So, what’s all the hype about?

WiMAX or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access was developed in 2001 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and has been defined as a “last mile” broadband wireless access alternative to services, such as cable and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).

WiMAX carries high-speed data connectivity to wide coverage areas, while opening up ubiquitous “always on - anytime, anywhere” Internet and mobile access. 2007 trends show the WiMAX market continues to grow. In March 2007, Infonetics Research estimated that the worldwide WiMAX equipment market will increase more than ten-fold between 2006 and 2010, reaching almost $5.6 billion. Mobile WiMAX alone is forecast to grow to $3.7 billion in 2010, a five year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 201%. As companies, such as Sprint Nextel and metropolitan areas, like Chicago and now New York continue to invest in this innovative technology, WiMAX is clearly a technology of the future – very near future.

Application example - WiMAX base-station

What’s backhaul got to do with it? Although a good deal of attention has been dedicated to the access elements of WiMAX networks, little focus has been placed on the wireless backhaul evolution. Wireless backhaul and the aspects of the technology are critical building blocks in the implementation of any WiMAX network topology.

WiMAX Backhaul is the transport link between a Base Station (BS) and the WiMAX Access Service Network Gateway (ASN-GW). Backhaul is generally defined as the network components, which connect client/subscriber access sections of networks with their core switching and management topologies. It transports considerable traffic from a POP to the rest of the network, and essentially acts as the “glue” that pieces all of the network elements together.

This enables the network to deliver seamless and transparent broadband communications to its customers effortlessly, and with high reliability and availability. For service providers who select WiMAX as their underlying technology, high-capacity backhaul is essential for ensuring continuous delivery of rich media service across high-speed data networks. If the backhaul and its components are not cost-effective, resilient, scalable and able to supply sufficient capacity then a providers’ entire network can be seriously compromised – resulting in significant customer churn.