The IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access Standards develops standards and recommended practices to support the development and deployment of broadband Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks. IEEE 802.16 is a unit of the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee.
Although the 802.16 family of standards is officially called WirelessMAN in IEEE, it has been commercialized under the name “WiMAX” (from “Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access“) by the industry alliance called the WiMAX Forum. The mission of the Forum is to promote and certify compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based on the IEEE 802.16 standards.
The most popular IEEE 802.16 standard is IEEE Std 802.16e-2005 Amendment that is widely being deployed around the world in more than 100 countries by more than 300 operators. 802.16e was completed in 2005 and the WiMAX Forum certified products were released starting 2007.
The first 802.16 standard was approved in December 2001. It delivered a standard for point to multipoint Broadband Wireless transmission in the 10-66 GHz band, with only a line-of-sight (LOS) capability. IEEE 802.16 standardizes the air interface and related functions associated with wireless local loop.
In September 2003, a revision project called “802.16d” commenced aiming to align the standard with aspects of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) HIPERMAN standard as well as lay down conformance and test specifications. This project concluded in 2004 with the release of 802.16-2004 which superseded the earlier 802.16 documents, including the a/b/c amendments.
An amendment to 802.16-2004, IEEE 802.16e-2005 (formerly known as IEEE “802.16e”), addressing mobility, was concluded in 2005. This implemented a number of enhancements to 802.16-2004, including better support for Quality of Service and the use of Scalable OFDMA, and is sometimes called “Mobile WiMAX”, after the WiMAX Forum for interoperability.