IEEE 802.20 MBWA

- essential introduction and tutorial about the IEEE 802.20 Mobile Broadband Wireless Access System, MBWA defined to provide mobile broadband access to users.

The IEEE 802.20 standard has been developed to provide a system which is able to provide mobile broadband wireless access, MBWA for users.

It is intended that IEEE 802.20 will enable worldwide deployment of mobile broadband wireless networks using multi-vendor equipment.

Tagged "Mobile-Fi", the aim is that IEEE 802.20 MBWA will provide an interface that will allow low cost, always on mobile broadband connectivity using wireless technology.

IEEE 802.20 MBWA history

The IEEE 802.20 working group dates back to 2002 when it was set up in response to the iBurst standard from ArrayComm. The IEEE 802.20 group was formally adopted in 11 December 2002 with the aim of preparing a formal specification for a packet based service.

Various commercial interests appear to have been active and as a result progress seems in developing the standard has been slow. A temporary suspense was implemented in 2006, although activities were re-started later than year.

After a number of further issues, the first issue of the IEEE 802.20 standard was approved - IEEE 802.20-2008 defining the Physical and Media Access elements was approved on 12 June 2008.

IEEE 802.20 major characteristics

The major characteristics of the IEEE 802.22 MBWA, mobile broadband wireless access system are summarised in the table below:

Characteristic Specification
Mobility Up to 250 km/h
Channel bandwidths 5, 10, 20 MHz
Spectral efficiency > 1 b/s/Hz/cell
Peak user data rate in Downlink > 4 Mbps
Peak user data rate in Uplink > 1.2 Mbps
Peak aggregate data rate per cell in Downlink > 16 Mbps
Peak aggregate data rate per cell in Uplink > 3.2 Mbps
Maximum operating frequency 3.5 GHz

IEEE 802.20 parameters summary


The IEEE 802.20 mobile broadband wireless access, MBWA, standard has not gained widespread acceptance because of the number of other standards that address similar areas of the market. It is possible that it may gain some level of acceptance, but it remains to be seen what level this may reach.

By Ian Poole

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