N-WEST News #33
National Wireless Electronic Systems Testbed (N-WEST)

19 November 2001


WirelessMANTM Air Interface Completes IEEE Sponsor Ballot

Final Approval Anticipated for 6 December

The IEEE 802.16 WirelessMANTM "Air Interface for Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems" completed IEEE Sponsor Ballot on 28 October. In this final balloting stage, it was approved by a 97% majority of a committee of volunteers who responded to an open worldwide solicitation. The IEEE 802 Sponsor Executive Committee has forwarded the draft to the IEEE-SA Standards Board, where final approval for publication is anticipated on 6 December.

The IEEE 802.16 draft includes the Working Group's basic medium access control layer (MAC), which will support multiple physical layer (PHY) specifications for Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks. The draft also includes the group's first PHY specifications, which addresses frequency bands from 10-66 GHz. The draft is available for sale in the IEEE catalog.

Over 200 people attended the 12 November tutorial The 802.16 WirelessMANTM MAC: It's Done, but What Is It?, by Roger Marks, Carl Eklund, Ken Stanwood, and Stanley Wang. The presentations detailed the key features of 802.16's MAC.

IEEE Standard 802.16.2 (Recommended Practice on Coexistence) Published by IEEE

On 10 September 2001, IEEE published the approved IEEE Standard 802.16.2 ("IEEE Recommended Practice for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks - Coexistence of Fixed Broadband Wireless Access Systems"). The standard is a companion to the 10-66 GHz IEEE 802.16 air interface.

Enhancements to IEEE Standard 802.16.2 are underway in IEEE-SA Project 802.16.2a, which is extending the work to licensed bands from 2 to 11 GHz and also expanding the recommendations for coexistence of point-to-multipoint with point-to-point communications at millimeter-wave bands.

Progress on 2-11 GHz Air Interface Enhancement

On 16 November 2001, the IEEE 802.16 Working Group decided to merge its 802.16b (license-exempt) project into an expanded 802.16a (licensed) project. This decision was later affirmed by the IEEE 802 Sponsor Executive Committee.

Following extensive comment resolution, the 2-11 GHz 802.16a working document was elevated to the status of Draft Standard. The Working Group approved the initialization of a Working Group Letter Ballot on 802.16a Draft 1, the final round of which is scheduled for completion in early April 2002. Within the draft, the licensed and unlicensed specifications are distinct, although commonality is stressed where possible. This 802.16a draft is structured as an amendment to the baseline 802.16 draft.

ETSI Accepts IEEE 802.16 Work as 2-11 GHz Baseline

A Letter from ETSI BRAN informed IEEE 802.16 that, following consideration of proposals from several organizations, its HIPERMAN group has decided to base its MAC on the IEEE 802.16/802.16a drafts. The same group made a "working assumption" that its baseline PHY would be the OFDM PHY from the IEEE 802.16a draft. ETSI BRAN noted that "These conclusions were motivated by the goal to provide one interoperable worldwide standard for the 2-11 GHz licensed bands."

Sessions #15 and #16

IEEE 802.16's Session #16 was held in Austin, Texas, USA on 12-16 November 2001. The Session #16 Report lists the outcomes.

Earlier, Session #15 was held in Denver, Colorado, USA on 10-14 September 2001. The meeting was hosted by Roger Marks, with the support of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. See the Session #15 Report for more information.

January IEEE 802.16 Session Planned

Session #17: 21-25 January 2002, Levi, Finland. The session is hosted by Carl Eklund of Nokia.

IEEE Conference On Standardization And Innovation In Information Technology (SIIT2001)

The 2001 IEEE Conference on Standardization and Innovation in Information Technology was held at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO, USA on October 3-5, 2001. The conference was sponsored by the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society; NIST and the IEEE Standards Association were cosponsors. Speakers included Houlin Zhao, Director of the International Telecommunications Union's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau; Scott Bradner, leader of the Internet Engineering Task Force; Jim Carlo, Chair of the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee; Carl Cargill, Director of Standards at Sun Microsystems; and Ambassador Gail Schoettler, the former Colorado Lieutenant Governor who headed the U.S. delegation to the 2000 World Radiocommunication Conference. Roger Marks presented the paper Government Activity to Increase Benefits from the Global Standards System, by R. B. Marks and R. E. Hebner. The conference web site includes video of all the presentations. The conference proceedings are available from IEEE.

Upcoming Lecture

On 27 November 2001, Roger Marks will present an IEEE MTT-S Distinguished Microwave Lecture at a joint meeting of three IEEE Montréal Chapters (Microwave Theory & Techniques: Antennas and Propagation; and Lasers and Electro-optics Societies). The site is the Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal. Details are available.
Dr. Roger B. Marks
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, USA