IEEE 802.16

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IEEE 802.16
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Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access Standards

IEEE 802.16 is a series of wireless broadband standards written by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE Standards Board established a working group in 1999 to develop standards for broadband for wireless metropolitan area networks. The Workgroup is a unit of the IEEE 802 local area network and metropolitan area network 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 WiMAX Forum industry alliance. The Forum promotes and certifies compatibility and interoperability of products based on the IEEE 802.16 standards.

The 802.16e-2005 amendment version was announced as being deployed around the world in 2009. [1] The version IEEE 802.16-2009 was amended by IEEE 802.16j-2009.


Projects publish draft and proposed standards with the letter "P" prefixed. Once a standard is ratified and published, that "P" gets dropped and replaced by a trailing dash and suffix year of publication.


802.16Fixed Broadband Wireless Access (10–66 GHz)Superseded
802.16.2Recommended practice for coexistenceSuperseded
802.16cSystem profiles for 10–66 GHzSuperseded
802.16aPhysical layer and MAC definitions for 2–10 GHzSuperseded
P802.16bLicense-exempt frequencies
(Project withdrawn)
P802.16dMaintenance and System profiles for 2–11 GHz
(Project merged into 802.16-2004)
802.16Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access System
(rollup of 802.16–2001, 802.16a, 802.16c and P802.16d)
P802.16.2aCoexistence with 2–11 GHz and 23.5–43.5 GHz
(Project merged into 802.16.2-2004)
802.16.2IEEE Recommended Practice for Local and metropolitan area networks
Coexistence of Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems
(Maintenance and rollup of 802.16.2–2001 and P802.16.2a)
Released on 2004-March-17.
802.16f Management Information Base (MIB) for 802.16-2004Superseded
802.16-2004/Cor 1–2005Corrections for fixed operations
(co-published with 802.16e-2005)
802.16eMobile Broadband Wireless Access SystemSuperseded
802.16kIEEE Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks: Media Access Control (MAC) Bridges
Amendment 2: Bridging of IEEE 802.16
(An amendment to IEEE 802.1D)
Released on 2007-August-14.
802.16gManagement Plane Procedures and ServicesSuperseded
P802.16iMobile Management Information Base
(Project merged into 802.16-2009)
802.16-2009Air Interface for Fixed and Mobile Broadband Wireless Access System
(rollup of 802.16–2004, 802.16-2004/Cor 1, 802.16e, 802.16f, 802.16g and P802.16i)
802.16j Multihop relaySuperseded
802.16hImproved Coexistence Mechanisms for License-Exempt OperationSuperseded
802.16mAdvanced Air Interface with data rates of 100 Mbit/s mobile and 1 Gbit/s fixed.
Also known as Mobile WiMAX Release 2 or WirelessMAN-Advanced.
Aiming at fulfilling the ITU-R IMT-Advanced requirements on 4G systems.
Superseded [2]
802.16-2012IEEE Standard for Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
It is a rollup of 802.16h, 802.16j and Std 802.16m
(but excluding the WirelessMAN-Advanced radio interface, which was moved to IEEE Std 802.16.1).
Released on 2012-August-17.
802.16.1IEEE Standard for WirelessMAN-Advanced Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
Released on 2012-September-07.
802.16pIEEE Standard for Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
Amendment 1: Enhancements to Support Machine-to-Machine Applications
Released on 2012-October-08.
802.16.1bIEEE Standard for WirelessMAN-Advanced Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
Amendment 1: Enhancements to Support Machine-to-Machine Applications
Released on 2012-October-10.
802.16nIEEE Standard for Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
Amendment 2: Higher Reliability Networks
Approved on 2013-March-06.
802.16.1aIEEE Standard for WirelessMAN-Advanced Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
Amendment 2: Higher Reliability Networks
Approved on 2013-March-06.
802.16-2017IEEE Standard for Air Interface for Broadband Wireless Access Systems
It is a rollup of 802.16p, 802.16n, 802.16q and Std 802.16s
Released on 2017-September.
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802.16e-2005 Technology

The 802.16 standard essentially standardizes two aspects of the air interface – the physical layer (PHY) and the media access control (MAC) layer. This section provides an overview of the technology employed in these two layers in the mobile 802.16e specification.


802.16e uses scalable OFDMA to carry data, supporting channel bandwidths of between 1.25 MHz and 20 MHz, with up to 2048 subcarriers. It supports adaptive modulation and coding, so that in conditions of good signal, a highly efficient 64 QAM coding scheme is used, whereas when the signal is poorer, a more robust BPSK coding mechanism is used. In intermediate conditions, 16 QAM and QPSK can also be employed. Other PHY features include support for multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas in order to provide good non-line-of-sight propagation (NLOS) characteristics (or higher bandwidth) and hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) for good error correction performance.

Although the standards allow operation in any band from 2 to 66 GHz, mobile operation is best in the lower bands which are also the most crowded, and therefore most expensive. [3]


The 802.16 MAC describes a number of Convergence Sublayers which describe how wireline technologies such as Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and Internet Protocol (IP) are encapsulated on the air interface, and how data is classified, etc. It also describes how secure communications are delivered, by using secure key exchange during authentication, and encryption using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or Data Encryption Standard (DES) during data transfer. Further features of the MAC layer include power saving mechanisms (using sleep mode and idle mode) and handover mechanisms.

A key feature of 802.16 is that it is a connection-oriented technology. The subscriber station (SS) cannot transmit data until it has been allocated a channel by the base station (BS). This allows 802.16e to provide strong support for quality of service (QoS).


Quality of service (QoS) in 802.16e is supported by allocating each connection between the SS and the BS (called a service flow in 802.16 terminology) to a specific QoS class. In 802.16e, there are 5 QoS classes:

802.16e-2005 QoS classes
ServiceAbbrevDefinitionTypical Applications
Unsolicited Grant ServiceUGSReal-time data streams comprising fixed-size data packets issued at periodic intervalsT1/E1 transport
Extended Real-time Polling ServiceertPSReal-time service flows that generate variable-sized data packets on a periodic basisVoIP
Real-time Polling ServicertPSReal-time data streams comprising variable-sized data packets that are issued at periodic intervalsMPEG Video
Non-real-time Polling ServicenrtPSDelay-tolerant data streams comprising variable-sized data packets for which a minimum data rate is requiredFTP with guaranteed minimum throughput[ citation needed ]
Best EffortBEData streams for which no minimum service level is required and therefore may be handled on a space-available basisHTTP

The BS and the SS use a service flow with an appropriate QoS class (plus other parameters, such as bandwidth and delay) to ensure that application data receives QoS treatment appropriate to the application.


Because the IEEE only sets specifications but does not test equipment for compliance with them, the WiMAX Forum runs a certification program wherein members pay for certification. WiMAX certification by this group is intended to guarantee compliance with the standard and interoperability with equipment from other manufacturers. The mission of the Forum is to promote and certify compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products.

See also

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IEEE 802.11ay is a proposed enhancement to the current technical standards for Wi-Fi. It is the follow-up of IEEE 802.11ad, quadrupling the bandwidth and adding MIMO up to 4 streams. It will be the second WiGig standard.


  1. "WiMAX™ operators and vendors from around the world announce new deployments, growing commitments at the 2nd Annual WiMAX Forum® Global Congress". News release. WiMAX Forum. June 4, 2009. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  2. "IEEE Approves IEEE 802.16m – Advanced Mobile Broadband Wireless Standard". News release. IEEE Standards Association. March 31, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  3. Michael Richardson; Patrick Ryan (March 19, 2006). "WiMAX: Opportunity or Hype?". Advances in Telecom: Proceedings of the Fourth Annual ITERA Conference. SSRN   892260 .