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IEEE approves next WiMax standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has approved IEEE 802.16m, the standard for the next generation of WiMax, which may deliver downstream speeds of more than 300M bps (bits per second).

IEEE 802.16m, also known as WirelessMAN-Advanced or WiMax-2, was developed as the next step after 802.16e, the first global standard for mobile WiMax. The new standard was more than four years in the making, according to the IEEE, but it arrives as WiMax appears surrounded and outnumbered in the mobile world. A significant majority of carriers that have committed to building so-called 4G (fourth-generation) networks have chosen LTE (Long-Term Evolution), which shares some underlying characteristics with WiMax but comes from a different standards body.

Last year, 802.16m achieved the distinction of being recognized as a true 4G technology by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). It stood alongside LTE-Advanced, a future version of LTE that likewise was not commercially available, in a definition that clashed with the widespread use of 4G to describe current WiMax and LTE. But the ITU later relaxed its definition of the term so much that it even opened the door to carriers such as T-Mobile USA describing variants of 3G technology as 4G.

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