In another sign of growing worldwide interest and acceptance, the work of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access standards was the subject of a major conference in Beijing, China on 24 August 2001. The conference, entitled "IEEE 802.16a Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) Standard Development and Internet Application," was sponsored by the important State Information Promotion Office of the Peoples Republic of China, whose Director-General, Prof. Song Ling, provided the opening remarks. The Conference Chair was Prof. Liu Yuan An of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, which co-sponsored the event and whose Vice President, Prof. Zhong Yi-Xin also spoke.
Dr. Roger B. Marks, the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group, was the conference's keynote speaker. Marks accepted the speaking role following an invitation notifying him that "The Ministry of Information Industry PRC are planning to hold a seminar in Beijing on the specific topic of whether to use 802.16a as the Chinese national standard for fixed broadband wireless access at 3.5 GHz." In order to address 2-11 GHz bands, IEEE Working Group 802.16 has been developing the 802.16a amendment to the nearly-finalized IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN(TM) standard for wireless metropolitan area networks. Earlier in August, China awarded licenses for the operation of 3.5 GHz fixed broadband wireless access in five cities. A number of operators, including China Telecommunication Inc., China Mobile, Great Wall Broadband Networking Co., StarComm Information Technology Inc., China Union, and other new entrants, were represented at the conference.
According to Prof. Liu, the attendance at the conference, held in the historic Beijing Hotel, was over 240 people, with about 100 from the PRC government, about 80 from telecommunications operators, about 50 from universities, and about 10 in manufacturing. In addition, approximately 10 news reporters attended, including a crew from China Central Television. Participants came not only from the mainland but also from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore.
Marks spoke on "Emerging Standards for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access in IEEE 802.16" and discussed the IEEE, the IEEE Standards Association, the IEEE 802 LAN MAN Standards Committee, and the history and projects of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group. He described the group's engineering designs and welcomed the audience to participate in further development. His talk was preceded by an address by Richard C. Kirby, former Director of the Radiocommunications Sector of the International Telecommunications Union and former President of the IEEE Communications Society. Mr. Kirby spoke generally about the role of IEEE standards within the world standards community and also described the unique role and accomplishment of IEEE 802.16. He noted that China has 2500 IEEE members and 18 IEEE fellows (including Prof. Zhong).
On the day before the conference, Marks met privately with Mr. Chen Ruming, Deputy Director General of the Radio Regulatory Department of the PRCs Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the key official in the licensing and type approval of fixed wireless access systems in China. MII was well represented at the conference, with three officials responsible for industry standards and two for technology development. Four officials with the Standards Institute of the State General Bureau of Broadcasting and Television participated.
Marks, a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, accepted invitations to lecture on the IEEE 802.16 standards at two prestigious universities with strong telecommunications programs. The lectures drew an audience of about 120 people at Southeast University in Nanjing (co-sponsored by the official Chinese Institute of Electronics and hosted by IEEE Fellow Prof. Zhang Wen Xun, Director of the State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves) and about 50 at Tsinghua University in Beijing. In both cases, Marks toured facilities and met with faculty, many of whom serve in key national positions. At Southeast University, he met with the Director and Vice Director of the National Mobile Communications Research Laboratory. At Tsinghua University, Marks met with Prof. Wu Jianping, Director of the China Education and Research Network (CERNET), the second largest of Chinas nine ISPs, with 7 million users. CERNET staff members expressed interest in using IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN(TM) networks to expand the reach of the core network.
At 802.16 Conference: Roger Marks and Prof. Liu Yuan An
At CERNET Operation Center: Li Hewu, Zhao Jin-Rong, Roger Marks, Wang Jilong, and Li Zhonghui (from left)
Outside Southeast University lecture