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IEEE 802.20

A 2008 Kyocera desktop wireless modem for IEEE 802.20 provides an Ethernet interface

IEEE 802.20 or Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) is a specification by the standard association of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for mobile wireless Internet access networks. The main standard was published in 2008.[1] MBWA is no longer being actively developed.

Technical description

The standard's proposed benefits:

  • IP roaming & handoff (at more than 1 Mbit/s)
  • New MAC and PHY with IP and adaptive antennas
  • Optimized for full mobility up to vehicular speeds of 250 km/h
  • Operates in Licensed Bands (below 3.5 GHz)
  • Utilizes Packet Architecture
  • Low Latency

Some technical details were:

  • Bandwidths of 5, 10, and 20 MHz.
  • Peak data rates of 80 Mbit/s.
  • Spectral efficiency above 1 bit/sec/Hz using multiple input/multiple output technology (MIMO).
  • Layered frequency hopping allocates OFDM carriers to near, middle, and far-away handsets, improving SNR (works best for SISO handsets.)
  • Supports low-bit rates efficiently, carrying up to 100 phone calls per MHz.
  • Hybrid ARQ with up to 6 transmissions and several choices for interleaving.
  • Basic slot period of 913 microseconds carrying 8 OFDM symbols.
  • One of the first standards to support both TDM (FL,RL) and separate-frequency (FL, RL) deployments.


The 802.20 working group was proposed in response to products using technology originally developed by ArrayComm marketed under the iBurst brand name. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions adopted iBurst as ATIS-0700004-2005.[2][3] The Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) Working Group was approved by IEEE Standards Board on December 11, 2002 to prepare a formal specification for a packet-based air interface designed for Internet Protocol-based services. At its height, the group had 175 participants.[4]

On June 8, 2006, the IEEE-SA Standards Board directed that all activities of the 802.20 Working Group be temporarily suspended until October 1, 2006.[5] The decision came from complaints of a lack of transparency, and that the group's chair, Jerry Upton, was favoring Qualcomm.[6] The unprecedented step came after other working groups had also been subject to related allegations of large companies undermining the standard process.[7] Intel and Motorola had filed appeals, claiming they were not given time to prepare proposals. These claims were cited in a 2007 lawsuit filed by Broadcom against Qualcomm.[8]

On September 15, 2006, the IEEE-SA Standards Board approved a plan to enable the working group to move towards completion and approval by reorganizing.[9] The chair at the November 2006 meeting was Arnold Greenspan.[10] On July 17, 2007, the IEEE 802 Executive Committee along with its 802.20 Oversight Committee approved a change to voting in the 802.20 working group. Instead of a vote per attending individual, each entity would have a single vote.[11][12]

On June 12, 2008, the IEEE approved the base standard to be published.[1] Additional supporting standards included IEEE 802.20.2-2010, a protocol conformance statement, 802.20.3-2010, minimum performance characteristics, an amendment 802.20a-2010 for a Management Information Base and some corrections, and amendment 802.20b-2010 to support bridging.[13]

802.20 standard was put to hibernation on March 2011 due to lack of activity.[14]

In 2004 another wireless standard group had been formed as IEEE 802.22, for wireless regional networks using unused television station frequencies.[15] Trials such as those in the Netherlands by T-Mobile International in 2004 were announced as "Pre-standard 802.20". These were based on an orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing technology known as FLASH-OFDM developed by Flarion[16] (since 2006 owned by Qualcomm). However, other service providers soon adopted 802.16e (the mobile version of WiMAX).[17]

In September 2008, the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses in Japan adopted the 802.20-2008 standard as ARIB STD-T97. Kyocera markets products supporting the standard under the iBurst name. As of March 2011, Kyocera claimed 15 operators offered service in 12 countries.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b "IEEE Approves Standard for Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA)". News release (IEEE Standards Association). June 12, 2008. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Radhakrishna Canchi (March 11, 2011). "Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Systems Supporting Vehicular Mobility" (PDF). Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ "ATIS Standard Enables Seamless Wireless Wideband Connectivity at High Speeds". News release (ATIS). September 26, 2005. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ Kathy Kowalenko (December 5, 2006). "Standards Uproar Leads to Working Group Overhaul". The Institute (IEEE). Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ Steve Mills. "Status of 802.20" (PDF). Letter from IEEE-SA Standards Board Chair to IEEE-SA Board of Governors, 802 Executive Committee, 802.20 Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Participants. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ Loring Wirbel (June 15, 2006). "IEEE 802.20 working group declares 'cooling off' period". EE Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  7. ^ Loring Wirbel (June 26, 2006). "Voting exposes cracks in IEEE process". EE Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  8. ^ Loring Wirbel (April 13, 2007). "Broadcom cites Qualcomm's standards moves in new lawsuit". EE Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  9. ^ "IEEE-SA Adopts Plan to Move 802.20 Broadband Wireless Standard Forward". News release (IEEE Standards Association). Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  10. ^ Yvette Ho Sang (November 12–17, 2006). "Draft Meeting Minutes, 802.20 Plenary Meeting - Session #21, Dallas, Texas, USA". 
  11. ^ Loring Wirbel (July 18, 2007). "IEEE adopts 'one entity, one vote' for 802.20 mobile broadband". EE Times. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ Stephen Lawson (July 22, 2007). "Wireless Standards Group Changes Rules for Parity". PC World. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  13. ^ "IEEE 802.20™: Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA)". Official standards free download web page. IEEE 802 committee. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "IEEE Starts Standard to Tap Open Regions in the TV Spectrum for Wireless Broadband Services". News release (IEEE Standards Association). October 12, 2004. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  16. ^ Mobile Pipeline News (September 8, 2004). "Pre-standard 802.20 broadband trial starts in Holland". EE Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  17. ^ Patrick Mannion (April 15, 2004). "Navini dumps 802.20 mobile broadband for WiMax". EE Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 

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