5G and WiMax Antennas: 698 MHz to 5GHz
Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access or WiMAX competes on a number of fronts as a cost effective, scalable, and wireless broadband solution which can be deployed in a range of settings. Though similar, it is not the same as WiFi.
WiMAX refers to a range of standards for wireless broadband communication which were originally derived from IEEE 802.16. It has had notable uptake around the world and was considered alongside LTE for 4G. The latest version of WiMAX is compatible with LTE. Despite declining uptake in the US and little visibility in the marketplace for consumer facing applications and services WiMAX remains a commercially viable contender for a variety of network operators worldwide, and there are hundreds of WiMAX network deployments in use across the world.
WiMAX is used to deploy base station equipment and antenna arrays, with it being well received as a last mile delivery solution for wireless broadband. It is modular and can be rapidly deployed with relatively low costs compared to other technologies. The standard also covers mobile broadband connectivity which has meant that WiMAX lends itself to a range of applications for and mobile internet access and communications across regions and countries including:
- Urban wireless broadband
- Remote and rural broadband solutions
- An established and reliable alternative where cable and DSL broadband cannot be accessed.
It has a triple play functionality, meaning WiMAX can support data transfer, telecoms and IPTV. WiMAX can also be used for smart grids and metering.
At distances greater than 50 kilometers WiMAX is unable to deliver greater than 70Mbits per second which limits it’s use. Its performance and bit rate is also diminished as the density of users is increased.
WiMAX is characterized by its use of multiple antenna arrays, which was a relatively unique strategy when it was first implemented. These are particularly used at base stations and utilize advanced spatial diversity schemes to improve the quality and reliability of the communications link. Other antenna based strategies and technologies include:
- Adaptive antenna systems
- Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ)
WiMAX deployments use 3 key types of antenna:
1. Omnidirectional antennas provide 360 degree broadcasting.
2. Sector antennas provide 60, 90 or 120 degree sector coverage
3. Panel antennas provide point to point communication.
Theae are used together to provide the optimally performing network delivery.
Connectivity to WiMAX networks is via subscriber stations, which cover a range of devices including dongles, handsets and laptop embedded components. Gateway devices also provide WiMAX access.