Next Generation of Technology and Applications

Next Generation Technology: New Standard for an Open Mobile Broadband Networks

Relative to other broadband technologies, WiMAX provides revolutionary advantages in mobility, open standards, and open access. WiMAX is the only technology on the market today that enables a true quadruple play of services — broadband Internet access, landline telephone bypass, cell phone/mobile data bypass, and cable/satellite television bypass.

The ability to access the Internet while traveling 60 miles per hour with seamless handoffs from one base station to the next is the technology marvel of our time. Having Internet access turns the downtime on public transportation, for example, into productive time.

Open standards give the subscriber a wide range of WiMAX device choices from a variety of manufacturers.

WiMAX = Open Standards

The WiMAX is an industry standard that was promulgated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), referred to as “802.16e.” (IEEE also developed the Wi-Fi standard.) WiMAX is an IP-based broadband wireless access technology developed from the ground up to provide high-speed data and voice capabilities combined with advanced interactivity, ubiquitous mobility, and exceptional cost-effectiveness.

The industry group WiMAX Forum® actively promotes interoperability of diverse subscriber devices and base stations, thus driving a vibrant ecosystem of devices, applications, and services. Unlike the traditional cell phone market where proprietary technologies encouraged closed networks (“walled gardens”), WiMAX drives innovation via open standards.

WiMAX = Open Access

The WiMAX distributed architecture is a simpler, more powerful alternative to traditional hierarchical bandwidth challenged cellular networks based on complex layers of control. The table above illustrates a comparison of WiMAX and other wireless solutions.WiMAX offers a flat, all Internet Protocol network architecture.

Unlike some wireless service providers, who limit access to some online services (VoIP on cellular data networks, for example), mobile WiMAX enables all of the Internet’s applications (voice, video, music, gaming) all of the time. "Clear" mobile WiMAX from Clearwire (depicted below) is a platform that supports multiple devices on a single customer account (4G), instead of one account for each device (3G).

Mobile WiMAX unifies all services and devices on a single Internet network. Voice is carried over an Internet platform ("VoIP"). 3G requires a cellular phone network for voice and a separate network for Internet access. Credit: Clearwire

WiMAX verses Long Term Evolution

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a mobile wireless broadband technology that is currently being promoted as an alternative to WiMAX by major cellular telephone providers, including Verizon and AT&T. LTE is still in the developmental stages and will not be deployed until the 2012 - 2015 time frame.

If LTE service providers want to compete with WiMAX operators and provide a comparable immersive broadband experience, they will have to spend billions of dollars to upgrade their existing cell phone-based infrastructure by enabling Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity and increasing bandwidth (capacity).

All LTE voice traffic will be carried as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), not as a cell phone signal. LTE is not accepted as a solution for community broadband networks in the way that WiMAX is. WiMAX is open and it is ready for immediate deployment.

Next Generation Applications

Community organizations can benefit from the services of wireless mobile WiMAX. Below are just a few examples.

Education

In many school districts, as many as one in three students have no Internet access at home, which puts them at a disadvantage, compared to other students who do, when it comes to doing homework that requires online research and collaborating with classmates. How do those students ever catch up? Answer: they don’t. The solution is a community-wide mobile WiMAX network with a one-to-one computing program (laptops) for students, which enables instruction at any time. Mobile WiMAX enables a wide variety of tools (voice, video and data) for distance learning, job and teacher training.

Broadband wireless networks can provide educational institutions with:

Remote learning capabilities. Schools and colleges can create virtual classrooms. Students can learn wirelessly, moving between classrooms, libraries, and off-campus locations.

Global interaction and collaboration. Mobile WiMAX can link local schools and colleges to the world around them via always-on, high-speed Internet connections.

Distance Learning opportunities. Mobile WiMAX networks can be used to link school, library and home computers. Parents now have a greater capability to monitor and participate in the children’s education.

Access to the Institution’s website and Internet-based services, anytime, anywhere.

Wireless applications and services that enhance quality of life and effectiveness in teaching.

Real-time connectivity to web-based alerts and public announcements (for example, information about schedule changes and warnings about natural disasters and emergencies).

Wireless broadband networks can provide students with a platform to foster academic achievement, prepare them for the workforce, provide easier access to health care, and encourage civic participation.

Healthcare Applications

A trip to the doctor’ office or clinic to have one’s blood pressure and temperature taken and have a brief chat with a health care professional is expensive for both patient and healthcare provider. Being able to replicate that visit via the Internet would save U.S. citizens billions of dollars every year in collective health care costs. WiMAX will also enable local physicians to conduct live videoconferences with specialists elsewhere, while treating a patient. Mobile WiMAX is an essential component for any telemedicine application and lowers the cost of healthcare.

Motorola’s Expedience Mobile Subscriber Unit is a vehicle modem that is designed for public safety and transportation applications. Expedience is a proprietary platform (not WiMAX) that uses the 2.5 GHz band.

Public Safety Applications

Today’s wireless mobile WiMAX enables filing reports in the field, accessing crime-fighting databases while on the go, provides video surveillance on demand for police and better communication onsite for firefighters, and gives paramedics in ambulances a way to send an accident victim’s vital-signs data to the hospital while in transit.

When trouble comes, be it a natural disaster or terrorist attack, wireless mobile WiMAX can be used to set up a self-configuring, peer-to-peer wireless network allowing all first responders to effectively communicate with each other onsite. WiMAX open architecture, standards, and access enables any First Responder team to provide assistance in any disaster anywhere mobile WiMAX is available.

Motorola’s Expedience Mobile Subscriber Unit is designed for public safety and transportation applications. It delivers flexible, high-speed connectivity for nomadic vehicular wireless broadband access markets. It is a true Plug & Play Ethernet device, requiring no special drivers to be installed in an interfacing computer. Particularly important for public safety applications is the compatibility with standard IP software applications, eliminating the need to purchase special proprietary solutions to run on a mobile data platform. The MSU is also well suited for backhaul of a temporary emergency LAN that can be set up for first responders in emergency situations. Applications supported include data, VoIP, and streaming video.

Clearwire Corporation, a mobile WiMAX operator, has provided technical leadership in assessing today’s emergency response technologies and applications. Clearwire has combined expertise in the operation of mobile broadband equipment and networks required to deliver an emergency network solution. Here are some examples:

Hurricane Katrina. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Clearwire quickly set up base stations along the Gulf Coast to provide relief agencies with desperately needed Internet access. Clearwire provided VoIP and Internet services to shelters that had previously been completely disconnected from the communications grid. The company also provided residents of the “tent cities” with the means to communicate their location and situation to family and friends in other areas.

Oregon Wildfire Support. Firefighters battling the 2005 Wasson forest fire used Clearwire’s network to download maps, stay in contact with the forestry services, and provide up-to-date information to local residents via their website.

Hurricane Frances. Clearwire’s network was able to help public safety agencies and local residents stay in touch during the September 2004 hurricane in Jacksonville, Florida. Even as land-based satellite communications failed, the Clearwire network was able to maintain continuous service.

Transportation Applications

WiMAX offers unique opportunities for public transportation with its high-speed wireless broadband service. It can provide security camera surveillance, telematic information on the performance of the train or bus, posting GIS data on the Internet for passengers expecting to catch a ride, or allowing riders to access the Internet either directly with a WiMAX connection or by way of WiFi with WiMAX providing the backhaul. Mass transit has not had these options available to it in the past.

Making public transportation safer and more reliable, while also providing the opportunity to work or play on the Internet, will encourage ridership, help save resources, prevent traffic jams, and save wear-and-tear on the roads.

Small Business Applications

Almost all business is entirely dependent on communications between buyers and sellers. Being able to access critical business information on the go is a real plus for almost any business. For many communities in the United States, there is only one form of broadband Internet access and that’s a DSL service from a telephone company or a TV cable to their office.

Statistics show a direct relationship between the duration of network outages and the survival of impacted businesses. Access to a wireless mobile WiMAX network will enable many businesses to be more sustainable, efficient, and profitable. By law, banks and other financial institutions are required to have more than one form of Internet access to back up their daily transactions. Does your workplace have a backup source to access the Internet? Mobile WiMAX provides that “diverse path” without expensive cabling, trenching or other infrastructure.