe
four radio-link interfaces that operate in the 2.4 G or 5 GHz unlicensed radio bands; the four are
summarized in Table 1. The WiMAX standards include a much wider range of potential implementations

177

WiMAX versus Wi-Fi

to address the requirements of carriers around the world. The original version of the 802.16 standard,
released in December 2001, addressed systems operating in the 1066 GHz frequency band. Those highfrequency systems require line-of-sight (LOS) to the base station, which increases cost and limits the
customer base. Further, in LOS systems, customer antennas must be realigned when a new cell is added
to the network.
We will focus primarily on the 802.16a standard released in January 2003 that describes systems
operating between 2 GHz and 11 GHz. The lower frequency bands support nonline-of-sight (NLOS),
eliminating the need to align the customer unit with the base station (see Table 1).

802.11

Maximum
Bit Rate
2 Mbps

802.11b

11 Mbps

802.11a

54 Mbps

802.11g

54 Mbps

Standard

Fallback
Rates
1 Mbps
5.5 Mbps
2 Mbps
1 Mbps
48 Mbps
36 Mbps
24 Mbps
18 Mbps
12 Mbps
9 Mbps
6 Mbps
Same as 802.11a

Channels
Provided
3

Frequency Band

Radio Technique

2.4 GHz

FHSS or DSSS

2.4 GHz

DSSS

12

5 GHz

OFDM

2.4 GHz

OFDM

Table 1: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) Radio-Link Interfaces
WiMAX Frequency Bands
Where all Wi-Fi implementations use unlicensed frequency bands, WiMAX can operate in either licensed
or unlicensed spectrum. Within 802.16as 211 GHz range, four bands are particularly attractive:

Licensed 2.5-GHz MMDS: In the United States, the FCC has allocated 200 MHz of licensed radio
spectrum between 2.52.7 GHz for multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS). Sprint
and MCI used this band for their original point-to-point services.

Licensed 3.5-GHz Band: A swath of licensed spectrum roughly equal to MMDS has been
allocated in the 3.4 to 3.7-GHz range throughout most of the rest of the world.

Unlicensed 3.5-GHz Band: In the United States, the FCC has recently moved to open an
additional 50 MHz of unlicensed spectrum in the 3.653.70 GHz band for fixed location wireless
services.

Unlicensed 5 GHz UNII Band: In the United States, 555 MHz of unlicensed frequency has been
allocated in the 5.1505.350 GHz and 5.4705.825 GHz bands. That spectrum is called the
unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) band, the same band used for 802.11a
wireless LANs. The allocation was increased from 300 MHz to 555 MHz by an FCC order in
November 2003.

Dynamic Frequency Selection


While carriers might be leery of delivering a service using an unlicensed band, the WiMAX standards
incorporate a dynamic frequency selection feature where the radio automatically searches for an unused
channel. In remote areas, the chance of interference should be minimal.
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Michael F. Finneran

WiMAX FDD/TDD Options


Another confusing attribute of WiMAX is the range of options that were included to accommodate the
various carrier requirements around the world. First, WiMAX systems can be configured for dual-channel
(inbound/outbound) frequency division duplex (FDD) or single channel time division duplex (TDD)
operation. In TDD operation, separate timeslots are assigned for inbound and outbound transmissions so
the channel is essentially full duplex. While it does reduce the transmission rate by more than 50 percent,
TDD systems use half the radio bandwidth of FDD systems. The WiMAX standards also define an
optional mesh configuration, though no manufacturers seem to be pursuing it as yet.
Wi-Fi: Half Duplex, Shared Media
All Wi-Fi networks are contention-based TDD systems where the access point and the mobile stations all
vie for use of the same channel. Because of the shared media operation, all Wi-Fi networks are half
duplex. There are equipment vendors who market Wi-Fi mesh configurations, but those implementations
incorporate technologies that are not defined in the standards.
802.11 Radio Modulation
Wi-Fi systems use two primary radio transmission techniques:

802.11b ( 11 Mbps): The 802.11b radio link uses a direct sequence spread spectrum technique
called complementary coded keying (CCK). The bit stream is processed with a special coding and
then modulated using quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK).

802.11a and g ( 54 Mbps): The 802.11a and g systems use 64-channel orthogonal frequency
division multiplexing (OFDM). In an OFDM modulation system, the available radio band is
divided into a number of subchannels, and some of the bits are sent on each. The transmitter
encodes the bit streams on the 64 subcarriers using binary phase shift keying (BPSK), QPSK, or
one of two levels of quadrature amplitude modulation (16- or 64-QAM). Some of the transmitted
information is redundant, so the receiver does not have to receive all of the subcarriers to
reconstruct the information.

The original 802.11 specifications also included an option for frequency hopping spread spectrum
(FHSS), but that has largely been abandoned.
802.16 Radio Modulation
The 802.16a standards define three main options for the radio link:

SCA: Single carrier channel


OFDM: 256-subcarrier OFDM
OFDMA: 2,048-subcarrier OFDM

The first wave of products to hit the market will use the 256-subcarrier OFDM option. As a result, the
WiMAX Forum is initially developing test suites and interoperable test plans for that option initially. It
also conforms to the ETSI HIPERMAN standard.
Channel Bandwidth
The Wi-Fi standards define a fixed channel bandwidth of 25 MHz for 802.11b and 20 MHz for either
802.11a or g networks. In WiMAX, the channel bandwidths are adjustable from 1.25 MHz to 20 MHz.
That will be particularly important for carriers operating in licensed spectrum. The transmission rate of
that channel will be determined by the signal modulation that is used.

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WiMAX versus Wi-Fi

Bandwidth Efficiency100 Mbps?


There has been considerable confusion regarding the actual transmission rate of a WiMAX channel.
While many articles reference 70 M or 100 Mbps, the actual transmission rate will depend on the
bandwidth of the channel assigned and how efficiently it can be used. The basic issue is bandwidth
efficiency. Bandwidth efficiency is measured by the number of bits per second that can be carried on one
cycle of radio bandwidth (i.e., bps/Hertz). The transmission rate is determined by multiplying the
bandwidth efficiency by the bandwidth of the radio channel the signal will occupy. The fundamental trade
off is that the more efficiently the transmitter encodes the signal, the more susceptible it will be to noise
and interference.
Adaptive Modulation
Both Wi-Fi and WiMAX make use of adaptive modulation and varying levels of forward error correction
(FEC) to optimize transmission rate and error performance. As a radio signal loses power or encounters
interference, the error rate will increase. Adaptive modulation means that the transmitter will
automatically shift to a more robust, though less efficient, modulation technique in those adverse
conditions. The WiMAX OFDM standard defines nine different modulation systems using BPSK, QPSK,
16, 64, and 256QAM modulation and yielding different levels of bandwidth efficiency. According to
Gordon Antonello, chairman of the WiMAX Technical Working Group, the WiMAX radio link
incorporates adaptive burst profiles, which adjust the transmit power, signal modulation, and FEC coding
to accommodate a wide variety of radio conditions (see Table 2).
Modulation
BPSK
QPSK
16 QAM
64 QAM
256 QAM

Uplink
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Optional
Optional

Downlink
Optional
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Optional

FEC Coding
1/2, 3/4
1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, and 7/8
1/2, 3/4
2/3, 5/6
3/4, 7/8

Bits/Symbol
1/2, 3/4
1, 4/3, 3/2, 5/3, and 7/4
2, 3
4, 5
6, 7

Table 2: IEEE 802.16a Modulation Options


FEC
When a more bandwidth efficient signal modulation is used, the likelihood of encountering errors will
increase. To offset that, digital radio systems typically include some form of FEC encoding. The idea
behind FEC is to include redundant bits in the transmission that will allow the receiver to detect and
correct a certain percentage of the encountered errors. So while the FEC coding increases the transmission
rate, the overall impact is an improvement in performance. Wi-Fis original 802.11b radio link did not
include FEC, but a convolutional coding FEC was incorporated in 802.11a and g. WiMAX uses both
convolutional coding and a Reed-Solomon FEC system.
Wi-Fi vs. WiMAX Efficiency
Given the data rates supported on its 25 MHz channel (1 M to 11 Mbps), 802.11b delivers bandwidth
efficiency between 0.04 and 0.44 bps/Hertz. The 6 M to 54 Mbps transmission rate supported on an
802.11a or g 20 MHz channel yields a bandwidth efficiency between .24 and 2.7 bps/Hertz. In WiMAX,
the combination of modulation and coding schemes yields bandwidth efficiency up to 5-bits/Hertz. That
would deliver a 100-Mbps transmission rate on a 20-MHz radio channel. The bandwidth efficiency will
decrease as the transmission range increases, so a maximum of 3.5 bits/Hertz or 70 Mbps on a 20 MHz
channel would be more realistic.
Other WiMAX Radio Link Features
Antonello notes that the WiMAX radio link incorporates features to take advantage of advanced antenna
systems that are now becoming available. To improve overall range and performance, an optional space-

180

Michael F. Finneran

time coding feature allows the use of two transmit antennas at the base station and a single subscriber unit
antenna that can combine the two signal images. Longer term, the working group envisions use of
multiple input-multiple output (MIMO) systems to improve overall range and transmission rates (see
Table 3).
Spectrum
Configuration
Bit Rate
Modulation
Mobility
Channel
Bandwidth
Typical
Radius

Cell

802.16
1066 GHz
LOS
32 to 134 Mbps (28 MHz
Channel)
QPSK, 16 QAM, 64
QAM
Fixed

802.16a
211 GHz
NLOS

20, 25, 28 MHz

Selectable 1.25 to 20 MHz

13 miles

35 miles

70 or 100 Mbps (20 MHz channel)


256-subcarrier OFDM using QPSK, 16 QAM,
64 QAM, 256 QAM
Fixed

802.16e
< 6 GHz
NLOS
Up to 15
Mbps
Same
as
802.16a
75 MPH
5
MHz
(Planned)
13 miles

Table 3: Summary of 802.16 Radio Links


MAC Protocol/Quality of Service (QoS)
While there are a number of similarities between the Wi-Fi and WiMAX radio links, the access protocols
are completely different. The WiMAX standards describe a sophisticated media access control (MAC)
protocol that can share the radio channel among hundreds of users while providing quality of service
(QoS). Unlike the contention-based MAC protocol used in 802.11 wireless local area networks (LANs),
WiMAX uses a request/grant access mechanism similar to cable modem systems. That mechanism
eliminates inbound collisions and supports both consistent-delay voice and variable-delay data services.
The protocol also features Layer 2 error correction using automatic retransmission in the event of errors.
Wi-Fis CSMA/CA
IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs use a media access control protocol called carrier sense multiple access with
collision avoidance (CSMA/CA). While the name is similar to Ethernets carrier sense multiple access
with collision detection (CSMA/CD), the operating concept is totally different. As we noted earlier,
WLANs are half duplex-shared media configurations where all stations transmit and receive on the same
radio channel. The fundamental problem this creates in a radio system is that a station cannot hear
while it is sending, and hence it impossible to detect a collision.
Distributed Control Function (DCF)
Because of this, the developers of the 802.11 specifications came up with a collision avoidance
mechanism called the DCF. While the details are rather complex, the basic idea is to define a system of
waiting intervals and back-off timers to help reduce, though not eliminate, the possibility of collisions. A
Wi-Fi station will transmit only if it thinks the channel is clear. All transmissions are acknowledged, so if
a station does not receive an acknowledgement, it assumes a collision occurred and retries after a random
waiting interval. The incidence of collisions will increase as the traffic increases or in situations where
mobile stations cannot hear each other (i.e., the hidden node problem).
WiMAX Is Full Duplex
The WiMAX request/grant protocol was designed with the assumption that networks will use separate
channels for inbound and outbound transmissions. Those channels are separated by either time (TDD) or

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WiMAX versus Wi-Fi

frequency (FDD). As with a cable-modem system, outbound transmissions are broadcast in addressed
frames, and each station picks off those frames addressed to it.
WiMAX Channel Access
In WiMAX networks, access to the inbound channel will be controlled by the base station. Users wishing
to transmit inbound must first send requests on a contention-based access channel. Exclusive permission
to use the inbound traffic channel is then allocated by the base station using a system of transmission
grants. As only one station is given permission to send at one time, there are no inbound collisions.
Request/Grant QoS Capability
The major benefit of WiMAXs request/grant protocol is that it supports QoS. As inbound access is
controlled by the base station, WiMAXs access mechanism can support four primary types of service.
Those connection types can be set up dynamically:

Unsolicited grant real time: Consistent delay (i.e., isochronous) service for real-time voice and
video, where a station is allocated inbound transmission capacity on a scheduled basis.

Real-time polling: Another real-time service that operates like the 802.11 point control function
(PCF), where the base station polls each user device in turn.

Variable bit rate non-real-time: Variable-delay data service with capacity guarantees akin to
frame relays committed information rate for high-priority commercial users.

Variable bit rate best-effort: An Internet protocol (IP)like best effort data service for residential
Internet users.

The grant mechanism specifies that the entire capacity of the inbound channel can be allocated to one user
for a set time period. There is also a unique inbound allocation mechanism for OFDM channels where
multiple simultaneous user transmissions (up to 16) can be supported by allocating different subchannels
to different users.
Wi-Fi QoS (802.11e)
There are plans to incorporate QoS capabilities in Wi-Fi with the adoption of the IEEE 802.11e standard.
The 802.11e standard will include two operating modes, either of which can be used to improve service
for voice:

Wi-Fi multimedia extensions (WME)Mandatory

Wi-Fi scheduled multimedia (WSM)Optional

WME
The WME option uses a protocol called enhanced distributed control access (EDCA), which is an
enhanced version of the DCF defined in the original 802.11 MAC. The enhanced part is that EDCA will
define eight levels of access priority to the shared wireless channel. Like the original DCF, the EDCA
access is a contention-based protocol that employs a set of waiting intervals and back-off timers designed
to avoid collisions. With DCF, however, all stations use the same values and hence have the same priority
for transmitting on the channel. With EDCA, each of the different access priorities is assigned a different
range of waiting intervals and back-off counters. Transmissions with higher access priority are assigned
shorter intervals. The standard also includes a packet-bursting mode that allows an access point or a
mobile station to reserve the channel and send three- to five-packets in sequence.

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Michael F. Finneran

Wi-Fi Scheduled Multimedia (WSM)


As it still operates on a contention basis, EDCA does not include a mechanism to deliver true consistent
delay service. It simply ensures that voice transmissions will wait less than data transmissions. True
consistent delay services can be provided with the optional Wi-Fi scheduled multimedia (WSM). WSM
operates like the little used point control function (PCF) defined with the original 802.11 MAC. In WSM,
the access point periodically broadcasts a control message that forces all stations to treat the channel as
busy and not attempt to transmit. During that period, the access point polls each station that is defined for
time sensitive service.
To use the WSM option, devices must first send a traffic profile describing bandwidth, latency, and jitter
requirements. If the access point does not have sufficient resources to meet the traffic profile, it will
return a busy signal. The reason the WSM is being included as an optional feature is that all access points
must be able to return a service not available response to stations profile requests. The 802.11e
specification is going through its final review cycles and should be ratified by mid2004.
Wi-Fi Security
The other major difference between Wi-Fi and WiMAX is privacy or the ability to protect transmissions
from eavesdropping. Security has been one of the major deficiencies in Wi-Fi, though better encryption
systems are now becoming available. In Wi-Fi, encryption is optional, and three different techniques have
been defined:

Wired equivalent privacy (WEP): An RC4based 40- or 104bit encryption with a static key

Wi-Fi protected access (WPA): A new standard from the Wi-Fi Alliance that uses the 40- or 104
bit WEP key, but changes the key on each packet to thwart key-crackers. That changing key
functionality is called the temporal key integrity protocol (TKIP).

IEEE 802.11i/WPA2: The IEEE is finalizing the 802.11i standard, which will be based on a far
more robust encryption technique called the advanced encryption standard. The Wi-Fi Alliance
will designate products that comply with the 802.11i standard as WPA2. Implementing 802.11i,
however, will typically require a hardware upgrade, so while the standard should be completed in
mid2004, it might be some time before it is widely deployed.

WiMAX Encryption
Given that it was designed for public network applications, virtually all WiMAX transmissions will be
encrypted. The initial specification calls for 168bit digital encryption standard (3DES), the same
encryption used on most secure tunnel virtual private networks (VPNs). There are plans to incorporate the
advanced encryption standard (AES). As a result, we anticipate none of the security concerns that plagued
early Wi-Fi implementations.
Mobile WiMAX
One last option is the 802.16e specification for mobile WiMAX, which is due out later this year. While
the details are still being worked out, that standard will describe a mobile capability with hand-offs for
users moving between cells. The basic requirement is that it be backward compatible with the fixed
location service. One of the imperatives will be to reduce the power requirements for battery-powered
mobile stations. The plan is to support data rates up to 500 kbps, essentially equivalent to the highest
speed cellular offerings (e.g., Verizon Wireless 1xEV-DO service).
Wi-Fi Roaming
The IEEE has begun development of a roaming standard for Wi-Fi, though the specification is not expected
until 2005 or 2006. In the meantime, WLAN switch vendors like Cisco, Aruba, and Airespace have developed
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their own proprietary hand-off protocols. We have seen similar capabilities in the Wi-Fi mesh products. That
means that providing a hand-off capability, however, requires implementing a vendor proprietary solution.
Table 4 compares the major attributes of the WiMAX and Wi-Fi technologies.

Primary
Application
Frequency
Band
Channel
Bandwidth
Half/Full Duplex
Radio Technology
Bandwidth Efficiency
Modulation
FEC
Encryption
Access Protocol
Best Effort
Data Priority
Consistent Delay
Mobility
Mesh

WiMAX
(802.16a)

Wi-Fi
(802.11b)

Wi-Fi
(802.11a/g)

Broadband Wireless Access

Wireless LAN

Wireless LAN

2.4 GHz ISM

2.4 GHz ISM (g)


5 GHz UNII (a)

25 MHz

20 MHz

Half

Half
OFDM
(64 channels)
2.7 bps/Hz
BPSK, QPSK,
16, 64QAM

Licensed/unlicensed
2 G to 11 GHz
Adjustable
1.25 M to 20 MHz
Full
OFDM
(256 channels)
5 bps/Hz
BPSK, QPSK,
16, 64, 256 QAM
Convolutional code
Reed-Solomon
Mandatory3DES
OptionalAES
Request/Grant
Yes
Yes
Yes
Mobile WiMAX
(802.16e)
Yes

Direct sequence sSpread spectrum


0.44 bps/Hz
QPSK
None

Convolutional Code

OptionalRC4
(AES in 802.11i)
CSMA/CA
Yes
802.11e WME
802.11e WSM

OptionalRC4
(AES in 802.11i)
CSMA/CA
Yes
802.11e WME
802.11e WSM

In development

In development

Vendor proprietary

Vendor proprietary

Table 4: Comparison of WiMAX and Wi-Fi Technologies


Markets for Wi-Fi and WiMAX
While we have focused on technical issues up to this point, the fundamental difference between Wi-Fi
and WiMAX is that they are designed for different applications. Wi-Fi began as a data technology
designed to add mobility in LANs. WiMAX on the other hand is intended to provide the basis for a
carrier-provided metropolitan area wireless service to support both voice and data applications. Whether
the full set of WiMAX capabilities make it into the marketplace will depend on which parts of the
specification the carriers choose to deploy.
Wi-Fi Network Services
The picture has become somewhat confused as service providers have used Wi-Fi to deliver services for
which it was not originally designed. The two major examples of this are wireless Internet service
providers (ISPs) and citywide Wi-Fi mesh networks:

184

Wireless ISPs (WISPs): One surprising business that grew out of Wi-Fi was the WISP. This is the
idea of selling an Internet access service using wireless LAN technology and a shared Internet
connection in a public location designated a hot spot. T-Mobile and Wayport are currently the
largest operators. While the proliferation of hot spots has been widely reported, no one seems to
be able to make any money at this. There are two fundamental obstacles, one technical and one
business oriented.

Michael F. Finneran

From a technical standpoint, access to the service is limited based on the transmission range of
the WLAN technology. You have to be in the hot spot (i.e., within 100m of the access point) to
use it. From a business standpoint, users either subscribe to a particular carriers service for a
monthly fee or access the service on a demand basis at a fee per hour. While the monthly fee
basis is most cost effective, there are few intercarrier access arrangements so you have to be in a
hot spot operated by your carrier in order to access your service. Some are now predicting that the
real business model will not be fee-based services, but a free service that is offered by the
property owner to attract customers. Thats not a business plan, its a charity!

City-wide mesh networks: To address the limited range, vendors like Mesh Networks and Tropos
Networks have developed mesh network capabilities using Wi-Fis radio technology. The idea of
a radio mesh network is that messages can be relayed through a number of access points to a
central network control station. These networks can typically support mobility as connections are
handed off from access point to access point as the mobile station moves.
Some municipalities are using Wi-Fi mesh networks to support public safety applications (i.e.,
terminals in police cruisers) and to provide Internet access to the community (i.e. the city-wide
hot spot). The mesh technology and hand-off capability, however, are not within the scope of the
Wi-Fi standards, and so it is vendor proprietary; that means you must purchase all of the
equipment from the same manufacturer. In the final analysis, we are cobbling together a set of
wireless LANs to do the job for which WiMAX was designed.

Whither WiMAX?
The market forecast for WiMAX is not clear at this point. Clearly, the major target will be broadband
wireless access or wireless DSL, though carriers must first choose to deploy the service. Their success
will depend on the cost and functionality of their offerings when compared to other broadband access
alternatives like DSL and cable modems. When chip manufacturers like Intel begin delivering WiMAX
compatible chipsets in late 2004, we will have the possibility of consumer devices costing $100 or less.
The carriers, however, will have to invest in the base station equipment, and they must decide if there is
sufficient demand and an adequate business case to justify the investment needed to deliver a broadband
wireless access service.
Three Potential Markets
As we noted at the outset, there are three potential markets for WiMAXprivate line, broadband wireless
access, or mobile service. Lets take a brief look at each of these.
Point-to-Point Systems
Point-to-point systems for delivering basic telephone service, hot spot, or cellular base-station backhaul
should continue to be a viable, carrier-oriented market niche. This is particularly true in lesser-developed
countries that lack a wired infrastructure. In the United States, TowerStream is planning an aggressive
build out of its wireless Internet access service in major markets. They will have to compete with much
higher-capacity fiber access alternatives from the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and
competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). Deploying wireless access to a customers building,
however, should be faster and cheaper than providing fiber access. Carriers like WinStar and Teligent
failed in that wireless local loop segment in the late 1990s, but the redundancy built into TowerStreams
service is clearly superior to those first-generation offerings.
Broadband Wireless Access/Wireless DSL
Broadband wireless or wireless DSL offers the greatest near-term potential, but it also faces the greatest
competition. A late arriver in the market, WiMAXbased systems will have to compete with entrenched
cable modem and DSL services that are available to roughly 80 percent of U.S. households.
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WiMAX versus Wi-Fi

Carlton ONeal, vice president of marketing for base-station maker Alvarion, sees opportunities both in
migrating dial-up subscribers and extending broadband access to unserved communities. ONeal notes
that because only 20 percent of U.S. households currently subscribe to broadband access, the battle is
just beginning.
Further, a wireless solution should have a significant cost advantage in reaching the 20 percent of
households where broadband access is currently unavailable. Extending cable modem and particularly
DSL to those thinly populated areas will increase the cost per subscriber, and with a lower-income
population, the take rates will likely be less than in urban areas. With chip-level WiMAX certified
components, manufacturers will be able to deliver low-cost, user-installable, indoor stations that can
mimic the cable modem/DSL experience.
The advantage of a wireless solution has not been lost on the DSL carriers. Verizon has been testing
BWA on licensed frequencies in Herndon and Centerville, Virginia, using equipment from BeamReach
Networks. To minimize the cost, they are installing the antennas on existing cell towers. BellSouth has
begun trials using equipment from Navini Networks in Palatka, Port Orange, and Holly Hill, Florida, to
assess cost and technical viability. BellSouth has also been testing a first-generation wireless broadband
technology in Houma, Louisiana, since 2000. Nextel has announced its Nextel Broadband wireless access
in the Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina, area using MMDS spectrum it acquired from MCI. In March
2004 wireless pioneer Craig McCaw acquired Texas-based BWA carrier Clearwire Holdings. In June
McCaw announced plans to turn up WiMAXbased BWA service in 20 markets by the end of 2005.
Mobile WiMAX
A mobile WiMAX services could produce a real dust-up, however. Intel has been the primary backer for
WiMAX, and hopes to repeat the success it has had with Wi-Fi. Cisco and Motorola, however, are
backing a competing standard called Mobile-Fi (IEEE 802.20). Mobile-Fi proponents note that their
solution will be optimized for IP in high-speed mobile environments. While technology will be as
important, being first-to-market with an all-encompassing solution (i.e., at home and mobile) can be a
major advantage for WiMAX.
Mobile service can also change the picture for the cable modem and DSL carriers. They currently
dominate the fixed-location market, but they will have to develop service adjuncts to support users
outside of their homes. The free Wi-Fi capability that Verizon now offers its DSL customers is the first
such add-on, however it is only available in Manhattan. In the meantime, the cable companies are
pursuing joint marketing agreements with Wi-Fibased wireless ISPs to round out their offerings. A
combined home/mobile WiMAXbased offering will put the onus on cable modem and DSL suppliers
to provide an on-the-go capability or face the prospect of losing customers to a more flexible wireless
alternative.
The cellular carriers will likely come out on the short end of the data battle. Their 2.5/3G data offerings
have been only moderately successful; Verizon Wireless noted recently that only 3 percent of their
revenues came from data services. Further, those sales have been tied primarily to new consumer-oriented
applications like camera phones, short messages, and downloadable ringers rather than bread-and-butter
network access for commercial users. With higher-speed, data-oriented services coming on the market,
the cellular carriers will have a much tougher time winning over enterprise data buyers. Further, if
wireless voice over IP (VoIP) starts to catch on, the cellular companies might find themselves in a
defensive battle to hold on to their basic voice business.

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Michael F. Finneran

Conclusion
WiMAX signals the arrival of the next wave of wireless data technologies. Unhampered by the short
range and data orientation of wireless LANs, these technologies hold the promise of taking high speed
wireless out of the coffee shop and out on the road.
The flexibility of the WiMAX technology gives it a significant advantage, addressing both fixed and
nomadic users, operating in licensed or unlicensed bands, providing both consistent- and variable-delay
services while operating in a carrier-scale environment. On paper, WiMAX looks like a strong contender.
Now we will have to see if the proponents can translate that technology into marketable services.
Copyright 2004 dBrn Associates, Inc.

187

A Business Justification:
WiMAX Service Providers
and Security Investments
Ralph P. Martins, Jr.
Senior Consultant
Booz Allen Hamilton
Graduate Student
George Washington University
Abstract
The broadband wireless access (BWA) market is on the verge of substantial growth. More specifically,
after becoming standardized, enjoying assistance from the U.S. federal government and being marketed
by well-known companies, a technology called WiMAX (also known as 802.16) looks almost certain to
become a significant part of the wireless network market. However, there have been instances in the past
where wireless technologiesa good example being 802.11x or wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi)were rushed to
the market without being implemented securely. If WiMAX were to suffer the same fate, rather than
putting individual networks at risk, the entire Internet infrastructure would potentially be put at risk by
increasing the vulnerabilities assumed by BWA service providers. After all, if people cant reach the
Internet in a relatively secure manner, whats the point? The whole reason for having an Internet is to
facilitate communication between people. Participation depends on security. While legislation and
government regulation would be one way to guide the BWA market in a more secure fashion, considering
President Bushs recently expressed wishes to use the U.S. government to encourage the expansion of the
BWA market, another method should be found. Thus, while external pressure may not be the answer,
internal incentives may. BWA service providers are private sector companies who have a bottom line like
any other profit-seeking company. By drawing a correlation between increased profits (or a lessening of
risk) and the implementation of information security, BWA service providers may just find a financial
incentive to keep their services (and our infrastructure) more secure. It is the purpose of this paper to
encourage security managers and executives who are employed by BWA service providers to take a stab
at calculating the return on security investment. It is not an exact science, but it can provide an individual
responsible for budgeting with the proper framework for making decisions as to how and when to spend
money on the critically important goal of securing the Internet.
Introduction
In March of 2004, U.S. president George W. Bush called for universal and affordable broadband Internet
access by 2007. He argued that there was a link between peoples access to information and their ability to
participate in the economy. In order to promote growth and access in the broadband service provider market,

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A Business Justification: WiMAX Service Providers and Security Investments

he ordered the federal government to improve the process by which broadband service providers gain access
to federal land. Additionally, to help prevent any deterrents that may slow the growth in the broadband
market, he called for a continual ban on Internet taxes by Congress. Although real products have yet to hit
the market, standardization and capital investments by many companies are all but guaranteeing the flood of
new WiMAX products that will be available in the next few years. Predictions are being made before
services are even being offered yet. Some are even claiming1 that WiMAX subscribers will number more
than seven million by 2009. There are organizations, such as the nonprofit WiMAX Forum, that are
dedicated to encouraging and promoting the spread of wireless broadband networks. The WiMAX forum is
involved in such activities as marketing and certifying products as being 802.16x compliant. However, with
all this planning, is it not logical to be sure that adequate steps are taken to be sure new technologies such as
WiMAX can be implemented in a secure manner before they hit the market? It is known that WiMAX is not
as secure as it can be. It is also known that previous wireless technologies such as 802.11 were rushed to the
market before any consideration of security was made. While WiMAX appears to be a bit quicker to address
security issues than 802.11 was, it is safe to say that WiMAX products that have significant security flaws
are going to hit the market before they can be solved. It is also true that, with their air interface that can
broadcast for up to 30 miles, anyone who attaches a WiMAX device is assuming a certain amount of risk in
doing so. It is therefore logical for BWA service providers to take action and ensure that they are properly
investing in the security of their infrastructures before implementing WiMAX. This can be accomplished by
both awareness and incentives. When corporate executives are made aware of the implications of the
security risks of their technologies, they will certainly dedicate more resources into fixing them.
Furthermore, if a correlation between financial benefits and security investing can be made, the decision to
invest in capital can be a simple one.
What Is WiMAX?
WiMAX, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is defined by a series of Institute
of Electronics and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.16x standards and is the accepted specification for
wireless metropolitan area networks (MANs). In terms of standards, when the term WiMAX is used it
typically refers to 802.16REVd which incorporates and revises 802.16, 802.16a and 802.16c. WiMAX is
also a type of broadband transmission. The quality that distinguishes a broadband signal from a nonbroadband signal (such as wideband or narrowband) is its ability to carry several different transmission
channels at once. In the case of wireless broadband, it is capable of utilizing multiple frequencies and can
be segregated into separate, independent bandwidth channels. It is this quality that will allow a single
WiMAX device to service large numbers of customers simultaneously. WiMAX has a range of up to 31
miles, although in practice each base station is expected to cover an area with a radius of about ten miles.
It can transfer data at speeds of up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps), and is point-to-multipoint as
opposed to point-to-point, which is also referred to as a broadcast. This means each hotspot can support
thousands of users simultaneously. However, in reality a single pipe will be limited to about 500 users per
base station. That does not take into consideration the fact that channels can be combined to form an
aggregate signal, effectively multiplying the throughput several times. This makes a pipe with a
bandwidth of several hundred Mbps possible.
WiMAX may turn out to be more than just a broadband backbone though. Intel in particular believes WiMAX
will complement Wi-Fi and not compete with it. The company plans to create chipsets that can handle both the
802.11 and 802.16 technologies. Laptops with these chipsets would use whichever signal was strongest in a
given area. This does not necessarily make the two technologies competitors, as the scenario that most
envision is WiMAX being used to fill the gap between the wireless local-area network (WLAN) and the
Internet service. As can be seen in Figure 1, WiMAX closes the gap between the broadband wireless access
service providers network, which is connected to the Internet, and the subscriber.
1

http://www.smarthomeforum.com/start/show_news.asp?NID=300

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Ralph P. Martins, Jr.

Figure 1: How WiMAX Is Incorporates into the Existing Internet Service Provider Market
This gap between the subscriber and the service provider is sometimes called the last mile. This
term is especially important as it highlights why WiMAX has the potential to be so popular. Up until
wireless broadband, users had to have their Internet backbone pipe in via cables, using technologies
such as DSL or cable modems. While this is simply a matter of a small cost in some instances, there
are many cases where this does not make a lot of business sense or is just downright cost-prohibitive.
While most commercial and residential structures currently access the Internet using cables, less than
five per cent of all commercial buildings have broadband-capable fiber-optic connections readily
available. These can be extremely expensive to install, especially if it becomes necessary to dig up
concrete streets in order to drop the fiber. According to Anand Chandrasekher2, vice president and
general manager of the Mobile Platform Group at Intel, even for residential installations it can cost
$400 just to get a truck deployed to the install site, and then another 20 minutes to two hours to
complete the install. It is simply not worth the investment to install new, wired broadband
connections in many cases. Furthermore, potential customers in rural areas have had similar
problems getting broadband Internet access. The cost to run fiber from the urban areas where the
service providers backbone is located to a remote rural area is expensive. The fact that populations
are less dense in rural areas decreases the return on investment for running cable to rural areas.
However, since WiMAX can provide the same service without any new cable installs needed, it has
the potential to be very valuable to the previously mentioned individuals or organizations that would
otherwise not have access to broadband. Figure 2 is a very simple example of how, when natural
geography, distance, and a low concentration of subscribers would otherwise prohibit wired
broadband access, WiMAX would be the cost-effective solution to this problem.

http://www.computerworld.com/mobiletopics/mobile/story/0,10801,86093,00.html
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A Business Justification: WiMAX Service Providers and Security Investments

Figure 2: Last Mile


WiMAX Security
When cordless landline phones were initially gaining popularity and prevalence, a simple frequency scanner
could be used to gain audible access to a conversation being held. The same rang true with analog cell
phones. Now that computer networks are wireless, it should be no surprise to anyone that there are security
issues that came into play. Wi-Fi, or 802.11, quickly became the technology of choice for anything from
home use to extending LANs in private companies and organizations shortly after it was introduced.
However the vulnerabilities that came along with Wi-Fi made the networks that incorporated Wi-Fi
technology inherently insecure. An entire hobby grew out of exploiting 802.11 technologies when
wardriving became popular in the late 1990s. Security considerations have had a noticeable impact on the
Wi-Fi market. Matthew Gast, a noted information security and wireless author, states that in reference to
802.11 wireless deployments, research indicates that the perceived insecurity of wireless networks is a
major inhibitor in further market growth.3 The simplicity and lack of costs involved in penetrating many
Wi-Fi networks is evident by the growth in popularity in an activity called wardriving. Based on the term
wardialing, which was coined from the 1983 movie Wargames where the main character used his modem to
dial large sets of consecutive phone numbers in search of a modem tone, wardriving is the activity of driving
around an area in a vehicle searching for wireless networks. With the relatively inexpensive cost of a laptop
computer, a Wi-Fi PC card, and an antenna (many of which can be purchased for less than $100) to extend
the signal, anyone can search for wireless networks4. Once a signal is found, free tools can be found readily
available on the Internet to anyone who wishes to download them for penetrating a wireless network and
exploiting the systems that reside on its LAN. As for the popularity of wardriving, one can simply run a
simple search engine query to find literally thousands of websites dedicated to the activity.
What does this mean for WiMAX? With chipmakers such as Intel planning for laptops to include
WiMAX technology by 20065, it is not unreasonable to imagine the same interest and persistence in
wardriving against WiMAX networks as there has historically been in searching for and attacking Wi-Fi
networks. Furthermore, the very nature of WiMAX and its range can be used against it. Unlike WiMAX,
Wi-Fi networks can only broadcast for about 100 meters. While they sometimes extend beyond the walls
of the building within which they operate and therefore are exposed to unauthorized individuals, the entire
purpose of a WiMAX broadcast its signal to the maximum number of people, as they are all considered
3

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2002/04/19/security.html
http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/12.05.02/wifi-0249.html
5
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/02/intel_wimax/
4

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Ralph P. Martins, Jr.

potential costumers. Therefore, the fact that WiMAX does have the 31-mile range exposes it to more
potential attackers than does a Wi-Fi network. Along with this extension, there also is the fact that an
attacker does not need to be driving the streets in order to attack a WiMAX broadcast. He or she can be in
the safety of their own home, comfortable in the knowledge that if their system does not happen to be
configured with any identifying information (i.e. name, company, address), they can attack with the
knowledge that the chances that they can be identified or located are slim to none.
A typical broadband service provider who offers both wired and wireless WiMAX broadband access
has four distinct sources where attackers can enter their network (see Figure 3). These are from their
Internet pipe, the wired connections to their subscribers, the air interface, and from internal to the
corporate intranet.

Figure 3: Four Vulnerability Points


Three of these sources (the Internet pipe, the wired subscriber connections, and the intranet) would all
exist regardless of whether or not WiMAX was implemented. The fourththe air interfaceis the
additional point of vulnerability that is added once WiMAX access is integrated into the service offerings
of the provider. If the existence of the first three was not enough to encourage service providers to invest
in security, the addition of an air interface should be.
While WiMAX does have encryption mechanisms built into it, there are several flaws and a serious lack
of security features incorporated into the standard. In a paper6 written by David Johnston, a senior
communications engineer with Intel, various security flaws in WiMAX are identified. He claims that the
security in 802.16 is not even to the standard of 802.11i. He goes on to criticize the security in 802.16 for,
among other things, not having data authentication, protection for data replay, or a strong enough
algorithm for keeping data confidential. It should be no surprise that David also proposed7 the creation of
6
7

http://wirelessman.org/tgd/contrib/C80216d-03_60r1.pdf
http://www.ieee802.org/16/mgt/contrib/S80216mgt-04_02.pdf

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A Business Justification: WiMAX Service Providers and Security Investments

a security task group that would fall under the 802.16 working group. Based on the history of previous
standards, this will most likely result in the eventual creation of another 802.16 standard designed with
security. However in the meantime, there will be a need to secure a network that includes a WiMAX air
interface on it. Regardless of what the newer standards and enhancement of 802.16 bring, the fact is that
the products that will be on the market in the next few years will all be based on standards that already
exist today, that is, an insecure 802.16. There is sometimes a two or more year time lag between the
proposal of a standard and the emergence of products on the market that implement that standard. The
challenge will be encouraging middle and upper management of wireless broadband service providers to
take the initiative to make the appropriate investments in assuring the security of their networks.
The Business Value of Investing in Security for WiMAX Service Providers
How then does a broadband wireless access service provider justify the expenditure on the
implementation of hardware, software, and services dedicated to preserving the security of infrastructure?
One method is by showing the financial reasons for spending money, and this is through demonstrating a
return on security investment (ROI). It is not a simple task to calculate ROI security. There is no hard and
fast formula for defining a return on investment when it comes to spending capital on the implementation
of information security hardware, software and/or services. This is true throughout the information
technology field, and it is no less true when it comes to wireless broadband service providers. There are
some formulas that have to be considered when attempting to calculate a return on security investment,
one of which is as follows:
ROI = (revenue change + savings) / cost of investment
On the spectrum of private and public organizations, there are those who must invest heavily in security
as it is necessary for their very survival and there are those whose success is not quite as dependent on
securing their information assets. There is an argument to be made that just about every organization in
existence has some need for information security. However, an e-commerce company that relies on the
trust of its customers, such as on-line auction site E-Bay or the online store Amazon.com, certainly has
much more to lose in terms of reputation and customers than does a nonprofit philanthropic organization
that has a homepage. It is not a stretch to say that a wireless broadband access service provider has quite a
bit at stake when it comes to the negative publicity of an attack, not to mention the downtime and angry
customers who demand nothing less than constant, uninterrupted service. Consequently, it is in the best
interest of such a company to not only invest in the security of their company, but to do so only after
considerable thought and planning.
There are a variety of complications and obscurities associated with calculating a return on security
investment. Many of this is due to the lack of tangible information. First, not all costs or benefits can be
stated in the same currency. How does one measure the reputation of a brand name? And how would one
measure damage to such a name after the effects of a security incident have been realized? If a service
provider has a large number of customers that conduct banking transactions online, will they be
comfortable to continue doing so if they hear that their service provider frequently is penetrated by
attackers who wreak havoc on their systems? The difficulty in a situation such as this is that, in this
scenario, the service provider would have no accurate way of measuring how many customers
discontinued service after learning about a series of successful attacks. And even if there was a way to
measure this number, how would one determine which attack caused how many customers to flee to the
competition? And how would one place a monetary value on that? When considering currency, the other
consideration is the cost to prevent an incident. Fortunately, in some cases these costs can be a bit easier
to calculate. It is not impossible to calculate the cost of a firewall, the cost of the staff to provide
operations, maintenance and log analysis, and the cost of vendor support. While such costs may not be
able to be calculated with absolute precision, it is possible to take a very educated guess. While dealing
194

Ralph P. Martins, Jr.

with solutions there can be a quite a bit of information readily available, but when dealing with incidents
there can be a confusing lack of quantifiable data.
This brings us to the second problem: lack of information. For obvious reasons, organizations that are
victims of incidents are reluctant to make such an event public. There are many good reasons not to, and
no good reasons to do so. With the lack of information, it is difficult to make predictions based on risk. In
order to calculate risk, we need to know both the frequency of an event and the severity of its occurrence.
A simple risk formula would look like this:
Risk = frequency of incident * severity of incident
However, how is one to know the frequency of an incident when data is never released? Who knows how
bad a virus can affect a companys infrastructure if each company hides their numbers? How is one to
determine the number of medical records stolen from a hospital database when the cover it up?
Once the risk can be determined, is comes down to a simple comparison. If the risk is greater than the
investment, spend the money. If it is less than the investment, do not spend the money. It is also necessary
to keep in mind the time value of money. The value of money today is less than the value of that same
amount of money used for other purposes until tomorrow.
What this paper will not provide is a cookie-cutter, cure-all solution for any wireless broadband service
provider to calculate their return on security investment down to the exact cent. There is no cut-and-dried
formula to measure the return on investing in security for WiMAX networks or any other security
investments for that matter. Due to the ambiguities associated with security incidents and investments that
would be impossible. It is however, the goal to introduce the reader to the issues involved with WiMAX
and provide him or her with a framework with which to think about how best to begin to arrive at such a
solution in a real-world scenario. After all, any capital expenditure begins with the understanding and
endorsement of the decision makers at the top of an organization. With some sort of understanding of the
financial side of security, a security manager will be armed with the weapons to justify the budget that he
or she needs.
Appendix: 802.16 Standards
The following is a brief summary of some of the IEEE 802.16x WiMAX standards:

802.16 The original standard, published in April 2002, which is titled Air interface for fixed
Broadband Wireless Access Systems is also known as wireless MAN. With this standard, nonline of sight is not possible. This specification was designed to standardize local multipoint
distribution services (LMDS).

802.16a This amendment, among other things, extends the spectrum range for transmissions
that makes non-line of sight communications possible. This is intended to make 802.16a a viable
alternative to DSL and cable modem for last mile connectivity services.

802.16c This standard improves the interoperability of 802.16

802.16d This standard builds on 802.16c

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A Business Justification: WiMAX Service Providers and Security Investments

802.16e This standard provides mobility in that it allows portable clients to join the network
and transmit data while moving. This may compete with IEEE 802.20. This spec is not yet
finalized as of July 2004.

802.16REVd This standard combines, revises and updates 802.16, 802.16a and 802.16c.

Bibliography

196

http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/outsourcing/isptelecom/story/0,10801,91728,00
.html
http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/outsourcing/isptelecom/story/0,10801,91728,00
.html
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2002/04/19/security.html
http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2004/db0520/DOC-247411A1.pdf
http://www.cnp-wireless.com/wsp.html
http://www.netstumbler.com/
http://www.ieee802.org/16/mgt/contrib/S80216mgt-04_02.pdf
http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/columns/article.php/961181
http://www.mobilepipeline.com/specwatch/80216.jhtml
http://www.dailywireless.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2741
http://www.giac.org/practical/GSEC/Julie_Schuller_GSEC.pdf

WiMAX: The Next Generation


of Wireless Communication?
T I M Shaniur Nabi
Research Student
Centre for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications, RMIT University

Richard Harris
Professor and Director
Centre for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications, RMIT University
Abstract
With the growing importance of the Internet to business, commerce, and personal communications,
there has been a substantial increase in demand for access to the Internet and increases in the speeds of
accessing information. Users are expecting services to be available anywhere and at anytime. Users are
not confined to city regions and there is a growing demand to rapidly roll out high-speed service access
to remote and rural areas. Delivery of fixed network resources via fiber cables to remote, difficult-toaccess, and rural subscribers is expensive, and alternative approaches using fixed wireless broadband
networks are now an attractive and feasible option. A new Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE) based standard known as IEEE802.16 has been proposed, which promises to provide
a broadband wireless solution to the above problem. This white paper aims at providing a
comprehensive study of this technology.
Introduction
The main advantage of a network based on IEEE standard 802.16, also known as WiMAX (an
acronym for worldwide interoperability for microwave access [1]), is that it can be deployed in areas
where wired digital subscriber line (DSL) service is hard to provide and the cost is high. Not only
does it support high speed data communication, but it also has the ability to maintain dedicated links
and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services can be very reliable and of high quality. Currently
for a service provider, deploying a DSL or T1/E1 service for a business customer to a relatively
remote location or outer suburbs can take several months and the cost involved can be significant.
With the help of WiMAX, a service provider will be able to provision that service in a few days and
in a very cost effective manner.
IEEE has established various wireless standards in a hierarchical fashion with help from the expertise of
many communication engineers. Some of the established wireless communication standards include the
following: 802.15 (personal-area network Bluetooth), 802.11 (local-area network Wi-Fi) and 802.16
(metropolitan-area network WiMAX). A new standard, 802.20 for wide-area networks (WANs), has
been proposed and is currently under development.
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WiMAX: The Next Generation of Wireless Communication?

Each of the IEEE standards has been developed to meet certain requirements and they complement each
other. For indoor use, 802.11 has been optimized and it fulfils requirements for home or office
connectivity. 802.16 has been designed to meet outdoor and long-range use for providing last-mile
solutions. To service providers, it also presents itself as a quick and cheap option for backbone service.
WiMAX has been developed by keeping in mind the requirement for cheap and quick deployment of fast
connectivity for both voice and data communication to remote and difficult terrain locations. This white
paper will discuss the development, specification, application, current research work and the future of
WiMAX.
Development
Brief History
IEEE first released the 802.16 standard (IEEE Standard 802.16-2001) on April 8, 2002 and was approved
by the IEEE-SA Standards board on December 6, 2001 [2]. This standard included the physical layer
specification for systems that will operate between ten and 66 gigahertz (GHz). Since then, there has been
two major amendments; the first one (IEEE Standard 802.16c-2002) was released by the IEEE Standard
Association (SA) board on January 15, 2003 [3] and the second one (IEEE Standard 802.16a-2003), on
April 1, 2003 [4].
Although the scope of this release was limited to ten to 66 GHz, the first amendment gave a detailed
system profile that lists sets of features and functions to be used in typical implementation cases [3]. Also,
corrections were made to errors and inconsistencies from the previous release (IEEE 801.16-2001).
The second amendment extended support of WiMAX at frequencies from two to 11 GHz by providing
additional physical (PHY) and medium access control (MAC) layer specifications. It also specified the
standard where the MAC layer is able to support multiple physical layer specifications, point-tomultipoint (PMP), and mesh topologies. The standard also covers specifications for systems operating
between two to 66 GHz (the entire range).
The latest development is the approval of IEEE 802.16-2004 standard being approved by the standards
body on June 24, 2004 [5]. This standard is due to be published by the end of July 2004. It is a revision of
the previous three releases (as discussed above).
Current Developments
In order to make the global adoption of WiMAX successful, steps like interoperability, cost of
deployment, and testing have been taken. The WiMAX forum, which is an industry-led nonprofit
corporation formed for the development and promotion of WiMAX [6], is in the process of helping this
industry by conducting proper tests and later certifying vendor products and systems as WiMAX
CertifiedTM. Currently initial testing of vendor products is taking place and, by the end of 2004,
WiMAXcertified solutions are expected to be available in the market.

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T I M Shaniur Nabi and Richard Harris

Figure 1: Global Wireless Standards


Time frame

Description

January 2003

IEEE802.16 standard released

April 2003

Initial System Profiles Selected: 256 OFDM at 2.5, 3.5 and 5.8
GHz

Fourth Quarter of 2003

Selection of Certification Labs in order to complete test suits

Third Quarter of 2004

Initial vendor tests

Fourth Quarter of 2004

WiMAXcertified solutions are available to the market

Source [7]: WiMAX Forum Web site (http://www.wimaxforum.org)

Table 1: WiMAX Schedule


Specification
WiMAX standards specification for the ten to 66 GHz and sub 11 GHz ranges have been specified by the
IEEE 802.16 working group. The standards specification covers both the MAC and the PHY layers. This
section of the white paper gives a brief description of these specifications.
During the development of WiMAX, a number of PHY layer issues were taken into consideration given
its target environment. The frequency at which it operates has been divided into two major categories.
High frequency, which is between 11 to 66 GHz and low frequency, which is sub 11 GHz. Line-of-sight
is essential when operating in the high frequency range. This frequency range allows wider channels,
resulting in very high capacity links and also eases the effect of multi-path. Typically the bandwidth is ten
megahertz (MHz) or higher, which allows it to provide high capacity upload and download links. For the
low frequency range (sub 11 GHz) the connectivity must support non line-of-sight.

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WiMAX: The Next Generation of Wireless Communication?

Typically, a common WiMAX setup configuration will consist of a base station, as either a small
independent tower or mounted on top a building. 802.16a has a line-of-sight radius of 50 kilometers and a
non line-of-sight of ten kilometers. The non line-of-sight range, also known as the cell radius, can vary
from six to ten kilometers depending on the type of obstacles present (trees, huge buildings, etc.). Within
the cell radius, the throughput and performance is optimal.
802.11 (Wi-Fi)

802.16 (WiMAX)

Technical Differences

Range

Maximum 100
meters. Access
points needs to be
added for greater
coverage

Line-of-sight: Up
to 50 kms.
Nonline-of-sight:
between 6 to 10
kms

802.16 PHY tolerates greater multipath, delay spread (reflections) via


implementation of a 256 FFT vs. 64
FFT for 802.11

Spectrum

Uses unlicensed
spectrum only

Uses licensed and


unlicensed
spectrum

802.16 ranges from 2 to 66 GHz


and 802.11 is restricted to 2.4 and
5.8 GHz

Coverage

Suitable for indoor


use only

Designed for
outdoor LOS and
NLOS services.

802.16 has superior system gain


enabling it to penetrate through
obstacles at longer distances.

Scalability

Number of users
range from one to
tens. Intended for
LAN use. Channel
sizes are fixed at 20
MHz.

Number of users
can be thousands.
Channel sizes are
flexible (1.75 ~ 20
MHz)

The MAC protocol of 802.16 uses


Dynamic TDMA but 802.11 uses
CSMA/CA.

Data Rate

2.7 bps/Hz,
maximum of 54
Mbps in a 20 MHz
channel

5 bps/Hz,
maximum of 100
Mbps in a 20 MHz
channel

QoS

Can only support


best offer service

Supports multiple
QoS and it is built
into MAC.

802.16 can maintain ATM


compatible QoS; UGS, rtPS, nrtPS
and Best Effort; it can also support
bit rates as high as 268 Mbps each
way.
802.11: Uses CSMA/CA (wireless
Ethernet)
802.16 : Dynamic TDMA-based
MAC with no-demand bandwidth
allocation

Source [11]: WiMAX Forum Web site (http://www.wimaxforum.org)

Table 2: Comparison between 802.11 and 802.16


WiMAX has been designed to accommodate time division duplexing (TDD) or frequency division
duplexing (FDD). It also supports various protocols such as asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), Ethernet
or Internet protocol (IP) and has the provision to accommodate future protocols that has not yet been
developed. As PMP wireless access was one of the main environments, the MAC was specifically
designed to meet this requirement. While maintaining ATM compatible quality of service (QoS),
unsolicited grant service (UGS), real-time polling service (rtPS), non real-time polling service (nrtPS) and
best effort, it can also support bit rates as high as 268 megabits per second (Mbps) in both directions [8].
Theoretically, in a single Tx/Rx channel 802.16 can provide data rates of up to 75 Mbps on both the
uplink and downlink channels. However, by combining multiple channels this rate can be increased to
250 Mbps [9].
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T I M Shaniur Nabi and Richard Harris

In order to increase the efficiency of WiMAX, a number of concepts are used in its MAC implementation.
One such concept is the use of a variable length protocol data unit (PDU) [8]. It is possible to combine
multiple PDUs into a single burst. This, in return, saves on PHY overhead. Similarly, to save on the MAC
overhead in a single MAC PDU, multiple service data units (SDUs) for the same service can be
combined. This approach is very helpful in maintaining good QoS.
A trade-off between capacity and robustness in real time is possible because the frame structure of
WiMAX allows dynamic allocation of uplink and downlink burst profiles to its terminals according to
their link conditions. On average, it also gives nearly twice the capacity while maintaining link
availability, in comparison with non-adaptive systems. Using dynamic adaptive modulation, WiMAX is
able to trade throughput for range. When the signal gets weak and the base station is unable to establish a
robust link using the highest order modulation scheme, 64 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), it
will reduce the modulation order to 16 QAM or quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK). In this process,
the system is able to increase the range by compromising throughput. It also has a high spectral efficiency
and is tolerant of signal reflections.
In the WiMAX specification, three system profiles have been selected. Each of the threecovering the
5.8 GHz (license exempt), 2.5 GHz, and 3.5 GHz bandsfalls under the 256 orthogonal frequency
division multiplexing (OFDM) PHY mode for the 802.16a standard. Other profiles have been planned
and are in development, including the 2.3 GHz band [7]. To ensure a uniform base for implementing
WiMAX, the PHY will be combined with non-optional MAC.
WiMAX supports flexible channel bandwidth in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, which simplifies
network planning [10]. It has a tremendous potential to provide solutions for many different service
provider scenarios and meeting their requirements to support voice, data, dedicated links, and best-effort
services, among others. However, providing any of the services tends to compromise the other. For
example, an operator is assigned 20 MHz of spectrum. The operator could divide it into two sectors of ten
MHz each, or four sectors of five MHz each. For a smaller sector size, there is a smaller data-transfer rate,
but it can support a wider range of services (data, voice, dedicated links, best-effort, etc.).
The support for smart antennas gives service providers an option to focus the power into various narrow
sectors. This will increase the coverage distance in that sector direction and increase the number of users. By
creating proper isolation of sectors at the base station, service providers can further increase the number of
users by reusing the same spectrum. To improve non line-of-sight performance, advanced techniques such
as mesh, beam-forming, and multiple inputs, multiple outputs (MIMO) can also be used [7].
The ability to provide both voice and video services is important to WiMAX. These services are latency
(delay) sensitive and to ensure that this sensitivity is properly accounted for, the dynamic time division
multiple access (TDMA) (grant/request) characteristic of the MAC has been implemented. This enables
service providers to provide premium quality level services such as dedicated T1, voice, and video, along
with other high volume services (best-effort) in the same cell area.
802.16a and 802.16e
Both IEEE802.16a and IEEE802.16e are derivatives of IEEE802.16 standard. IEEE802.16a is used for
broadband wireless access (BWA) networks operating in the range two to 11 GHz. IEEE802.16e
standards specifications are currently under development and it is planned to be an extension of the
IEEE801.16a standard [7]. It will add mobility to the existing IEEE802.16a standard that is designed for
fixed operation. Simultaneous development of IEEE802.20 is often considered redundant. However, the
head start that IEEE802.16e has, by being an extension of the established IEEE802.16 standard, over its
rival standard promises to provide a significant advantage. The standards specification for IEEE802.20 is
expected to be released by the end of 2004.
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WiMAX: The Next Generation of Wireless Communication?

One of the major potential vulnerabilities for users of wireless communication is security. The open
nature of its medium gives anyone the ability to listen to or tap into communication packets that have
been transmitted. From the outset, WiMAX has made it mandatory to protect users by employing the data
encryption standard (DES) and triple DES security encryption [10]. In a recent development, the profiles
taken from the advanced encryption standard (AES) encryption mechanism have been taken into account
because of their more secure nature (uses 128, 192 or 256 bit long keys).
Application
Due to a lack of standardization and interoperability the BWA market was fragmented. This caused
problems in adopting a single technology that could be globally implemented. WiMAX addresses these
shortcomings and promises to provide a universal last-mile solution. Today, where DSL services are only
available to high density urban areas, creating a digital divide between urban and rural residents and
businesses, WiMAX comes in as the bridge maker for this division. The ability of quick and costeffective deployment, irrespective of terrain and population density, over a large area does bring the long
time wish of many service providers to reality.
The number of services that WiMAX can provide includes the following:

202

Point-to-point communication between base stations


This feature enables WiMAX to provide backhaul services for existing telecommunication
networks. Remote locations where microwave link is used for backbone service, traffic capacity
to those locations can be increased by implementing WiMAX. This will also increase the types of
services that can be provided to that area, including high-speed Internet and not limited to public
switched telephone network (PSTN) services.

Point-to-multipoint communication between the base station and clients


This includes simultaneously maintaining various types of services with all the clients. Under the
same installation it will be possible to provide voice and data communication services to clients.
Depending on client requirements, virtual networks can be established between various sites
within the same coverage area.

Backhaul services for Wi-Fi (802.11) hotspots


Cafs that intend to provide hotspots to increase their business by attracting more customers do
require a wired DSL service available to their premises. This confines such cafs to high density
urban areas only. By providing backhaul to Wi-Fi, WiMAX extends the availability of such
hotspots to a much wider coverage area that covers both dense and sparsely populated area.

Broadband internet services to home users


As new suburbs are developed and outer city boundaries expand, it is often too expensive and the
cost-benefit ratio is not in favor of establishing a DSLenabled exchange that covers only about a
four kilometer radius from the exchange. This deprives a substantial number of clients from highspeed Internet services. Under such circumstances, WiMAX provides a solution by providing
both high-speed Internet and voice services in the same network with a much larger coverage area
and uses only a fraction of the cost compared to wired networks.

T1 level services for industries in remote locations


Mining industries are mostly located in remote areas and often create small mining towns.
Corporate companies can afford to have a satellite based communication service to their remote
offices, but the small, yet substantial number of town residents cannot afford to have a proper

T I M Shaniur Nabi and Richard Harris

Internet service. Using a satellite upload and downlink to a central location in such towns,
WiMAX can easily provide residential broadband services and also voice communication
services to the local community at no additional cost.

Figure 2: Example of a WiMAX Network


Current Research
WiMAX is relatively new and so far very few research articles have been published. There has been some
research on packet scheduling for QoS support in WiMAX [12]. This specifically deals with a packet
scheduling algorithm that provides QoS support for a wide range of real time applications as defined in
the IEEE 802.16 standard. Research has also been done on a suitable QoS architecture for the MAC
protocol of WiMAX [13] that gives a new architecture for maintaining good QoS by reducing delay.
Some of the research that needs to be taken into consideration is on QoS for WiMAX. It is important to
determine how well this technology will perform when put into action. Even though tests in a laboratory
setting can prove to be extremely promising and successful, the final outcome is not realized until and
unless the system goes live.
Security is another aspect where extensive research needs to be done. In a world where billions of dollars
of transactions and confidential communication are conducted online, it is essential that such
communications are secure. Because wireless communication is more prone to attack from malicious
usersboth inside and outside of a given networkit is important to make it as secure as possible.
Although DES and triple DES are already embedded in the communication protocol of WiMAX, further
research needs to be conducted.

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WiMAX: The Next Generation of Wireless Communication?

What the Future Holds


WiMAX is currently considered to be the top dog in the wireless market. High-speed connectivity, large
coverage area, speed, and a deployment cost that is only a fraction of what wired networks require gives
WiMAX a bright future. A number of market researches have been conducted and all of them consider
WiMAX to be the next trend for wireless communication.
One such study [14] predicts the number of WiMAX subscribers to surpass seven million worldwide by
2009. It is also predicted that by 2008, 60% of the total wireless market will be captured by WiMAX [15].

Source: Pyramid Research [15]


Figure 3: Market Share of Global Wireless Equipments
Until now all indications and outcomes are in favor of WiMAX. Only after the release of certified
products will its popularity amongst the consumers and service providers be known. Should this
technology satisfy providers and users alike, then it will truly take a step forward in unwiring the worlds
communication systems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is WiMAX?
WiMAX is a non-profit corporation, which aims at promoting and certifying wireless equipment that
conforms to the IEEE802.16 standards. It was formed with the help of a number of leading
communication component and equipment developing companies.
What is 802.16a and 802.16e?
Approved by the IEEE in January 2003, 802.16a is a standard for wireless metropolitan area networks.
Operating between two to 11 GHz spectrum, 802.16a aims at providing last-mile solutions to homes and
business as an alternative to wired DSL. It has the ability to provide broadband wireless access to fixed,
portable, and nomadic devices along with providing backbone connectivity to 802.11 hot spots to the
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T I M Shaniur Nabi and Richard Harris

Internet. 802.16a offers a large coverage area, up to 50 kilometers with line-of-sight or ten kilometers non
line-of-sight with a shared data rate of up to 75 Mbps. This standard also supports providing latency
(delay) sensitive services such as voice and video.
802.16e is currently under development and it is planned to be an extension of 802.16a [7]. The
purpose of this standard is to add mobility to the currently available standard that provides last-mile
solutions to fixed operations. The standards specification is due to be approved and released by IEEE
by the end of 2004.
Is WiMAX the Same as Wi-Fi (802.11)?
WiMAX is not the same as Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi provides wireless solution for local area networks, suitable for
hotspots and indoor use. WiMAX on the other hand provides wireless solutions for long range outdoor
use, including backbone services for 802.11 hotspots.
What Is the difference between 802.16 and 802.20?
802.16 and 802.20 are different technologies designed to meet different requirements. The purpose of
802.16 is to provide last-mile broadband access to clients at very high speed. The 802.20 standard is being
designed to provide high speed connectivity to mobile devices.
As 802.16e Aims at Providing High-Speed Mobile Connectivity, Does 802.20 Becomes a Standard That
Is Redundant?
802.16e and 802.20 are working at providing the same solutions, although there are some minor
differences. If 802.16e becomes a success then it is feared that 802.20 will lose its purpose. 802.20 is
being developed from scratch, which is a disadvantage as its competitor, 802.16e, already has a head start,
thanks to 802.16a.
When Will WiMAX Products Bbe Available in the Marketplace?
WiMAX products are expected to be available in the market by the end of 2004 and mass production of
WiMAX equipment is expected to begin in 2005.
Conclusion
The difficulty with deployment of wired telecommunication networks with respect to cost, terrain, and time
has created a gap between rural and urban consumers in the developed world. The same reason is responsible
for a much slower growth of telecommunication services in third world countries. Mobile communication did
solve some of the problems with respect to PSTN networks, however as the world gets more dependent on the
Internet, today broadband access to anyone, anywhere, anytime is a high priority.
Development of mobile PSTN networks also created a gap within itself due to the differences in standards
worldwide. WiMAX addresses all the issues and problems faced by the wired network for both voice and
data communication and also joins every effort of its development under a single standard resulting in a
truly global wireless solution. Flexibility, lower cost, high performance, and a global standard will boost
the industry in bridging the gap between rural and urban users.
References
[1]

O'Shea, D., WiMAX Seeks Bigger Impact with Expanded Membership, Telephony, Volume 244,
Issue 8, April 21, 2003, ISSN/ISBN: 00402656, pp. 1415.

[2]

IEEE Std. 802.16-2001, IEEE Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks, Part 16: Air
Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems, April 8, 2002, ISBN: 0-7381-3071-2.
205

WiMAX: The Next Generation of Wireless Communication?

[3]

IEEE Std. 802.16c-2002, IEEE Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks, Part 16: Air
Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems Amendment 1: Detailed System Profiles
for 10-66 GHz, January 15, 2003, ISBN: 0-7381-3494-5.

[4]

IEEE Std. 802.16a-2003, IEEE Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks Part 16: Air
Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems Amendment 2: Medium Access Control
Modifications and Additional Physical Layer Specifications for 2-11 GHz, April 1, 2003, ISBN: 07381-3566-6.

[5]

Marks, R. B., IEEE Standards news release, July 24, 2004, http://ieee802.org/16/arc/80216list2/msg01651.html [last accessed: July 31, 2004].

[6]

WiMAX Forum Web site, About WiMAX, http://www.wimaxforum.org/about [last accessed:


July 31, 2004].

[7]

WiMAX Forum News, WiMAX Overview, http://www.wimaxforum.org/news/downloads/


WiMAX-Overview.pdf [last accessed: July 31, 2004].

[8]

WiMAX Forum Web site, WiMAX Technical Information, http://www.wimaxforum.org/


certification/tech_overview/ [last accessed: July 31, 2004].

[9]

Vaughan-Nichols, S. J., IEEE Journal, Computer, Volume 37, Issue 6, June 2004, pp. 1013.

[10] Agarwal, A., WiMAX: Moving Broadband A Giant Step Forward, Wireless Design &
Development, Volume 12, Issue 5, May 2004, pp. 1821.
[11] Antonello, G., Yaghoobi, H., Agarwal, A., General Session, Technical Working Group, January 20,
2004,
http://www.wimaxforum.org/news/events/wimax_day_agenda/WiMAX_-_General_
Session_TWG.pdf [last accessed: July 31, 2004].
[12] Wongthavarawat, K., and Ganz, A., Packet scheduling for QoS support in IEEE 802.16 broadband
wireless access systems, International Journal of Communication Systems, Volume 16, Issue 1,
2003, pp. 8196.
[13] GuoSong, C., Deng, W., and Shunliang, M., A QoS architecture for the MAC protocol of IEEE
802.16 BWA system, 2002 International Conference on Communications, Circuits and Systems
and West Sino Exposition Proceedings (Cat. No.02EX591), Volume 1, 2002, pp. 435439.
[14] 3g.co.uk, Fixed WiMAX Subscribers to Surpass 7 Million in 2009, Press Release, July 12, 2004,
http://www.wimax.co.uk/PR2004/July2004/2063.htm [last accessed: July 30, 2004].
[15] Yunker, J., WiMAX will capture 60% of broadband wireless market, but not without a fight,
Pyramid
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18,
2003,
http://www.pyramidresearch.com/info/press/release_031118.asp [last accessed: July 30, 2004].

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WiMAX Promises a
New Era in Telecom
Athena Platis
Wireless Industry Analyst
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA)
WiMAX, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a non-line-of-sight, point-tomultipoint broadband wireless access (BWA) technology that is promising to change the face of
telecommunications. Designed for longer distances and broader area coverage than Wi-Fi1, the WiMAX
standard seems ideal for metropolitan area networks (MANs) as a wireless alternative to cable, digital
subscriber line (DSL), and T1, or for last-mile broadband access. Industry forecasts say 802.16a will
revolutionize the MAN market, just as 802.11b (Wi-Fi) did for local area networking, but WiMAX is
more than just bigger and better fixed wireless. If the technology lives up to its promises of 50 mile
ranges and the ability to transfer data, voice, and video at speeds of up to 70 megabits per second (Mbps),
it has the capability of turning the entire telecom industry upside down.
Standards Take Time
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) first approved the 802.16 standard in April
2002 and originally intended it for fixed, line-of-sight wireless access for the first and last mile. This early
standard, which allowed signals to travel up to 30 miles, had limited appeal because it focused on licensed
spectrum between ten gigahertz (GHZ) and 66 GHz.
The newest version, called 802.16a or WiMAX, was approved in April 2003 and incorporated significant
improvements and modifications that gave the technology more widespread appeal.
For instance, the new standard operates in the unlicensed 2.4GHz and five GHz frequencies and supports
signals that reach up to 50 miles. While the technology was not designed specifically for rural areas, it
could be ideal for areas where low population density has prevented the build out of fixed wireline or
mobile wireless networks in the past.
Because it is optimized for fixed and mobile2 broadband in the wide area network, and spans well beyond
the 1,000 feet of 802.113, WiMAX is kind of like Wi-Fi on steroids. Additionally, it already includes
1

Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, is also known by its technical specifications 802.11b, the first standard, and
802.11a, the upgraded standard. Wi-Fi transmits using unregulated spectrum in the 2.4GHz (802.11b) and 5GHz
(802.11a) radio bands, and can achieve data rates of up to 11 megabits per second (mbps) and 54 mbps, respectively.
The technology can be used for omni-directional hotspot-style deployments at close range, or line-of-sight
broadband wireless-style deployments at long distances.
2
A mobile version of the WiMAX, known as 802.16, is in the works at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers. A draft of the standard is predicted for late 2004.
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WiMAX Promises a New Era in Telecom

numerous advances that are still in the works for the 802.11 standard, such as quality of service, enhanced
security, higher data rates, and mesh and smart antenna technology, allowing better utilization of the
spectrum. While the WiMAX standard took many years to evolve and develop, its high-speed, long
distance, and spectrum efficiency may prove it to be well worth the wait. Other standards in the pipeline
include 802.16b, which addresses quality of service, 802.16c, which addresses interoperability with
protocols, 802.16d, which brings together all elements of its predecessors, and 802.16e, which addresses
support for mobile broadband.
WiMAX May Turn The Tables
Once WiMAX goes mobile with its 802.16e standard, it stands to really give third generation (3G) a run
for its money. The new standard will support mobile wireless technology, enabling direct broadband
transmissions to mobile devices in a manner similar to general packet radio service (GPRS). Because the
technology allows for speeds up to 30 times faster than 3G, mobile WiMAX has the potential to undercut
the use of traditional cellular networks. This makes mobile WiMAX a serious threat to the profitability of
3G networks and services that were built at such great expense by wireless carriers. Currently, it is
primarily landline carriers that are investing in WiMAX. The pendulum of telecom industry power is
expected to swing back in favor of the landline operators who were long victims of wireless displacement.
In this way, WiMAX could be one of the most disruptive technologies the telecom industry has ever seen.
Wimax Support Grows.
Many experts say the WiMAX utopia will be a hard sell to telecom operators, especially to those burned
in the past by fixed wireless technologies that fell short of their promises. Other say that it is all a matter
of timing and that it is still too early yet for WiMAX to have a great following. There are, however, firms
with long-term vision that have set their sights on WiMAX. Among the technologys supporters are hightech and telecom giants such as Intel, Siemens Mobile, and Yahoo!.
The mother of all WiMAXbased partnerships began with the creation of the WiMAX Forum just 18
months ago, led by electronics giant Intel. The group has now grown to 89 member companies. Intels
aggressive WiMAX strategy has led it to expand on this idea of collective problem solving, by forming
strategic alliances with various high-tech industry players.
Most notably, there was the announcement in July 2003 that Intel would cooperate with broadband
wireless equipment maker Alvarion to develop low-cost WiMAXcertified equipment based on Intels
802.16a silicon. Then in late March 2004, Intel revealed an agreement with telecom equipment maker
Alcatel aimed at the definition, standardization, development, integration and marketing of WiMAX
end-to-end solutions. Products resulting from this alliance are expected to hit the market by the second
half of 2005. According to Intels aggressive WiMAX strategy, it plans to start building it into its chip
platforms, which power around 80% of all personal computers, by 2006.
Will WiMAX Connect Rural America?
Founded in 1999, America Connect is a privately held corporation located in Raleigh, N.C. The
companys mission is to bring the same cost-effective wireless broadband service to rural or ex-urban
communities that readily are available in metropolitan areas. With the help of vendors like Navini
Networks and NextNet Wireless, America Connect currently is targeting the southeastern United States
and has deployed WiMAX systems in two rural communities north of Research Triangle, N.C. The
3

Optimal distance for outdoor deployments

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Athena Platis

company is looking to partner with small rural telecom carriers to bring broadband to rural areas, by
selling WiMAX at the wholesale level to rural telcos. These telcos would then, in turn, offer the retail
product to consumers.
Because the frequencies below 11 GHz enable non-line-of-sight4, the standard could be especially
appropriate for last-mile applications in rural areas whose earlier fixed wireless deployments were often
plagued by trees and terrain issues. America Connect currently is offering high-speed wireless Internet
service to residential and business customers via a non-line-of-sight network deployment.
In early April, wireless was called critical to global development at a University of California, Berkeley
sponsored conference focused on technology and its abilities to solve social and economic problems in
developing nations. Experts agreed that the most important technological step to take in underdeveloped
areas is to build out communications networks with wireless capabilities. This strategy to revitalize
depressed areas by enabling communications and commerce via wireless technology can be applied to
rural areas in America as well.
Only Time Will Tell
With its unique communications capabilities, WiMAX has the potential to be one of the most disruptive
technologies the telecom industry has seen. Yet there are many challenges ahead for WiMAX, namely
interoperability and standardization of equipment and chipsets. Though little more than a fairytale now,
WiMAX has many in the industry believing it will stand the test of time. Among them is the Scottsdale,
Arizonabased research firm In-Stat/MDR, which predicts the broadband wireless access market will
increase to more than $1.2 billion by the end of 2007, up from $558.7 million last year, as a direct result
of WiMAX. In the end, only time will tell if WiMAX can live up to its industry hype and make a
difference in rural telecommunications markets.
Additional Resources
America Connect, http://www.broadband2go.net
Alvarion, http://www.alvarion-usa.com
IEEE 802.16 Working Group, http://www.ieee802.org/16
Intel, http://www.intel.com
Navini Networks, http://www.navini.com
NextNet Wireless, http://www.nextnetwireless.com/
WiMAX Forum, http://www.wimaxforum.org

Line-of-site is necessary when deploying in the higher frequencies.


209

WiMAX: Outlining
Business Strategies
Kotni Mohana Rao
Senior Software Engineer
Wipro Technologies, Bangalore, India
Abstract
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), an emerging broadband wireless access
(BWA) technology, is getting popularized as a wireless alternative to digital subscriber line (DSL), cable
modem, leased lines, or any other broadband network access technologies. WiMAX supporters claim that
the technology will replace everything from third generation (3G) cellular networks to DSL and wireless
local area networks (WLANs). With the market value expected to reach five billion U.S. dollars by the
year 2007, and with the endorsement of many telecommunication giants, WiMAX is poised to change the
broadband wireless market scenario.
The first thing to consider is whether WiMAXs touted potential is merely hype. Furthermore, now that
several pre-WiMAX networks have been deployed, what are the operators saying about quality of service
(QoS) and return on investment (ROI)? How and when will device manufacturers integrate WiMAX into
their products? Finally, what is the business case for using WiMAX over any other established broadband
wireless alternative?
As 802.16 products will not be widely available for at least another year or so, the standard itself should
play an important role in the future network plans. 802.16 has the potential, but there is a need to derive
proper strategy for commercial success of the technology. With that in mind, it is necessary to get up to
speed with the development of various 802.16 standards.
The purpose of this white paper is to study the operating environment, technologies, market dynamics,
and projected evolution associated with WiMAX. This study can be useful to understand what one must
consider to achieve a business strategy for WiMAX technological markets.
Introduction
The WiMAX Forum is a nonprofit corporation formed by equipment and component suppliers to promote
the adoption of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.16 compliant equipment by
operators of broadband wireless access systems.
The IEEE 802.16 wireless network protocols are the next evolution of the 802.x standards that currently
contain both the wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth protocols. The IEEE 802.16 standard is one of
the complementary wireless standards created by the IEEE to help ensure interoperability and reduce the

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WiMAX: Outlining Business Strategies

risk of wireless technology deployment. 802.16 is designed for metropolitan area networks (MANs) and
defines a wireless protocol with a range measured in tens of kilometers rather than tens or hundreds of
meters. Products based on the 802.16 protocol will enable transmission of broadband connectivity from a
city to outlying villages.
With the expertise of hundreds of engineers from the communications industry, the IEEE has established
a hierarchy of complementary wireless standards. These include IEEE 802.15 for the personal-area
network (PAN), IEEE 802.11 for the local-area network (LAN), 802.16 for the MAN, and the proposed
IEEE 802.20 for the wide-area network (WAN). Each standard represents the optimized technology for a
distinct market and is designed to complement the other standards.
The WiMAX Forum was established to define standards that meet specific service provider needs and
will provide interoperability testing and certification. This ensures that customer premises equipment
(CPE) and network equipment from various vendors work together right out of the box. Technically,
WiMAX/802.16 gear can provide true broadband access with end-to-end QoS support for both
asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and Internet protocol (IP) QoS systems, and can support applications
like Internet access, voice over IP (VoIP), and mobility.
Brief Evolution of WiMAX
Service providers have been trying to supplement their networks with wireless last mile technologies for
years. Start-ups and established carriers alike spent fortunes on high-end multichannel multipoint
distribution system (MMDS) solutions in the late '90s, for example, finding a way to bypass the localexchange carrier (LEC) and reach customers directly. Wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) have
invested in various technologies to reach customers in rural areas and small towns that are not well served
by wireline technologies. Even the LECs themselves have been conducting trials with wireless vendors,
looking for a way to reach their customers who cannot be accessed economically by DSL. So far, none of
these efforts has been of much use.
Most of these deployments were plagued by high costs and immature QoS. Some smaller WISPs are
having success, but generally they are focused on very small markets. Service providers who want to go
wireless need a solution that mixes low capital costs, which can compare with DSL or other wireline
solutions, with low operational expenses and provisioning costs. Added to the mix is the fact that carriers
want a reliable, standards-based solution from established vendors; betting on unknown start-up
equipment vendors is no longer part of the game, especially for larger carriers.
There is WiMAX, the industry consortium promoting wireless products falling under the 802.16 group of
IEEE standards. 802.16 defines many variants of the standard, in different frequency ranges with various
characteristics, and provides the baseline media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY)
definitions that are necessary for any WiMAX gear.
Work on 802.16 started in July 1999. In all these years, the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband
Wireless Access has delivered a base and three follow-on standards. The timeline for IEEE 802.16 family
of standards follows.

212

IEEE 802.16: Approved in December 2001, it is used for wireless MANs operating at frequencies
between 10 and 66 gigahertz (GHz). (Air interface for fixed broadband wireless access systems)

IEEE 802.16.2: Published in 2001, it specifies a recommended practice to address the operation
of various broadband systems in the ten to 66 GHz frequency range

Kotni Mohana Rao

IEEE 802.16a: This was an amendment to 802.16 made by IEEE in January 2003, which adds to
the original standard operation in licensed and unlicensed frequency bands from two to 11 GHz

IEEE 802.16c: Approved in December 2002, it was aimed at improving interoperability by


specifying system profiles in the ten to 66 GHz range

Initial System Profile: Introduced in April 2003 with 256 orthogonal frequency division
multiplexing (OFDM) at 2.5, 3.5 and 5.8 GHz

IEEE 802.16 REVd: Expected in the third quarter of 2004 revision PAR for 802.16 & 802.16a
to add WiMAX system profiles and errata for two to 11 GHz in support of 802.16e requirements

IEEE 802.16e: Expected in the first quarter of 2005 for pedestrian mobility and regional roaming.
Amendment for mobile wireless broadband up to vehicular speeds in licensed bands from two to
six GHz. This enables roaming for portable clients (laptops) within and between service areas

WiMAX Certification: Expected to begin in December 2004

WiMAX Certified Solutions: Expected in market by second quarter 2005

Benefits from WiMAX


Below listed are the advantages gained by the following parties from WiMAX. This list helps the look
into business strategies.

Component Makers
o Creates a volume opportunity for silicon suppliers

Equipment Makers
o Can innovate more rapidly because there exists a standards-based, stable platform upon
which new capabilities can be rapidly added
o No longer need to develop every piece of the end-to-end solution

Operators
o A common platform drives down the cost of equipment and accelerates price and
performance improvements unachievable with proprietary methods
o Generates revenue by filling broadband access gaps
o Quickly provides T1 / E1 level and on demand high-margin broadband services
o Reduces the cost associated with deployment due to lesser equipment
o Need no longer be locked into a single vendor since base stations will interoperate with
multiple vendors' CPEs

Consumers
o More broadband access choices; especially in areas where gaps exist - worldwide urban
centers where building access is difficult, in suburban areas where the subscriber is too
far from the central office, and in rural and low populated areas with poor infrastructure
o More choices for broadband access create competition resulting in lower monthly
subscription prices

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WiMAX: Outlining Business Strategies

Outlining a Business Strategy


The economic case for broadband wireless access networks is simple; wireless in many cases is the most
effective medium for transporting data, video, and voice traffic. Wireless also offers much higher
bandwidth in the access network than existing wireline options with the exception of fiber. The cost of
running fiber point-to-point from every potential customer location to the central office or point of
presence (PoP), installing electronics at both ends of each fiber, and managing all of the fiber connections
at the central office is prohibitive. Broadband wireless access networks built upon WiMAX Forum
Certified products address the shortcomings of fiber solutions by using a point-to-multipoint topology
instead of point-to-point in the access network, eliminating the cost of installation and the reoccurring
operating cost due to the use of active electronic components such as regenerators, amplifiers, and lasers
within the outside plant, and reducing the number of network elements needed at the central office.
1. Key Vendors and Their Influence on the Market
Understanding the market and looking at key vendors to observe how they are driving the market will
throw some light on where the technology is at in the fray.
While there is still some work to do on standards and interoperability, there is growing vendor momentum
behind BWA technology, WiMAX. Service providers need to start making decisions now about
technologies and market strategies so they are ready to ride the WiMAX wave when products become
available in the market.
Major infrastructure equipment players like Alcatel SA and Siemens Information & Communication
Mobile Group have phased moves into the nascent WiMAX market in 2005 using Intel Corp chips.
Startups, smaller gear vendors, and wireless ISPs are not waiting for the giants, but are moving ahead
with nearly-WiMAX equipment and services now. This is similar to how vendors started offering WLAN
equipment based around the 802.11g54 megabits per second (Mbps) over 2.4 GHzstandard months
before that got ratified.
Manufacturers and service providers started looking at the emerging WiMAX wireless technology and
saw a possible rival to wired broadband services. Most of them believe that WiMAX can happen, can be
widely deployed, and can be a huge success in the next three years similar to Wi-Fis success during the
last two to three years.
With much thanks to strong backing from Intel, WiMAX has rapidly emerged as the frontrunner from the
raft of new generation BWA technologies. Although service providers in the United States, Asia Pacific,
and Europe are already commercially deploying a handful of pre-WiMAX proprietary technologies, some
studies conclude that only a standards-based approach will bring BWA to the masses.
WiMAX-certified products are not currently available. The standard was finalized in January 2003 and
commercial products aren't expected until sometime in 2005.
For its part, Intel wants to be one of the first companies to launch WiMAX-based products into the market.
One vendor, Alvarion, had already introduced pre-WiMAX compliant equipment. Several service
providers have started implementing live deployments of Alvarions WiMAX gear, and are in the process
of getting their first WiMAX customers up and running. One customer, for example, is a Post Telephone
and Telegraph Administration (PTT) in Asia, also acting as a competitive local-exchange carrier (CLEC)
in adjacent countries. This service provider is using WiMAX as an adjunct to a fiber build out, reaching
customers who are not on the wired network with a voice, video, and entertainment triple play service.
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Kotni Mohana Rao

Another customer, an interexchange carrier (IXC) and mobile carrier in Latin America, is deploying
Alvarions gear to create their own last mile link to customers for voice and data services.
Keeping an eye on these deployments might provide a business case for WiMAX. The momentum is
building and WiMAX may very well turn out to be a technology that service providers of all types need
and can afford as well.
2. Identifying Target Markets
To provide a profitable market growth to the BWA network provider, one should identify the potential
markets for the WiMAX. Prior to 2003, BWA was all about under-served markets.
WiMAX offers broadband access where DSL cannot reach customers for technical or economical
reasons. It provides a last-mile alternative for competitive operators with combined voice and broadband
access. It also offers nomadic access complementary to Global System for Mobile Communications
(GSM) and enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE), wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), and third
generation (3G). WiMAX can be used to maximize Wi-Fi network efficiency.
To get a significant business advantage from WiMAX, one of the potential steps would be to break into
the residential broadband wireless market.
The strategic approaches from a business perspective for WiMAX might be as follows:

Start in under-served markets


Expand to markets served by wired broadband
Extend the services to customers whom wired broadband cannot serve. For example, trains,
mobile workforce (emergency vehicles, media, and transport), mobile broadband, and continued
hotspot coverage

The main markets for WiMAX are outlined below.

Cellular backhaul
Broadband on demand
Residential broadband, filling the gaps in cable and DSL coverage
Under-served areas
Best-connected wireless service

3. Identifying Geographical Markets


Major step towards business success is to identify profitable markets throughout the world.
WiMAX could be the key to breaking through the last-mile barriers, which have slowed broadband
adoption in the United States, especially in rural areas where the cost of deploying broadband connections
has not been economical. WiMAX can be deployed in emerging markets and developed countries, both in
urban and rural areas. The technology can be used to avail broadband Internet access in developing
countries, such as China and India. WiMAX will also promote greater competition in countries, such as
Taiwan and South Korea, where broadband penetration rates are already very high.
4. What Do Customers Care About
Vendors (component makers, equipment makers) and operators (service providers) should realize that the
success of any technology depends on how their customers see it. Hence, one should concentrate on what
customers like to have and what they appreciate.

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WiMAX: Outlining Business Strategies

Identify customer demand


Pricing for services (price and rebates)
Return on investment (ROI)
Coverage (signal coverage)
Service bundling (voice, video, data, support)
Services, service quality, and service-level agreement (SLA)

5. Policies and Politics


In many countries, part or the entire available wireless spectrum is regulated or licensed for specific
applications or to specific carriers. The 802.16 standards provide sufficient flexibility in terms of
spectrum usage to take advantage of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum in a particular geography. As
a result, there might be few policy hurdles to overcome in deploying 802.16-based wireless technologies
in virtually all countries and geographies.
802.16 is not the only wireless broadband standard in the pipeline, and the IEEE is not the only industry
group working on new standards for broadband wireless data services. Meanwhile, the European
Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and project Broadband Radio Access Networks (BRAN)
have been creating two standards that are roughly parallel to IEEE 802.16 and 802.16a. HIPERACCESS
covers frequencies above 11 GHz. While work on HIPERACCESS began before 802.16, it was approved
after 802.16. HIPERMAN is for frequencies below 11 GHz. The two standards bodies cooperate to a
certain extent. Which technology will providers adopt for the future? Will 802.16 and personal digital
assistants (PDAs) eventually replace cellular technology and handsets for wireless telephone service? The
answers will depend on many factors, including which standard is translated into readily available
products first, as well as continuing advances in battery technology.
The WiMAX Forum addresses most of these issues. As a vendor or service provider, it would be
beneficial to join the forum. To coordinate with radio regulators across the world, communication of
the WiMAX program encourages allocations of spectrum for WiMAX applications on a country by
country basis.
One of the purposes of the WiMAX Forum is to create a single interoperable standard from the IEEE
802.16a and ETSI HIPERMAN standards. This is achieved by the creation of system profiles. The IEEE
802.16a (256 OFDM PHY) and ETSI HIPERMAN standards share the same PHY and MAC. The
WiMAX Forum is active in both standards-making bodies to ensure that there is a global standard for
wireless MAN.
WiMAX certification is another significant step taken by the forum to enforce standardization of related
products. What is WiMAX certification and what does it guarantee?
WiMAX basically certifies two things:

Interoperability of equipment to other vendors BS/SS


Conformance to WiMAXdefined PICS and TSS & TP. WiMAX PICS and TSS & TP are based
on IEEE 802.16 and ETSI HiperMAN standards.

Why Certification?
Quality guaranteed by third party.
Service provider can choose from multiple vendors with interoperable equipment.
Multiple sources of broadband wireless hardware minimize the risk of product availability for
deployments.

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Kotni Mohana Rao

Interoperable solutions amongst WiMAX-certified BSs and SSs


Backward compatibility with 802.16 IEEE stacks.
Innovative time to market solutions with stable, standards-based PHY design.

How is WiMAX certification different from other types of certification?


More extensive than Wi-Fi certification since
o WiMAX equipment is used in carrier environment
o WiMAX is testing for conformance as well as interoperability
Similar to data over cable service interface specifications (DOCSIS) in complexity
6. Strategic Alliances
In present-day, fast-growing markets, strategic alliances have proved to be successful in many cases. First
identify the purpose of alliance and then leverage strategic partnerships to ensure commercial success.
In this direction, Alcatel and Intel have already announced a strategic alliance for the definition,
standardization, development, integration, and marketing of WiMAX end-to-end solutions. This alliance
will deliver solutions by the second half of 2005.
7. Branding and Marketing
As is the case with any other product, building long-term value will always lead to success and market
capture. This can be achieved by seeking valuable applications, providing value for money, segmenting
the customer base, and product substitution.
Conclusion
There is no doubt that BWA technology has the potential to bring changes to businesses and industries.
Whether this leads to the predicted revolution, however, remains doubtful. The stage is set for a paradigm
shift in the communications industry that could well result in a completely new equipment deployment.
This BWA network architecture promises to become a significant means of delivering bundled voice,
data, and video services over a single network.
However, with the availability of WiMAX compliant products still a year or more away, and standards
work on enhancements ongoing, it is hard to predict at this point exactly how successful the 802.16 would
be, what products would be coming in the market, and when significant deployment will begin. One
possibility is that it will become a technology of choice in the carrier market.
It is highly recommended that interested organizations closely track the development of products based
on the 802.16 family standards. Further, it would be beneficial to seek out a partnership with a key vendor
or vendors to begin planning a trial deployment of 802.16 technologies for a specific project. Additional
research is needed to identify key vendors and prospective partners. The initial focus should be on the
various activities of WiMAX Forum members and then tracking the development of other 802.16x
standards for future applications. In particular, 802.16e is geared toward mobile users and may have some
interesting implications for non-fixed technology deployments. 802.16e could be very interesting for
healthcare workers in or around a metropolitan area.
At the end of the day, everyone would like to gain more while spending less money; eliminating the need
for wires can reduce infrastructure costs, which means that wireless data networking, in its many forms, is
clearly here to stay.

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WiMAX: Outlining Business Strategies

Reference
http://www.wimaxforum.org

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WiMAX: Final Destination or Path


Amit Rawal
Engineer
Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited
Introduction to WiMAX (IEEE 802.16 Standard for Broadband Wireless)
A new wireless technology that is poised to revolutionize broadband wireless access (BWA)
communications is Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), the IEEE 802.16
standard for broadbandbig brother to the popular wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi). WiMAX is designed for
metropolitan area networks (MANs) whereas Wi-Fi is designed for local area networks (LANs).
While Wi-Fi is intended to provide coverage over relatively small areas, such as in offices or
hotspots, WiMAX can transfer around 70 Mbps over a distance of 30 miles (48 kilometers) to
thousand of users from a single base station. By comparison, the most commonly used standard of
Wi-Fi 802.11b can transfer data at speeds up to 11Mbps over ranges up to 1,000 feet (300 meters) in
open areas from a single base station.
The initial version of the WiMAX standard operates in the 1066GHz frequency band and requires lineof-sight towers, but the 802.16a extension, ratified in January 2003, uses the lower frequency of 211GHz, enabling nonline-of-sight connections, making it an appropriate technology for last-mile
applications where obstacles like trees and buildings are often present. Hence, this constitutes a major
breakthrough in wireless broadband access as line-of-sight between your transmission point and the
receiving antenna is not necessary. Approved in December 2002, 802.16c is aimed at improving
interoperability by specifying system profiles in the 1066 GHz range.
Although broadband has been available for some time, access for most people is still limited. According
to the U.S. Census, at least 40 percent of the residential and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
markets cannot receive broadband via cable or digital subscriber line (DSL). DSL or cable connectors are
limited because of the following:

They are expensive and slow to deploy


Customers are out of reach of DSL services
Customers are not part of a residential cable infrastructure

WiMAX could be the key to breaking through the last-mile barriers that have slowed broadband adoption,
especially in rural areas where the cost of deploying broadband connections has not been economical.
WiMAX can be taken as a wireless alternative to DSL and cable (see Figure 1). The principal advantages
of the systems based on 802.16 are as follows:

The ability to provision services quickly, even in areas that are inaccessible for wired infrastructure

219

WiMAX: Final Destination or Path

The avoidance of steep installation costs

The ability to overcome the physical limitations of traditional wired infrastructure

Wireless redundancy and quick redeployment

Figure 1: Shows the Global Wireless Standards


Drawbacks with Wi-Fi (802.11)
Equipment based on 802.11 provides wireless connectivity over areas outside the confines of a building.
These 802.11based proprietary systems/equipments are great for meeting performance and security
requirements; however, they tend to be more expensive and a bit risky in terms of long-term support.
They also lack interoperability, which the end user demands. The use of 802.11based hardware for
metropolitan-sized networks decreases costs, but 802.11 has performance limitations when supporting
larger numbers of users needing guaranteed bandwidth. In addition, radio frequency (RF) interference is
often a significant problem with 802.11 when covering large areas due to license-free operation. A
competitor may install an 802.11 network that interferes with other networks, and users will suffer due to
sporadic, poor performance. There is really nothing one can do about that because there are no legal
grounds to remedy the situation.
Also there are problems like low penetrations of mobile computing devices and lack of proper pricing
structure and payment mechanism, which have inhibited a rapid rollout of Wi-Fi (802.11).

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Amit Rawal

WiMAX to the Rescue


The IEEE 802 group initiated the IEEE 802.16 Working Group to create standards for broadband wireless
access in order to offer a high-speed/capacity, low-cost, and scalable solution to extend fiber-optic
backbones. Hence WiMAX (IEEE 802.16 standard) was born. WiMAX is similar to Wi-Fi. Both create
hot spots or an area around a central antenna in which people can wirelessly share information or tap the
Internet with properly equipped devices.
The reason that WiMAX stands a better chance for rapid market adoption is as follows: WiMAX has
well-defined standard and industry interoperability. Standards are important for the wireless industry
because they enable economies of scale that can bring down the cost of equipment, ensure
interoperability, and reduce investment risk for operators. Standards also specify minimum performance
criteria for equipment, enabling a common broadband wireless access baseline platform that equipment
manufacturers can use as the foundation for ongoing innovations and faster time-to-market. With its
broad industry support, the 802.16 standard allows the device manufacturers and solution vendors to
achieve overall price/performance improvements and open the mass-market opportunities that cannot be
equaled by proprietary approaches.
Technical Specifications of 802.16 (WiMAX)
IEEE 802.16, the first standard in the 802.16x family, supports point-to-multipoint architecture, operates
at up to 124Mbps in the 28MHz channel (in 1066GHz) and is primarily intended for line-of-sight (LOS)
applications. The 802.16a standard operates at 70 Mbps in lower frequency of 211GHz spectrum, in the
20 MHz channel and enables nonline-of-sight (NLOS) implementations. Comparatively, DSL typically
operates at 128 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps and is slower on the upstream.
WiMAX offers broadband wireless access up to 50 km range as compared to Wi-Fis 100 m; 50 km is
achievable only under optimal conditions and with a reduced data rate (a few Mbps). Typical coverage
will be around 5 km with indoor CPE (NLOS) and around 15 km with a CPE connected to an external
antenna (LOS).
WiMAX operates in a mixture of licensed and unlicensed radio spectrum, and the initial products will be
focused on 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz licensed and 5.8 GHz unlicensed bands (though the full standard
supports a far wider range of bands) (see Figure 2). WiMAX has various features that make it suitable to
the longer distance. The 802.16a spec uses various physical layer (PHY) variants but the dominant one is
a 256point orthogonal frequency division multiplexed (OFDM) carrier technology, giving it greater
range than WLANs, which are based on 64point OFDM.

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WiMAX: Final Destination or Path

Figure 2: Shows the Licensed and Licensed-Exempted Spectrum


The PHY layer modulation is based on OFDM, in combination with a centralized medium access control
(MAC) layer for optimized resource allocation and support of QoS for different types of services (voice
over Internet protocol [VoIP], real-time and nonreal-time services). The OFDM PHY layer is well
adapted to the NLOS propagation environment in the 211 GHz frequency range. OFDM can provide a
high spectral efficiency of about 34 bit/s/Hz.

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Amit Rawal

WiMAX is designed to accommodate either frequency division duplexing (FDD), which is more
suited to enterprise traffic, or time division duplexing (TDD), which is more adapted to asymmetrical
traffic. Cohabitation of FDD and TDD techniques is possible within the same bands, provided guard
bands are implemented.
WiMAX: Throughput, Flexibility, Scalability, and Security
IEEE 802.16 uses a robust modulation scheme, delivering high throughput at long ranges with a high
level of spectral efficiency that is also tolerant of signal reflections. Tradeoff of throughput for range can
be achieved by lowering the order of the modulation scheme at the base station.
WiMAX or IEEE 802.16 standard provides flexibility as wireless broadband access can be quickly and
easily set up at new and temporary sites, saving the time needed to get a T1 or DSL line connection. It
also provides flexibility in terms of channelization, carrier frequency, and duplex mode (TDD and FDD)
to meet a variety of requirements for available spectrum resources and targeted services.
The 802.16 standard is scalable, as with wireless broadband access it is easy to ramp up service at a
location for a short period of timesomething that wired broadband access service providers currently do
not do. For example, if an operator is assigned 20 MHz of spectrum, that operator could divide it into two
sectors of 10 MHz each or 4 sectors of 5 MHz each. By focusing power on increasingly narrow sectors,
the operator can increase the number of users while maintaining good range and throughput.
WiMAX provides a MAC layer that uses a grant-request mechanism to authorize the exchange of data.
This feature allows better exploitation of the radio resources, in particular with smart antennas, and
independent management of the traffic of every user.
Market for WiMAX
WiMAX will succeed in every marketbut for different reasons. In emerging markets, operators are
interested in using WiMAX for low-cost voice transport and delivery. In developed markets, WiMAX is
all about broadband Internet access. Overall, the markets without any fixed infrastructure pose the
greatest opportunities.
WiMAX success in the BWA market would be due to standardization, interoperability, state-of-the-art
radio efficiency with NLOS capability, and strong support from the radio equipment manufacturers and
chipset industries. WiMAX will open up three main markets:

It will bridge the digital divide in low-density areas. The prime markets are in Western Europe,
North America, and some Asia-Pacific countries including China and India, which have huge
potential market for broadband users.

It will offer high-speed Internet and voice access in urban and suburban areas. It will also support
nomadic usage.

It will allow portable Internet application by providing broadband access on the move.

WiMAX is a serious threat to third generation (3G) because of its broadband capabilities, distance
capabilities, and ability to support voice effectively with full QoS. WiMAX can slash the single biggest
cost of deployment: access charges for linking a hotspot to a local phone or cable network. WiMAX

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WiMAX: Final Destination or Path

integrates perfectly into existing fixed and mobile networks. A high frequency version of 802.16 would
allow entrepreneurs to blast a narrow, data-rich beam between antennas miles apart.

Figure 3: The Mobile Standards Compared


The attraction of 802.16a is for service providers, giving them the potential, at relatively low cost, to
provide superior data services to 3G, penetrate rural areas, backhaul Wi-Fi hotspots, and compete with
cable/DSL networks. As there is widespread acceptance for fast mobile data, voice over WLAN and
broadband multimedia services in the present and the future, WiMAX could achieve mass market more
rapidly than Wi-Fi.
WiMAX is a very promising technology that meets the key requirements for BWA services, but its
success in the market is far from certain. Some of the key elements that will determine the success of
WiMAX include the following:

Performance: So far, the specifications for WiMAX are still on paper (source WiMAX Forum, March
22, 2004), as there is no commercial product certified by the Forum and the final version of 802.16a
has not yet been approved. It is possible that the certification process will prove more arduous than
expected. There is also a possibility that real-life performance does not meet the expectations,
especially with regard to coverage range and CPE form factor, cost and ease of installation.

Split of WiMAX into multiple semiproprietary solutions: 802.16a and the expected 802.16e standards
could complement each other, providing subscribers with a mix of fixed and mobile access.

Case Studies
There are no known current implementations of 806.16x wireless networking technology. In India, Bharat
Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is ready to launch wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), 802.11 standard, at Pune
airport in the month of August 2004. By the end of 2004 there will be public hotspot in Delhi, India. The
state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) would soon offer wireless Internet through
802.11b and 802.11g (Wi-Fi standards). MTNL would spend about Rs 1.5 crore initially to install
hotspots in 40 locations with 100 access points. Wi-Fi was installed in parts of Bangalore, India, in
October 2003 by Sify. It built 120 WiZones in the city at about Rs 50,000 each.
802.20 Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) and 802.16e
The IEEE 802.20 Working Group is a new wireless networking standard for Mobile Broadband Wireless
Access (MBWA). The 802.20 or Mobile-Fi standard defines the physical and MAC layers for a highbandwidth, IPbased, fully mobile wireless network. The groups intention is to fill the gap between

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Amit Rawal

existing 802 standards with high data rates and low mobility and existing cellular standards with low data
rates and high mobility.
The IEEE 802.16e standard is also addressing the need for high-bandwidth mobile wireless Internet
access within a metropolitan area. This will be similar in function to the general packet radio service
(GPRS) and the radio transmission technology (1xRTT). The 802.16e standard combines fixed and
mobile operation in licensed bands (26 GHz), approved in December 2002. There are some technical
differences between both the standards viz. 802.20 and 802.16e. For one, 802.16e will add mobility in the
2 to 6 GHz licensed bands, while 802.20 aims for operation in licensed bands below 3.5GHz. More
importantly, the 802.16e specification will be based on an existing standard (802.16a), while 802.20 is
starting from scratch.
The 802.20 interface seeks to boost real-time data transmission rates in wireless metropolitan area
networks to speeds those on which rival DSL and cable connections (1 Mbps or more) are based, cell
ranges of up to 15 kilometers or more, and it plans to deliver those rates to mobile users even when they
are traveling at speeds up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour). This would make 802.20 an
option for deployment in high-speed trains. The 802.16e project authorization request specifies that it will
only support subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds of 120 to 150 kilometers per hour (75 to 93
miles per hour). Essentially, 802.16e is looking at the mobile user walking around with a PDA or laptop,
while 802.20 will address high-speed mobility issues. This key difference will define the manner in which
the two standards would be deployed.
Conclusion
WiMAX is the most important of the host of wireless standards emerging from the IEEE and 3G bodies.
We expect WiMAX to be the dominant technology for wireless networking, providing full mobility as
well as low cost fixed-broadband access. Its relationship with other wireless technologies is illustrated in
Figure 4.

Figure 4: Performance of Some Common Wireless Technologies


The 802.16x wireless networking standards802.16a in particularappear to be extremely promising
for reasonably inexpensive delivery of broadband Internet connectivity to multiple rural locations.
WiMAX and Wi-Fi will complement one another as shown in Figure 5 below.

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WiMAX: Final Destination or Path

Figure 5: Overlapping Networks: 802.11x and 802.16a/e


WiMAX is attractive for a wide diversity of people: fixed operators, mobile operators, wireless Internet
service providers (WISPs), and equipment manufacturers and also for many vertical markets and local
authorities. The greater range and higher bandwidth of WiMAX gives operators and service providers the
ability to offer broadband Internet access directly to homes without having to worry about the problems
that can arise when laying down a physical connection over the last mile, which connects homes with
service providers main networks. The flexibility of wireless technology, combined with the high
throughput, scalability, long range and quality of service features of the IEEE 802.16 standard will help
fill the broadband coverage gaps. WiMAX is rightly a very effective replacement for the last mile for
broadband access and will undoubtedly become an inexpensive means of delivering high-speed data.

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Simulation of 802.16a
Deployment Scenarios and
Their Performance Analysis
Dr. Daniel Rodellar
Project Leader and Telecommunication Engineer
Swisscom Innovations

M. Eng. Ludovic Fournier


Information and Communication Technology Engineer
Swisscom Innovations

Dr. Christian Fischer


Senior Research and Development Engineer
Swisscom Innovations
1 . Introduction
Broadband wireless access (BWA) systems are currently the hype within the telecommunications industry
community. Most breaking news is about new manufacturers joining the Worldwide Interoperability for
Microwave Access (WiMAX) Forumthe WiMAX organization that works to facilitate the deployment of
broadband wireless networks based on the IEEE 802.16 standard. This standard advertises outstanding
performances: 2 to 11 GHz, point-to-multipoint, non-line-of sight, more than 70 Mbps and radii up to 50 km.
WiMAX technology can provide the necessary quality of service for simple data access as well as voice
and multimedia traffic. Different scenarios can be considered like E1 replacement for offices, advanced
digital subscriber line (ADSL) type of service for households, flexible backhaul for wireless fidelity (WiFi) hotspots, together with phone line and TV cable replacements. First implementations will use
antennas outside of the buildings, but it is expected that small indoor antennas and even antennas directly
integrated in laptops will be available in the future.
The 802.16 family of standards are called wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) and generally
speaking, WiMAX, as for the forum. They are mainly promoted via the forum and strongly backed by
well-established chipmakers, like Intel, and vendors, like Alvarion, Aperto Networks, Redline
Communications, and Wi-LAN, among a full list of 100 companies.

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Simulation of 802.16a Deployment Scenarios and Their Performance Analysis

Lately, some network operators have joined the forum, and it is clear that even that the chips and the
equipment could be ready as the WiMAX forum predicts on their roadmaps, there have to be operators
willing to deploy the new networks, and for that the business has to be there. All the market surveys show
a clear push toward wireless broadband connectivity and services (data, voice, and video services,
mainly), but of course, there are already some technologies that could deliver to some extend such
services and other technologies where cellular operators have already invested towards the broadband
mobility solution. To start such networks several requirements have to be met, first there has to be a
business case that makes the financial investment profitable or at least to provide a benefit for the
operators users to stay with it (customer retention). Then there has to be a superiority of this technology
against other technologies, so that a competitor of the operator cannot provide the same services with a
better quality and for a lowest price. Both aspects can be solved by scanning all available technologies
and analyzing the performance of WiMAX to position it accordingly. To solve part of the business case
questions we need to perform studies on the performance in the different scenarios of use of WiMAX.
This paper shows the analysis of the IEEE 802.16a standard within different scenarios, with extreme and
more realistic parameters and taking care of the regulatory constraints. Computations have been
performed to estimate values of throughput versus distance of the subscriber station from the base station.
2. Framework Study and Definition of Scenarios
The study was done under the regulatory framework in force in Switzerland. Frequencies to be used in
Europe for BWA systems are 2.5 to 2.7 GHz, 3.3 to 3.8 GHz and 5.7 to 5.9 GHz (license-free) but for
Europe, and specifically Switzerland, we focused our study on the 3.3 to 3.8 GHz band. The radiated
power of transmission equipments is ruled by the decree on non-ionizing radiations 0: it limits long-time
exposure to an electric field of maximum 6V/m. Bigger installations with transmission power above 6 W
(37.8 dBm) EIRP imply a lengthy procedure for all antenna locations.
Different scenarios have been simulated, leading to different usage cases and business cases. In a first
case the subscriber stations (also known as customer premises equipment [CPE]) located outside the
customers house (see Figure 1).

(a)

(b)

Figure 1: (a) Scenario of Line-of-Sight (LOS) Coverage and Antenna at the Rooftop;
(b) Scenario with Outdoor Antenna and Non Line of Sight (NLOS)
This scenario leads of course to most favorable radio link budget because LOS may often be possible, but
suffers from the need for in-house cabling even though the signal can then be repeated with, for example,

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Wi-Fi. The second case still assumes outdoor antennas but not on the roof, assuming NLOS propagation
(see Figure 2). The third scenario now assumes an internal antenna. In this last case the propagation loss
is much bigger than in the previous cases due to high penetration losses. The antenna is still assumed to
be high gain.

(a)

(b)

Figure 2: (a) Scenario of Internal Antenna (Higher Attenuation);


(b) Worst Scenario in Terms of Link Budget: Laptop and Indoor Receiver
The last scenario assumes that the 802.16a receiver is directly built in the laptop. Although this would be the
most convenient case for users, poor propagation conditions must be assumed. Especially, antenna gains at
the laptop are likely to be 0dBi (no hypothetical beam forming or multiple inputs multiple outputs (MIMO)
technology embedded in the laptop has been held in this study to take most laptops into account).
3. Channel Models and Selected Parameters for Each Scenario
3.1 Channel Models
We have used for the simulations four different channel models: Erceg A/B/C and the two-ray model. The
Erceg models are the adopted models for the 802.16 standard whereas the two-ray model is a wellaccepted general model. The Erceg models compute the path loss, L, as

where d0 is a given close-in distance, is the wavelength of the signal, hB is the transmitter (base station)
height between 10 and 80 m, hS is the receiver (subscriber station [SS]) antenna height between 2 and 10

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Simulation of 802.16a Deployment Scenarios and Their Performance Analysis

m. The parameters needed to compute are dependent on the terrain type, A, B or C, and are given below
in Table 1. Note that it is possible to include a shadow fading term 0 in the above formula which we have
excluded since fading is accounted for in the link budget.
Model Parameters
a
b
c

Terrain Type A
4.6
0.0075
12.6

Terrain Type B
4
0.0065
17.1

Terrain Type C
3.6
0.005
20

Table 1: Parameters for the Erceg Model According to Type


Terrain type A represents hilly terrain with moderate to heavy tree densities, Terrain type C is for mostly
flat terrain with light tree densities and, finally, Terrain type B is the intermediate path loss condition. In
addition to the above model, we have also used the two-ray model in which the relationship between the
received power, PR, and the transmitter power, PT, is given by

and therefore in dB, we find for the two-ray path loss as a function of distance from

The different propagation models have been programmed and the available throughput at a given distance
was computed by comparing the signal strength at the considered distance and the sensitivity for every
modulation specified in the documentation for a commercially available 256 OFDM 802.16a product.
The different scenarios are then defined through a choice of channel-model and link-budget parameters.
Notably, we approximate predominately benign LOS conditions by the ERCEG C model. The more
difficult and generally NLOS conditions are approximated by the ERCEG A model, with the ERCEG B
model representing some intermediate situation. The two-ray channel model is used as a comparative
generic model. Parameters such as increased penetration loss are taken into account in the link budget
directly. The simulations are based on a commercially available product with the following
characteristics, as shown in Table 2.
Parameters
Rx Noise figure
Bandwidth
Average Tx Power
Tx BS Sectors
SS RX Gain
Tx Antenna Gain

Value
7
1.75 or 3.5
20
6
17
16.5

Unit
dB
MHz
dBm
dBi
dBi

Table 2: Parameters, Value, and Units

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Dr. Daniel Rodellar, M. Eng. Ludovic Fournier, and Dr. Christian Fischer

In addition, the manufacturer specifies the following data rates and associated sensitivities, as Table 3 shows.
Data Rates/Sensitivities for 3.5 MHz Channel
94 dBm
2 Mbps
91 dBm
4 Mbps
85 dBm
8 Mbps
79 dBm
12 Mbps

Data Rates/Sensitivities for 1.75 MHz Channel


1 Mbps
97 dBm
2 Mbps
94 dBm
4 Mbps
88 dBm
6 Mbps
82 dBm

Table 3: Date Rates and Sensitivities


We consider both the application in a single cell as well as a cellular system. In the cellular case, we
consider a standard hexagonal cell system with a reuse factor K=3. The extension to other K is
straightforward. Each of the K frequency groups contains two frequencies and each sector uses only one
frequency. In this way, the neighboring sectors in a cell can have different frequencies, i.e., each
frequency is used three times in different sectors within the cell.
In the hexagonal model, it is well known that the carrier-to-interference ratio can be approximated by

where M is the number of interfering cells or sectors, respectively. While using six sectors with only two
frequencies is economical from a frequency allocation point of view, the sectors will in practice suffer
from side lobes and also radiate some energy backwards, causing cochannel interference from within the
cell. For our purposes, we assume that no energy will be radiated outside of the sector and nothing
backwards, i.e., an infinite front-to-back ratio. Another point worth noting is that the formula given above
is a worst-case assumption insofar as that it gives the C/I at the cell edge. This does not mean that the C/I
cannot be better in the interior of the cell but simply says what the best achievable C/I will be at the edge.
By using the above definition of carrier to interference ratio, it can be shown that the degradation due to
cochannel interference is given by CdB, based on the target signal to interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR).
The noise and cochannel interference term is given by the following:

3.2 Three Cases with Different Parameters


We have selected from all the parameter values three cases to be able to have an analysis of the results.
The first case will be called extreme and has some parameter values that will be unlikely or do not
correspond to the average range expected in a European deployment. The second case will be called
realistic, and the most unlikely parameters of the extreme case are reduced to the expected average values.
The third case is called indoor, and it presents a higher attenuation to simulate an indoor penetration
scenario. In Table 4 the different parameters are summarized.

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Simulation of 802.16a Deployment Scenarios and Their Performance Analysis

BS antenna height
SS antenna height
Tx bandwidth
Tx power
Tx antenna gain
Rx antenna gain
Rx antenna beam width
Noise psd
Rx noise figure
Total margin

Extreme
80m
10m
3.5 MHz
30 dBm
16.5 dB
17 dB
20 deg.
174 dBm/Hz
7 dB
0 dB

Realistic
30m
6m
3.5 MHz
20 dBm
16.5 dB
17 dB
20 deg.
174 dBm/Hz
7 dB
0 dB

Indoor
30 m
6m
3.5 MHz
20 dBm
16.5 dB
17 dB
20 deg.
174 dBm/Hz
7 dB
26 dB

Table 4: Parameter Summary


The transmitted bandwidth, also called channel bandwidth, has been fixed to 3.5 MHz for the
computations because the system is most likely foreseen for the 3.5 GHz frequencies, which is a licensed
spectrum. In that case, the price for the license depends on the channel bandwidth used, so most probably
lower than 20 MHz channel bandwidths will be sold. We estimate 3.5 and 7 MHz to be the most likely.
4. Coverage Results with Computed Channel Models
4.1 Extreme Case with the Single-Cell Scenario
This case is the most optimistic in terms of performance because of the higher height of the antennas and
also the higher transmitted power. For comparison purposes with the other cases we select the bitrate of
10 Mbps and using the plot in Figure 3 two values can be identified:

The distance for LOS: 10 km


The distance for NLOS: 3 km

Erceg A
LOS
Erceg C
NLOS

Figure 3: Bit Rate versus Distance in the Single Cell Scenario with the Parameters
of the Extreme Case for Different Channel Models

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Dr. Daniel Rodellar, M. Eng. Ludovic Fournier, and Dr. Christian Fischer

There is a factor of more than three for these values. This means that for this case, the planning of where to
place the antennas is critical, and the operation (LOS or NLOS) makes a big difference in terms of coverage.
The second conclusion on these values is that the maximum distance for the NLOS case will be 3 km, and
the only way to compensate the lower values for the other case will be to increase the channel bandwidth
(until 20 MHz). Note that the 10 Mbps are supposed to be a single receiver at the given distance. In a
more realistic scenario, several receivers would be in the coverage area and the transmission parameters
will change from one to another, as well as the modulation parameters.
4.2 Realistic Case with the Single-Cell Scenario
In this second case, the values correspond more to the ones we expect to be in the European deployment,
and the results are much lower than the extreme case:

The distance for LOS: 2.1 km


The distance for NLOS: 1.1 km

There is a factor of almost two for these values. But the most impressive difference comes in the
comparison with the previous case, because there is a reduction factor of five for the LOS case and three
for the NLOS (see Figure 4).

Erceg C
NLOS

Erceg A
LOS

Figure 4: Bit Rate versus Distance in the Single-Cell Scenario with the Parameters
of the Realistic Case for Different Channel Models
4.3 Indoor Case with the Single-Cell Scenario
In the indoor case the LOS computation makes no sense and it comes in these results just for been
complete in the simulations with all channel models. Only the Erceg C (NLOS) has to be considered (see
Figure 5).

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Simulation of 802.16a Deployment Scenarios and Their Performance Analysis

Erceg C
NLOS

Figure 5: Bit Rate versus Distance in the Single Cell Scenario with the Parameters
of the Indoor Case for Different Channel Models
Indoor penetration can vary enormously depending on the construction materials used. In this case the
margin has been increased by 26 dB and the distance is then reduced to 0.3 km to obtain the 10 Mbps. We
also see in Figure 5 that the decrease of the plot is more abrupt than for the two previous cases, which
means that the performance deteriorates faster when distance increases. This case requires a much more
accurate planning in the deployment phase.
4.4 Extreme Case with the Cellular System Scenario
The first conclusion from the extreme case in the cellular system scenario is that we cannot obtain 12
Mbps as we could in the previous section for the single cell case, because we cannot obtain a SINR at the
cell edge greater than the C/I. Of course, in the inside of the cell the 12 Mbps can be reached.
The figure was obtained with a reuse factor of four. To compare the different cases we will use 5 Mbps as
a reference:

The distance for LOS: 10.6 km


The distance for NLOS: 3.2 km

There is a factor of three for these values and they are very similar of the ones obtained for the single-cell
scenario but with half the bitrate (here it is 5 Mbps and in the single cell it was 10 Mbps) (see Figure 6).

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Dr. Daniel Rodellar, M. Eng. Ludovic Fournier, and Dr. Christian Fischer

Erceg A
LOS

Erceg C
NLOS

Figure 6: Bit Rate versus Distance in the Cellular System Scenario with the
Parameters of the Extreme Case for Different Channel Models
4.5 Realistic Case with the Cellular System Scenario
In the realistic case, Figure 7 shows the following:

The distance for LOS: 2 km


The distance for NLOS: 1 km

There is the same factor of two as in the single cell case, but with half the bit rate.

Erceg A
LOS
Erceg C
NLOS

Figure 7: Bit Rate versus Distance in the Cellular System Scenario with the Parameters
of the Realistic Case for Different Channel Models

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Simulation of 802.16a Deployment Scenarios and Their Performance Analysis

4.6 Indoor Case with the Cellular System Scenario


The indoor case gives in Figure 8 the distance of 0.3 km for a bit rate of 5 Mbps.

Erceg C
NLOS

Figure 8: Bit Rate versus Distance in the Cellular System Scenario with the
Parameters of the Indoor Case for Different Channel Models
5. Conclusion
WiMAX is the latest generation of fixed wireless technology. What differentiates WiMAX from earlier
BWA iterations is standardization and the NLOS capabilities. The vendors behind WiMAX hope to do
for last-mile wireless broadband what the Wi-Fi Alliance did for Wi-Fi. WiMAX promises to expand the
availability of broadband service to residences and businesses that are currently underserved, including
low-density rural locations in developed countries, as well as in emerging markets. From the perspective
of service providers, the WiMAX standard provides robust support for multiple service levels but the
open question prior to deployment is the coverage calculations.
This paper describes several models for deployment of WiMAX in different scenarios with different
cases (sets of parameters). Taking a generic WMAN 802.16a product with 3.5 MHz channels for a
maximum throughput of 12 Mbps per sector per channel (single cell) or in the cellular system case,
several frequencies reused, in the 3.5 GHz band, the throughput has been derived versus cell radius
(distance) figures.
There is a factor of 3 to 5 from the realistic case to the extreme case, which changes a lot the coverage
and thus the real deployment. There is a factor of 2 to 3.5 from NLOS to LOS, which means to
understand what operation mode is going to be used and their advantages and disadvantages.
There are too many uncertainties to be able to give a concrete and detailed deployment scenario. A
more realistic study needs to be carried out, with real performance values. The hype on this new
technology comes from the claims of the standard that correspond to extreme values of the different
tunable parameters.

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Dr. Daniel Rodellar, M. Eng. Ludovic Fournier, and Dr. Christian Fischer

The WiMAX standard presents a lot of different parameters, not only in the physical layer but also on the
media access control (MAC) layer, to play with, wisely enough to obtain from each equipment the best
performance and the maximum coverage given the constraints on channel bandwidth, maximum power,
etc., that will allowed by the regulator.
The best advice to see if any deployment is feasible will be to test the equipment in a real scenario and
stress the different parameters to obtain the sensibility on the performance measures.
6. References
[1]

V. Erceg et al., An empirically based path loss model for wireless channels in suburban
environments, IEEE J. Select Areas Commun., Vol. 17, No. 7, July 1999, pp. 12051211.

[2]

V. Erceg et al., Channel Models for Fixed Wireless Applications, 2001, http://ieee802.org/16

[3]

IEEE 802.16a Working Group, Part 16: Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access
Systems Amendment 2: Medium Access Control Modifications and Additional Physical Layer
Specifications for 211 GHz, 2003.

[4]

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP), Decree of Non-Ionizing


Radiation, SR 814.710.

[5]

D. Rodellar, Analysis and Study of a BWA Deployment with IEEE 802.16 in Switzerland,
WiMAX Summit 2004, Paris.

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Wireless Networks for Real-Time


Multimedia Communications
Celal Ceken
Lecturer, Electronics and Computer Education Department
Kocaeli University, Turkey

Ismail Erturk
Lecturer, Electronics and Computer Education Department
Kocaeli University, Turkey

Cuneyt Bayilmis
Research Assistant
Kocaeli University, Turkey
Summary
Together with the developments in high performance wireless computers and other mobile devices, the
importance of wireless or mobile data communication has been increased. Several wireless networking
solutions have been developed to provide different types of services for various end-user applications.
Currently, wireless networking infrastructures such as wireless local area networks (WLANs) are not
suitable for multimedia applications each requiring a different quality of service (QoS) support with various
traffic parameters. WLANs predominantly support data traffic. Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM)
technology in the wired network is capable of supporting demanding applications such as real-time voice or
video transmission, image browsing, and interactive data exchange in an integrated manner. Due to the
success of ATM, wireless ATM (WATM) concepts and related researches are of importance in the
information technology area. The main objective of WATM, which promises seamless transmission of
different traffic such as voice, data, and video over wireless medium, is to implement high bit rate and QoS
guaranteed data transfer, which is already well achieved by ATM technology over wired medium. To
support QoS guaranteed data transfer over error-prone and low bandwidth wireless medium, an effective
MAC protocol must be designed and utilized. In this paper, computer modeling and simulation of such
wireless networks as IEEE 802.11b WLAN, media access controlguarantee based (MACGB) based
WATM, and packet reservation multiple access with dynamic allocation (PRMA/DA) based WATM
transferring multimedia application traffics are realized using OPNET Modeler. Simulation results of a
MACGB based WATM network are also presented together with comparisons to those of a PRMA/DA
based WATM and to those of an IEEE 802.11 based WLAN. Being the most distinctive feature of the
WATM, apart from the most deployed IEEE 802.11 based WLANs, a MACGB based WATM network
can effectively utilize the scarce wireless medium resources with its constant bit rate (CBR), variable bit rate
(VBR), available bit rate (ABR) and unspecified bit rate (UBR) support for various multimedia and realtime traffic as well as allowing simultaneous multiple connections between wireless terminals.

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1. Introduction
A wireless LAN is a flexible data communication system implemented as an extension to, or as an
alternative for, a wired LAN. WLANs transmit and receive data over the air using electromagnetic waves
in order to minimize the need for wired connections and to provide all the functionality of wired LANs,
but without the physical constraints of the wire itself. WLAN applications have been increasingly used
for data communications together with the recent advances in digital communications, semiconductor
technologies, and portable computers. This technology, by which users can be mobile and can have
access to a network resources in a given coverage area, has been already deployed in hospitals,
universities, and big stores, among other places [1].
Together with developments in high performance wireless computers and other mobile devices, the
importance of wireless/mobile data communication has been increased. Traditional wireless networks
universally deployed, such as IEEE 802.11 WLAN, cannot provide the necessary QoS guarantees for
bursty traffic such as real-time multimedia applications.
Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) is a transmission technology considered as the standard for
broadband integrated services digital network (BISDN) with guaranteed QoS to all possible traffic types
in wired medium. The success of ATM technology in the wired network has also initiated much research
on wireless ATM (WATM) concepts [23]. WATM has been proposed to transport different types of
traffic, from voice to data to video in a wireless environment. WATM is principally intended to support
QoS guaranteed data traffic for high bit rate broadband multimedia applications [4].
To avoid the problems resulting from the wireless medium characteristics, for example, low bandwidth is
error-prone, new layers must be added to standard ATM layers. These are namely a medium access
control (MAC) layer providing effective allocation of medium resources shared by many different users,
and a data link control (DLC) layer used for flow and error control [3]. Together they establish the basis
for QoS supported application traffic transfer using WATM.
This paper will compare the performance of different wireless networks in transferring multimedia
applications. The chapters of this paper are organized as follows. Section Two introduces WLAN
technology and describes various types of WLANs. Section Three begins with a brief explanation of
WATM, its network components, and protocol stack. Both PRMA/DA and MACGB protocols are also
described shortly. Section Four focuses on the performance evaluation of a WATM network utilizing the
MACGB protocol, which has been modeled and simulated under different traffic loads using a
commercially available program called OPNET Modeler with Radio Module. The simulation results
obtained are compared with those of a WATM network utilizing the PRMA/DA MAC protocol and with
those of an IEEE 802.11b WLAN network, which were also obtained under the same networking
conditions as the MACGB based WATM network. Finally, Section Five summarizes the performance
results and includes final remarks.
2. Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)
A WLAN aims to offer all the features and benefits of traditional LAN technologies (e.g., Ethernet and
Token Ring) but without the limitations of being tethered to a cable. Todays wireless local area
networks are designed to support mobile computing in small areas such as a building, park, airport, or
office complex. WLANs also offer access to legacy LAN applications. WLANs provide cable-free
access to data rates of one Mbps or higher for both indoor and outdoor environments. They can be
broadly classified under radio or infrared LANs [1]. Radio LANs can be based on narrowband or
spread spectrum transmissions.

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In spread spectrum modulation techniques, the bandwidth of the transmitted signal is much greater than
the bandwidth of the original message, and is determined by both the message to be transmitted and by an
additional signal known as the spreading code.
The most distinctive characteristic of spread spectrum systems is that the signals used for the transmission
of information have associated bandwidths much wider than the underlying information bit rate of the
system. By transmitting the message energy over a bandwidth much wider than the minimum required,
spread spectrum modulation techniques present two major advantages: low power density and
redundancy. The former relates to the fact that the transmitted energy is spread over a wide band, and
therefore, the amount of energy per specific frequency is very low. The latter relates to the fact that the
message is, or may be, present on different frequencies from where it may be recovered in case of errors.
The effect of redundancy is that spread spectrum systems present high resistance to noises and
interference, being able to recover their messages even if noises are present on the medium.
There are basically two types of spread spectrum modulation techniques: frequency hopping (FHSS)
and direct sequence (DSSS). Frequency hopping works very much like its name implies. It takes the
data signal and modulates it with a carrier signal that hops from frequency to frequency as a function of
time over a wide band of frequencies. With frequency hopping spread spectrum, the carrier frequency
changes periodically. The frequency hopping technique reduces interference because an interfering
signal from a narrowband system will only affect the spread spectrum signal if both are transmitting at
the same frequency at the same time. Thus, the aggregate interference will be very low, resulting in
little or no bit errors.
Direct sequence spread spectrum combines a data signal at the source station with a higher data rate bit
sequence, which many refer to as a chipping code (also known as processing gain). A high processing
gain increases the signal resistance to interference.
Infrared LANs use part of the electromagnetic spectrum just below visible light as the transmission
medium. Unlike radio waves, infrared frequencies are too high to be modulated in the same way as radio
frequencies. Infrared LANs operates around the 850 nm wavelength [156].
2.1. WLAN Topologies
IEEE 802.11 supports two different topologies, called independent basic service set (BSS or ad-hoc
network) and infrastructure BSS. The former is the simplest type of IEEE 802.11 LAN. By using a
peripheral component interconnect (PCI) card in computers and a PCMCI card in laptops, a simple adhoc network communicating peer to peer can be easily established. As can be seen in Figure 1, the
smallest WLAN may consist of two stations. This mode of operation is possible when stations are able to
communicate directly and the network does not have an access point (AP). It is principally used to
quickly and easily set up a WLAN. Ad-hoc networks provide the means for wireless terminals to
communicate only with each other.

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Fixed
Wireless

Mobile
Wireless
Cell 1

Cell 2

Figure 1: Ad-Hoc Network Topology


The latter extends the capabilities of ad-hoc networks, providing integration with wired networks using APs
(see Figure 2). An AP is typically connected to a wired backbone through a standard Ethernet cable, and
communicates with wireless device by means of an antenna. Essentially, an AP is the wireless equivalent of
a LAN hub. It receives, buffers, and transmits data between a WLAN and a wired network, supporting a
group of wireless user devices. Like the cells in a cellular phone network, multiple APs can support handoff
from one AP to another as the user moves from one area to another. APs have ranges from under 20 meters
to 500 meters, and a single can support between 15 and 250 users depending on the technology,
configuration, and use. Use of APs increases bandwidth of WLANs; thus, limited bandwidth can be used by
more terminals efficiently, leading to an enlarged coverage area and decreased network congestion.
Cell 1

Internet
Access
Point

Fixed
Wireless

Server
Mobile
Wireless

Cell 2

Figure 2: Network Topology with AP


2.2. WLAN Standards
2.2.1. IEEE 802.11 Standards
WLANsoften called Ethernet on airare a type of existing LANs communicating over wireless media.
IEEE 802.11 technology providing Ethernet connections over wireless medium has been a fundamental
WLAN since 1997. It operates in the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) unlicensed industrial, scientific, medical (ISM)

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band using FHSS, DSSS, infrared, and radio frequency (RF). It can deliver a data rate of up to two
megabytes per second (Mbps). The IEEE 802.11 standards family is summarized in Table 1 [7].
IEEE 802.11b is the most widespread and preferred standard of these methods. It operates in 2.4 GHz
ISM band, using DSSS technique. It supports data rates ranging from one Mbps to 11 Mbps. The 2.4 GHz
radio frequency band is also used in other wireless standards, such as Bluetooth, cordless phones, and
microwave oven. Therefore, they can cause interference resulting in decreased throughput.
Interoperability between different suppliers IEEE 802.11b products is tested and certified by the
Wireless Ethernet Company Alliance (WECA), which is now know as the Wi-Fi Alliance [7].
IEEE 802.11a, describing a new license free radio band at five GHz, has constituted an alternative to
different applications using 2.4 GHz radio band. It uses orthogonal frequency domain multiplexing
(OFDM) modulation. It increases the data rate per channel from the 11 Mbps of 802.11b to 54 Mbps.
IEEE 802.11a is much more convenient for multimedia applications with high data rate compared to the
others. Using OFMD instead of DSSS provides better performance and a larger coverage area, although it
also requires much more power supply compared to the IEEE 802.11b [567].

Standard Explanation
802.11

The original WLAN standard that supports 12 Mbps data


rates.

802.11a

A high speed WLAN standard operating in 5 GHz band. It


supports 54 Mbps data rate per channel.

802.11b

802.11b is currently the most widely used WLAN


standard. It can support up to 11 Mbps data rate.

802.11e

This standard describes QoS mechanisms for WLAN


structures.

802.11f

The communication protocol used between Access Points.

802.11g

This standard, based on IEEE 802.11b, can deliver 54


Mbps data rate in the 2.4 GHz band.

802.11h

Provides transport power control and dynamic channel


selection for IEEE 802.11a.

802.11i

Includes full security features with IEEE 802.1x.

802.1X

The security frame standard for IEEE networks.


Table 1: IEEE 802.11 Standard Family

2.2.2. HiperLAN2 (High Performance Radio Local Area Network Type 2)


HiperLAN2 is a standard being developed by the European Telecommunications Standard Institutes
(ETSI). It is a flexible radio LAN standard designed to provide high speed accessup to 54 Mbps at
physical (PHY) layerto a variety of networks including 3G mobile core networks, ATM networks, and
IPbased networks, and also for private use as a wireless LAN system. HiperLAN/2 will give users in
corporate, public, and home environments wireless access to the Internet and future multimedia, as well
as real time video services at speeds of up to 54 Mbps in 5 GHz unlicensed national information
infrastructure (UNII) band. The system will be quick and easy to install and provide interworking with
several core networks including the Ethernet, IEEE 1394, and ATM.
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HiperLAN2 supports different QoS for different connections. QoS support allows the transmission of a
mix of different types of information (e.g. voice, video, or other data). HiperLAN2 also provides unicast,
multicast, and broadcast transmissions. HiperLAN2 MAC protocol is based on a dynamic time
division/demand multiple access / time division duplex (TDMA/TDD) scheme [8].
2.2.3. Bluetooth
Bluetooth technology is designed as a short-range connectivity solution for personal, portable, and
handheld electronic devices so that it provides its users with a low power consumption, high speed, cheap,
reliable and interoperable mobile communication. It can deliver both wireless data and wireless voice
application traffics in a similar manner.
Bluetooth devices communicate using a FHSS technique in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. It operates as a 79
channel frequencyhopping system in the frequency range 2.4022.480 GHz with a channel spacing of 1
MHz. The hopping rate is 1600 hops/s and Bluetooth data rate is one Mbps. The Bluetooth specification
provides mechanisms for Bluetooth devices to discover each other, exchange identities, and establish
communications with each other. This is referred to as an ad hoc network [9].
The smallest network part consisting of Bluetooth devices communicating each other is called a Piconet,
with configuration similar to star topology. A Piconet functions on the master and slave concept, so that a
master may communicate with multiple slavesup to 7 active slaves and up to 255 parked slaves.
Several Piconets may be combined to form a Scatternet [10].
2.2.4. The HomeRF SWAP Standard
The HomeRF shared wireless access protocol (SWAP) is designed to carry voice and data within the
home. It can also interoperate with the public switched telephone network and the internet. The SWAP
system operates in 2.4 GHz ISM using FHSS. It can also be assembled in an ad hoc network or be
controlled by a central connection point like Bluetooth. Currently two versions of it exist: SWAP 1.0
supports up to one to two Mbps and SWAP 2.0 supports up to ten Mbps.
The SWAP technology combines QoS characteristics of existing Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone
(DECT) and beneficial characteristics of IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN standards to enable a new class
home cordless service. As such, it provides voice support for DECT and TCP/IP support for IEEE 802.11.
SWAP supports both TDMA and carrier sense multiple access/ collision (CSMA/CA) [1].
2.2.5. ZigBee
ZigBee technology is low data rate, low power consumption, low cost, and wireless networking protocol
targeted towards automation, PC peripherals, toys, and remote industrial control applications. ZigBee has
been developed by the IEEE 802.15.4 task group and the ZigBee Alliance to provide the first general
standard for these applications [1112].
It uses two physical layers based on DSSS. The 2.4 GHz PHY supports an over air data rate of 250 Kb/s
and the 868 MHz/915 MHz PHY supports over air data rates 20 Kb/s and 40 Kb/s. This standard uses
avoidance (CSMA/CA) as a channel access method.
ZigBee supports three networking topologies; star, mesh, and cluster tree. A typical ZigBee network
application has 254 client nodes and one master node.
3. Wireless ATM
Recently, there has been a growing interest in the subject of WATM. WATM networks are wireless
extensions to both public and private wired ATM networks. Unlike traditional WLANs, WATM will see
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a high demand in wireless applications involving multimedia. In 1996, the ATM Forum Wireless
Working Group started activities to develop standards for WATM networks. ETSI has also a
standardization activity ongoing for the physical layer of WATM. Above 300 MHz, unlicensed spectrum
is made available in the US and Europe for wireless access, mainly for the purpose of accessing the
Internet for multimedia applications. Such applications will require some kind of wireless packet
networking, and WATM has the potential to fulfill this recently emerging need [14].
Like traditional WLANs, WATM networks will have to deal with the time-varying nature of the wireless link.
While WATM systems are being implemented, there will be several problems resulting from the physical
characteristics of the transmission medium to be tackled. First of all, ATM technology was originally designed
for fiber-optic transmission links characterized by extremely low bit error rate (about 10-12), although WATM
will have to cope with high bit-error rate (BER) values of wireless environments (about 10-4). Secondly ATM
works with bandwidth rich environments where a wireless channel is an extremely expensive resource [4].
Thus this limited bandwidth must be used efficiently. To avoid these limitations resulting from wireless
medium, available ATM systems must be improved and new modules must be added. Once these problems
can be overcome, WATM will provide several significant advantages including; 1) flexible bandwidth
allocation and service type selection for a range of applications, 2) efficient multiplexing of bursty data and
multimedia sources, 3) a wireless platform with multimedia support remedying any QoS needs in a better way,
4) end-to-end provisioning of broadband services over wireless or wired networks, and 5) simple compliance
with the requirements of wireless access to an ATM network [4].
3.1. WATM Network Components and Protocol Stack
In WATM architecture, wireless terminals (WTs) and base stations (BSs) can be fixed or mobile.
Therefore, some network components constituting a WATM can be likewise different. A WATM system
with mobile users and fixed BSs consists of three major network components (see Figure 3). The first is a
mobile terminal with a WATM network interface card (NIC) and user-to-network interface (UNI)
software granting radio and mobility support. The second component is a BS with radio interface
capabilities and mobility enhanced UNI/network-to-network interface (NNI) software. Finally, the third is
a mobility-enhanced ATM switch also equipped with UNI/NNI software.

WATM Cells

WT1

WATM
WT2
Terminal_2

WATM Base
Station1
WATM Radio
Interface
W UNI

WATM Cells

ATM
Network

Micro Cell I
Mobile ATM
M UNI/NNI

WATM Cells

Mobility Enhanced
ATM Switch

WT1
WATM Base
Station 2

WT2

WATM Radio
Interface
W UNI

Micro Cell II

Figure 3: WATM Network Architecture


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Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications

The system illustrated in Figure 3 involves two new protocol interfaces, the W UNI between
mobile/wireless user terminal and ATM base station and the M UNI/NNI interface between mobilitycapable ATM network devices, including switches and base stations. Both these interfaces are required to
support end-to-end ATM services at a mobile terminal. In particular, the WATM terminal sets up a
connection using standard ATM signaling (UNI) capabilities to communicate with the ATM base station
and network switches. All data transmitted by the WATM terminal is segmented into ATM cells with an
additional radio link level header specified within the W interface. Mobility of the WATM terminal
(i.e., handoff and location management) is handled via switch-to-switch (NNI) signaling protocol
extensions specified in the M interface [3].
User
Plane

Control
Plane

M Mobility

AAL

DLC
MAC
PHY

Wireless Control

ATM

W Wireless
Access

Figure 4: WATM Protocol Architecture


The WATM network requires an enhanced protocol stack compared to cable ATM networks. Figure 4
depicts a comparison of the WATM protocol stack with additional modules to the standard ATM. These
additional modules include radio channels among WTs and BSs, a data link control (DLC) layer, a media
access control (MAC) Layer and finally, wireless control to support such functions as radio resource
management at the physical, MAC and DLC Layers, as well as mobility management. In WATM cell
structure, to avoid bit errors and to realize bandwidth allocation efficiently, extra fields are added to the
standard 53-byte ATM cell.
3.2. DLC Layer
As it was mentioned above ATM networks generally uses fiber-optic links which have very low BER
values. However, a time-varying wireless channel usually has an extremely high BER. Therefore,
DLC protocol is needed to improve the cell error rate caused by the physical wireless channel and the
MAC protocol, thus insulating the ATM layer above it from these errors. By detecting these
transmission bit errors and recovering from them either by bit correction [forward error control
(FEC)] or packet retransmission [automatic repeat request (ARQ)], this layer mitigates the effect of
radio channel errors before cells are sent to the ATM layer. In addition, the MAC layer is prone to
packet loss because of buffer overflow or blocking. Hence, the DLC must also recover from this
MAClevel packet loss by retransmission.
3.3. MAC Layer
For wireless communication, bandwidth sharing is essential since radio spectrum is not only expensive
but also inherently limited. A MAC protocol in wireless communication should be used to allocate the
limited bandwidth to WTs efficiently. A MAC protocol supporting WATM must guarantee QoS and
enable WTs in a coverage area to share the same communications bandwidth efficiently and provide
timely access to multi-rate broadband applications involving integrated voice, video, and data services.
Several MAC schemes have been proposed in the literature for managing multimedia traffics in WATM
systems. To classify various MAC techniques three major factors are considered: duplexing, e.g.

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frequency division duplexing (FDD) and time division duplexing (TDD), multiplexing, e.g. frequency
division multiple access (FDMA), time division/demand multiple access (TDMA) and code division
multiple access (CDMA), and bandwidth allocation mechanism (fixed assignment, random assignment
and demand assignment) [1314].
WATM technology promises to provide QoS guarantees for multimedia applications together with
traditional services [15]. A demand assignment MAC technique for WATM should be considered to
maintain the bursty traffic natures of such applications. In this technique, a user terminal needs a control
channel in uplink direction to request an access channel from a BS. The BS then assigns bandwidth for
this request if there are enough resources to support the required level of QoS. Well-known MAC
protocols for WATM are; distributed queuing request update multiple access (DQRUMA) [16], EPRMA
[16], MASCARA [16], MDRTDMA [16], DSA++ [16], and packet reservation multiple access with
dynamic allocation (PRMA/DA) [1617].
Most of the previous MAC protocol developments were dedicated to maximize the channel efficiency,
but they were not able to meet all the QoS requirements of real-time applications in wireless networks.
In general, the channel access protocols for mobiles requesting resources have been studied widely. The
scheduling algorithms in the base station, however, still need more investigation, especially for
different QoS guarantees and traffic characteristics. Most of the available scheduling algorithms for
WATM are priority, firstin, first out (FIFO), or round-robin schemes, whereas our proposed MAC,
named MACGB (Guarantee-Based), uses a new guarantee-based scheduling algorithm to support
required level of QoS [1819].
The overall properties of the most popular WATM MAC protocols are given in [1620]. A major
disadvantage of DQRUMA is that it does not make any distinction between VBR and ABR services; it
treats both as bursty traffic. Consequently, it does not offer any priority handling mechanism. Another
disadvantage is that the use of minislots adds physical layer overhead. In MASCARA, use of variable
length frames introduces a vital difficulty in assigning capacity to WTs with CBR services.
Following sub-sections explain a common WATM MAC protocol (named PRMA/DA) and our
proposed MACGB protocol, which will be both utilized for comparative simulation studies presented
in Section Four.
3.3.1. PRMA/DA
PRMA/DA, which is proposed in [17], operates on a frame basis. Time on the uplink channel is divided
into a contiguous sequence of PRMA/DA frames, and each frame consists of available slots, CBR
reservation slots, VBR reservation slots, and ABR reservation slots as illustrated in Figure 5. The number
of available slots depends on the intensity of demand to access the network among the mobile stations. In
contrast, the number of reservation slots assigned to each reserving station is primarily dependent on the
statistical properties of traffic a MS intends to transmit. The BS is responsible for determining the number
of slots allotted to each type, as well as the number of slots assigned to each reserving terminal (MT). The
downlink frame works in the contention-free TDM format, under the total control of the BS in broadcast
mode. The main contribution of the protocol is the dynamic allocation algorithm which helps resolve the
contention situation quickly and avoids waste of bandwidth that may happen when there are several
request slots without the need for them. A drawback of this protocol is that it does not use minislots for
the access request. Instead, the first time a MT needs service, it transmits a request message along with an
information packet. Therefore, if a collision occurs, the effect on the throughput may be greater than if a
small request packet had been used. This may not be important in low traffic situations, where there may
be room for several available slots, but is definitely a problem for high traffic situations [16].

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Guard Time

Frame (k-1)

Frame (k)

Frame (k+1)

Time

Slot
variable

Na

1 2

Available Slots

variable

Rc

1 2

CBR Reserv.
Slots

variable

Rv

1 2

VBR Reserv.
Slots

Rd

1 2

ABR Reserv.
Slots

Figure 5: The PRMA/DA Frame Format


3.3.2. Guarantee Based MAC (MACGB)
In MACGB, which is proposed in [1819], a demand assignment scheduling scheme is employed. As a
multiplexing technique, TDMA is preferred due to its superiority and suitability for real-time multimedia
traffics. Radio spectrum is divided into time slots which are assigned to different connections where a
user application can send data only in its own dedicated slots. Due to the FDD duplexing technique
utilized in the MACGB, two distinct carrier frequencies are used for the uplink and downlink channels.
When a WT needs to communicate with any other, initially it asks for a transmission channel from the
BS. According to the QoS requirements of this connection request, the BS assigns adequate number of
time slots for this connection using a dynamic slot allocation table (SAT) that is scheduled with an
algorithm based on ATM service classes, explained in [1819]. If there are not enough slots for the
request, a connection can not be established with required QoS guarantees. The frame structure of the
MACGB protocol is shown in Figure 6.
Frequency

Base Station
Downlink
(4 GHz)

CB D

D CB D

D CB D

Uplink
Downlink
Wireless Terminal
Uplink
(3 GHz)

CT D
1

D CT D

99

100 101 102 103

D CT D

N-100

D
N

Time

CB: BS Control Slot


CT: WT Control Slot

D: Data Slot
N: Number of Slot / Frame

Figure 6: Frame Structure of the MACGB Protocol


The MACGB protocol is divided into two main complementary parts operating at the WT and BS. The
WT functions of the MACGB protocol include three main processes. These are namely requesting a
connection establishment/termination from the BS, getting its own time slots from the BS, and sending
data in the allocated time slots. Since WATM is connection-oriented, any WT attempting to establish a
connection creates a control packet called cc_con_req to inform the BS about its bandwidth requirement
(see Figure 7a). The cc_con_req also contains service requirements (SLSx) of the wireless application. It
is then sent to the BS in the first available empty slot.
After the connection establishment, the wireless application traffic in WATM cells illustrated in Figure
7b is sent in the time slots allocated to this connection. An ATM cell comprises 53 bytes, consisting of a
fivebyte header (Generic Flow Control, Virtual Path Identifier, Virtual Channel Identifier, Payload
Type, Cell Loss Priority, and Header Error Control) and a 48byte information field (PAYLOAD). A
twobyte error correction field (CRC) which is used for detection and correction of the possible cell
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transmission errors is also included in all WATM cells. WT creates a control packet called cc_con_end to
terminate the connection and sends it to the BS in the first available empty slot again (see Figure 7c).
TermAdress ServiceClass

a)

(4 bits)

AppNum

SLS1

SLS2

SLS3

SLS4

CRC

(4 bits)

(16 bits)

(16 bits)

(16 bits)

(16 bits)

(16 bits)

(4 bits)

GFC

VPI

VCI

PT

CLP

HEC

CRC

(4 bits)

(8 bits)

(16 bits)

(3 bits)

(1 bit)

(8 bits)

(16 bits)

PAYLOAD
(384 bits)

b)

TermAdress ServiceClass
(4 bits)

c)

(4 bits)

CRC
(16 bits)

Figure 7: a) Connection Request Packet, b) WATM Cell, c) Connection Terminate Packet


The BS functions of the MACGB protocol include three main processes. These are namely, assigning
adequate number of slots for a connection using the dynamic SAT scheduling algorithm considering QoS
requirements of the requesting WT, forwarding any arrived data packets to their destinations, and
terminating any active connection. The core function of the MACGB protocol is the efficient
management of the SAT of the BS.
The SAT and its scheduling algorithm in the BS are the most vital parts of the MACGB protocol.
Supporting QoS guaranteed services for bursty traffic such as multimedia applications depends on
effective and efficient management of the SAT. The structure of SAT is shown in Figure 8. Slot Num,
Term Num, Appl Num, Guarantee and Service Class rows of the table represent slot number,
terminal address (1: idle) using the slot, application number (1: idle), guarantee situation of the slot (1:
idle, 1: guaranteed, 2: non-guaranteed) and service class of connection (1: idle, 0: CBR, 1: VBR, 2:
ABR, 3: UBR), respectively.
Slot Num
Term Num
Appl Num
Guarantee
Service Class

-1

N-1 N
5

-1

-1

-1

Figure 8: Structure of the Slot Allocation Table (SAT)


For a new connection request, to determine the required number of slots and their guarantee situation,
QoS parameters and traffic descriptors are used as in the standard ATM connections. According to the
peak cell rate (PCR), sustainable cell rate (SCR) and minimum cell rate (MCR) of CBR, VBR and ABR
traffic respectively, enough number of slots guarantee field are set to one. Using the other QoS
parameters and traffic descriptors, the guarantee field of empty slots is set to two for VBR, ABR and
UBR service classes respectively. Any slot whose guarantee field is two may be reassigned for a new
connection whose slot guarantee fields must be one. Guarantee field of UBR slots are always set to two
and these slots can be used by any guaranteed CBR, VBR or ABR connection if necessary because UBR
service does not provide any QoS guarantees (i.e. best effort service). Furthermore, a certain number of
slots (i.e. 1, 100, 200......N100) in the SAT called control slots are reserved for connection request and
connection termination packets in case all of the time slots are used for data transfer. When a WT wants
to send a control packet, it uses first empty data or control slot.

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Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications

4. Wireless Networks for Multimedia Communications


Multimedia communications can be defined as the means for transferring information via voice, video,
audio, image graphics, text, or any combination of these. These applications impose various performance
requirements on the network. The requirements are expressed in terms of QoS parameters which are
based on traffic dependent performance metrics such as allowable bandwidth, maximum delay, delay
variation (jitter), and error rates. Bandwidth must be guaranteed for an application not only to satisfy the
bandwidth requirement but also to limit the delay and errors introduced by the wireless media [1]. This
section reviews two comparative performance evaluation studies of a MACGB based WATM with a
PRMA/DA based WATM and with an IEEE 802.11b based WLAN network, which are designed to
realize multimedia communications.
4.1. A Comparative Simulation Study of MACGB and PRMA/DA Based WATM Networks
The WTs in the example scenario implemented using OPNET Modeler (see Figure 9) employ the MAC
GB protocol explained in the previous section to communicate with each other in the same wireless
environment. The diameter of the cell which constructs the network topology has been chosen to be 100
meters. Because of the connection-oriented structure of WATM and the QoS requirements of its
application traffic, before actual data transmission takes place a WT initially sends a connection request
to the BS. If there are enough slots available, the BS assigns them for this connection and informs the WT
which slots it can use for data transfer. As soon as the application running on a WT ends, a connection
termination request is sent to the BS. The BS then evaluates it and updates the SAT using the proposed
scheduling algorithm, considering fair reallocation of the released slots according to the QoS
requirements of any ongoing data transfer of other WT applications.

WT9

WT10
WT7

Compressed
Video Transfer

WT6
WT8

WT2

WT1

WT4

WT15

WT3

Voice
Transfer

BI

Critical Data
Transfer WT13

Data
Transfer

WT5

WT14

WT11

WT18
WT17

BS: Base Station


WT: Wireless Terminal

WT12

WT16

WT20
WT19

Figure 9: Example WATM Scenario


In the example scenario, there are 20 WTs on which four different applications operate to generate and
receive data traffics. There is only one type of application running at the same time on each WT. The data
traffic introduced to the network by any WT is randomly destined to another WT. One of these
applications is set to create voice transfer traffic requiring ATM CBR service, one for compressed video

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Celal Ceken, Ismail Erturk, and Cuneyt Bayilmis

traffic requiring ATM VBR service, eight of them for critical data application traffic carried with ATM
ABR service support, while the other applications are set to create data transfer traffic requiring ATM
UBR service. For instance, a voice application traffic originating from the WT1 is transferred to the WT5
over a connection providing a CBR service which is sensitive to delay and delay variation (jitter).
Similarly a data application traffic originating from the WT16 is transferred to the WT20 over a
connection providing a UBR service with no QoS guarantees. It should be noted that in a real-life
situation every WT will not usually generate data or video sources at a given time. Another WATM
model analogous to the one above except that PRMA/DA MAC protocol is utilized instead of the MAC
GB is also simulated using OPNET Modeler for consistent performance comparisons. Working
conditions of both models were chosen to be same.
4.1.1. Simulation Results and Performance Evaluation
Simulation results of the both WATM models described above are presented under varying network load
conditions, followed by performance comparisons and evaluation. The simulation utilizes a free space
channel propagation model that predicts received signal strength when the transmitter and receiver have a
clear, unobstructed line-of-sight path between them. To avoid the transient effects the simulation statistics
are flushed after approximately 10 seconds. The simulation parameters used are given in Table 2.
Traffic Sources
Uplink/Downlink Bit
Rate
Frequency Band
Transmitter Power
Modulation
Schema
CBR Parameters

30,000100,000*(Bytes/s)
25 Mbps
Uplink = 3 GHz and Downlink = 4 GHz
BS = 100 mW and WTs = 100 mW
QPSK

PCR = 100 kbps, CTD = 150 ms, CDV = 1 ms


SCR = 85 kbps, PCR = 110 kbps, CTD=100 ms, CDV
VBR Parameters
= 1 ms
MCR = 50 kbps, PCR = 100 kbps
ABR Parameters
PCR = 50 kbps
UBR Parameters
Free Space Propagation Model (LoS)
Channel Model
*Generated using Exponential Distribution Function, Exp(Mean)
Table 2: Simulation Parameters

Error control schemes used in ATM are designed for the channel BER of 10-10. Therefore, they are not
appropriate for use in time-varying and noisy wireless channels. To provide various QoS guarantees in
WATM environments, FEC and ARQ or combination of the two are frequently used. If the BER value of
the medium is very high (e.g. 10-4), an ARQ scheme is more appropriate to employ. Otherwise, better
performance results can be obtained using FEC scheme. To focus on the performance of the MACGB
and PRMA/DA models, the channel is assumed to be ideal such that there is no distortion, noise, or other
interference for packet transmissions, resulting in low BER. It is also assumed that the CRC bits added to
the packets avoid the bit errors resulting from the physical characteristics of the wireless environment.
For both MAC protocols used in WATM, a slot length of 200 seconds which has been determined
considering 25 Mbps data rate was chosen. With a total number of 1000 slots/frame, each time slot
contained 5 WATM cells.
Varying the message size of all WT application traffics, average and maximum end-to-end delay (EED)
and delay variation results for the voice traffic transfer between WT1 and WT5, for the compressed video

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Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications

traffic transfer between WT6 and WT10, for the critical data traffic transfer between WT11 and WT15,
and for the data traffic transfer between WT16 and WT20 have been collected during the simulation run
time for both WATM models. All of the application traffic was chosen to be equal so that the
performance of both MAC protocols and of all ATM service classes can easily be compared together. In
addition to these performance metrics examined, the network utilization is also worked out analytically
and presented in Figure 10.
In both WATM models, during a voice transfer connection between WT1 and WT5, the delay and delay
variation sensitive traffic utilizes an ATM CBR service support that guarantees data rate determined by
PCR value. During a bursty nature compressed video transfer between WT6 and WT10, ATM VBR
service class is utilized and SCR value is used to determine the amount of guaranteed bandwidth. Critical
data transfer application between WT11 and WT15 is supported by ATM ABR service and the data rate
indicated by MCR value is guaranteed for this connection. Finally, during a data traffic transfer between
WT16 and WT20, any available bandwidth unused or remaining from other service classes is utilized
over an ATM UBR connection with no QoS guarantees. The PCR parameter of the UBR service class
represents the maximum data rate that can be supported in such a given connection.
The bandwidth utilization against the total network load is drawn in Figure 10. As seen from the figure,
network utilization varies from 20% (i.e., when the offered load per application is 30,000 bytes/s) to 65%
(i.e., when the offered load per application is 100,000 bytes/s). It is obvious that the bandwidth utilization
depends mainly on the offered network load.
100
90

Utilization (%)

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

Figure 10: Average EED Results for WATM Model with the MACGB
In Figure 11, average EED results of the MACGB based WATM model are presented. Figure 12 also
shows the average EED results for the MACGB based WATM model, which are normalized with those
of the PRMA/DA MAC based WATM counterparts, as a function of the offered load per wireless
application. The voice application traffic (i.e. between WT1 and WT5) with CBR service support
experiences three to five times, the compressed video application traffic (i.e. between WT6 and WT10)
with VBR service support experiences three to five times, and the critical data application traffic (i.e.
between WT11 and WT15) with ABR service support experiences two to three times lower average
message delays in the MACGB based WATM model compared to the same traffic carried with the
PRMA/DA MAC based WATM model. However, the non critical data application traffic in the
PRMA/DA MAC based model (i.e. between WT16 and WT20) supplies three to eight times better results
than those of the WATM model using the MACGB method. This is because, in the MACGB based
WATM model the slots assigned to the UBR connections can be utilized by other services such as CBR,
VBR or ABR whereas in the PRMA/DA reserved slots of any type are used by the applications until the
end of the connection time.

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Celal Ceken, Ismail Erturk, and Cuneyt Bayilmis

Average End-to-End Delay (ms)

10000

1000

100

10
30

40

50
60
70
80
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

WT1 - WT5 w ith CBR service support


WT11 - WT15 w ith ABR service support

90

100

WT6 - WT10 w ith VBR service support


WT16 - WT20 w ith UBR service support

Figure 11: Average EED Results for WATM Model with the MACGB

Normalized Average End-to-End Delay

10

WATM with PRMA/DA=1

0,1
30
WT1 WT6 WT11 WT16 -

40
50
60
70
80
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)
WT5 w ith CBR service support (Where WT1 - WT5 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT10 w ith VBR service support (Where WT6 - WT10 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT15 w ith ABR service support (Where WT11 - WT15 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT20 w ith UBR service support (Where WT16 - WT20 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)

90

100

Figure 12: Normalized Average EED Results for the MACGB Based WATM Model
In Figure 13, maximum EED results of the MACGB based WATM model are presented. Figure 14 also
illustrates the maximum EED results for the MACGB based WATM model, which are normalized with
those of the PRMA/DA MAC based WATM counterparts, as a function of the offered load per wireless
application. As seen from the figure, the voice, the compressed video, and the critical data application
traffics in the MACGB based WATM model have better maximum EED performance than those of
PRMA/DA based WATM model. As explained in the previous paragraph, the non critical data transfer
maximum EED results of the MACGB based WATM model are also worse than those of PRMA/DA
based WATM model.
Maximum End-to-End Delay (ms)

10000

1000

100

10
30

40

50
60
70
80
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

WT1 - WT5 w ith CBR service support


WT11 - WT15 w ith ABR service support

90

100

WT6 - WT10 w ith VBR service support


WT16 - WT20 w ith UBR service support

Figure 13: Maximum EED Results for WATM Model with the MACGB

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Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications

Normalized Maximum End-to-End Delay

10

WATM with PRMA/DA=1

0,1
30

40

50
60
70
80
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

90

100

WT1 - WT5 w ith CBR service support (Where WT1 - WT5 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT6 - WT10 w ith VBR service support (Where WT6 - WT10 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT11 - WT15 w ith ABR service support (Where WT11 - WT15 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT16 - WT20 w ith UBR service support (Where WT16 - WT20 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)

Figure 14: Normalized Maximum EED Results for the MACGB Based WATM Model
In Figure 15, EED variation results of the MACGB based WATM model are presented. Figure 16 also
shows the EED variation results for the MACGB based WATM model, which are normalized with those of
the PRMA/DA MAC based WATM counterparts, as a function of the offered load per wireless application.
Considering the delay variation sensitive voice and compressed video traffics, the MACGB based WATM
model has produced better EED variation results than those of PRMA/DA based WATM model. Lower
message delay and delay variation results are expected as the MACGB protocol, unlike PRMA/DA MAC
protocol, distributes the allocated slots according to required CDV parameter of the connection.
End-to-End Delay Variation (ms)

1000

100

10

0,1
30

40

50
60
70
80
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

WT1 - WT5 w ith CBR service support


WT11 - WT15 w ith ABR service support

90

100

WT6 - WT10 w ith VBR service support


WT16 - WT20 w ith UBR service support

Figure 15: EED Variation Results for WATM Model with the MACGB
1000

Normalized End-to-End Delay Variation

WATM with PRMA/DA=1


100

10

0,1

0,01

0,001
30

40

50
60
70
80
Offe r e d Load pe r Application (x1000 Byte s /s )

90

100

WT1 - WT5 w ith CBR service support (Where WT1 - WT5 w ith PRMA /DA = 1)
WT6 - WT10 w ith V BR service support (Where WT6 - WT10 w ith PRMA/DA = 1)
WT11 - WT15 w ith A BR service support (Where WT11 - WT15 w ith PRMA /DA = 1)
WT16 - WT20 w ith UBR service support (Where WT16 - WT20 w ith PRMA /DA = 1)

Figure 16: Normalized EED Variation Results for the MACGB Based WATM Model

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Celal Ceken, Ismail Erturk, and Cuneyt Bayilmis

4.2. A Comparative Simulation Study of MACGB Based WATM Networks and IEEE 802.11b WLANs
The WTs in the example scenario implemented using OPNET Modeler, like the one presented in Figure
9, employ the MACGB protocol to communicate with each other in the same wireless environment. In
this scenario, there are 20 WTs on which two different applications operate to generate and receive data
traffics. There is only one type of application running at the same time on each WT. The data traffic
introduced to the network by any WT is randomly destined to another WT. Two of these applications are
set to create voice transfer traffic requiring ATM CBR service while the other applications are set to
create data transfer traffic requiring ATM UBR service. For instance, a voice application traffic
originating from the WT1 is transferred to the WT11 over a connection providing a CBR service which is
sensitive to delay and delay variation. Similarly a data application traffic originating from the WT2 is
transferred to the WT12 over a connection providing a UBR service with no QoS guarantees. It should be
noted that in a real-life situation every WT will not usually generate data and video traffic at a given time.
Another wireless networking model analogous to the one above, except that an IEEE 802.11b WLAN is
utilized instead of WATM with the MACGB based MAC, is also simulated using OPNET Modeler for
consistent performance comparisons. Working conditions of both IEEE 802.11b WLAN and WATM
models were chosen to be same.
4.2.1. Simulation Results and Performance Evaluation
Simulation results of the WATM and WLAN models described above are presented under varying
network load conditions, followed by performance comparisons and evaluation. To focus on the delay
performance of the wireless networks, the channel is assumed to be ideal such that there is no distortion,
noise, or other interference for packet transmissions. The simulation parameters used are given in Table 3.
WATM Simulation Model
IEEE 802.11b WLAN Simulation Model
20,000100,000*
20,000100,000*
Voice Traffic
(Bytes/s)
Voice Traffic Sources (Bytes/s)
Sources
20,000100,000*
Data Traffic Sources 20,000100,000*
Data Traffic Sources
(Bytes/s)
(Bytes/s)
Uplink/Downlink Bit
Uplink/Downlink Bit
11 Mbps
11 Mbps
Rate
Rate
BPSK
Modulation Schema QPSK
Modulation Schema
TDMA/FDD
CSMA/CA
MAC Protocol
MAC Protocol
PCR = 100 kbps
CBR Parameters
PCR = 100 kbps
UBR Parameters
*Generated using Exponential Distribution Function, Exp(Mean)
Table 3: Simulation Parameters
WATM networks usually support 25 Mbps data rate in micro and pico cells [3]. However, in our first
simulation model, WATM network data rate is considered as 11 Mbps to be able to fairly compare the
results obtained with those of the WLAN whose maximum theoretical data rate is 11 Mbps.
In the scenarios, WLAN and WATM use binary phase shift keying (BPSK) and quadrature phase shift
keying (QPSK) modulation schemes respectively. Carrier sense multiple access/collision avoidance
(CSMA/CA) MAC protocol used in the WLAN model is intrinsically inappropriate for the multimedia
traffic such as voice and data, which are especially sensitive to end-to-end delay and delay variation. On
the other hand, the WATM model employs the MACGB protocol with TDMA/FDD technique to
support QoS guaranteed transfer of the voice and data applications.

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Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications

A slot length of 465 seconds is chosen for the MACGB based WATM model, which has been
determined considering 11 Mbps data rate. With a total number of 1000 slots/frame, each time slot
contains 5 WATM cells.
Varying the message size of all WT voice and data application traffics, average and maximum EED
results of the voice traffic transfer between WT1 and WT11, and EED results of the data traffic transfer
between WT2 and WT12 have been collected during the simulation run time for both WATM and WLAN
models. All of the applications traffic is chosen to be equal so that the justification of the ATM services,
each of which is utilized by a different application of the WATM end users, and WLAN service can
easily be done and compared.
In the WATM during a voice transfer connection between WT1 and WT11, the delay and delay variation
sensitive traffic utilizes an ATM CBR service support that guarantees data rate determined by PCR value
while during a data traffic transfer between WT2 and WT12, any available bandwidth unused or
remaining from other service classes is utilized over an ATM UBR connection with no QoS guarantees.
The PCR parameter of the UBR service class represents the maximum data rate that can be used for a
given connection. On the other hand, the WLAN provides QoS guarantees neither for a voice transfer
connection between WT1 and WT11 nor for data traffic transfer between WT2 and WT12. In addition, its
CSMA/CA MAC mechanism does not allow multiple connections between WTs, resulting in less utilized
bandwidth, higher access delays, and end-to-end delays for multimedia traffic.
Figure 17 shows the normalized average EED as a function of the offered load per wireless application
for the WATM model. Having normalized the average message delay results of the WATM model with
their IEEE 802.11b WLAN model counterparts, it can be justified that even in the worst case (i.e., when
the offered load per application is 100,000 bytes/s), all of the WATM traffic has better average end-to-end
message delays than those of the classical WLAN model. Of especial note, the voice application traffic
(i.e. between WT1 and WT11) with CBR service support experiences 16 to 34 times lower average
message delays in the WATM model compared to the same traffic carried with no service guaranties in
the WLAN. Considering the fact that WATM UBR and WLAN service classes are almost identical, it
would be expected that the average message delay for the WATM data application traffic (i.e. between
WT2 and WT12) with UBR has almost the same characteristics as that of the WLAN model. However,
three to 12 times improved results are obtained in the former using the MACGB protocol. This is due to
the fact that connections with UBR service support can utilize any available bandwidth unused by other
connections with CBR, VBR or ABR service support, and end user applications with this service can be
active together with any other.

Normalized Average End-to-End Delay

0,1

0,01
20

30

40
50
60
70
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

80

90

100

WT1 - WT11 w ith CBR service support (Where WT1 - WT11 w ith no service support in WLAN = 1)
WT2 - WT12 w ith UBR service support (Where WT2 - WT12 w ith no service support in WLAN = 1)

Figure 17: Normalized Average End-to-End Message Delays for WATM Model

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Celal Ceken, Ismail Erturk, and Cuneyt Bayilmis

Figure 18 illustrates the maximum EED results for WATM model, normalized with those of the IEEE
802.11b WLAN counterparts, as a function of the offered load per wireless application. As seen from the
figure, both the voice application traffic (i.e. between WT1 and WT11) and data application traffic (i.e.
between WT2 and WT12) outperform those of the classical WLAN model. Up to 13 times better
maximum EED results for the voice traffic (i.e., when the offered load per application is 40,000 bytes/s)
can be well achievable with the MACGB based WATM model for both application traffics.

Normalized Maximum End-to-End Delay

0,1

0,01
20

30

40
50
60
70
80
Offered Load per Application (x1000 Bytes/s)

90

100

WT1 - WT11 w ith CBR service support (Where WT1 - WT11 w ith no service support in WLAN = 1)
WT2 - WT12 w ith UBR service support (Where WT2 - WT12 w ith no service support in WLAN = 1)

Figure 18: Normalized Maximum End-to-End Message Delays for WATM Model
5. Conclusions
WATM differs from its traditional counterparts mainly in that it promises to provide QoS guarantees for
real-time multimedia applications. QoS guaranteed data transfer in a wireless environment entails a
special MAC protocol allowing efficient allocation and utilization of the scarce and error-prone resources
to different end user applications. The fundamental concept developed and presented in this paper
establishes the way in which improved performance can be obtained in wireless environments, bringing
different service classes to desktops using WATM.
In this paper, an example WATM network model equipped with the MACGB protocol has been realized
using OPNET Modeler and simulated under various traffic load conditions. The simulation results are
presented together with comparisons those of a PRMA/DA MAC based WATM counterpart. According
to the simulation results obtained, especially for the connections utilizing CBR, VBR, and ABR services,
average EED, maximum EED, and EED variation results of the proposed MAC based WATM model are
considerably better than those of PRMA/DA based WATM model, as a consequence of new guarantee
based scheduling algorithms introduced in the BS. The simulation results are also compared those of an
IEEE 802.11b WLAN counterpart with no QoS guarantees. Not only does the WATM employing MAC
GB method enable wireless end users with ATM CBR, VBR, ABR and UBR connections, but also
provides over 16 times better average end-to-end message delay results than those of IEEE 802.11b
counterpart for application traffics requiring a CBR service class support.
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B. Bing, High-Speed Wireless ATM and LANs, Artech House Publishers, 2000.
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Wireless Networks for Real-Time Multimedia Communications

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1998.

Cellular and WLAN Convergence


Chandrakantha T.N.
Software Engineer
Global Edge Software Ltd., India
Abstract
This paper outlines some of the technical challenges that must be met, particularly with respect to handset
radio design, which will allow coexistence between cellular and wireless local area network (WLAN)
modes of operation. Various aspects of coexistence are considered, such as the demands of the radio
frequency (RF) architecture, interference issues, chipset fabrication and cost issues. Conclusions are then
drawn as to the defining aspects of WLAN and cellular convergence.
Introduction
WLAN handsets offer a significantly improved data rate over cellular handsets. However, they have a
very limited range, and base stations can generally only be found in high use areas. While a cellular
handset can solve the problem of insufficient range and has much larger coverage, these characteristics
are possible the expense of data rate. A more robust solution would be to incorporate both WLAN and
cellular capability such that the appropriate mode could be used given the coverage available, ideally with
a seamless interface between the different modes of operation.
As WLAN and cellular base stations are effectively independent and unlikely to be situated very close to
each other, the main design challenges will be found in the handset design. This paper will concentrate on
the design issues of the RF transceiver from the ADC/DAC interface to the antenna. The digital back end
would also increase in complexity, but it is anticipated that the issues that would arise would not be as
difficult to solve. This paper will describe some of the challenges that must be met for the RF transceiver
and will suggest some possible architectures.
Mode Operation
It is assumed that a user will employ WLAN mode whenever the mobile terminal is within range of a
WLAN base station. Should the mobile terminal physically move toward being out of range, it will
establish contact with a cellular network. If the mobile terminal is then taken fully out of range of the
WLAN station, full communication will engage across the cellular link. In the reverse situation, whilst the
mobile terminal is communicating across a cellular network, constant monitoring of the WLAN band will
allow the mobile terminal to be switched to WLAN should a base station appear within range.

259

Cellular and WLAN Convergence

Figure 1: WLAN/Cellular Mobile Terminal


Transmit/Receive Path Options
WLAN, wireless code division multiple access (WCDMA), and global system for mobile
communications-enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (GSMEDGE) standards all employ amplitude
modulation as well as phase modulation, ruling out the use of efficient GSM techniques such as offsetphase locked loop (PLL) modulation. However, the use of a super-heterodyne architecture would prove
problematic. A typical architecture is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Generic Super-Heterodyne Architecture


Architectures based on this have been used in several CDMAOne mobile terminals. The advantages of an
intermediate frequency (IF)based system are well known: in the transmit path, the ADC modulator
output is filtered around the wanted channel, controlling the spurious output. In the receive path most of
the gain and filtering is at a fixed narrowband IF, reducing the performance demands on components.
However, in the pass-band filtering is required to remove the sideband at RF and for image rejection in
the receive path. This adds to component count (and cost) of the transceiver. It can be seen, therefore, that
for a multimode mobile terminal, which would require multiple transmit and receive paths, the component
count would quickly increase. Given the cost and board space required by so many filters, this
architecture would become prohibitive. A likely solution would be to use direct modulation or
demodulation in the transmit and receive paths (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Direct Conversion Architecture

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Chandrakantha T.N.

In the transmit path, a very clean vector modulator would be required, as no narrowband filtering is
carried out. RF filtering is required to minimize out-of-band noise (such as receive band). In the receive
path, direct conversion is used to down-convert to direct current (DC). RF filtering is no longer required
for image rejection, but is still required to reduce the level of interferers to prevent compression in the
local network attachment (LNA) and mixer. Gain and filtering is carried out at DC. Increased dynamic
range of ADCs however means that more of this filtering can be achieved in the digital domain. The main
issue with direct conversion is that DC offsets can occur due to leakage and second order distortion. This
could saturate the following gain stages. Two solutions are to either use a very low IF receiver (although
this also has inherent problems) or to perform some form of DC correction.
As simultaneous multimode operation is required, multiple ADCs and DACs will be required to interface
the transceiver. To keep the power consumption to a minimum, the dynamic range requirement should be
kept as low as possible. Different sample rate and resolution ADCs/DACs will almost certainly be
required for each mode.
Multimode Transceiver
Without even considering coexistence, the transceiver must be able to meet the relevant performance
targets for a particular mode. In terms of transmission, this includes maximum output power levels and
transmitted mask. In terms of the receiver, issues of particular importance are sensitivity and blocking
performance. For a combined WLAN and multimode cellular mobile terminal, leakage of amplified
transmit signals into other part of the RF system will cause system degradation. It will be assumed that
the main interfering signals will be the high power outputs from the PA stages, which vary from 24 dBm
(WLAN) to 33 dBm (GSMEDGE 900).
Consider a typical transceiver front-end (see Figure 4). The only real leakage path to consider is that of
the power amplifier output being injected into the receive path. This is a function of the isolation of the
front-end module.

Figure 4: Typical direct conversion receiver showing main leakage path.


For the multimode transceiver, cross-coupling of the multiple transmit and receive paths is significantly
more complex. Figure 5 attempts to predict some of the cross-coupling mechanisms that could degrade
performance based on the expected on-off periods of each path.

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Figure 5: Cross Coupling of Multimode transceiver.


Transmitter Considerations
First consider the leakage back to the PA inputs. Should two power amplifiers be transmitting
simultaneously, and the isolation between them be insufficient, the output signals could cross-couple back
to the inputs. This is illustrated for one way only in Figure 6. The result would be that more than one
carrier would appear at the PA input. At the very least, this will cause third order intermodulation
products to appear, which could break the transmitted spurious emissions mask.

Figure 6: Multiple Transmitter Operation


The requirements of the transmit paths would be greatly reduced if the system is configured such that
only one mode is transmitting at any one time.
Receiver Considerations
Now consider PA transmit signals leaked into the receive paths. This is most likely to occur at the frontend module which interfaces both the transmit and receive paths to the antenna, and will generally only
have moderate isolation. Leakage of the transmitted signal into the receive path has long been a problem
for designers of CDMA transceivers (such as CDMAOne), as the leaked transmit signal can cause
unacceptable interference in the receiver when self-modulated around, for example, a close advanced

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mobile phone system (AMPS) signal. Solving this problem relies on using a high isolation front-end
duplexer and careful board layout. This problem does not occur with GSM as transmission and reception
occur in different time slots. Table 1 lists the modes that are required to be able to receive in the presence
of transmit signals.

Table 1: Simultaneous Receive Capabilities Required


The level of leakage that actually reaches the receive path is very much dependant on the front-end
module architecture, but isolation across a front-end RF switch, for example, is unlikely to be better
than 25 decibels (dB). For the moment, it is assumed that all paths will interface to a single antenna.
Even where a mode is not required to receive, the leakage to that path must be small enough not to
damage the LNA input (this is normally a level of about 0 dBm). Leakage into the receive paths
causes a number of problems. It must be remembered that relative to the size of the input signal (104dBm minimum for GSMEDGE 900), the PA output signals are very large (+27 dBm for W
CDMA). Even with 30 dB isolation across the front-end, this leaves a signal that is 100 dB greater
than the wanted signal. If left un-attenuated, the interfering signal will cause compression or
saturation in the LNA and mixer, as well as other related distortion, degrading the wanted signal
significantly. In order to combat this therefore, aggressive filtering of the interfering signals is
required in the front-end module before the input to the LNA. However, high attenuation filters tend
to have high loss, which will reduce the sensitivity of the receiver. This presents a difficult challenge
to the designer. Of particular worry is the proximity of the DCS1800 receive band to the WCDMA
and WLAN transmit bands, with high filter isolation difficult to achieve at these frequencies. An
additional problem of leakage is that mixing between received signals, blockers, and local oscillators
and their harmonics could cause in-band spurs. Careful spurious analysis and frequency planning will
be required to ensure this potential problem is avoided.
Antennas/Antenna Switching
It has been assumed to this point that all modes will transmit and receive through the same antenna.
In practice this could be very difficult for two reasons. Firstly, producing an antenna with the
required bandwidth is very difficult to achieve (8802483.5 MHz). Antennas are optimized about a
particular fundamental frequency, and thus an antenna optimized for the GSM band will attenuate a
signal in the WLAN band. Secondly, with four transmit and four receive paths, the front-end module
would be very complex to interface to a single antenna (this is covered below). It is likely that the
loss through the front-end would be higher than would be acceptable to achieve the necessary receive
sensitivity. A solution would be to use two or three antennas (dual band GSM antennas are widely
available) (see Figure 7).

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Cellular and WLAN Convergence

Figure 7: Possible Multi-Antenna Configuration


This configuration would allow the transmit paths to be moved physically further away from each other,
reducing cross-coupling at the printed circuit board (PCB) level. However, the antennas would pick up
the transmit signals, and these would in turn leak into the receive paths, so the problem of cross-coupling
has not disappeared. There are a large number of ways that the front-end module can be configured, and
this will depend mainly on how many antennas are used. However, the following will be required within
the front-end module(s).

Figure 8
A prerequisite for all these components and paths to be included in a single antenna output module is
additional switching or use of diplexers to combine the antenna outputs, which would in turn lead to
increased loss.
Fabrication
To produce a mobile terminal that is of acceptably low cost, some form of integrated chipset will have to
be developed. It is anticipated that the RF transceiver could be enclosed in a single package. This does
raise the issue of isolation within the integrated circuit however (see Figure 8).

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Chandrakantha T.N.

Figure 9: Chipset Integration


Still, isolation across a substrate such as in the bipolar complementary metal oxide semiconductor (BiCMOS)
process would be greater than across the front-end module. The power would also be much smaller as the PA
would still be external. Therefore, the major sources of cross-coupling would remain external.
Other Issues
The power consumption by a multimode mobile terminal would be a major concern. Highly linear PAs
will be required to transmit the amplitude modulation/phase modulation (AM/PM) modulated wide
bandwidth WCDMA and especially WLAN signals, as it was never really the intention that they would
be transmitted from small hand held devices. The back-end digital processing requirements will also be
increased due to the additional interference caused by the cross-coupling. The inclusion of so many
different modes will increase the component count (and cost) of the device. It will be imperative for cost
effectiveness that highly integrated chipsets are used where possible it has already be stated for example
that by using direct-convert receivers, the numbers of filters required is significantly reduced.
Future Developments
As the performance of individual RF components is improved, it is likely that more functionality could be
added. In addition, as the consumer takes a certain level of functionality for granted, additional
functionality will be required for continued marketability.
Conclusions
This paper has outlined some of the important issues that must be taken into consideration as functionality
convergence is achieved between WLAN and cellular networks. The area most affected will be in the
design of the handset radio transceiver. Ingenuity will be required to include all of the necessary
multimode functionality with an acceptable component count and cost. This will have to be coupled with
careful design to ensure that issues that may arise from multimode path leakage are addressed.
Suggestions have been made on possible solutions to these issues.

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Cellular and WLAN Convergence

References
[1]
[2]
[3]

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ANSI/IEEE Std. 802.11, Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer
(PHY) Specifications
Std. 3GPP TS 45.005 V5.2.0, Technical Specification Group GSM/EDGE; Radio Access
Network; Radio Transmission and Reception (Release 5)
CommsDesign Article Direct Conversion: No pain, No gain, http://www.commsdesign.com/

Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN


Communication Systems
Dr. Sathish Chandran
Chief Telecommunication Consultant and President
International Union of Radio Science (URSI), Malaysia
What Are Adaptive Antenna Arrays?
Due to the evolution of wireless telecommunication systems, as days pass by, the capability of the
communication system to provide a high degree of quality of service and the necessary capacity
requirements is of utmost priority. In order to achieve reliable communication over a mobile channel, a
communication system must overcome several inherent drawbacks, such as multipath fading, polarization
mismatch, and interference. Researchers worldwide are working on achieving these milestones as quickly
as possible in order to boost the revenue of the telecommunication operators. Even as more spectra are
allocated, the demand for higher data rate services and steadily increasing numbers of users will motivate
service providers to seek ways of increasing the capacity of their systems. The increasing and the highly
canvassed trends towards low power hand held transceivers look into all of these challenges, as well
forms an insight to electromagnetic radiation from the human health point of views.
An array of antennas that are installed on moving platforms or stationary base stations will play an
important role in satisfying the demands for increased channel requirements. They can be utilized for
suppressing the co-channel interference in a mobile communication scenario. The beam pattern of the
array is adjusted in such a way that a deep null will be placed in the direction of the interference and
signals from different antennas will be combined with appropriate weighting [1].
Adaptive antenna arrays can increase channel capacity through spatial division. Antenna arrays can
produce multiple beams as opposed to a simple omni-directional antenna. Adaptive antennas can also
track mobile users, improving both signal range and quality.
Adaptive antennas are currently used in wireless communication systems to provide interference
reduction and to enhance user capacity and data rates. These arrays can improve reliability and capacity in
two ways. Firstly, diversity combining or adaptive array techniques can combine the signals from
multiple antennas in a way that mitigates multipath fading. Secondly, adaptive antenna arrays can provide
capacity enhancement through interference reduction. The use of adaptive arrays as an alternative to the
expensive approach of cell splitting, which increases capacity by increasing the number of base station
sites. Most adaptive arrays that have been considered for such applications are located at the base station
and perform spatial filtering. They cancel or coherently combine multipath components of the desired
signal and null interfering signals that have different directions of arrival from the desired signal.
For these reasons, adaptive antenna arrays have attracted widespread interest in the telecommunications
industry for applications to future generation wireless systems.
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Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN Communication Systems

Overview of WLAN
A wireless local area network (WLAN), as the name suggests, is a data communication system that has been
employed as alternative method to implement the wired LAN network within limited geographical areas.
These areas can be as large as shopping complexes, educational establishments, or even a certain section of
a municipality. Recently the WLAN services have extended to airports. As in any other wireless radio
systems, WLAN utilizes electromagnetic signals to convey information. The spectrum of the
electromagnetic signals is well within the range defined for the operation, by the relevant authorities. Mobile
network operators are very much interested in the use of WLAN technologies because the frequency bands
associated with these technologies are licence free radio spectra. The WLAN system can totally eliminate
the usage of cables for its communication link requirements. The WLAN system has, thus, gained its
popularity in various scenarios like business, educational, medical and other engineering applications.
A network where a mobile user can connect to a local area network using wireless communication is
generally referred to as WLAN. 802.11 is a family of specifications for WLAN developed by a working
group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The different specifications in the
family are 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11i and 802.1x. Of these, 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b are
fully developed and commercial systems based on them are available in the market, while 802.11i and
others are in different stages of development. 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g use the carrier sense
multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) for path sharing across various nodes in the network.
There are mainly two WLAN standards. They are IEEE802.11, the U.S. standard and high performance
local area network (HiperLAN), the European standard.
The first and original 802.11 specifications were put forward in 1997 by the IEEE as a WLAN standard.
This version allowed the one Mbps and two Mbps data rate transmission at 2.4 GHz with the related
supporting signalling protocols. However, the latest versions of standards have come up with transmission
with increased data rates that operate at different center frequencies, up to 54 Mb/s at five GHz band, with
increased reliability of data. HiperLAN also provides similar types of data rates at the given frequency.
However the coverage of WLAN extends to about a few hundredths meters up to 300 meters and hence
can only be used in highly dense areas.
The modulation used was either frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) or direct sequence spread
spectrum (DSSS). FHSS is the repeated switching of frequencies during radio transmissions, often to
minimize the effectiveness of any attempts on interception or jamming of the signal.
Wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a cheap and fast way of connecting computers to each other using high
frequency wireless communication in a local area network. The term Wi-Fi is normally used
interchangeably with IEEE 802.11b specification. 802.11b networks operate in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz
radio bands, with an 11 Mbps data rate that supports fallback to 5.5, two and one Mbps for backward
compatibility with 802.11.
IEEE 802.11b uses direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) encoding. DSSS works by taking a stream of
ones and zeroes and modulating it with a second pattern called the chipping sequence. In 802.11 this
sequence is known as the Barker code, an 11 bit sequence (10110111000) that is ideal for modulating
radio waves due to certain mathematical properties. Complementary code keying (CCK), used in 802.11b
employs a series of codes called complementary sequences, which allows higher data speeds and is less
susceptible to interference in multi-path propagation. Details on modulation schemes can be found at [2].
As compared to 802.11b, 802.11a works in the unlicensed five GHz radio band. 802.11a uses a
modulation scheme called the orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). This modulation
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Dr. Sathish Chandran

scheme makes it possible to achieve data rates as high as 54 Mbps. Note that since 802.11a works in the
five GHz range, 802.11a is not backward compatible with 802.11b hardware. While 802.11g provides the
same throughput (54 Mbps) as the 802.11a, it also provides backward compatibility to the currently
dominant 802.11b standard as it works in the 2.4 GHz radio band. Because WLANs use a wireless
medium for communication, which is essentially a broadcast, security in such networks becomes critical.
Antennas for WLAN and General Concepts
The primary challenges for WLAN antennas are related to signal propagation. These mainly involve the
indoor environment where most of these antennas must operate. Some of the characteristics of this
transmission medium include the following:

Multipath due to reflections from walls, partitions and furnishings


Attenuation as signals pass through floors, walls, windows or any concealed structures
Non-uniform signal strength, which can cause non-reception with unreliable connections
Aesthetic requirements for minimizing the visual impact

Dealing with Multipath


Although WLAN terminal equipment includes digital time-domain filtering for reducing the effects of
multipath, antenna engineers also have options that help this situation. The first is directive antennas.
At 2.4 GHz, a two- or four element patch array is not very large; even a single patch with a reflector
has useful directivity. With a narrow beam of radiation, less area is illuminated and off-axis reflections
are reduced.
Attenuation Solutions
This is a system engineering problem, involving decisions on how many cells are required to provide
uniform coverage. Antennas must be placed so they do waste energy by radiating toward the lossy regions.
Providing Reliable Coverage
The ideal WLAN system has the fewest number of nodes (and antennas) to serve the coverage area with
reliable transmitted signal strength and receive sensitivity. The number of nodes should be minimized to
avoid interference between adjacent nodes. The antenna pattern shape must be matched to the desired
coverage of each node.
For example, a corner-mounted antenna only needs a 90 degree horizontal beamwidth, while an antenna
located in the center of a room should be omnidirectional. To combat multipath and the many possible
user locations, some installations will require spatial diversity and polarization diversity.
Aesthetics
A good industrial designer can make a utilitarian product look good without affecting its performance. All
indoor antenna manufacturers try to accomplish this task.
Several design technologies are for WLAN antennas. Single polarization antennas may use classic
dipoles, slots, or patches, often implemented with innovative new manufacturing techniques. Several
patch configurations can provide circular or elliptical polarization, and all of the above types can be
combined in arrays or used with reflectors to achieve directivity.
WLAN antennas are generally low gain, since their application rarely requires the narrow beamwidths
associated with high gains. The exception is inter-building links when WLAN is used to cover a larger,
campus-wide area.

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Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN Communication Systems

Antenna Systems: An Overview


Current applications of the smart antennas are predominantly at the cellular base stations due to area and
processing power requirements. However, recent propagation measurements for smart antennas and the
development of faster and low-power processors have enabled the use of this technology at the access
points (AP) in a WLAN system in the form of dual diversity reception.
A radio antenna couples electromagnetic energy from one medium such as ether to another such as
wire, cable, or waveguide. There are two main groups of antennas [3]: omnidirectional antennas and
directional antennas.
Omnidirectional Antennas
The omnidirectional antennas are the traditionally used antennas in the early days of wireless
communication. This antenna radiates in all directions equally.
The limitation with this type of antenna is that only a small percentage of the overall energy sent out into
the environment reaches each user. The strategy to overcome environmental difficulties is to boost the
power of the broadcasted signal. This makes a bad situation even worse in a cellular system because the
boost in signal could result in interference in adjoining cells. This type of antenna cannot reject or
suppress interfering signals and has no spatial multipath mitigation or equalization capabilities. In recent
years, these limitations have forced designers to re-think the antenna design for wireless systems.
Directional Antennas
The directional antenna provides a much more efficient method than the omnidirectional antenna. With
this antenna design, a sectorization of the antenna pattern can be achieved. Directional antennas provide
increased antenna gain in a given direction compared to the omnidirectional antenna.
While sectorized antennas increase the use of channels, they do not overcome the co-channel interference
problem. A directional antenna could either be composed by one antenna element, constructed in a certain
way, or it could consist of several antenna elements placed in some pattern.
Antenna Arrays
An antenna array consists of a set of antenna elements that are spatially distributed with reference to a
common fixed point [3]. By changing the phase and amplitude of the exciting currents in each of the
antenna elements, it is possible to electronically scan the main beam or place nulls in any direction.
Antenna elements can be arranged in various geometry configurations of which the most popular are
linear, circular and planar. A linear array consists of array elements whose centres are aligned along a
straight line. If the spacing between consecutive array elements is equal, it is called a uniformly spaced
linear array. Similarly, a circular array contains array elements whose centres lie on a circle. Finally, a
planar array consists of array elements whose centres are placed on a single plane. While both linear and
circular arrays can only perform one-dimensional beamforming (horizontal plane), planar arrays can be
used for two-dimension (2-D) beamforming, both in vertical and horizontal planes.
Adaptive Antenna Arrays
Adaptive algorithms provide additional diversity gain in multipath environments where signal energy
arriving from different angles may contribute to the reliability of the communications link. Array
processors based on directional techniques such as beamforming or switched-beam antennas are unable to
exploit this angular diversity fully.
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Dr. Sathish Chandran

Adaptive antenna arrays are an active research topic nowadays due to the improvements and advantages
over omni-directional and directional antenna systems. A smart antenna system is defined by the IEEE as
an antenna system that has circuit elements associated with its radiating elements such that one or more of
the antenna properties are controlled by the received signal. In these systems, each transmitter located at a
certain place has its unique pattern, which is also called spatial signature.
Classification of Adaptive Antenna Arrays
There are several techniques of implementing smart antennas [4]. There are basically two types of smart
antennas: switched beam systems and adaptive antenna array systems. The switched beam system
comprises only basic switching between separate directional antennas or predefined beams of an array
while enabling high directivity and gain. Switched beam systems can be further divided into two groups:
single beam and multi beam directional antennas. In single beam directional antenna systems, only one
beam is active at a given time. No simultaneous transmissions are allowed, because in this system there is
only one transceiver. Multiple beam directional antenna system is an example of spatial division multiple
access (SDMA) system. Here, each directional antenna can be used and transmissions are allowed at the
same time and frequency. The number of beams is equal to the number of transceivers.
In the adaptive antenna arrays, a direction of arrival (DOA) algorithm is employed to determine the
direction of the signal received from the mobile subscriber. In this method, the continuous tracking of
users is done by appropriately following the DOA information. Provisions can be made to the main
algorithm for the detection of the interferers, so that any interference can be cancelled by placing the
radiation pattern nulls in the direction of interferences to increase the signal to interference and noise ratio
(SINR). Operationally, the adaptive antenna array beamforming is more complex than switched beam
systems, due to the complex algorithms involved. Adaptive antenna array beamforming can be divided
into two sections: single user beamforming and multiuser beamforming.
In single user beamforming, the antenna beam is adjusted to track a mobile subscriber and to cancel any
interferers. In this case, a single transceiver is sufficient where only one user is active at a given time. In
multiuser beamforming, there are different beam patterns, and each beam tracks any one mobile
subscriber. Hence, simultaneous transmissions are allowed and SDMA is achieved. There is more than
one transceiver-beam pair in multi user beam forming.
In this paper, emphasis is given to the adaptive antenna array beamforming methods.
In adaptive antenna array signal processing [5], a weight vector is chosen for the array processor in order
to optimize the desired signal according to a given criterion. This can be done through a priori knowledge
of the desired signals direction of arrival or through use of an adaptive algorithm, which uses any known
information about the signals characteristics to maximize the signal to noise ratio (SNR) or signal to
interference and noise ratio (SINR).
The radiation pattern of an array is determined by the radiation pattern of the individual elements, their
orientation and relative positions in space, and the amplitude and phase of the feeding currents. If each
element of the array is an isotropic point source, then the radiation pattern of the array will depend solely
on the geometry and feeding current of the array, and the radiation pattern so obtained is called the array
factor. If each of the elements of the array is similar but non-isotropic, by the principle of pattern
multiplication, the radiation pattern can be computed as a product of the array factor and the individual
element pattern.

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Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN Communication Systems

Advantages of Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN Systems


Adaptive antenna arrays have several advantages, when it is employed with any communication systems
[1]. Adaptive antenna arrays provide increased power by providing higher gain for the desired signal. In
terms of interference suppression, adaptive antenna arrays adjust the beam pattern to suppress
interference. Adaptive arrays place a main beam in the direction of the desired signal for an M-fold power
gain with M antenna elements.
As anticipated and as a common factor for any communication systems, the fading effects due to
multipath propagation can be minimised considerably. The array diversity reduces the fading margin.
Adaptive antenna arrays eliminate the uncorrelated multipath signals. This is turn improves the signal
quality of the communication system. From the hardware point of view, since this system can reduce the
uncorrelated multipath signals, the design of the equalisers can be simplified.
Other advantages as seen from various types of smart antennas include the following: robustness against
multipath fading and noise which improves reliability of received signal; reduced power consumption for
handsets; low probability of interception and detection; enhanced location estimates; and enhanced range
of reception. Recent studies on use of smart antennas in mobile terminals have also shown to improve
network capacity in ad-hoc networks. Also with the introduction of sub-band adaptive arrays the power
associated with the adaptive antenna array operations can be reduced drastically. The power savings are
achieved due to the antenna gain and diversity gain introduced by adaptive array technology.
Primarily smart antennas were used at base stations in a cellular network to improve user capacity.
Capacity here refers to the number of subscribers that can be simultaneously serviced in a system. Usage
of omnidirectional antennas causes co-channel interference when two users use the same band of
frequency that eventually limits the user capacity in a system. Since smart antennas can focus their beams
towards desired user reducing interference to other users using the same frequency band, the user capacity
in a system can be improved using spatial division multiple access (SDMA).
Due to the deployment of adaptive antenna arrays, the range of a WLAN system is significantly increased
due to the antenna gain and the diversity gain. Hence, there is a trade-off between the advantages of
longer battery life and increased range, with the optimal decision depending on the requirements of users
and the communications environment.
The capacity of WLAN systems can be dramatically increased because multiple clients can
simultaneously transmit or receive signals from an adaptive antenna enabled system. Current networks
have users alternating airtime, similar to a hub. Adaptive antenna enabled systems act more like a switch,
with multiple simultaneous transmissions taking place in a single frequency band.
Finally, the increased link margin of a smart antenna-enabled system allows users to transmit at higher
data rate levels than before. A two-antenna system can result in an extra 6dB of link margin, a fourantenna system can result in an extra 12dB of link margin, and an 8-antenna system can result in an extra
18dB of link margin. This effectively acts as if the receiver has an increased sensitivity of six, 12, or
18dB. Hence, access points and clients that may have been forced to transmit at lower data rates due to
the transmission distance or channel effects can now transmit at a higher data rate. For example, an
802.11b user that is transmitting at one or two Mbps due to the poor link quality may now be stepped up
to 5.5 or 11 Mbps due to the gain provided by smart antennas. Even more dramatic throughput gains may
be achieved by systems running 802.11a or 802.11g protocols. The gain achieved by smart antenna
systems thus results in increased throughput for users on the network.

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Disadvantages
The main drawback of smart antennas is in their design and their implementation in hardware [6].
Multiple radio frequency (RF) stages can increase the cost and the bulk of the transceiver. Most of the
baseband processing requires coherent signals. This requires that all the signals for various electronic
circuits have to be tapped from the same source.
These difficulties can pose severe challenges in the design of the circuit. The phase characteristics of RF
components can change over time. These changes are relatively static and hence need calibration
procedures to account for phase differences.
Most of the devices used in the RF stages are non-linear. Using adaptive antenna arrays can increase the
number of such components used. This can affect the performance of the array if not checked
periodically. Furthermore, since adaptive antenna arrays use more than one source of signal, the data
bandwidth required for digital processing increases linearly with the number of antenna elements used.
This can limit data rates for different applications.
The use of directional antennas and 1200 sectors has become widespread in cellular systems and can
increase capacity up to three times for WLAN systems, though with an added cost and with the added
complexity, especially in indoor environments, from sectorization. Access points and base stations can
easily host antenna arrays of four or more elements but with existing microstrip or patch antenna
technology, up to three elements can be fitted in a handset. The wrapping of the hand around a handheld
device may diminish the performance of a handheld smart antenna system.
Adaptive Antenna Array Solution for WLANBased Broadband Access
The future of broadband access will face a number of challenges for its smooth deployment and
operation. The networks must provide wireless communication services at a lower cost and
simultaneously support many new types of revenue-generating applications, demanding high bandwidth
and real-time traffic handling.
In adaptive antenna array applications, the objective is to maximize signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the
communication in order to reduce error rates and, in wireless communications, better utilize the
capacity of the channel, in a particular direction while steering the nulls to the directions of
interference. In an environment where the noise characteristics change, the system uses adaptive
processing techniques to adjust the complex weighting (amplitude and phase) of each antenna element
to optimize the overall array pattern.
A general view of the implementation of adaptive antenna arrays for WLAN applications is presented
here. This paper has demonstrated the feasibility of using adaptive antenna arrays at base stations for
WLAN networks. Adaptive antenna arrays are superior as the technology for broadband access networks,
due to their efficiency and other inherent advantages.
References
S. Chandran (Ed.), Adaptive Antenna Arrays: Trends and Applications, Springer-Verlag, Berlin
Heidelberg New York, 2004.
802.11b Wireless LAN, http://www.vocal.com/data sheets/full/802.11b.pdf
Mailloux, Robert J., Phased Array Antenna Handbook, Artech House, Boston, 1994.
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Adaptive Antenna Arrays for WLAN Communication Systems

La Porta, Thomas F. (Editor), et al., IEEE Personal Communications Special Edition on Smart
Antennas, Vol. 5, No. 1, Feb. 1998.
Haykin, Simon, Adaptive Filter Theory, 3rd Ed., Prentice-Hall, 1996.
Ramesh Chembil Palat, Dr. Raqibul Mostafa, Dr. Jeffrey H. Reed, and Dr. Seungwon Choi, Smart Smart
Antennas: A System Level Overview for Software Defined Radios for Creating an API, Software
Defined Radio Forum Contribution, SDRF-04-I-0057-V0.00, Dated: 6-1-2004.

274

Wireless LAN: Security,


Reliability, and Scalability
Vikas Koul
Technical Leader
Hughes Software Systems

Prashant Vashisht
Senior Technical Leader
Hughes Software Systems

Masood Ul Amin
Project Manager
Hughes Software Systems
Introduction
There have been very few bright spots on the horizon of the networking industry in the last two years, and
the one that exhibits tremendous potential is the wireless local-area network (WLAN). Just to have an
insight into the growth of WLAN, consider the following:

A study by Gartner group indicates that nearly 50 percent of company laptops around the world
will be having support for WLAN by 2006.

The overall WLAN market grew around 200 percent from 2000 to 2002.

There are over 10 million WLAN users globally, and this figure is expected to double in 2004.

Until recently, most of the business applications for WLAN were limited to industries comprising of
mobile workers (e.g., retail, transportation etc.) but more recently wireless is gaining quite a fanfare
among small office/home office (SOHO) users. This trend could be attributed to the lowering of
equipment costs and better support for security, reliability, and scalability as provided by WLAN. Today,
WLAN are fast becoming a more obvious connectivity alternative for a broad range of business
requirements and markets.
Overview
The first WLAN standard was ratified in 1997, and since then there has been no looking back for
WLAN. The three biggest challenges to growing popularity of the WLAN deployment are security,
reliability and scalability.

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This paper presents an overview of the WLAN world with respect to the challenges that are being faced
and the developments that are happening to counter those challenges. The paper starts off with a brief
coverage of the security aspects of the WLAN and then gradually dwells upon the reliability and
scalability challenges posed to the WLAN deployment.
WLAN Security Overview
WLAN inherently being a broadcast nature requires user authentication and data encryption to provide
security. Each wireless network has two major components, either stations/clients (STA) or access points
(AP). A client and an access point must establish a relationship prior to exchanging data. Once
established the client-access point relationship could be in any of the following three states:

Unauthenticated and unassociated


Authenticated and unassociated
Authenticated and associated

The exchange of real data is only possible in the third state. Until then the parties communicate using
management frames. Access point transmits beacon management frames at fixed intervals. Client receives
this frame and starts authentication by sending an authentication frame. After successful authentication
the client sends an association frame and the access point responds with an associated response frame.
802.11 Authentication Methods and Weaknesses
The 802.11 specification specifies following mechanisms for authenticating wireless LAN clients:

Open authentication
Shared key authentication
Media access control (MAC) address

Open authentication uses a null authentication algorithm. Open authentication allows any device network
access. If no encryption is enabled on the network, any device that knows the service set identifier (SSID)
of the access point can gain access to the network.
Weakness of Open Authentication
The weakness with the open authentication is that it relies on SSID to grant access The SSID is advertised
in plain text in the access point beacon messages. An eavesdropper can easily determine the SSID with
the use of an 802.11 wireless LAN packet analyzer. The SSID can also be determined by sniffing the
probe response frames from an access point.
Shared Key Authentication
Shared key authentication requires that the client configure a static wired equivalent privacy (WEP) key.
The client sends an authentication request to the access point requesting shared key authentication. The
access point responds with an authentication response containing challenge text. The client uses its locally
configured WEP key to encrypt the challenge text and reply with a subsequent authentication request. If
the access point can decrypt the authentication request and retrieve the original challenge text, then it
responds with an authentication response that grants the client access.
Weakness of Shared Key Authentication
Shared key authentication requires the client use a preshared WEP key to encrypt challenge text sent from
the access point. The access point authenticates the client by decrypting the shared key response and

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validating that the challenge text is the same. The process of exchanging the challenge text occurs over
the wireless link and is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack. An eavesdropper can capture both the
plain-text challenge text and the cipher-text response. WEP1 encryption is done by performing an
exclusive OR (XOR) function on the plain text with the key stream to produce the cipher-text. Now if the
XOR function is performed on the plain text and cipher-text are XORed, the result is the key stream.
Therefore, an eavesdropper can easily derive the key stream just by sniffing the shared key authentication
process with a protocol analyzer.
MAC Address
MAC address authentication verifies the clients MAC address against a locally configured list of allowed
addresses or against an external authentication server. MAC authentication is used to augment the open
and shared key authentication mechanisms provided by 802.11, thereby reducing the likelihood of
unauthorized devices accessing the network.
Weakness of MAC Address Authentication
MAC addresses are sent in the clear as required by the 802.11 specification. As a result, in wireless LANs
that use MAC authentication, a network attacker might be able to subvert the MAC authentication process
by spoofing a valid MAC address. MAC address spoofing is possible in 802.11 network interface cards
(NIC) that allow the universally administered address (UAA) to be overwritten with a locally
administered address (LAA). A network attacker can use a protocol analyzer to determine a valid MAC
address and use a LAAcompliant NIC with which to spoof the valid MAC address.
WEP
WEP was first designed by the authors of the 802.1 standard. WEP provides security by encrypting data
over radio waves. WEP is used to prevent unauthorized access to the wireless network.
The WEP protocol relies on a secret key that is a preshared key. This key is used to encrypt data packets
before they are transmitted, and an integrity check is run on them. WEP uses the RC4 algorithm, which is
a stream cipher algorithm. A stream cipher expands a short key into an infinite pseudorandom key stream.
To remove the venerability in 802.11 authentication and data privacy issues many vendors have come up
with solutions that augment the 802.11 security by implementing enhancements to 802.11 authentication
and encryption mechanisms. The subsequent sections details some such mechanisms
802.1X Authentication/EAP
Recent enhancements to the 802.11 standard have supplemented the standard to include 802.1Xauthentication framework at the link layer. The IEEE 802.11 Task Group i defines an approach to
provide end-to-end framework using 802.1 and extensible authentication protocol (EAP).
This approach provides for mutual authentication between client and authentication server followed by
mechanism to derive the encryption keys after authentication. It also provides for a centralized policy
control to trigger reauthentication and new encryption key generation on session timeout. 802.1X
authentication mechanism involves following three entities:

The wireless client


The access server
The authentication server

Explained in subsequent section


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Wireless LAN: Security, Reliability, and Scalability

The access server creates a logical port per client, based on the clients association ID (AID). To create a
data path between the client and access server requires successful authentication of the client. The client
gets activated on the medium and associates to the access point. The access server detects the client
association and enables the client port. It forces the port into an unauthorized state so that only 802.1X
traffic is forwarded. All other traffic is blocked.
The client sends an EAP start message, although client initiation is not required. The access server replies
with an EAP request identity message back to the client to obtain the clients identity. The clients EAP
response packet containing the clients identity (user ID, password/digital certificate) is forwarded to the
authentication server (remote authentication dial-in user service [RADIUS] server).
The authentication server is configured to authenticate clients with a specific authentication algorithm.
Currently, 802.1X for 802.11 LANs does not stipulate a specific algorithm to use.
The result is a RADIUSACCEPT or RADIUSREJECT packet from the RADIUS server to the access
point. Upon receiving the RADIUS ACCEPT packet, the authenticator transitions the clients port to an
authorized state, and traffic may be forwarded.
This is followed by the RADIUS server and client mutually generating and sending the WEP key called
session key to the access point. The access point encrypts its broadcast key using the session key and
sends it to the client. The client uses the session key to decrypt it. On successful decryption the client and
the access point activates this WEP key and use it for all the communication. The radius server specifies a
session time out for the session key to retrigger its distribution.
Figure 1 shows the steps involved in 802.1x/EAP exchange.
5 client authenticates
ok
1 clent
associates
with access lan

wireless
device

2 access point
blocks all
requests

wireless
medium

4 credentials verified
from RADIUS
server
Radius
server

6 client
port
enabled
Access
device

3 login
8 deliver session
authentication
key to access
credentials
point
9 deliver broadcast
key encrypted using
session
key
7 derive session
key

Access
switch

Figure 1: 802.1x/EAP Authentication Process

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Vikas Koul, Prashant Vashisht, and Masood Ul Amin

EAPTLS
EAPTLS is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard (RFC 2716) that is based on the TLS
protocol (RFC 2246). EAPTLS also involves the mechanism of authentication followed by key
exchanges, as in 802.1x/EAP. The essential difference is that EAPTLS uses digital certificates for both
user and server authentication.
In the first phase of the exchange the RADIUS server sends its digital certificate to the client. The client
verifies the certificate by verifying the contents of the certificate and the issuing authority. In the second
phase the client sends its certificate to the RADIUS server. The RADIUS server validates the clients
certificate by verifying the contents and the issuer.
When the verification succeeds at the RADIUS server then the server sends an EAPsuccess message to
the client. The client and the RADIUS server then derive the dynamic WEP key.
Figure 2 shows the steps involved in the EAPTLS exchange.
6 Client and Access point
activate the WEP key
4 RADIUS server delivers session (WEP key)
to access point

1 clent
associates
with access lan

wireless
device

2 access point
blocks all
requests

wireless
medium

Access
device

Radius
server

Access
switch

5 Access point delivers Broadcast


WEP key encrypted using session key
3 User authenticates RADIUS server ( using RADIUS servers digital certificate)
RADIUS server authenticates user ( using clients digital certificate)
RADIUS server and client derive WEP key

Figure 2: EAPTLS Authentication Process


The various sections so far have discussed an assortment of mechanisms to handle security issues in the
wireless LAN networks. A wireless network designer can choose from a variety of solutions available to
him. The size and security concerns of the specific network will allow the network design to choose a
particular solution for his network keeping in mind the various advantages and disadvantages of the
solutions chosen.
Wireless LAN Reliability Overview
WLANs are used increasingly in both home and office environments, and public areas such as airports, coffee
shops, and universities. Innovative ways to utilize WLAN technology are helping people to work and
communicate more efficiently. Increased mobility, absence of cabling and other fixed infrastructure have
proven to be beneficial for many users. The wireless technologies can be used at hospitals also where a great
deal of equipment transfer is required in short period of time and cabling makes the job tougher. Life-support
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systems, however, require a very high degree of reliability in operations of the devices. It is expected that
reliability of WLAN network should be comparable to wired LANs, if WLAN community wants to keep the
same growth rate in future and forays into new area of life critical appliances.
The WLANs have difference of protocol layers at physical and data-link layers (as per the open systems
interconnection [OSI] layer model). WLANs use spread spectrum techniques for communication. The
technology facilitates multiple users to share the spectrum provided the power is limited to 1 watt as per FCC
regulations. IEEE 802.11 has given provisions for two spread spectrum techniques for communication:

Direct sequence spread spectrum technique (DSSS)


Frequency hopping spread spectrum technique (FHSS)

In evolution of wireless LAN standards, DSSS was chosen as means of communication for its better
throughput, longer outdoor range and efficiency. All wireless LAN offers an ease of mobility, however,
the reliability of the network heavily depends on the surroundings and data speed degrades as the distance
between wireless capable device increase. The radio frequency (RF) channel interference poses a major
challenge for reliable WLAN network. The 2.4 GHZ industry, science, and medicine (ISM) band is very
crowded and being shared with cordless phones, microwave ovens, and Bluetooth-supported devices. The
other emerging technologies also compete for the already crowded spectrum.
RF Channel Interference and Sources
RF interference involves the presence of unwanted, interfering RF signals in same frequency band;
802.11 operates in listen-before-talk mechanism. Each node transits packets when there is no other node
transmitting. Nodes interested in transmission wait for a free medium. An interfering RF signal of
sufficient amplitude and frequency, however, can appear as a false signal, appearing to be emanating from
an 802.11 compliant node. This causes legitimate nodes to wait for an indefinite time, as long as the
interfering signal exists. The interfering signal not only affect the nodes that are schedule for transmission
but it affects the in process packet transmission. The transmitting packet is dropped at receiving end
because of bit errors. The packet error is recovered by retransmission of the packets, which is overhead
network traffic. If the interfering signal continues in the access medium then protocol switches to lower
data rates. The lowering of data rate and channel reliability can be explained in terms of the well-known
Shannon law of maximum information transmission. In communications theory, Shannons Limit
theoretically predicts that a system can transmit a maximum of 2BW symbols per second, where BW is
the channel bandwidth. The actual capacity depends on the signal to noise ratio of the channel. In
802.11systems, as the S/N gets deteriorated the system falls back to simpler modulation the system falls
back to simpler modulation formats that have more noise tolerance.
There are several sources of interfering signals, including microwave ovens, wireless phones, baby
monitors, Bluetooth-enabled devices, and other wireless LANs. The most damaging of these are 2.4 GHz
wireless phones that people are starting to use in homes and some companies. The proximity of these
phones within the same room as an 802.11b wireless LAN severally degrades the performance and
reliability. A brief description of the RF interference sources can be found in the following paragraphs.
Microwave Ovens
Microwave ovens are the major source of interference as they also share the 2.4-Ghz ISM band.
Microwave ovens operating within 10 feet or so of an access point or radio-equipped user will generally
cause 802.11b performance to drop significantly.

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Direct Satellite Service (DSS) RF


The coaxial cable that came with certain types of satellite dishes may cause interference. This type of
interference can be reduced by selecting the cables with proper grades and shielding.
Surrounding Heavy Electrical Equipment
Certain electrical devices such as power lines, electrical railroad tracks, power stations, and spark plugs of
the engines cause sporadic interference if the electromagnetic interference norms/regulations are not taken
into account.
2.4-GHz ISM Phones
Cordless telephones that operate in this range may cause interference with access ports communication
when used. In addition, other devices operate in the 2.4-GHz range that could cause interference.
Bluetooth Devices
Bluetooth and WLAN share the 2.4GHZ ISM band, both of these technologies are a source of
interference for each other. It occurs when the two devices are attempting to transmit and receive in the
same geographic area. Bluetooth uses frequency hopping as its access mechanism. The Bluetooth
transmitter hops between 79 1-MHz wide channels with 1600 hops per second. On the other hand, 802.11
uses the listen-before-talk protocol on DSSS technology. It employs three specific, nonoverlapping, 22
MHz wide channels. As a result, there is a probability of 0.27 chances (22 divided by 79) that Bluetooth
will attempt to transmit inside a WLAN channel.
Metal Objects
If possible, move metal objects or change the placement of the base station so the path between access
port equipped-computer and the base station is free from metal objects that may cause interference.
Suppressing the Interference Effects
The WLANs reliability is directly affected by the channel RF interference. RF interference effects,
however, cannot be fully eliminated but a carefully wireless Network deployment and synergetic
cooperations among the chip manufactures can downplay the RF interference. The chip manufactures
can play a role of referee among the wireless original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Network Deployment Scenarios Reduce the Interference
Keep the number of walls and ceilings between the wireless range extender and receiving device to a
minimum. Each wall or ceiling can reduce the wireless products range from 390 feet (130 meters). Position
access points, residential gateways, and computers so that the number of walls or ceilings is minimized.
There should be a direct line between the wireless access point, residential gateways (routers) and
computers (equipped with wireless network interface cards [NICs]). Position the wireless equipment,
access points and adapters so that the signal will travel straight through a wall or ceiling (instead of at an
angle) for better reception.
Building materials can impede the wireless signala solid metal door or aluminum studs may have a
negative effect on range. Try to position the range extender, access points, and computers with wireless
adapters so that the signal passes through drywall or open doorways and not other materials.
Keep access points and any NIC products away (at least 36 feet or 12 meters) from electrical devices or
appliances that may generate extreme RF noise.

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Wireless LAN: Security, Reliability, and Scalability

Device-Level Initiative to Reduce the Interference


The interference problem becomes very acute if two different ICs are cased in a single piece of equipment
and use the 2.4 ISM band for communication. A common example is the availability of 802.11a/g capable
chip inside equipment, which also communicates on the Bluetooth protocol. Some of the chip vendors
came with innovative ideas to interwork the Bluetooth and 802.11a/g chips. They provide some extra
signal pins to stop and resume the communications in controlled manner. If such initiative becomes
common then a major interference problem faced by the hardware development teams can be resolved
which will ultimately give better throughput and reliability to users of such equipment.
WLAN: Scalability
This section provides a brief overview and analysis of the scalability aspect of the WLANs as they have
evolved over last few years. Before taking the plunge to discover and review the scalability aspects of
WLANs, it would be imperative to have a distinction between the various WLAN generations.
Broadly speaking, the wireless LANs could be divided into two broad categories. Firstly, the initial plain
vanilla WLAN that brought the WLAN onto the world stage. This generation was all about providing the
basic wireless connectivity and had little to do with other aspects of the wireless world connectivity. It
mostly comprised of proprietary WLANs and IEEE 802.11 standard for WLANs. In nutshell this
generation suffered the following drawbacks:

Lack of security.
Low interoperability
No QoS support for multimedia/Voice traffic support

The ability to manage users or to have a control over the network was minimal and there was quite little
support to avoid bandwidth hogging.
As the popularity of the WLANs grew, the users and developers of the WLANs gradually became aware
of the issues involved in the implementation and usage of WLANs, and this lead to the evolution of the
next generation of WLANs. This generation consists of a series of supplement standards and
enhancements to the initial 802.11 protocol to make it more robust, secure, and manageable with quality
of service (QoS) support.
The following is a brief list of the various standards that have been formulated to achieve the abovementioned aspects:

802.11a: Supports 54 Mbps in 5-GHz band


802.11b: Supports 11 Mbps in 2.4-GHz band
802.11d: To allow global roaming of clients
802.11e: Supplementary standard to provide QoS support
802.11g: PHY layer standard for WLAN in 2.4-GHz band for supporting three 54-Mbps
operation and backward compatible with 802.11b
802.11h: Supplementary standard to comply with European regulations for 5-MHz WLAN
802.11i: Supplementary standard to improve security using WEP
802.1x: Provides authentication/access control for access points through the user of EAP

Having had a brief insight into the evolution of WLANs, we would now delve more into the scalability
aspect of WLANs. The scalability of a WLAN is usually measured on the following benchmarks:

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Coverage area: This indicates the area of influence of a WLAN in which data transmission is
feasible with the data integrity and correctness being intact. The coverage area could be increased
with the use of multiple successive access points.

User count: This factor indicates the maximum number of users that could be supported by a
WLAN without compromising on the quality of data transmission.

Performance: This aspect of scalability covers mainly the bandwidth utilization, data
transmission rate and the errors and overheads involved in a particular WLAN technology.

One of the key aspects of WLAN that is under continuous focus is scalability. The scalability of initial
technologies in WLAN world left a lot to be desired but the pioneers of the wireless world are leaving no
stone unturned to make WLAN a integral part of communication world.
Among the various WLAN options available to us, we are going to discuss 802.11a, which is one of the
latest advancements in the wireless world and how it scores better than previous WLAN technologies
(especially 802.11b).
802.11a: A Scalable WLAN Solution
The latest offering of IEEE to help design and implement a highly scalable, robust, and reliable WLAN is
802.11a. In this particular section we would mainly focus on the scalability aspects of 802.11a that makes
it such an obvious choice for supporting the ever-growing wireless networks.
The 802.11a standard supports many more channels than its predecessor, i.e., 802.11b. Whereas 802.11b
supports 3 nonoverlapping channels, with 11 Mbps capacity each, 802.11a supports 8 nonoverlapping
channels, with 54 Mbps capacity each (approximately 432 Mbps in a given coverage area). Hence there is
a significant increase in the available bandwidth.
The 802.11a WLAN utilizes 300 MHz of bandwidth in the 5GHz spectrum in unlicensed national
information infrastructure (UNII). The available bands are further divided into different realms and are
useful for various in-building or building-to-building communications depending upon the power outputs
of the individual bands. In contrast, only 83 MHz of spectrum in ISM band is available to 802.11b and
that too is a shared band with other devices like cordless phones and microwave ovens etc.
The above two enhancements in 802.11a drastically improve the scalability of the 802.11a as compared to
802.11b. Another aspect, which enhances the scalability of 802.11a, is the orthogonal frequency division
multiplexing (OFDM) used by it, unlike 802.11b, which uses direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS).
OFDM serves a two-fold purpose, i.e., besides providing higher data rates, it also improves the signal
distortion and transmission echo.
The 802.11a standard has 8 channels of 20-MHz width with 52 subcarriers inside each channel giving its
scalability a great boost. The squeezing of so much of information per transmission might lead to data
loss and the designers of 802.11a have envisioned such scenario and have provided the feature of forward
error correction (FEC) in 802.11a. FEC consists of sending a secondary copy of data along with the
primary data and if some primary data is lost then the lost data could be recovered by the receiver using
the secondary copy, thus avoiding the need for retransmissions.
The data speeds available in 802.11a are 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 54 Mbps and 802.11a has the
provision of auto-rate scaling down from 54 Mbps depending upon the distance and the network load.

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802.11a around the World


Having said that 802.11a is the choice of the future and provides a myriad of flexibility of support
features to run applications requiring high data-traffic rates, it brings us to a point where we discuss the
popularity of 802.11a.
While in the United States 802.11a is gradually gaining popularity because of the features already
described before, it is still not very popular in Europe because of the interoperability issues related to the
use of 5MHz spectrum. Though several companies are already shipping 802.11a based products in many
European countries. The standardization bodies (IEEE and ETSI) are working closely to have all the
interoperability glitches resolved.
Summary
WLAN technology is here to stay but it would continue to mature for a while. There have been some
teething problems faced by the WLAN but solutions to these problems are emerging and it would not be a
very distant future that support for multiservices would be available on WLAN. WLAN adoption is
becoming a widespread phenomenon in both enterprise and direct consumers. Many organizations have
started to feel more comfortable with WLAN and efforts are on to make WLAN better manageable. The
present trend would pave the way for next generation WLAN applications like voice over WLAN.
References
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

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Anand R. Prasad, Wireless LANs, Status Today and Visions for Future.
Joanie Wexler and Steven Taylor, Wireless LAN, State of the Market Report, February 2004.
Aaron Vance, WLAN: Trend and Analysis.
Intel, 802.11a Scalable 5 GHz Wireless LAN.
Louis E. Frenzel, Two-Chip Transceiver Set Will Eliminate 802.11b/Bluetooth Interference.
Steve Thomas, Interference Detection and Mitigation.
Philips, How 802.11b/g WLAN and Bluetooth Can Play Together.

Wi-Fi Networks: A Discussion


from the Carrier Perspective
Ron Landi
Advisory Engineer, Network Architecture and Advanced Technology
MCI
1 . Introduction
This paper presents a discussion of wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks from a communication carriers
perspective. The focus of this paper is on the set of IEEE standards 802.11x that address Wi-Fi networks.
The following topics, relevant to a fundamental understanding of Wi-Fi, will be addressed in this paper:
what IEEE 802.11x is; security issues; market overview; Wi-Fi network configurations; cost and revenue
drivers; and a discussion regarding communication carrier Wi-Fi strategies.
1.1 What Is 802.11x?
802.11x is an IEEE standard for wireless local-area networks. Wi-Fi is the use of radio frequencies to
extend Ethernet local-area network (LAN) connectivity. The Ethernet LAN connectivity could be
extensions between fixed wired Ethernet LANs and wireless (radio frequency) users; or connectivity
between multiple wireless (radio frequency) users. Wi-Fi uses unlicensed frequency spectrum in the
2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Fundamentally, it is a wireless version of a local area networkwith attributes,
such as the carrier-sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) protocol, that are
characteristic of a wired bus topology network. Some of the basic IEEE standards include the following:
802.11 in the 2.4GHz band, with throughput rates of 12 Mbps; 802.11b in the 2.4GHz band, with
throughput rates up to 11 Mbps; 802.11a in the 5GHz band, with throughput rates up to 54 Mbps; and
802.11g in the 2.4GHz band, with throughput rates up to 54 Mbps. Useable two-way throughput data
rates are, in general, about 40 to 60 percent of the maximum burst rates stipulated in the standards.
Factors that may affect the effective data rate including distance, interference, number of users sharing the
aggregate system capacity, and data packet/frame collisions. Some other factors that impact the overall
performance and throughout of Wi-Fi systems include the following:

Location/placement of PCcard antennas

Radio frequency power, typically about 50 milliwatts

Interference and signal propagationWi-Fi signals may be subject to interference from cordless
telephones, microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, remote garage door controlsand may also be
impacted as they penetrate buildings and walls

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Wi-Fi Networks: A Discussion from the Carrier Perspective

Wi-Fi link distances are dependent on deployment specifics, but in general, are as follows:
o

Indoor links are about 20 to 300 feet

Outdoor links are about 100 to 300 feet

Greater link distances may be achieved with smart, high-gain antenna systems, but this adds
complexity and costs to the system and is more likely to be used in commercial rather than
consumer deployments.
The main elements of a basic wireless LAN include the following: a Wi-Fi LAN card for the laptop PC or
other portable device; an access point that transmits the wireless signals to multiple user PC Wi-Fi LAN
cards; and a broadband access connection from a wired network into the access point, such as digital
subscriber line (DSL) or broadband cable. In addition, the user PC may have client software to provide
authentication and other security functions. Other elements may include a secure server (for Web or email access) and a router/firewall. These elements could be part of a standalone wireless network or part
of the wired network that the access point interconnects to. It should be noted that some of the newer
laptop PCs might have Wi-Fi LAN capabilities built into the PC chipsets, as opposed to separate cards.
Typical wireless LAN configurations, depicted in Figure 1, include the following:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Stand alone wireless LANwireless user to wireless user peering


Extension to existing wired LAN
Bridging LANs for campus-like coverage
Last-mile access coverage

WAN

Stand Alone Wireless LAN


RF to RF Peering

Extension to Existing LAN

2- 4 Sq Miles

WAN

Access
Points

Gateway

WAN

Campus Coverage
Bridging

Server

Last Mile Area Coverage

Figure 1: Wireless LAN Configurations

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Ron Landi

1.2 Wi-Fi Security Considerations


Wireless LANs are inherently less secure than wired systems. Significant security issues relating to Wi-Fi
have been identified in the past. These security vulnerabilities have resulted in the implementation of
proprietary vendor solutions in advance of new standards. Some basic security weaknesses inherent in
wireless LANs include the following:

Radio signals may propagate beyond a controlled area

Basic security features (i.e., suppress broadcasting of system IDs) often are not enabled by the users

Data and management frames and headers are transmitted in clear-text mode, raising the potential
for the capturing of MAC addresses and encryption information (i.e., public keys)

Present standards do not support mutual authentication between access points and users

Present standards do not support frame-by-frame authentication

802.11 wired equivalent privacy (WEP) encryption, the existing security standard, is not secure
private keys are static and WEP employs a simple encryption methodology

Some examples of possible Wi-Fi security breaches include the following: war drivers who target
and identify open or uncontrolled systems; network attackers who pose as valid users, gaining access
via frame spoofing and session hijacking techniques; and rogue access points, resulting in hot-spot
forgeries. To combat these security weaknesses, a number of current solutions can be implemented.
Users can implement the Wi-Fi Alliances wireless protected access (WPA)this is an interim
solution until the IEEE 802.11i standard is completed. WPA provides port control and dynamic key
distribution features to enhance security capabilities. Enterprise customers can use virtual private
network (VPN) client software to create secure IP tunnels across the wireless LAN. In addition,
additional security features can be enabled in the access points to enhance encryption and frame
control functions. The longer-term solution to Wi-Fi security issues is the implementation of the
802.11i standard. It should be noted that this standard was just approved by the IEEE in late June
2004. The 802.11i security specification replaces WEP and will provide a higher level of security.
Some of its features include: access control (mutual authentication); improved encryption key
management; frame authentication; advanced encryption standards (AES); and isolation of the
wireless LAN from the wired infrastructure. The transition from existing Wi-Fi security methods
(WEP, WPA) to equipment that supports 802.11i and AES will take time and will require hardware
and software upgrades.
1.3 Wi-Fi Market Overview
The wireless LAN market is very fragmented, with 802.11 becoming the dominant wireless LAN
solution. Equipment and chip vendors are building 802.11 interfaces directly into devicessuch as
laptop PCs, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and wireless 2.5G/3G telephones. The increased
volume of 802.11 devices, in addition to the entry of multiple vendors into the equipment market, has
resulted in lower equipment costs. Wi-Fi equipment is now within the reach of the consumer markets,
being deployed in the home and the small office/home office (SOHO) environments. In addition,
cellular and personal communications system (PCS) service providers are beginning to integrate
802.11 capabilities into their wireless servicesoffering PCS/digital services and Wi-Fi capabilities
in hot spots or zones. The IEEE is addressing critical areassuch as security, quality of service,
streaming data, roamingto enable new Wi-Fi services. Wi-Fi has attracted the attention of major
vendors, service providers and venture capital funds. While the Wi-Fi market has received much

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attention and publicity in recent yearswide-scale commercial system deployments, solid revenue
estimates, and compelling business cases for wireless LAN services have yet to be seen. Some of the
general market drivers for Wi-Fi include the following: cost and convenience over wiring; the
extension of and convenience for enterprise systems; enhanced productivity for personnel working in
the field; and public Internet connectivity, via hot spots. Presently, in the United States, there are an
estimated 30,000 to 40,000 hot spotsmainly in retail outlets, hotels, and airports; in addition, the
number of free community hot spots, funded in part by local government entities, continues to grow.
The estimated number of wireless LAN users, accessing these hot spots, is estimated at between 13
and 15 million users.
Some of the challenges faced by Wi-Fi include the following: proprietary vendor solutions add
complexity and lessen plug-and-play installation opportunities; standardized roaming does not exist;
there is a lack of strong quality-of-service capabilitieslimiting applications such as streaming video
and voice over the Internet (VoIP); there are no external network management capabilities; available
bandwidth is shared and could limit the ability of wireless LANs to scale and grow; and the IEEE WiFi standards are still being worked, potentially resulting in the change out of early adopter equipment
and the use of proprietary/noninteroperable solutions.
1.4 Wi-Fi Network Configurations
There are three wireless LAN options of interest to the communication carrier. These alternatives are as
follows:

Enterprise wireless LAN (EWLAN)


o EWLANs are extensions to the wired/cabled networks, using access points to create
wireless infrastructures. They can be freestanding wireless networks used to support small
office and temporary set-ups.

The incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) and interexchange carrier (IXC) service providers have
shown interest in the enterprise wireless LAN alternative. The EWLAN option allows them to extend
their enterprise and business customers wired LANs. The enterprise wireless LAN becomes a secure
extension of the wired customer premise network. The service providers can offer managed services, in
addition to bundles of current and future servicessuch as frame relay access, Internet, firewall, and
managed data servicesover the EWLAN. Refer to Figure 2 for a depiction of an enterprise wireless
LAN with multiple access points.

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Ron Landi

Enterprise wired & WiFi LAN

Wired Network

Secure
Server

To WAN
Wireless Access Point (AP)

10/100 Base T

Wireless
Access Point
(AP)

Secure
Edge
Device

10/100 Base T

Router/Firewall

10/100 Base T
Wireless Access Point (AP)

Wireless
Access Point
(AP)

To wired
network

10/100 Base T
Wireless Access Point (AP)

Wireless
Access Point
(AP)

Figure 2: Enterprise Wireless LAN

Hot spots
Hot spots enable handheld and laptop users to connect to the Internet from public places such as
airports, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other public places (i.e., libraries). They are 802.11
wireless local networks connected to the Internet via broadband access. Hot spots are used by
wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) such as T-Mobile and Wayport to provide users with
Internet and e-mail access.

There has been much activity regarding wireless hot spots in recent years. There are a number of large
entities that have built wireless hot spots and made related infrastructure investments in airports, hotels,
cafes, restaurants, and business centers. Some of these entitieswhich are partnering with
communications companies and systems integratorsare wholesaling, reselling, or retailing wireless
LAN connectivity and Internet access services. One example of a high-profile but unsuccessful venture
was Cometaan AT&T and IBM joint venture, with plans to build out more than 20,000 hot spots
throughout the country. Cometa recently announced plans to terminate its efforts.
The cost of backhaul and Internet service appear drive the majority of hot-spot deployments. In addition,
there is minimal cross system operation for roaming between hot spots provided by different vendors.
Refer to Figure 3 for a generic configuration of a typical wireless LAN hot spot.

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Radius coverage ~ 150 feet

Wi-Fi Networks: A Discussion from the Carrier Perspective

Wireless Access Point (AP)

Wireless
Access Point
(AP)

Secure
Server

Router
10/100 Base T

10/100 Base T

Internet Dedicated T1 Burstable

To WAN
Edge Router

Hot Spot

Figure 3: Wireless LAN Hot Spot

Campus and last-mile access


Campus and last-mile access extends wireless connectivity to a wide area of coverage, using
access points, and/or smart antennas. These wireless access options enable LAN broadband
connectivity over a larger area, such as a campus, zone, or city. Access points using meshed
backhaul and smart antennas that extend the signal range are key network components in these
options. In campus and last-mile wireless options the users share a common wireless network and
the respective bandwidth.

Local and city government entities are showing much interest in campus and last-mile access to provide
public wireless access to their citizens and enhance the capabilities of public safety departments. Campuslike or hot-zone environments (i.e., hospitals, corporate parks, malls, revitalized downtown areas) and
suburban/rural residential areas lacking broadband access are examples of where last-mile wireless LAN
solutions might be used. In addition, service providers are looking at wireless connectivity to and within
resort and other high-traffic areas, in addition to specialized applications (i.e., sea ports). Radio-frequency
interference, in addition to building penetration and coverage, remains a key challenge for wider-area
coverage using wireless LANs. The ability of a service provider or other entity to control geographic
areas should help mitigate some of these deployment issues. Refer to Figures 4 and 5 for examples of
campus and last-mile wireless LANs. Figure 4 shows an example of a wireless LAN using partial mesh
architecture. Figure 5 shows another example using smart antenna technology.

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Ron Landi

Open-Area Service

4 Sq. Mile Hot Zone

- campus-like environments
- suburban residential coverage
- minimum infrastructure for coverage

Peered APs

nxMb Ethernet

nxMb Ethernet

Wired APs

Router

Other Considerations
- interference
- building penetration
- more APs / higher costs

Peered APs
Wired APs

Router

Peered APs

Peered APs

Peered APs

Edge Router

Internet Dedicated
T1 (nxMb)

TDM NxT1

TDM NxT1

To WAN

Figure 4: Campus and Last-Mile WLAN Partial Mesh


4 Sq. Mile Hot Zone

Open-Area Service
ile
1m

ius
rad

- campus-like environments
- suburban residential coverage
- minimum infrastructure for coverage

Other Considerations

Smart / Directional
Antenna AP
nxMb Ethernet
Router

- propagation
- interference
- building penetration
- more smart antennas / higher costs

Edge Router
TDM NxT1 (nxT1s)

To WAN

Internet Dedicated
T1 (nxMb)

Figure 5: Campus and Last-Mile WLAN Smart Antenna


1.5 Cost and Revenue Drivers of Wi-Fi Networks
Fundamental cost drivers for Wi-Fi include the following: access points deployed; backhaul points that
provide connectivity into the wired network; amount of bandwidth provided to the wireless LAN; need
for repeaters or smart antennas to extend wireless signals (based on distance); labor to install and test
equipment; and the customer equipment. Key revenue drivers for Wi-Fi include the following: number of
customers served on the wireless network; sustained data rates achieved on the network; services offered;
pricing of services offered; competitive broadband alternatives; customer churn activity; and customer
acquisition, marketing, and set-up costs. The enterprise WLAN model could allow the communication
service provider to up-sell other established services with minimal capital investment and associated
operating costs. The hot-spot model becomes more complex and risky because this option requires a
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Wi-Fi Networks: A Discussion from the Carrier Perspective

critical mass of hot-spot locations in order to attract a sufficient number of wireless LAN customers. But
without a sufficient number of wireless LAN customers, it becomes difficult to justify the capital
investments in hot spots. In addition, there may be more than one service provider competing for
customers in the same hot spot. The campus and last-mile access models also require a sufficient number
of customers to justify the capital outlays. Figure 6 displays, in chart form, relative costs for a few
different Wi-Fi network configurations. It should be noted that these costs represent rough-order-ofestimate ranges and will vary by the specific deployment.

Configuration (1)

Total Capital

Internet +
Access

Total Monthly
Cost

802.11b LAN Extension


Single Access Point

Not included
$7K - $12K

802.11b LAN Extension


Multiple (five) Access Points

$15K - $24K

Not
included

$400 - $600

802.11b Hot Spot Service


No Security, Access Authorization Only

$2K - $4K

$1K - $2K (2)

$1.1K - $1.3K

802.11b Hot Spot Service


High Level of Security, Policy Management

$8K - $13K

$1K - $2K (2)

$1.3K - $1.6K

$104K - $173K

$4K - $5K (3)

$8K - $10K (4)

$35K - $59K

$4K - $5K (3)

$6K - $7K (4)

Last Mile Access


Routed RF Backhaul between APs (partial mesh)
Last Mile Access
Smart Antenna

$200 - $300

(1) = costs are for illustrative purposes only and will vary based upon specific configuration, associated requirements, vendor
equipment and scale/size
(2) = Internet access only
(3) = Internet + last mile access
(4) = includes utility pole lease + power

Figure 6: Chart of Relative Wi-Fi Network Costs


1.6 Communication Carrier Wi-Fi Network Strategies
The communication carrier must evaluate the risk and reward associated with entry into different Wi-Fi
spaces leveraging different opportunities. As previously mentioned, there appear to be four different WiFi spaces of interest to the carrierthese include enterprise LANs, hot spots, campus coverage or hot
zones, and last-mile access. The carrier can leverage the following strategic opportunities in each of these
spacessuch as infrastructure provider, branded reseller, back-office systems and services provider, or
network provider. The carrier can enter into a single or multiple Wi-Fi spaces, using the optimal strategic
opportunity that best fits that space. Refer to Figure 7 for a simple decision matrix that shows the Wi-Fi
spaces and opportunities for a communication carrier. A communication carrier may not invest directly in
hot spot and/or last-mile wireless LAN infrastructure. It may enable its customers to use other carriers
infrastructure through resale and other partnering arrangements, such as roaming agreements with hotspot providers and development of back-office systems to integrate with wireless LAN partners. In
addition, there may be opportunities to develop service packageswhich include network services,
Internet access, back-office systems capabilitiesthat could be sold to hot spot and last-mile wireless
LAN providers. Carriers may also develop new productssuch as VoIP over wireless connections and
simplified securityfor enterprise customers that leverage the 802.11x networks.

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Ron Landi

802.11 Spaces
802.11 Opportunities

Infrastructure
Provider

Branded
Resale

Back Office
Systems &
Services

Network
Provider

Enterprise WLAN

Hot Spots

Campus

Last Mile Access

Figure 7: Matrix of Wi-Fi Spaces and Opportunities


2. Summary and Conclusions
As wireless services and applications continue to grow, and customers demand the freedom that
mobility affords, we should see continued interest and development in 802.11x wireless LAN networks.
The growth in IPbased services will also fuel the need for broadband network alternatives to DSL and
broadband cable. As larger scale private and public wireless LAN projects come on line, the awareness
of the communications and public/social benefits of wireless LANssuch as productivity
improvements for police and emergency departmentswill become more obvious to the layman. The
issues of enhanced security, reliable network performance and profitable business models will get
resolved through the collaborative efforts of equipment vendors, service providers, standards bodies,
and government entities. These efforts will all help toward solidifying and sustaining 802.11xs
position in the communications industry.

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Operations Support System


(OSS) Requirements and
Solutions for Carrier-Grade
Wireless LAN Services
Monica Paolini
Founder and President
Senza Fili Consulting

Pronto Networks
One of the major challenges in offering a carrier-grade wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) service is to choose and
deploy an effective OSS infrastructure. This paper discusses the requirements for customers, service
providers, network operators, and venue owners and provides recommendations for service providers and
network operators evaluating different OSS options.
The OSS Challenges for WLAN Services
Wireless local-area network (WLAN) access is finally coming of age. The number of hotspots is growing
rapidly around the world (with more than 10,000 in the United States alone), as users are increasingly
eager to use the service not only in airports, coffee shops, and hotels, but also on trains and in
underground stations, in RV parks, and marinas. As WLAN access expands to new types of hotspots or to
wider hot zones, and as multiple networks and service providers share the wireless infrastructure, more
complex WLAN topologies have started to appear.
The WLAN Infrastructure Is Growing in Complexity
Airports are a good example of this ongoing transformation. Initially, WLAN access was limited to an
airline lounge or a couple of gates, and a single service provider offered the service through a monthly
subscription or a credit -card payment. The network was typically used only for public access and the
over-the-air link was left unprotected. This relatively simple WLAN infrastructure is becoming more
complex, as the number of services increases and as the requirements from users, service providers and
venue owners have become more sophisticated:

Coverage. Areas covered by the WLAN have expanded, often to include entire terminals or airports.

Roaming. The increasing number of roaming agreements results in several service providers
offering public access through the same network operator.
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Operations Support System (OSS) Requirements and Solutions for Carrier-Grade Wireless LAN Services

Security. Robust security solutions, such as wireless protected access (WPA), are now available
to protect all users, but they require direct involvement of service providers and network
operators to enable mutual authentication and encryption keys management.

Consistent service. Service providers want to label the service, charge the user through a
single bill, and offer the same level of service and client interface that is available within
their own network.

Location-based services. The airport may request to provide location-based information and
services (e.g., information about flight departures, airport services) to the travelers.

Client interface. Users increasingly demand a robust, easy-to-use interface and a secure
connection, while retaining the ability to select their favorite service provider or use alternative
security solutions, such as their companys virtual private network (VPN).

Multiple virtual networks. Besides public access, WLANs may provide services to airport
concessions, airlines, and security agencies, thus creating the need for multiple virtual networks,
all supported by the same WLAN infrastructure.

The effects of the increased complexity at the hotspot level are magnified by the growth of the domestic
footprint and its international expansion. The establishment of roaming agreements among service
providers based in different countries has suddenly given international access to subscribers. It has also
increased the back-end burden for service providers and network operators alike.
Compelling, Carrier-Grade Services Are Critical
Several mobile carriers, fixed operators, wireless Internet service providers (WISPs), and, in some cases,
venue owners, are offering or planning to offer Wi-Fi access, and are becoming increasingly aware of the
challenges that WLAN services pose. Once they have established a footprint, by building their own
infrastructure (e.g., T-Mobile, BT Openzone, Wayport) and/or by entering roaming agreements (e.g., Sprint,
AT&T Wireless), service providers need to ensure that they are offering a compelling, carrier-grade service
to their customers. This is a crucial capability for service providers to attract subscribers, differentiate
themselves from competitors who may offer free access, and avoid commoditization of the service.
A Robust OSS Is a Prerequisite for a Carrier-Grade WLAN Service
The task of managing the WLAN infrastructure and services to the subscriber has proved to be more
complex than initially expected. As a result some subscribers find it too difficult or time consuming to get
connected at hotspots, and service providers have only limited back-end functionality. Adoption of an
effective WLAN OSS is a crucial step to ensure that WLAN can become a carrier-grade service that has
the same reliability and level of customer support as the other services offered by the service provider.
WLAN OSS Is Challenging and Increasingly Complex
The challenges that a WLAN OSS faces are several. WLAN access is a service that is not yet mature
and that is rapidly evolving. Relying on a relatively new technology that is used in multiple
environments (e.g., at home and at work, in addition to public hotspots), users often need additional
support to learn how to use the service in a new environment and avoid software conflicts. The
potential for value-added services (VAS) creates additional requirements for future compatibility that
are often difficult to assess. The lack of widely accepted standards for authentication, authorization,
and accounting (AAA) and security and the need to integrate with the OSS for existing services (e.g.,
voice services) adds complexity to the adopted OSS solution. To complicate matters further, the
presence in the market of different players (e.g., venue owners, fixed operators, mobile operators,

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Monica Paolini and Pronto Networks

WISPs) translates into different integration needs, as the WLAN OSS typically coexists with
different legacy systems. The emerging complex roaming infrastructure increases the number of
players that need to exchange user data information and to process payments. At the wholesale level
there is still considerable uncertainty as to the metric (volume, time-metered, or daily access) to be
used, requiring network operators to collect different sets of data for different service providers.
Finally, the need to establish interworking with cellular networks, will create additional requirements
and a closer cooperation between service providers and network operators.
This white paper examines the OSS requirements that service providers, network operators,
aggregators, and clearinghouses have to meet to address these challenges and provides
recommendations on how to evaluate and select an OSS. The requirements are assessed from the
viewpoint of the value chain actors: subscribers, corporate clients, venue owners, network operators,
and service providers. Recommendations are based on the outlined requirements and on the demand
that we expect to arise from future services.
OSS for WLAN: A Definition
To clarify the scope of the white paper, it is useful to define the five functional areas that WLAN OSS
encompasses (see Figure 1). They include billing and customer management that are sometimes defined
as business supporting services (BSS).

Billing

Customer
Management

Network
Management

Service
Provisioning

Service
Assurance

Event management

CRM

Network planning

Order management

Rating, discounting

Customer service

Roaming retail billing

Customer self service

Resource
management

Workflow
management

Roaming wholesale
billing

Call center
management

Configuration
management

Service activation

Trouble ticketing

Network provisioning

SLA management

CDR exchange with


roaming partners

Trouble reports

Network inventory

QoS implementation

Policy management

Testing

Invoicing
Taxation

Remote management
Security and
authentication
management

Performance
management
Fault management

Reporting and data


analysis

Collection
Fraud management
Micropayments

Figure 1: OSS Functions


WLAN access is often an add-on service and it uses roaming extensively. These two features dictate
specific requirements for WLAN OSSs. As WLAN is often offered as part of a package that includes
other services (e.g., in addition to cellular voice and data services), a WLAN OSS needs to be integrated
to some extent with the service providers existing OSS. Furthermore, the service provider may desire
that some of the OSS functions, such as customer service and billing, be largely performed by the existing
OSS. Other functions, such as roaming services, network management, quality of service (QoS)
implementation, and security, are specific to WLAN services and have to be addressed separately.
As WLAN access through roaming partners is likely to become prevalent, service providers do not always
operate their own WLAN hotspots, and some of the OSS functions (e.g., network management) are
performed in large part by the network operator (which may or may not be a service provider) (see Figure
2). Two types of intermediaries may interface service providers and network operators and be responsible
for some OSS functions:
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Operations Support System (OSS) Requirements and Solutions for Carrier-Grade Wireless LAN Services

Aggregators that bring together network operators and service providers through roaming
arrangements geared to increase traffic and optimize the use of the wireless infrastructure.

Clearinghouses that facilitate the transmission of usage and billing information and offer financial
settlement services.
Hotspot
Venue owner

Aggregator

Network operator

Clearinghouse
Router
Internet

Access
controller

Service provider
Radius AAA
server

Switch

Access
points
Billing, customer
management, provisioning
Mobile
client

Subscriber

Figure 2: Players and Relationships Involved in a Hotspot Session


Requirements for a Carrier-Grade Wi-Fi Service
The following sections discuss the requirements for end-users, corporate clients, venue owners, network
operators, and service providers.
End-User Requirements: Ease of Use and Consistent Service
Using WLAN in a public hotspot can still be a frustrating or time consuming experience. To start, it is
often difficult to locate the coverage area, and, once identified, the user needs to select the appropriate
network manually if multiple networks are available. The authentication process is often inconsistent,
slow, and, if the user does not have a subscription with the service provider, requires entering credit-card
and billing-address information. The limited availability of roaming services creates the need for the
frequent user to maintain different accounts with different service providers to have access to a wide set
of hotspots. While current Wi-Fi users are enthusiastic about the service, greater ease of use and
consistency are necessary to attract less tech-savvy, but more numerous, users.
The key subscribers requirements to achieve these goals are the following:

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Quick negotiation of connections. The user needs to be able to select the preferred service set
identified (SSID) and service provider and get authenticated very quickly (less than a minute).

Monica Paolini and Pronto Networks

Easy to use interface for AAA. Regardless of the local network operator, the subscriber needs to
find a familiar, consistent, easy-to-use interface provided by the service provider.

Robust security. The over-the-air link has to be secured while allowing the subscriber to use
alternative security solutions, such as VPN (see Figure 3). It is worth noting that robust security
solutions such as Wi-Fi protected access (WPA) and, in the future, Microsoft wireless
provisioning services (WPS) require support from the network operator and service provider and
thus, unlike VPN, cannot be adopted unilaterally by the subscriber.

Single bill. When roaming on a partners networks, all the fees incurred have to be charged to
subscribers main account.

Information about hotspot locations and prices. When multiple options are available (e.g.,
multiple network operators, or service available through roaming agreements from different
service providers), the user needs to have access to information about pricing, service features,
and coverage area and be able to select the preferred connection option.

Pricing flexibility. Different pricing options are necessary to attract users with different
requirements. Heavy travelers may choose a flat fee price, while the occasional user may prefer a
per-session or per-minute charge or a prepaid account. Subscribers with high usage requirements
may also opt for premium services enabled by QoS, which will give them a higher priority in
using the bandwidth available.

Management of own account on-line. Subscribers find it valuable to access information about
their account and their usage of the service on-line.

Effective customer support. Customer support needs to be available initially to educate the user
and later to address more complex problems.

WPA/802.1x

802.11i

VPN

WPA is a Wi-Fi Alliance de-facto standard that overcomes the security vulnerabilities of WEP. It
provides support for mutual authentication through 802.1x, dynamic encryption keys through
TKIP, and for AAA functionality through RADIUS.
IEEE 802.11i is a proposed standard that will be backward compatible with WPA and will
provide support for a more powerful encryption scheme (Advanced Encryption Standard, AES).
Ratification of the standard is expected by the end of 2004.
VPN is a tunneling protocol that protects data in transit over a wireless or wired link through
encryption. It is currently widely used to secure WLAN connections, after the initial
authentication.

EAP

Authentication protocol that provides mutual authentication (the network is authenticated by


the user, and the user by the network) using several credential types, such as passwords, SIM,
and digital certificates.

PEAP

Extensible authentication protocol that can be used in conjunction with EAP to provide further
protection.

WPS

Microsoft provisioning platform that includes WPA, 802.1x and PEAP, that provides increased
security and an improved interface. WPS is expected to be available in 2004.

Figure 3: Wi-Fi Security: Standards and Solutions

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Operations Support System (OSS) Requirements and Solutions for Carrier-Grade Wireless LAN Services

Corporate Client Requirements: Security, Wide Availability and Monitoring Capabilities


Business users are, at least initially, the most attractive market segment. They travel frequently, often with
a WLANenabled laptop, they have extensive data connectivity needs, and the cost of their WLAN
subscription can be easily justified by productivity gains.
Frequently, it is their company that directly negotiates the account for all employees with the service
provider and wants to ensure that wireless access while traveling is compatible with corporate guidelines.
In addition to the requirements of individual subscribers discussed in the previous section, business users
often require additional services, dictated by the IT policies of their company:

Security. While corporations may in the longer term want to make specific corporate services
available to their employees while working remotely, at present their major preoccupations are to
ensure secure connections and adherence to company policies (e.g., with regards to Internet access).
The ability of a service provider to offer secure authentication and access and to allow the use of
corporate VPN tunneling is necessary to gain acceptance, as a security breach may compromise not
only the employee using WLAN services, but it could jeopardize the entire company.

Wide footprint. Corporate customers will need to have access to a wide network of hotspots,
including most airports, convention centers, and hotels. At all locations, a consistent service is
expected. As not all service providers will be able to have their own infrastructure in those
locations, it is necessary they develop roaming partnerships with the network operators that
manage these hotspots to offer an attractive service.

Customer support. Effective customer support has to be available to address the corporate users
needs. This is key to reduce the impact that the service will have on corporate internal IT support
and to ensure customer satisfaction.

Advanced account management ability. Corporate accounts will require detailed usage and billing
information both at the individual user and at the company level for internal monitoring purposes.

Venue Owner Requirements: Reach the Subscriber and Minimize Infrastructure Maintenance
Venue owners welcome WLAN hotspots on their property for three primary reasons:

Revenue opportunity
A service to their customers
A means to reach visitors or customers and offer information and services.

Venue owners are increasingly less involved in the direct management of hotspots, relying instead on
network operators to deploy and manage the WLAN. As a result, they want to minimize the intrusion of
the wireless infrastructure on their operations. To meet their expectations, WLAN services need to meet
these requirements:

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Hassle-free infrastructure. High reliability and remote network management are necessary to
ensure that the service runs smoothly in the background, without too many inquires from
subscribers or visits from the network operator.

Location-based services and branding. The venue owner may want to brand the service, along
with the service provider, in the splash page, or offer relevant information and specific services
(e.g., check out in a hotel, flight information at an airport) to its customers. If micropayments are
required for those services, the OSS must support a framework for charging the subscriber

Monica Paolini and Pronto Networks

through the service provider bill. As some location-based services may be free to all customers
and may not require authentication, virtual separate networks may be required.

Integration with internal billing service. The WLAN infrastructure may be used for locationbased services that are tied directly to the billing system of the venue. The OSS role is to facilitate
the integration of the local Wi-Fi infrastructure with venue owner back-end systems, such as
property management systems in hotels that enable services like on-line checkout.

Pricing flexibility. If the venue owner gets a share of the revenues, it is keen on ensuring high
traffic levels. Pricing flexibility is conducive to higher traffic levels as it more efficiently captures
the potential demand among hotspot visitors. In particular, some venue owners may be interested
in retaining the ability to market the service to visitors or to provide free access to customers (for
instance through coupons that allow customers to have free WLAN access for a limited time).

Multiple virtual networks. In some locations, the WLAN infrastructure may be used by the venue
owner and its tenants for their own internal services, in addition to public access and locationbased services. In this case, the network operator will be required to manage multiple virtual
networks and to ensure that the traffic is kept separate for security reasons and to ensure that
sufficient bandwidth is available to all users.

Network Operator Requirements: A Robust and Effective OSS to Manage Their WLAN Infrastructure
Network operators occupy a central role in ensuring that WLAN is a carrier-grade service. They need to
work with venue owners to ensure that they have their support and access to the facilities, and with
aggregators, clearinghouses, and service providers to ensure that the service runs smoothly. The
responsibility for the network installation, maintenance, and operations mostly lies with the network
operator. Service providers are instead responsible for billing, customer care and some provisioning
functions. Requirements include the following:

Scalable and extensible system. The OSS has to handle effectively any extension to a single
hotspots coverage area and any increases in the number of hotspots in the footprint.

Easy installation. Installation of the WLAN infrastructure has to be streamlined and require a
minimum of staff resources at the hotspot location.

Hardware independent network management. An OSS that is not tied to specific hardware
implementations and that provides multivendor hardware support will give network operators the
necessary flexibility in selecting the hardware that is best suited to their needs.

Remote network management. Expensive truck rolls may quickly become one of the major cost
items in deploying and managing a WLAN. Remote network management allows the operator to
keep operating costs associated with configuration, provisioning, and maintenance low.

Detailed traffic and usage monitoring. Collection of detailed records allows service providers to
offer multiple pricing options and network operators to implement revenue-sharing agreements
effectively. Once WLAN and cellular technologies become integrated, real-time billing may be
needed by cellular carriers to prevent subscribers from exceeding their time or volume allocation.

Efficient use of the WLAN infrastructure. In some instances, the WLAN infrastructure may be
used by multiple networks (in the airport example at the beginning, for public access, security

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Operations Support System (OSS) Requirements and Solutions for Carrier-Grade Wireless LAN Services

agency communications, airlines internal operations). This increases the utilization of the network
deployed and may be conducive to higher revenues.

Robust AAA capabilities. As the network operator deals with multiple aggregators,
clearinghouses, and service providers, it is important that it adopts a best practice AAA solution
compatible with remote access dial-in user service (RADIUS)1. In particular, secure
authentication is necessary to gain the trust of service providers in implementing roaming
agreements. Different service providers may prefer specific authentication methods (for instance,
global system for mobile communications [GSM] and other cellular carriers may want to use the
extensible authentication protocol with the subscriber identity module [EAPSIM]
authentication) and expect that their roaming partners support them.

Offer security to protect network and users. Implementation of a robust security framework is
necessary to protect the users and the network, and to gain trust of the other players. Network
operators need to support security standards and solutions (see Figure 3) that their roaming
partners and the subscribers use.

QoS management. Advanced services such as voice over WLAN (VoWLAN) and high traffic
levels require the introduction of QoS and load balancing to ensure an appropriate and efficient
distribution of resources.

Service Provider Requirements: Integrate the WLAN OSS into Their Legacy Systems
Wi-Fi access is often offered as complementary to existing services: cellular carriers offer Wi-Fi access
alongside voice and cellular data, broadband providers as an add-on to fixed broadband access, data
service providers as a complement to dialup or fixed broadband access to the road warriors. As such, it is
critical that the WLAN OSS can be easily and fully integrated with the existing OSS, both to improve the
customer experience and to keep the costs down, by avoiding unnecessary duplication.
In addition, subscribers will often use Wi-Fi services in hotspots managed by roaming partners. The service
provider will want to brand services at these locations and will need to have access to information about the
network to provide effective customer support. This entails the exchange of information between network
operator and service provider, possibly through an aggregator to coordinate these efforts.
Finally, Wi-Fi needs to be a carrier-grade service to complement or compete successfully with other
cellular technologies and to allow service providers to generate revenues from it. To ensure that this is the
case, an OSS needs to meet these service provider requirements:

Full roaming capability, with infrastructure supporting flexible wholesale contracts. Roaming
gives service providers access to a wider footprint, which in turn makes the service more
attractive to subscribers. Roaming, however, may be an expensive service to offer (especially if
roaming premiums are low or nonexistent) as it requires the establishment and maintenance of
several roaming partnerships. While aggregators and clearinghouses may help keep costs under
control, a billing system that includes full support for roaming is necessary. The billing system
needs to provide functionality to manage wholesale relationships with multiple roaming partners
and clearinghouses (both for selling and buying access at a wholesale basis i.e., providing
access to subscribers from other networks and paying for the charges incurred by its own
subscribers accessing the roaming partners hotspots) and to bill subscribers.

In addition to RADIUS servers, solutions such as Microsofts Active Directory and Suns Identity Server offer
RADIUS compatibility.

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Integration with existing billing and customer-management systems. As WLAN access will in
most cases be a new, add-on service, it is typically more cost effective for service providers to
integrate WLAN billing and customer-care systems with the existing ones, than to switch to new
ones. As a result, it is crucial that the OSS allows the service providers to easily interface with
established OSS for cellular and fixed operators and broadband providers.

Flexibility in setting multiple or tiered pricing options. It is too early to know which pricing
model will prevail, and it is likely that different service providers will prefer different models. In
all cases, they will want to keep their options open and be able to experiment and integrate Wi-Fi
more or less tightly with other services offered. For instance, a cellular operator may want to
allow subscribers to use their monthly minutes for Wi-Fi connections as well as voice. When QoS
becomes available, tiered services may be linked to different pricing options.

Friendly and customizable end-user interface. An easy-to-use, well-supported interface is crucial


to reduce the burden and cost of customer support. Additional services such as on-line access to
account management are desirable as they may further reduce costs.

Secure authentication and data transmission. The OSS needs to offer secure connectivity to
subscribers who require it and to allow other users to avail themselves of their preferred security
solutions (e.g., VPN). In cases where the subscriber connects at a roaming partners location, it is
important that the user is authenticated directly against the service provider authentication servers
and that the partner network operator does not have access to the subscriber authentication
credentials. Providing secure connections will attract users (especially those who do not have VPN
at their disposal) and constitute a differentiating factor from hotspots that offer free connectivity.

Branding of service. Branding of the visited hotspot enables service providers to offer a
consistent service, with a single interface and to add VAS that may increase subscriber retention
and average revenue per user (ARPU). As venue owners and franchises will also require branding
of the service provided at their hotspot(s), branding information from different sources needs to
be integrated in the splash page.

Access to information on roaming partners networks. While the service provider will not need
extensive visibility into the partners network, it will need to have sufficient information to
provide customer support.

Key Capabilities of an OSS that Meets WLAN Service Requirements


A robust OSS for WLAN needs to offer a solution to the requirements identified in the previous section.
We recommend that while evaluating different OSS options, service providers and network operators
focus on four dimensions:

Ability to manage increasing complexity. The OSS needs to offer the flexibility, extensibility and
scalability required to manage an increasingly complex footprint and the subscriber base demands
for advanced functionality. The OSS needs to be developed with an eye towards advanced
services and must facilitate the introduction of new services.

Support for standards and widely adopted solutions (e.g., WPA and VPN for security, RADIUS
for AAA, or billing formats such as internet protocol detail record [IPDR], transferred account
procedure [TAP], cellular intercarrier billing and exchange roaming record [CIBER] and, in the
future, mobile exchange protocol [MXP]) (see Figure 4). A standard-based OSS is crucial to

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ensure interoperability with roaming partners, to facilitate integration with existing billing and
customer management systems, and to meet the security and usability requirements of subscribers
and corporate accounts managers.

Offer an easy-to-use, effective, and consistent interface to the user. Users need to rely on an
interface that is straightforward to use, without assuming any knowledge of the operations of
the underlying technology. Furthermore, it must enable them to monitor and manage their
accounts on-line.

Provide a cost-effective solution. The OSS should allow service providers to avoid duplication of
OSS functionality (e.g., in billing and customer care) and to streamline the deployment and
management of the OSS infrastructure.

IPDR

IPDR NDM-U (Network Data Management - Usage) protocol has been specifically developed for
IP services, both for wired and wireless services.

TAP

Billing protocol used by GSM mobile operators.

CIBER

Billing protocol used by IS/ANSI41(TDMA and CDMA) mobile operators.

MXP

XML-based billing protocol introduced by CIBERNET to support data VAS.

RADIUS

RADIUS is the AAA protocol that provides the data to be converted into IPDR, TAP, CIBER and
MXP.

Figure 4: Billing Protocols for WLAN Services


A Look at the Future
Selection of an OSS needs to be made with reference to the future developments of the service, as its
adoption and integration with legacy systems requires a substantial initial effort. WLAN services have not
yet reached maturity and they are rapidly evolving. Currently, Internet access is the dominant service
offered, on a best-effort basis. Over-the-air security is not yet commonly offered and location-based
services are still in their infancy. In these circumstances it is difficult to predict the evolution path for
WLAN services and the OSS requirements that they will introduce. Some trends however can be
discerned, along with key functionality that will be increasingly expected from the OSS.
One question that remains open is which of the advanced VASs (gaming, VoWLAN, etc.) will be offered
by the WLAN value chain players, namely the service provider, network operator, and venue owners, and
which ones will be offered by the same companies that offer those services on the Internet for free or for a
fee (e.g., Skype, iTunes, or New York Times). Once the subscriber is connected, services from on-line
providers are readily available and, if WLAN services offered by the service provider are not
competitively priced, on-line providers may easily retain or capture this market.
Location-Based Services
Today subscribers gain access to a WLAN through a Web-based interface that typically carries
information about the service provider and in some cases about the hotspot. Venue owners see the
opportunity to provide local services and information about their venue and to charge for some of these
services. Nearby venue owners may be interested in placing ads promoting their business in the WLAN
web interface. Users can already do at least one type of transaction at the hotspot without an existing
subscription: sign up for service or pay for the access during a restricted period of time. In the future, it is
likely that the range of WLANbased transactions and the amount of local information available will
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Monica Paolini and Pronto Networks

widen, thus increasing the importance of an effective communication channel among venue owners
(pushing for most local services), network operators and service providers. If services are billed to the
subscriber account, the OSS has to offer the functionality to process micropayments.
VoWLAN
VoIP is making quick progress in the enterprise and in the fixed telecommunications markets in North
America, and VoWLAN is one of the hot applications for WLANs in the enterprise. The public hotspot
market is not yet ready for VoWLAN, both because the devices are not yet for sale (although several
manufacturers are working on handsets using 802.11b) and because QoS is necessary, but no standardsbased solution is yet available. IEEE 802.11e, when ratified, will provide support for QoS and will
facilitate adoption of VoWLAN. It is still uncertain whether cellular carriers will want to use the WLAN
infrastructure to route voice calls when subscribers are in hotspots: while WLAN may provide a cheaper
over-the-air link, and it may help relieve congestion in the cellular network, coexistence of cellular voice
service with VoWLAN makes service provisioning more complex. It is also possible that other service
providers, such as WISPs, may elect to offer VoWLAN for free, with the user simply paying for access
charges, as voice effectively becomes an additional data service that is inexpensive to provide.
On-Line Gaming
While the predominant applications for WLAN public access over the next few years will still be e-mail,
Web surfing and Internet connectivity, on-line gaming is one of the most interesting emerging
applications, as it is targeted at the consumer users, a segment that will grow quickly once WLAN
becomes more widely embedded in laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Games have proven to
be a successful application for cellular devices; WLAN higher bandwidth and the possibility to establish
peer-to-peer connections make on-line gaming is a likely winner. It is not yet clear, however, how a
WLAN service provider can generate revenues from it, other than from the increase in traffic that gaming
may generate. Gaming will put additional requirements on the WLAN infrastructure, as it will require a
close monitoring of performance and possibly the introduction of QoS. Support for micropayments will
also be necessary if revenues are to be extracted from downloading or playing games.
Content Downloads and Streaming
Today subscribers can already download content and stream video or audio, either for free or by paying
the content providers directly. Because traffic on WLANs is still on average below capacity, downloads
do not cause problems. In an environment where usage is high, it may be necessary to use QoS, load
balancing, and more sophisticated network management tools. In addition, specific types of content (e.g.,
music, films) may require a micropayment from the user and specific tools for digital rights management.
Interworking with Other Wireless Technologies
While not yet in demand, interworking with other wireless technologies, including cellular networks,
IEEE 802.16 (WiMAX) and IEEE 802.20, will become a requirement within a few years. While
todays users typically access a WLAN from a laptop, an increasing share of traffic will come from
PDAs, phones and other mobile devices. The increased mobility that these devices promote will make
interworking with other wireless technologies more useful, as users will often walk or drive beyond the
WLAN area of coverage.
Final Recommendations
As WLAN services become more widely available and popular, the requirements for service providers,
network operators, and intermediaries, such as clearinghouses and aggregators, are becoming better
defined and more stringent. Managing the WLAN infrastructure is becoming more demanding, because of
the growing number of hotspots and their more complex architecture (wider coverage, multiple networks,
support for roaming and security). The increasing availability of roaming and the need to provide a
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Operations Support System (OSS) Requirements and Solutions for Carrier-Grade Wireless LAN Services

carrier-class service that can be integrated with existing ones poses new challenges for service providers
and intermediaries alike.
The availability of standards like 802.1x and WPA for authentication and security, IPDR, TAP, and
CIBER for billing information, and of widely used solutions like RADIUS for AAA, or VPN for security
makes it possible to have a robust infrastructure that enables service providers to offer WLAN as a
carrier-grade service. To achieve this goal, however, network operators and service providers need to
evaluate the OSS solutions available carefully and ensure that they meet the requirements for WLAN
access. This paper identifies requirements that need to be satisfied to ensure that the subscribers receive a
compelling service and that all the value chain players can work together toward this goal.
The initial challenge for WLAN service providers was to be able to offer connectivity across a
sufficiently wide footprint. The rapid growth in the number of hotspots and the progress toward
establishing a wider network of roaming agreements show that service providers and network operators
are moving in the right direction. The next challenge is to ensure that the infrastructure deployed can be
used to offer a service that users will find attractive and easy to use, while being cost effective for
network operators and service providers. The adoption of robust, yet flexible OSS will be crucial to meet
this challenge.
Copyright 2003 Senza Fili Consulting LLC. All rights reserved.
This white paper was commissioned by Pronto Networks, Inc. Pronto Networks retains the right to
redistribute the integral version of this report. No selection of this material can be copied, photocopied,
duplicated in any form or by any means, or redistributed without express written permission from Senza
Fili Consulting LLC. While the white paper is based upon information that we consider accurate and
reliable, Senza Fili Consulting LLC makes no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the
information in this document. Senza Fili Consulting assumes no liability for any damage or loss arising
from reliance on this information. Names of companies and products here mentioned may be the
trademarks of their respective owners.

306

Case Study: The City Of


Fredericton Free Wi-Fi Zone
Mike Richard
Senior Project Manager and Vice President of Operations, Information
and Communication, Technology Division
City of Fredericton, Canada
The City of Fredericton
The city of Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick, located in the Atlantic provinces of eastern
Canada. The province of New Brunswick borders the state of Maine and is a six-hour drive from Boston.
The greater Fredericton area has a population of 85,000. Fredericton is a very scenic city, heavily treed
with the Saint John River running through it. There is no industry or manufacturing to speak of in
Fredericton. The economic base is primarily the IT sector, e learning, research and development,
geographic information system (GIS), two university campuses, and government. The student population
expands the population in Fredericton during the school year by approximately 12,000.
The city of Fredericton is a smart community, and as such the municipality has recognized the importance
of high-speed low-cost broadband. The broadband market in Fredericton tended to be a duopoly, which
resulted in relatively high prices, compared to other near by major centers such as Halifax, Montreal, or
Boston. The municipality therefore decided to become its own nondominant carrier and created a not-forprofit company called e-Novations. e-Novations mandate is to bring high-speed (minimum 100 Mbps)
low-cost network to the city for government, business, and institutional use. The result has been to bring
the price of bandwidth from the highest in eastern Canada to the same or lower than all the major cities
along the Atlantic seaboard.
Fiber-Optic Network
The city of Fredericton, through its municipally owned carrier e-Novations, deployed a fiber-optic (dark
fiber) network to connect a number of city sites, and a number of partner sites from the local academic
and business community (see Figure 1). All sites are connected to a core layer 2/3, Cisco Systems 3750
switch, which assures preferred routing at full 100 Mbps within the community network. All site switches
are automatically updated using the routing information protocol (RIP). The fiber network is managed
and lit using single mode single-fiber transceivers. The use of this new technology, which transmits and
receives data on a single strand of fiber on separate light frequencies, has doubled e-Novations fibercount capacity. Single-mode fiber is used throughout the network because of its longer distance qualities.
So far, the fiber network extends over a 22km ring. All fiber is connected to the head-end on a
Metrobility chassis platform. This allows for remote management and troubleshooting of fiber-optic
transceivers and signal quality throughout the network.

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Case Study: The City Of Fredericton Free Wi-Fi Zone

Figure 1
Point-to-Multipoint Wireless Network
A high-capacity wireless network was required to extend the fiber-optic networks coverage area.
Motorola Canopy was selected because of its superior capabilities, ease of implementation and affordable
cost. Seven tower sites were constructed to host the Motorola Canopy access points thus extending the
community networks broadband footprint throughout the entire city. All sites are synchronized using a
unique approach. Broadcast and receive cycles are synchronized using global positioning system (GPS).
Tower sites are built or located on existing city properties or on partner sites. As an example, a 100foot water tower was used to install an omnidirectional set of Canopy access points (see Figure 2).
Canopy backhaul at the water tower is consolidated by the use of a Cisco 2940 series switch and
rebroadcasts Ethernet over the fiber-optic network to the head-end network switch. Seeking out a
qualified Motorola dealer versed in both radio and networking was identified as a critical success factor
in the deployment and maintenance of the wireless network. Eastern Wireless, a local Motorola dealer,
was selected to supply, install, and maintain the network. In return, Eastern Wireless is invited to use
the over capacity to offer Internet service provider (ISP) services to the community. BrunNet, another
local ISP, also resells the citys network to small business and to homes. In this way, e-Novations acts
as a wholesale ISP to the community.

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Mike Richard

Figure 2
Fred-e-Zone Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) Network
Fred-eZone is comprised of a unique combination of leading-edge technologies. The recent 802.11g
wireless technology standard has allowed for low-cost, reliable equipment that is now interoperable.
Deploying isolated access points to create a hotspot has become relatively easy and is now quite common.
Deploying a larger metropolitan Wi-Fi zone, however, has unique and difficult challenges, which include
the following:

Antenna type determination, configuration, and site selection


City-wide backhaul network
Traffic management using ISP core network technology
High-speed Internet access

With a state-of-the-art, city-wide network as a foundation, a metropolitan Wi-Fi project became possible.
In Fredericton, Wi-Fi installations are comprised of the integration of all levels of its existing network
technology. A typical configuration consists of one or more Cisco 1200 g radios (Wi-Fi access points)
consolidated on a single Cisco 2940 (8 port) switch. In general, 110degree panel antennas are deployed
outdoors for Wi-Fi coverage. Ceiling omniantennas are used for indoor coverage. Antennas are connected
to Cisco radios using LMR 400 cabling. The consolidated signal is then backhauled to the core network
via Motorola Canopy. The Canopy equipment is also consolidated on the same 2940 switch.
Ciscos Wireless LAN Solution Engine is used to manage over 120 Cisco 1200 Wi-Fi radios. This allows
for remote management, automatic firmware updates, power and load balancing, and rogue access-point

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Case Study: The City Of Fredericton Free Wi-Fi Zone

detection. Trouble areas are logged using SNMP and network administrators are automatically advised of
faulty equipment and many other potential issues the system has been configured to detect.
Fred-eZone is made up of over 120 access points deployed in over 40 geographical locations. All Wi-Fi
2940 switches are identically configured and tag all Fred-eZone traffic on a dedicated virtual local area
network (VLAN). When Fred-eZone traffic is consolidated at the core, the VLAN is redirected to a
Solutions Inc. proxy server.
When a user launches a browser, all DNS requests are redirected to the proxy server forcing the user to
the Fred-eZone portal. At this point users learn more about Fred-eZone and are asked to agree to an
acceptable use policy (AUP) and enter account information. Future use of Fred-eZone is then managed by
the Solutions Inc. server by login account and password. User information and MAC addresses are
managed and stored on a central database. In this way the Solutions Inc. proxy server also acts as a
remote authentication dial-in user service (RADIUS) server.
The City of Fredericton as Its Own ISP
Fred-eZone traffic is passed to the community network Cisco 3750 router. The community network
destined traffic remains on the core network at maximum speeds and minimum network hops. This
creates a truly low latency, high-speed network. For example, users with an 802.11a card can theoretically
realize full 54 Mbps within the network. Internet-bound traffic is directed to a dedicated port on the
community network Internet gateway switch. Again this is accomplished using VLAN tagging.
Bandwidth is shaped on this port to a 4 Mbps maximum of full symmetrical bandwidth. This approach
minimizes the impact of possible denial of service attacks or inequitable use of the full community
network Internet pipe by Wi-Fi users.
Users on the network can receive and send mail through the Community Network mail relay. Users can
also allow the Solutions, Inc. proxy server to automatically relay their sent items without requiring a
change of simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) settings.
A large number of routable IP addresses are required to facilitate a project of this size. The community
network has peering agreements with two ISPs using border gateway protocol (BGP). The large IP
requirement along with the peering agreements and number of users qualified the community network to
apply for and receive its own IP allocation from American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).
Conclusion
A unique combination of city infrastructure and leading-edge technology has been combined with
superior network engineering to accomplish a city-wide Wi-Fi zone. This has been realized through the
partnership of city staff, local expert resources, and the vendor community. It has taken four years, from
start to finish, to form a nondominant carrier company, construct the fiber-optic network, deploy the
point-to-multipoint wireless network, and, finally, deploy more than 120 Cisco Wi-Fi access points in the
field. All this has been done using existing budgeted dollars by reinvesting the citys telecom savings
back into the network and by accepting commercial subscribers on the citys network. The private sector
has also contributed cash and in-kind services representing a total value in excess of $250.000. The
resulting infrastructure has made Fredericton stand out as a truly smart city and has built an intellectual
infrastructure that is seen by many as leading edge and visionary.

310

Wi-Fi Hotspots Deployment


in a Next-Generation
Network Environment
Aladdin Saleh
Wireless Technology Planning
Bell Canada
Adjunct Professor
Waterloo University
1. Introduction
Wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) 802.11 hotspots are deployed world wide and accepted as the industry de facto
standard for wireless local-area network (WLAN) deployment. The rapid acceptance and adoption of WiFi has made it an important source for high-speed Internet services. Some of the major motivations and
benefits include high data rate, low cost, flexibility, and portability. Third-generation (3G) cellular
technologies such as code division multiple access (CDMA2000) and wideband CDMA (WCDMA), on
the other side, are designed to support full mobility over a wide area network with much limited data
speed. IEEE 802.11 standards specify a data speed of up to 54 Mbps on the physical layer while
CDMA2000 1XEVDO, for example, calls for 2.4 Mbps. Additionally, 802.11 technologies require less
capital cost and can be deployed initially with limited hotspot coverage. It quickly became apparent that
cellular operators like to offer both services and deploy hotspots in a way that will complement 3G
services. This deployment, however, comes with an increasing number of challenges for cellular service
providers (CSPs) including type of implementation, support for roaming, security, support for single signon, and support for billing systems. Despite 3G immediate advantages in integrating hotspots, some other
alternative technologies may also be considered. The new emerging 802.16 technology has specific
advantages over 3G, and it is expected to play a similar role to that of 3G in integrating hotspots.
2. Hotspots Deployment
Wi-Fi hotspots have been intended for providing high-speed wireless access in relatively small coverage
areas. Hotspots services in limited premium public hotspots may not satisfy many customers. Customers
expect CSPs to provide much wider coverage. In-house building of countrywide hotspots requires
substantial amount of capital that may not be justified by the currently projected revenue from this
service. It became clear for most service providers that it is neither economical nor practical to deploy
hotspots countrywide. Alternative solution for service providers is to buy the service from other hotspot
providers through a mutual roaming agreement. This allows CSPs to deliver nationwide or even
worldwide high-speed data coverage that is transparent to the customer. In other words, what is needed is
a more flexible infrastructure that supports multihotspot environment.

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Wi-Fi Hotspots Deployment in a Next-Generation Network Environment

The first step for this environment is to allow nomadic roaming between home and foreign hotspots.
Some of the main challenges associated with roaming across multiple service providers include
transparency of the service, network security, service authentication, and management of billing and
accounting records. Roaming centers are introduced to facilitate roaming services while resolving
previously mentioned challenges. A user may experience a captive portal page that includes optional
services and he/she has to select roaming service and provide his/her credential. Roaming centers have the
responsibility of redirecting the call into the user home network for authentication and authorization.
The next step for most service providers is to integrate hotspots with 3G networks and allow seamless
roaming between the two networks. There are two main architectures for deploying hotspots within 3G
networks, namely the following: loosely coupled architecture and tightly coupled architecture. In the
tightly coupled architecture, the hotspot access gateway (HAG) would have to behave to the 3Gcore
network as if it is another base station within the radio access network. In loosely coupled architecture, on
the other hand, the hotspot is indirectly connected to the core network mainly for access of authentication
and authorization. In this case, moving from/to a hotspot to/from 3G may lead to a change in the Internet
protocol (IP) address, connection protocol, and authentication requirement. Consequently, basic IP cannot
provide support for roaming between these two networks. Despite that, loosely coupled architecture is
almost always preferred due to the simplicity of integrating both networks, the minimal modification
needed on the 3G network, and the simplicity of the future addition of new hotspots. Tightly coupled
network is very rigid, less flexible, and more difficult to implement. Figure 1 provides high-level diagram
of an illustrative case of loosely coupled hotspot/3G CDMA2000 networks.

Figure 1: High-Level Architecture of WLAN/CDMA2000 Network


In the above scenario, the hotspot is linked to the service provider core network through another IP
network such as the Internet using a proper backhaul. In small size hotspots a T1 connection might be
enough to support the hotspot. In large-size hotspots, however, higher capacity backhaul is almost
essential. Customers using the public hotspot can be the provider own customers, customers from other
providers with mutual roaming agreement, or casual users. Virtual local area network (VLAN) techniques
could be used to support the requirements for these different types of services.

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Aladdin Saleh

The authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) server referenced in Figure 1 is used to provide
a single sign-on authentication for customers subscribed for both 3G and hotspots services where same
credential is used in both cases. The AAA server is also used to provide RADIUS capability for
authenticating 802.1xbased hotspot users. Additionally, it generates accounting records that enable
postpaid and prepaid billing support.
3. Hotspot/ 3G Roaming
As indicated before, basic IP may not be suitable for supporting roaming services between hotspots and
3G networks. Mobile IP (MIP), which is originally defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF), has been regarded as the most satisfactory protocol for serving this heterogeneous environment.
Figure 2 provides high-level diagram of such multiaccess networks including additional nodes needed to
support MIP with particular reference to a 3G CDMA 2000 network.

Figure 2: 3G/Hotspot Loosely Coupled Integration with MIP Support


Figure 2 shows the main parts of 3G networks, which are the radio access network (RAN) and the core
network. Nodes that are specifically added to support MIP are the home agent (HA) and the foreign agent
(FA). The packet data serving node (PDSN) has been modified to act as an FA for the cellular network in
addition to its original intended functionality. The HAG is also designated as an FA for the hotspot. The
AAA server is used for authentication and authorization of hotspot users as well as 3G users. No user
whether trying to access the network through the 3G section or the WLAN section will be given access
unless he/ she is firstly authenticated by the AAA/remote authentication dial-in user service (RADIUS)
server. The mobile node (MN) has been provided with MIP client that support both 802.11 and
CDMA2000 access technologies.
3.1 Seamless Roaming
Seamless roaming refers to the capability of a wireless client to roam from one access network to
another while keeping the continuity of his/her session. A user can start his/her session at a WLAN, for
example, and continue that session seamlessly in a 3G environment. There are several challenges need
to be addressed including security, single sign-on, and billing. The good news is that a soft handoff

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Wi-Fi Hotspots Deployment in a Next-Generation Network Environment

process between hotspots and 3G networks using MIP does not undermine the efficiency of the whole
network. Figure 3 shows latency for sample case during soft handoff from 3G CDMA2000 network
into WLAN network.

Figure 3: Uplink Delay during CDMA2000 One Time Radio


Transmission Technology (1XRTT) to Hotspot Soft Handoff
In this case, the MN roams from 1XRTT network toward 802.11 WLAN while keeping the session on.
The above diagram shows the transit delay for sending a sequence of 1 Kbps of data with 20 msec
interpacket delay on the uplink. Data speed on 1XRTT part of the network is greatly affected by the
number of supplemental channels being provided be the system. Behavior of the system is also affected
by the HA buffering. It is also found that on average the system needs less than 20 msec to complete the
handoff process from one part of the network to the other. During the handoff process, the MN sends to
the HA/AAA a MIP request for registration and upon approval it receives from the HA an acceptance
message of registration.
3.2 Billing
Billing for hotspot services presents another challenge. In the case of 3G, billing is essentially based on
mobile identification number (MIN). All start and stop records sent by the AAA service to the billing
system are associated with MIN. In the absence of a MIN as is the case with hotspots, the main alternative
is to associate the record with a user name. This, however, is not always a good choice because as
mentioned before most billing systems use MIN for records and consequently cannot accommodate a
user-based billing record directly. The other problem is that user-based billing records would mean
different billing invoices for the same customer while most customers like to have one bill. One possible
solution is to use a billing mediator to associate a user MIN with the WLAN billing record before being
sent to the billing system.
4. 802.11/ 802.16 Integration
Recently, Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) 802.16 technology has drawn
considerable attention in the industry because of its high bandwidth, large coverage area, and low cost. It
has also built-in quality of service (QoS) and robust security mechanism. WiMAX 802.16e will also add
mobility feature. WiMAX 802.16 hardware is expected to be available commercially towards the end of
2005 while WiMAX 802.16e hardware is expected in 2006/ 2007. WiMAX 802.16, and in particular
802.16e, will compete on several fronts with 3G technologies. One possible area is the integration of
multihotspot environment as shown in Figure 4.
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Aladdin Saleh

Figure 4: WiMAX/Wi-Fi Integration


Main chipset manufacturers are planning to develop dual 802.16/ 802.11 chipsets and have them
embedded in devices such as laptop computers and handheld devices. Both networks are IPcentric and it
makes sense to use WiMAX as an integration environment for hotspot clusters. This WiMAX/Wi-Fi
integration creates a much wider high-speed coverage area called Hotzone. Seamless roaming for both
data and voice between Wi-Fi hotspots and WiMAX 802.16 can more easily be established.
5. Conclusion
WLAN service in limited premium public hotspots is not expected to satisfy customers in the long run.
Just like voice access, customers expect service providers to provide Bigfoot coverage for Wi-Fi hotspots.
Direct investment, however, in building countrywide WLAN coverage requires a substantial amount of
capital that may not be justified by the currently projected revenue from this service. The alternative is to
provide wider coverage through mutual roaming services with multiple service providers. The user
experience outside his/her home service is initially driven by the roaming-center configuration, which
then redirects the call into the user home network. It is also realized that Wi-Fi hotspots have limited
usages and advantages unless they are integrated as part of larger metropolitan or wider area networks.
Currently, 3G technologies, such as CDMA2000, are considered as the best option for such integration.
The use of loosely coupled interworking architecture for hotspots/3G integration has shown to be both
simple and efficient and can easily support seamless roaming using MIP implementation. WiMAX
802.16, however, may provide cheaper alternative for this integration especially in areas where 3G
infrastructure is not readily available. Additionally, the next few years will see the convergence of both
voice (using VoIP) and data in both Wi-Fi hotspots and WiMAX 802.16 and WiMAX/Wi-Fi integration
may become more of a necessity rather than an option.
6. References
[1]

IEEE Std. 802.11b-1999, Local and Metropolitan Area Networks Specific Requirements-Part
11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications:
Higher-Speed Physical Layer Extension in the 2.4 GHz Band, 1999.

[2]

IEEE Std. 802.11a-1999, Local and Metropolitan Area Networks Specific Requirements
Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications:
High-Speed Physical Layer in the 5 GHZ Band, September 1999.

315

Wi-Fi Hotspots Deployment in a Next-Generation Network Environment

[3]

IEEE Std. 802.11g-2003, Local and Metropolitan Area Networks Specific Requirements
Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications
Amendment 4: Further Higher Data Rate Extension in the 2.4 GHz Band, 2003.

[4]

TIA/EIA/IS-835B cdma2000 Wireless IP Network Standard, 3GPP2, 2000.

[5]

A. Saleh, Mobile IP Performance and Interworking Architecture in 802.11 WLAN/CDMA2000


Networks, IEEE CNSR 2004 conference, NB, May 2004.

[6]

A. Saleh, Broadband Wireless Access Strategy, Internal Report, Bell Canada, 2004.

[7]

A. Saleh, IEEE 802.11 WLAN Integration in Multiaccess Environment, Submitted for Pblication.

[8]

3GPP2 PS0001-B, v1.0.0/Wireless IP Network Standard, October 2002, ttp://www.3gpp2.org/


Public_html/specs/P.S0001-B_v1.0.pdf

[9]

C. Perkins, Ed.,IP Mobility Support for IPv4, IETF RFC 3344, August 2000.

316

3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN


Internetworking for VoIP Services
Syed A. Ahson
iDEN Subscriber Division
Motorola Inc.
1. Introduction
Seamless wireless data and voice communication is fast becoming a reality. IEEE 802.11b wireless local area
network (WLAN) is a high-speed wireless local area network [1]. It is designed as a wireless extension of
Ethernet [2]. IEEE 802.11b WLAN networks have been widely deployed in offices, homes, and public hot
spots such as coffee shops and hotels. IEEE 802.11b offers a number of advantages such as low operation cost,
ease of deployment, and low equipment cost. However, IEEE 802.11b is limited by small coverage area (100
300 feet). Third-generation universal mobile telecommunications system (3G UMTS) networks offer higher
speeds and more capacity than existing 2G networks [3]. 3G UMTS networks provide higher speeds up to two
megabytes per second (Mbps) in a fixed or stationary wireless environment and 384 kilobytes per second
(Kbps) in a mobile environment. 3G UMTS networks aim to create convergence of existing networks to a
global network based on one international standard. If the user is under the coverage of an IEEE 802.11b
WLAN network, his or her communication device can access high bandwidth data service using IEEE 802.11b
WLAN network. If IEEE 802.11b WLAN service is not available, the user may hand over to the 3G UMTS
network [4]. Mobile operators can significantly increase data traffic revenue and test new applications on the
IEEE 802.11b WLAN network. High demand traffic may be diverted from 3G UMTS network to IEEE
802.11b network preventing network congestion conditions. Mobile operators can provide improved inbuilding coverage by internetworking with IEEE 802.11b WLAN network. One key capability in the nextgeneration wireless world will be voice over internet protocol (VoIP) [5] using IEEE 802.11b wireless local
area networks (WLANs). The use of an IEEE 802.11b WLAN to transmit voice is a great solution when
people need to be constantly in contact with each other. IEEE 802.11b WLAN phones, which work just like
cell phones when they are in the coverage of the WLAN, are very useful in places where workers are moving
around. Corporate users will benefit significantly from IEEE 802.11b WLAN 3G internetworking. Enterpriseoriented internetworking solutions will provide secure mobile access for corporate users to connect to their
office networks through 3G and various IEEE 802.11b WLANs such as office WLAN, home WLAN and
public WLAN.
This chapter describes 3G UMTS networks and internetworking between IEEE 802.11b WLAN and 3G
UMTS networks. Section Two presents 3G standardization efforts and describes strategies for 2G
networks. Section Three describes key technologies high speed circuit switched data (HSCSD), general
radio packet system (GRPS), and enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE) for transitioning to
3G UMTS networks. Section Four describes the 3G UMTS Core Network Architecture, reference points,
UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN) and protocol structure. Section Five presents five
possible network layer architectures for internetworking and handover between IEEE 802.11b WLAN
and 3G UMTS networks that do not require any major changes to existing networks and technologies,
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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

especially at the lower layers such as MAC and PHY layers. This will ensure that existing 3G networks
will continue to function. Section 6 introduces session initiation protocol (SIP) mobility. SIP mobility can
be used for real-time communication over UDP.
2. 3G Standardization and Deployment
Second-generation (2G) wireless systems include global system for mobile communications (GSM),
IS136, and IS-95 code division multiple access (CDMA) [6, 7, 8]. GSM networks have the highest
penetration worldwide. The International Telecommunications UnionRadio (ITUR) developed the
International Mobile Telephony2000 (IMT2000) specifications [9]. IMT2000 is a set of standards for
creating a global 3G network that includes terrestrial systems, satellite systems, along with fixed access
and mobile access networks. The following groups are involved in the international standardization effort
for IMT2000: European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Special Mobile Group (SMG),
Research Institute of Telecommunications Transmission (RITT) in China, Association of Radio Industries
and Businesses (ARIB) and Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) in Japan,
Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) in Korea, Telecommunications Industry Association
(TIA) and T1P1 in the United States. ETSI SMG identified usage of wideband CDMA (WCDMA) for
3G networks [10]. China decided to deploy Synchronous Time Division CDMA (TDSCDMA) for 3G
networks [11]. ARIB, Japan decided to use WCDMA for 3G networks. TTA, Korea presented two
schemes, one similar to WCDMA and the other close to the TIA CDMA2000 approach. In the United
States, TIA presented several proposals for 3G UMTS, UWC-136 [12] as an evolution of IS-136,
CDMA2000 [13] as an evolution of IS-95 and WCDMA for GSM networks.
GSM and IS-136, being time division multiple access (TDMA) systems, will evolve to CDMA systems in
a number of steps. GSM networks must incorporate GPRS for evolving to 3G UMTS network capabilities
[14]. The next step for GSM networks will be to add enhanced data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
capabilities [15]. Enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE) allows GSM operators to use existing
GSM radio bands while offering high bandwidth data services. EDGE will offer 384 kbps data rates for
pedestrian and low-speed environment. EDGE will offer 144 kbps for high speed vehicular environment
and two Mbps for indoor office environment. UMTS is a new radio access network based on WCDMA.
UMTS will offer 384 kbps in wide area and up to two Mbps in local areas. GSM operators have two
complementary options to upgrade their networks to 3G. The first option will be to use GPRS and EDGE
in the existing radio spectrum. The second option will be to deploy UMTS in new two gigahertz (GHz)
bands. CDMAOne (TIA IS-95) allows for channel aggregation to provide data rates in the range of 64
115 kbps. This simplifies migration of CDMAOne systems to CDMA2000 systems.
3. Evolution towards 3G UMTS HSCSD, GPRS, and EDGE
We describe key technologies for transitioning to 3G UMTS networks. HSCSD provides for high
bandwidth data rates by co-allocation of multiple full rate traffic channels (TCH/F) in GSM networks.
GPRS is a packet data service using transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) and X.25 to
offer speeds up to 115 kbps. EDGE is essentially a radio interface improvement scheme. EDGE is an
enhancement for both HSCSD and GPRS modes of operation. EDGE packet switched mode of operation
is known as Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS). EDGE circuit switched mode of operation is known as Enhanced
CSD (ECSD).
3.1 High-Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD)
HSCSD provides for high bandwidth data rates by co-allocation of multiple TCH/F in GSM networks
[16]. Baseline data rates have increased from 9.6 kbps to 14.4 kbps due to reduction in error correction
overhead of GSM radio link protocol (RLP). Multiple 14.4 kbps time slots may be combined to offer
access rates up to 57.6 kbps. Multiple time slots are dynamically allocated based on network operator
318

Syed A. Ahson

policies and the data transfer needs of the user. HSCSD requires software upgrades to the base station
(BS) and the mobile switching center (MSC). The end-user experience will be similar to an internet
service provider (ISP) that offers fast secure dial up using their mobile equipment. HSCSD does not
require any changes to existing mobility management procedures. Simultaneous handoff should take
place for all time slots comprising the HSCSD connection. It should be noted that multiple time slots for
HSCSD connections will probably be available in off-peak network usage times.
3.2 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
GPRS is a packet data service using TCP/IP and X.25 to offer speeds up to 115 kbps [17]. GPRS provides
short connection setup times, virtual connections and users are charged for actual data transmitted.
Network resource and bandwidth are only used when data is actually transmitted. Bandwidth can be
shared efficiently and simultaneously among several users. A GPRS core network is defined in parallel to
the existing GSM core network. Two new types of nodes are introduced in GPRS, the serving GPRS
support node (SGSN) and the gateway GPRS support node (GGSN). The GGSN is responsible for the
connection to other packet switched networks and stores information about location of GPRS users. The
GGSN encapsulates TCP/UDP packets and forwards them to the SGSN using GPRS tunneling protocol
(GTP). The GGSN may also offer packet filtering services. The GGSN is connected with SGSN via an
IPbased GPRS backbone network. The home location register (HLR) is enhanced to store GPRS
subscription data such as IP address of mobile users and routing information. The HLR also maps each
subscriber to one or more GGSN. SGSN and GGSN nodes interface with the HLR through signaling
system seven (SS7) links. The SGSN is responsible for authorization, authentication, admission control,
charging, and mobility management of mobile users. The SGSN encapsulates TCP/UDP packets and
forwards them to the GGSN using GTP. The SGSN is connected to the Base Station system by Frame
Relay. Figure 1 illustrates a GPRS enhanced GSM network.

Voice Network

VLR

VLR

MSC
BTS

MSC

HLR
BSC

SGSN

GGSN
IP Backbone

Data Network

Figure 1: General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Enhanced GSM Network.

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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

Mobile user packet data session is known as a packet data protocol (PDP) context. At power up,
mobile users perform a GPRS attach. At GPRS attach, the mobile users profile is downloaded from
the HLR to the SGSN. The mobile user must perform PDP context activation before it can send or
receive IP packets. The SGSN validates the PDP context activation request against the subscription
information downloaded from the HLR during GRPS attach. The GGSN that should be used for
TCP/UDP traffic routing is identified by a domain name service (DNS) query of the access point
name (the destination) [18]. A GPRS tunnel is created using GTP between the SGSN and the
destination GGSN.
3.3 Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
EDGE is designed to offer 3G services in existing spectrum bands. EDGE is essentially a radio interface
improvement scheme. The major enhancement in EDGE is the introduction of a new modulation system
known as eight phase shift keying (8 PSK). 8 PSK will coexist with the existing Gaussian minimum
phase shift keying (GMSK). 8 PSK will provide higher data rates in a reduced coverage area. GSM/GPRS
protocols are reused wherever possible. EDGE is an enhancement for both HSCSD and GPRS modes of
operation. EDGE packet switched mode of operation is known as enhanced GPRS (EGPRS). EDGE
circuit switched mode of operation is known as enhanced CSD (ECSD).
4. Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (WCDMA)
A 3G UMTS network consists of three interacting domains: core network (CN), UMTS terrestrial radio
access network (UTRAN) and user equipment (UE). A UMTS system is divided into a set of domains and
reference points that interconnect them. The 3G UMTS protocol structure is based on the principle that
the layers and planes are logically independent of each other. Following is a description of the 3G UMTS
core network architecture, reference points, UTRAN, and protocol structure.
4.1 UMTS Core Network Architecture
The UMTS core network (UCN) is composed of a circuit switched (CS) domain and a packet switched
(PS) domain. The CS domain consists of a mobile switching center (MSC) and a gateway MSC (GMSC).
Figure 2 illustrates the entities present in a UMTS core network. The PS domain contains the SGSN, the
GGSN, domain name server (DNS), dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server, packet charging
gateway and firewalls. The HLR interfaces with both domains over SS7 links. Other components required
for operation of the UCN include billing systems, provisioning systems, and service or element
management systems. The 3G MSC is responsible for mobility management. The 3G MSC handles IMSI
attach, authentication, HLR updates, Serving Radio Network Subsystem relocation and intersystem
handovers. The 3G MSC handles call setup, messages from or to mobile users, and provides
supplementary services such as call waiting. The 3G MSC also provides circuit switched data services for
services such as fax.

320

Syed A. Ahson

SSP

Voice Network
SCP

STP
CircuitSwitched

G-MSC

VLR

PacketSwitched

3G-MSC

DNS/DHCP
HLR
Firewall

SMSC

Packet
Charging
Gateway

GGSN

3G-SGSN

UMTS RAN

Data Network

Figure 2: UMTS Core Network Architecture


The 3G SGSN provides functionality similar to the 3G MSC for the PS domain. The 3G SGSN handles
GPRS attach, authentication, VLR updates, SRNS relocation and intersystem handover for user packet
data session. The 3G SGSN accepts session setup messages and enforces admission control. The 3G
SGSN is also responsible for tunneling user TCP/IP data to the 3G GGSN using GTP. The 3G SGSN
collects statistics relating to mobile users internal data usage which may be used for charging. The 3G
GGSN provides internetworking with the external PS network. The 3G GGSN offers packet filtering
services. The 3G GGSN may allocate dynamic IP addresses to mobile users on packet data protocol
(PDP) context activation. The 3G GGSN is also responsible for tunneling user TCP/IP data to the 3G
SGSN using GTP. The 3G GGSN collects statistics relating to mobile users external data usage which
may be used for charging. The DNS server translates access point names (APN) to 3G GGSN IP
addresses. A DHCP server may be present to automatically allocate IP addresses for mobile users at PDP
context activation. A packet data firewall is present to protect the GPRS PS domain.
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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

4.2 UMTS Network Reference Architecture


A set of reference points and domains have been defined for the UMTS network. Cu is defined as the
reference point between UMTS subscriber identity module (USIM) domain and the mobile equipment
domain. Uu is defined as the reference point between the mobile equipment domain and the UMTS radio
interface domain. Iu is defined as the reference point between the UMTS radio interface domain and
serving network domain. The Iu reference point is split into Iucs and Iups. Iucs connects the UMTS radio
interface domain to CS domain. Iups connects the UMTS radio interface domain to PS domain. Figure 3
illustrates UMTS domains and reference points.

Cu
User

USIM Domain

Uu

Iu

Equipment Domain

Core Network

Mobile Equipment Domain

Domain

Access Network Domain Serving Network Domain Transit Network Domain

Figure 3: UMTS Reference Points


4.3 UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN)
The UTRAN consists of a set of radio network subsystems (RNSs) (see Figure 4). An RNS is responsible
for radio resources and coverage in a set of cells. The RNS has two main elements, Node B and radio
network controller (RNC).

Core Network
Iu

Iu
Iur

RNS

RNS

RNC

Iub
Node B

Iub
Node B

Node B

Figure 4: UMTS Architecture

322

RNC

Node B

Syed A. Ahson

The RNC enables autonomous radio resource management (RRM) by the UTRAN. The RNC assists in
soft handover of the user equipment (UE) when a mobile user moves from one cell to another. The RNC
combines and splits Iub data streams received from multiple Node Bs. The RNC is also responsible for
frame synchronization, outer loop power control, and serving RNS (SRNS) relocation.
Node B is physical unit of radio transmission and reception with cells. It can support both time division
duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) modes and can be collocated with GSM base
transceiver system (BTS) to reduce implementation costs. It connects to the user equipment via the Uu
interface and the RNC via the Iub interface. The main task of Node B is the conversion to and from the Uu
radio interface, including forward error correction (FEC), rate adaptation, WCDMA spreading/despreading, and quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) modulation on the air interface. It measures quality
and strength of the connection and determines the frame error rate (FER), transmitting these data to the
RNC as a measurement report. The Node B also participates in power control, as it enables the user
equipment to adjust its power using down link (DL) transmission power control (TPC) commands via the
inner-loop power control on the basis of up link (UL) TPC information. The predefined values for innerloop power control are derived from the RNC via outer-loop power control.
4.4 UTRAN Logical Interfaces
The general protocol model for UTRAN Interfaces is shown in Figure 5. The structure is based on the
principle that the layers and planes are logically independent of each other [1921]. The protocol structure

Control Plane
Radio
Network
Layer

User Plane

Application
Protocols

Data
Streams

Transport Network
Control Plane
Transport
Network
Layer

Signaling
Bearer(s)

ALCAP(s)

Data
Bearer(s)

Signaling
Bearer(s)

Physical Layer

Figure 5: UMTS Protocol Model

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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

consists of two main layers, radio network layer (RNL), and transport network layer (TNL). All UTRAN
related issues are visible only in the RNL, and the TNL represents standard transport technology that is
selected to be used for UTRAN, but without any UTRAN specific requirements. The control plane includes
radio access network application part (RANAP) at Iu, radio network subsystem application part (RNSAP) at Iur,
or Node B application part (NBAP) at Iub, and the signaling bearer for transporting the application protocol
messages. Among other things, the application protocol is used for setting up bearers (i.e. Radio Access Bearer
or Radio Link) in the RNL. The user plane includes the data stream(s) and the data bearer(s) for the data
stream(s). The data stream(s) are characterized by one or more frame protocols specified for that interface.
The transport network control plane does not include any RNL information, and is completely in the
transport layer. It includes the access link control application part (ALCAP) protocol(s) that are needed to
set up the transport bearers for the user plane. It also includes the appropriate signaling bearer(s) needed
for the ALCAP protocol(s). The transport network control plane is a plane that acts between the control
plane and the user plane. The introduction of transport network control plane is performed in a way that
the application protocol in the radio network control plane is kept completely independent of the
technology selected for data bearer in the user plane.
The UMTS Iucs logical interface interconnects the UTRAN to the UMTS circuit switched core network. The
circuit switched protocol architecture on the Iucs interface is illustrated in Figure 6. The radio network layer
control plane consists of RANAP. The transport network user plane consists of SS7 protocols. Signaling
connection control part (SCCP), message transfer part (MTP3B) and signaling asynchronous transfer mode
(ATM) adaptation layer for network-to-network interface (SAALNNI) is present in the transport network
user plane. SAALNNI is divided into service specific coordination function (SSCF), service specific
connection oriented protocol (SSCOP) and ATM adaptation layer 5 (AAL5). SSCF and SSCOP are designed
for signaling transport in ATM networks. AAL5 is responsible for segmenting data into ATM cells.

Control Plane
Radio
Network
Layer

Transport
Network
Layer

User Plane

Radio Access
Network
Application Part

Iu Data
Stream

SCCP

ALCAP

MTP3-B

MTP3B

SSCFNNI

SSCFNNI

SSCOP

SSCOP

AAL5

AAL5
ATM
Physical Layer

Figure 6: Iucs Interface Protocols


324

AAL2

Syed A. Ahson

The UMTS Iups logical interface interconnects the UTRAN to the UMTS packet switched core network.
The packet switched protocol architecture on the Iups interface is illustrated in Figure 7. SCCP, message
transfer part user adaptation layer (M3UA), simple control transmission protocol (SCTP) and IP is present
in the transport network user plane. AAL5 is responsible for segmenting data into ATM cells.

Control Plane
Radio
Network
Layer

Radio Access
Network
Application Part

Iu Data
Stream

Transport
Network
Control Plane

SCCP
M3UA
Transport
Network
Layer

User Plane

GTPU

SCTP

UDP

IP

IP

AAL5

AAL5

ATM

ATM

Physical Layer

Physical Layer

Figure 7: Iups Interface Protocols


5. Internetworking with IEEE 802.11b
Interconnecting IEEE 802.11b networks and 3G UMTS networks will allow for seamless mobility. The
interconnection scheme should have minimal to no impact on the medium access (MAC) and physical
(PHY) layers. We present five solutions that will enable 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b WLAN
internetworking without impacting the MAC and PHY layers.
5.1 3G WLAN Internetworking by Emulating RNC
The IEEE 802.11b network is connected to the 3G UMTS network at the Iups interface (see Figure 8). An
internetworking unit (IWU) is introduced at the Iups interface for interconnection of the 3G UMTS IEEE
802.11b WLAN networks. The IWU emulates a RNC. The IWU presents an IEEE 802.3 local area
interface to the IEEE 802.11b WLAN network. The IWU presents an Iups interface to the 3G UMTS
network. A number of IEEE 802.11b cells are organized into a single distribution area. An IEEE 802.11b
distribution area will appear as another routing area to the 3GSGSN. IEEE 802.11b terminals are treated
as 3G UMTS users. 3G UMTS mobility management schemes will keep track of the IEEE 802.11b users
irrespective of the network they are connected to. The main advantage of this interconnection scheme is
that mobility management, roaming, billing, and security are taken care of by existing 3G UMTS
procedures. Minimum changes are required to the existing networks. The main drawback of this scheme

325

3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

is that the IWU present as single point of failure and a potential bottleneck in the 3G UMTS IEEE
802.11b WLAN interconnected network.

Internetworking Relay

Mobile
Station

Access Point

PDCP

GTP-U

802 LLC

UDP
IP

802.11
MAC

802.3
MAC

802.3
MAC

AAL5

802.11
PHY

802.3
PHY

802.3
PHY

L1

3G SGSN

IEEE
802.11
WLAN

ATM

3G GGSN

GTPU

GTPU

GTPU

UDP

UDP

UDP

IP

IP

IP

AAL5

L2

L2

L1

L1

L2
UMTS
Core
Network

ATM
L1

L1

Data Network

Figure 8: 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b Internetworking by RNC Emulation


5.2 3G WLAN Internetworking by Emulating 3GSGSN
The IEEE 802.11b network is connected to the 3G UMTS network at the Gn interface (see Figure 9). An
IWU is introduced at the Gn interface for interconnection of the 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b WLAN
networks. The IWU emulates a 3GSGSN. The IWU presents an IEEE 802.3 local area interface to the
IEEE 802.11b WLAN network. The IWU presents a Gn interface to the 3G UMTS network. IEEE

326

Syed A. Ahson

802.11b terminals are treated as 3G UMTS users. 3G UMTS mobility management schemes will keep
track of the IEEE 802.11b users irrespective of the network they are connected to. The main advantage of
this interconnection scheme is that mobility management, roaming, billing and security are taken care of
by existing 3G UMTS procedures. Minimum changes are required to the existing networks. The main
drawback of this scheme is that the IWU presents a single point of failure and a potential bottleneck in the
3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b WLAN interconnected network.

Internetworking Relay

Mobile
Station

Access Point

PDCP

GTPU

802 LLC

UDP
IP

802.11
MAC

802.3
MAC

802.3
MAC

L2

802.11
PHY

802.3
PHY

802.3
PHY

L1

3G SGSN

IEEE
802.11
WLAN

3G GGSN

GTPU

GTPU

GTPU

UDP

UDP

UDP

IP

IP

IP

AAL5

L2

L2

L1

L1

L2
UMTS
Core
Network

ATM
L1

L1

Data Network

Figure 9: 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b Internetworking by 3G SGSN Emulation

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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

5.3 3G WLAN Internetworking by Emulating Virtual Access Point (VAP)


The 3G UMTS network is viewed by the IEEE 802.11b WLAN network as an access point (see Figure
10). This interconnection method reverses the roles of the 3G UMTS and IEEE 802.11b WLAN networks
as discussed in the RNC and 3GSGSN emulation schemes. Mobility is managed by the IEEE 802.11b
WLAN network according to the inter access point protocol (IAPP). The entire 3G UMTS network is
treated as a Pico cell associated with a virtual access point. A VAP is introduced for interconnection of
the 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b WLAN networks.

802.11b WLAN
MS

AP
Router

Router
Virtual
Access
Point

Local-Area Network

Internet

UMTS
Core Network
UTRAN
MS

GGSN

3GSGSN

RNC

Figure 10: 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b Internetworking by Virtual Access Point Scheme

328

Syed A. Ahson

5.4 3G WLAN Internetworking by through Mobility Gateway


A mobile proxy may be placed in either the 3G UMTS network or IEEE 802.11b WLAN network (see
Figure 11). This Mobility Gateway will be responsible for routing of packets and mobility management.
This proxy architecture is highly scalable as there could be a number of Mobility Gateways.
Organizations already have IP proxies that could be upgraded to Mobility Gateways. This scheme suffers
from the lack of standardization of the proxy architecture and mobility management schemes.

802.11b WLAN
MS

AP
Router

Router
Local-Area Network

Mobility
Gateway

Internet

UMTS
Core Network
UTRAN
MS

GGSN

3GSGSN

RNC

Figure 11: 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b Internetworking by Mobility Gateway Scheme


5.5 3G WLAN Internetworking by Mobile IP
Figure 12 illustrates 3G WLAN internetworking by mobile IP [22]. Mobile IP is used for forwarding IP
datagrams when a mobile user roams from one network to another. Mobile users are identified by fixed IP
addresses. Mobile devices are required to have dual mode 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b WLAN protocol
stacks. The 3G UMTS network and IEEE 802.11b WLAN networks function as peer networks. Mobile
users register with home agents in their home IEEE 802.11b network. A mobile device could initiate a

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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

handover when it moves out of the IEEE 802.11b WLAN network coverage and detects the presence of a
3G UMTS network. The 3G UMTS network is treated as a foreign network by the mobile device. When a
mobile user roams into a foreign network, it registers with a foreign agent to obtain a care-of-address. The
mobile device is allocated a care-of-address by a foreign agent on the 3G UMTS network. Mobile users
inform their home agents of their care-of-address. The mobile device home agent on the home IEEE
802.11b network is informed of the care-of-address by a mobile IP registration procedure. Datagrams are
always routed to the mobile user by its home agent. The home agent receives all datagrams addressed to
the mobile device and encapsulates them using IPinIP. These encapsulated datagrams are tunneled to
the mobile devices foreign agent. The Foreign Agents removes the IPinIP header of the datagrams
and delivers them to the mobile device. While the mobile device is attached to the 3G UMTS network, it
constantly searches for IEEE 802.11b signal. The mobile device could initiate a handover when it detects
an IEEE 802.11b WLAN network while connected to the 3G UMTS network. The foreign agent in the 3G
UMTS network is deactivated. The home agent is informed by the mobile device that it no longer requires
IPinIP tunneling. This scheme suffers from a triangular routing overhead.

802.11b WLAN
MS

AP

Router/
Foreign
Agent

Router/
Home Agent
Local-Area Network

Internet

UMTS
Core Network
UTRAN
MS

GGSN/
Foreign
Agent

3GSGSN

RNC

Figure 12: 3G UMTS IEEE 802.11b Internetworking by Mobile IP

330

Syed A. Ahson

6. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Mobility


SIP [23] is an application-layer protocol used for establishing and tearing down multimedia sessions. SIP
supports IP mobility for VoIP WLAN applications by providing handoff capabilities at the application
layer. SIP applications make direct use of DHCP when connecting to an IEEE 802.11b networks for
binding an IP address. SIP introduces a visited registrar (VR) in the foreign network. The SIP VR
combines some of the functions of a SIP proxy server, location server, and user agent. SIP is designed to
support roaming so that a user could be found independently of location and network device. SIP is being
modified to support mobility as well as roaming applications. The foreign agent of mobile IP is replaced
by an SIP visited registrar in the foreign network. The mobile IP home agent (HA) is replaced by an SIP
home registrar (HR). The SIP HR is a combination of an SIP proxy server, a location server, and a user
agent server. Figure 13 illustrates an SIP network. One of the principal differences between mobile IP and
SIP is the use of DHCP. DHCP doubles the number of transactions needed to associate with an access
point. SIP has the advantage of using the existing IP network without modification. However, this comes
at the expense of delays that are typically double those of mobile IP. SIP mobility support will reduce the
triangular routing overhead associated with mobile IP. SIP cannot support TCP connections. SIP mobility
can be used for real-time communication over UDP and Mobile IP for TCP connections.

802.11b WLAN
MS

AP

Router/
Visited
Registrar

Router/
Home Registrar
Local-Area Network

Internet

UMTS
Core Network
UTRAN
MS

GGSN/
Visited
Registrar

3GSGSN

RNC

Figure 13: SIP Mobility


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3G UMTS: IEEE 802.11b WLAN Internetworking for VoIP Services

7. Conclusion
Seamless wireless data and voice communication is fast becoming a reality. IEEE 802.11b WLAN
networks have been widely deployed in offices, homes and public hot spots such as coffee shops and
hotels. However, IEEE 802.11b is limited by small coverage area (100300 feet). 3G UMTS networks
aim to create a convergence of existing networks to a global network based on one international standard.
If the user is under the coverage of an IEEE 802.11b WLAN network, his or her communication device
can access high bandwidth data service using the IEEE 802.11b WLAN network. If IEEE 802.11b
WLAN service is not available, the user may handover to the 3G UMTS network. This chapter describes
3G UMTS networks and internetworking between IEEE 802.11b WLAN and 3G UMTS networks. It
presents 3G standardization efforts and a description of strategies for 2G networks and the key
technologies (HSCSD, GRPS and EDGE) for transitioning to 3G UMTS networks. It further describes the
3G UMTS core network, reference points, UTRAN and protocol structure. Five possible network layer
architectures, which make no major changes to existing networks and technologies, are presented for
internetworking and handover between IEEE 802.11b WLAN and 3G UMTS networks. Mobile IP
interconnection architecture provides an efficient method for internetworking of heterogeneous packet
oriented networks. SIP mobility support reduces triangular routing overhead associated with mobile IP.
SIP cannot support TCP connections. SIP mobility can be used for real-time communication over UDP
and mobile IP for TCP connections.
8. References
[1]

[2]

[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]
[11]
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]

332

IEEE 802.11, 1999 Edition (ISO/IEC 8802-11: 1999) IEEE Standards for Information Technology
Telecommunications and Information Exchange between Systems Local and Metropolitan Area
Network Specific Requirements Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and
Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications
IEEE 802.3 2002, IEEE Standard for Information technology Telecommunications and
information exchange between systems Local and metropolitan area networks Specific
requirements Part 3: Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) Access
Method and Physical Layer Specifications
Daniel Collins, Clint Smith, 3G Wireless Networks, McGraw-Hill Professional, September 18,
2001
Heikki Kaaranen, Siamk Naghian, Lauri Laitinen, Ari Ahtiainen, Valtteri Niemi, UMTS
Networks: Architecture, Mobility and Services, John Wiley & Sons; 1st edition (August 14, 2001)
Daniel Collins, Carrier Grade Voice over IP, McGraw-Hill Professional, September 17, 2002
Mouley, M. and Pautet, M.B., The GSM System for Mobile Communications, Palaiseau, France 1992
Garg, V. K. and Wilkes, J. E., Wireless and Personal Communications Systems, Prentice
Hall, NJ 1996
TIA/EIA IS-95, Mobile StationBase Station Compatibility Standard for Dual-Mode Wideband
Spread Spectrum Cellular System, PN-3422, 1994
ETSI SMG, Proposal for a Consensus Decision on UTRA, ETSI SMG Tdoc 032/98
Harri Holma (Editor), Atti Toskala (Editor), WCDMA for UMTS, 2nd Edition, John Wiley &
Sons, September 12, 2002
TDSCDMA, http://www.tdscdma-forum.org/
TIA TR45, Proposed RTT Submission (UWC 136), TR-45.3/98.03.03.19, March 1998
TIA/EIA IS-2000-1 Introduction to cdma2000 Spread Spectrum Systems, Nov. 1999
ETSI Technical Specification GSM 02.60 GPRS Service Description Stage 1 version 5.2.1, July 1998
ETSI Tdoc SMG2 95/97, EDGE Feasibility Study, Work Item 184; Improved Data Rates through
Optimized Modulation, version 0.3 Dec. 1997

Syed A. Ahson

[16] Digital Cellular Telecommunication System (Phase 2+), High Speed Circuit Switched Data
(HSCSD), Service Description, Stage 2, GSM 03.34
[17] RFC 793, Transmission Control Protocol, September 1981
[18] RFC 1034, Domain Names Concepts and Facilities, November 1987
[19] 3GPP Technical Specification 25.410 UTRAN Iu Interface: General Aspects and Principles
[20] 3GPP Technical Specification 25.420 UTRAN Iur Interface: General Aspects and Principles
[21] 3GPP Technical Specification 25.430 UTRAN Iub Interface: General Aspects and Principles
[22] RFC 3220, IP Mobility Support for IPv4, January 2002
[23] RFC 2543, SIP: Session Initiation Protocol, March 1999

333

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)


Susan Barbier
Vice President, Mobility Applications and Services
Lucent Technologies

Maria Palamara
IMS Mobility Offer Manager
Lucent Technologies

Jim Starkey
IMS Mobility Marketing Manager
Lucent Technologies
This white paper addresses the following:

The need (as a result of primary market research conducted by Lucent among consumers) to
provide service providers with new solutions to meet their end-customer requirements for unique
and value added applications and services

The benefits of implementing a standards-based service architecture to enable these blended


lifestyle service offerings

The market-driven architectural approach of the Internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS)

The IMS is an industry standard 3GPP/3GPP2 network intelligent architecture. It is an appealing


architecture due to its simplicity and structure. Based on the application, session/call management, and
transport layers, the IMS provides the framework for service providers to offer new revenue generating
lifestyle-enhancing services for consumers and supports cost-effective business critical applications for
enterprises over both fixed and wireless access methods.
IMS is a market-driven architectural approach that strives to equip operators for success in their target
user segments and enables service providers to generate significant and sustained revenue from services
that meet the needs of end users. A key finding of Lucents primary market research among consumers is
the requirement to focus on services that deliver value by meeting their particular lifestyle needs, i.e.,
services that offer real value by making routine, daily tasks easier to carry out. Such services then quickly
become integrated into the daily lives of end users, leading to increased voice and data traffic on the
service providers network along with corresponding opportunities for revenue generation and subscriber
retention. We call these services lifestyle services. In order to deliver on this promise, the services must
be very easy to discover and use and provide a high degree of service quality wherever and however a
user might want to access them.

335

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)

It is a tall order to deliver a wide array of blended services cost effectively to target specific user segments
with the services that fit their lifestylesboth personal and business. Operators are now deploying hot
services based on point solutions to capitalize on early market opportunity quickly in spaces such as push
to talk, instant messaging, and IP private branch exchange (PBX)/Centrex. They, however, are quickly
discovering problems and opportunities associated with this approach of rolling out services.
For example, mobile operators are quickly realizing that it is difficult for subscribers to manage their
contacts across all of their various communications methods when they have to administer separate
contact lists for push-to-talk, instant messaging, voice calls, and voice messaging. If they could have a
single presence-enabled contact and group list management tool that could be leveraged by all these
applications, they believe that there would be much more utility to each of the services and
significantly less complexity in managing subscriber data. In addition, they see that presence-enabling
the contacts is very useful to subscribers so that they have more control in their communications, only
initiating a session if their buddies are on-line, or having an on-line transition alert stimulate the
beginning of a session.
Wireline operators have also discovered the problems associated with deploying point solutions as they
want to enhance their services. For example, if they would like to get a unified messaging solution from
Vendor A, and an IP PBX/Centrex solution from Vendor B, it is often difficult to get these solutions to
work well together, especially if Vendor B also offers unified messaging. So they are looking for a
standards-based service architecture that allows them to leverage things like common subscriber data and
underlying infrastructure cost effectively.
In addition, such a service architecture will be a key enabler to design and develop more lifestyle targeted
services that target niche markets cost effectively. Lucent believes tha