The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers has quietly ratified the long-awaited 802.16e standard for mobile WiMax, which is also known as 802.16-2005.
The move was greeted warmly by equipment vendors, which to date have been faced with the dilemma of pushing WiMax's fixed wireless predecessor, 802.16d, also known as 802.16-2004, or developing pre-standard variants of the mobile technology.
Motorola for one has championed the 802.16e standard, as the company feels strongly that the market for mobile broadband wireless access will far exceed that of fixed services.
The vendor said that it expects to start shipping 802.16e kit in mid-2006, and will not offer an 802.16d product.
This is not expected to be an uncommon strategy, as another cause for concern when standardising WiMax, was the decision to integrate the Korean-developed WiBro technology into the mobile version of WiMax, effectively making it incompatible with the fixed-wireless version.
"Mobile wireless broadband brings the promise of a solution able to bridge the digital divide in developing nations, serve the last mile extending broadband to outlaying areas, and ushering in an exciting new era of wireless applications and services," Motorola said.
Meanwhile, French vendor Alcatel was also ensuring a place on the mobile WiMax bandwagon, yesterday announcing a partnership with Korean manufacturer KT to jointly ensure interoperability between Korea's WiBro technology and the 802.16e standard.
Both companies will establish a centre in Seoul that will serve as a venue for conducting interoperability tests of WiMax infrastructure with mobile devices and for developing new mobile broadband applications to exploit the potential of mobile WiMax for the worldwide market.
Marc Rouanne, chief operating officer of Alcatel's mobile communications activities, said: "Alcatel is convinced that mobile WiMax has enormous potential, and our decision to partner with KT will accelerate the introduction of new mobile broadband services in the global marketplace."
Motorola also has a mobile WiMax development and implementation partnership itself, with chip giant Intel, which it unveiled back in October.
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