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Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)

Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is the name given to the group of systems and technologies covered by the IEEE 802.16 series of specifications, also called Broadband Wireless Access. It has variants that can operate in Point-to-Point (PtP), Point-to-Multipoint (PMP) and Mesh modes; and support both Line-of-Sight and non Line-of-Sight operations.

WiMAX with PtP link provides data connections of up to 135 Mbps over distances of up to 50 km between a base station and a subscriber station with a frequency range of 10-66 GHz.

In the PMP and MSH NLOS conditions, WiMAX is expected to provide a shared data service of up to 10 Mbps for subscribers within a range of 5-8 km of a base station with a frequency range of 2-11 GHz.

Interested readers may visit WiMAX forum for more information: http://www.wimaxforum.org/


WiMAX is an emerging technology for many smart grid applications. WiMAX, due to its high bandwidth that can deliver fast communication speed, can be used to support and provide a backhaul infrastructure for smart meter (AMI) operation, serve as the spine of a transmission and distribution communication systems, support Wi-Fi applications for substation or distribution automation, as well as enabling communications between utilities and moving cars.

The first-ever US smart grid pilot program that uses WiMAX technology involves deploying WiMAX 4G communications to support AMI infrastructure (with GE smart meters) in the Consumers Energy service area in Michigan [1]. "The pilot seeks to demonstrate how real-time, wireless communications between meters in the home and the utility’s network management and control systems can improve efficiency and reliability for all."

More WiMax use in smart grid applications can be found here: http://smartgrid.testing-blog.com/tag/wimax/


[1] GE Press Release: GE and Michigan’s Consumers Energy WiMAX Smart Meter Pilot Gives Utility Real-Time Power to Understand and Optimize Energy Delivery, March 25, 2010. URL: http://www.gepower.com/about/press/en/2010_press/032510b.htm

Key Technology Area: 
Integrated Communications

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