The technology will also be WiMAX and 4G compatible

According to a published draft information on 802.16 standards, the IEEE is currently working on a new wireless standard called 802.16m. The new standard is still more than a year or two away, but according to IEEE documents, the group hopes that 802.16m will be able to deliver 1Gbps transfer rates over the air. In fact, 802.16m is "required" to meet downstream speeds of up to 1Gbps in "nomadic" mode, or high efficiency/strong signal mode. The standard also has a "high mobility" mode which allows for 100Mbps rates.

What gives 802.16m the capability to reach such high speeds is its use of multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) technology. MIMO is currently used in a host of 802.11g and 802.11n routers and access points currently available on the market to speed things up. 54Mbps routers that use MIMO are capable of reaching theoretical speeds up to 108Mbit.sec.

The IEEE committee indicated that while 802.16m is not part of the WiMAX, it promises that there will be cross platform compatibility between the two standards. The new high-speed standard is also slated to be compatible with future 4G wireless networks that will make their way into mobile phones roughly two to three years from now. At that time, 4G will be based on OFDMA standards and abandon current WCDMA and CDMA2000 standards.

The IEEE indicated that 802.16m will also be OFDMA compatible:
IEEE 802.16m amends the IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN-OFDMA specification to provide an advanced air interface for operation in licensed bands. It will meet the cellular layer requirements of IMT-Advanced next generation mobile networks. It will be designed to provide significantly improved performance compared to other high rate broadband cellular network systems.
Current WiMAX products are in "wave 2" revisions, which mean that they use a two-by-two antenna setup to achieve high signal integrity and transfer rates. The WiMAX forum is currently working on what it calls "wave 3" WiMAX, which is based on a four-by-four antenna setup. Current 802.16m specifications include:
  • Very low rate Data: = 16 kbps
  • Low rate Data & Low Multimedia: = 144 kbps
  • Medium multimedia: = 2 Mbps
  • High multimedia: = 30 Mbps
  • Super high multimedia: 30 Mbps ~ 100 Mbps / 1 Gbps
As things stand today, however, the uplink speed for 802.16m is still undetermined.

While 802.16m will bring very high transfer rates to mobile devices, the IEEE committee is looking to push the technology towards military purposes before bringing it to the mainstream market. According to a 802.16m document from the IEEE, the military will help develop the new wireless standard faster. "Today’s military requirements could become tomorrow’s civilian requirements," the IEEE stated.

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