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Most researchers are familiar with the technical features of WiMAX technology but the evolution that WiMAX went through, in terms of standardization and certification, is missing and unknown to most people. Knowledge of this historical process would however aid to understand how WiMAX has become the widespread technology that it is today. Furthermore, it would give insight in the steps to undertake for anyone aiming at introducing a new wireless technology on a worldwide scale. Therefore, this article presents a survey on all relevant activities that took place within three important organizations: the 802.16 Working Group of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) for technology development and standardization, the WiMAX Forum for product certification and the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) for international recognition. An elaborated and comprehensive overview of all those activities is given, which reveals the importance of the willingness to innovate and to continuously incorporate new ideas in the IEEE standardization process and the importance of the WiMAX Forum certification label granting process to ensure interoperability. We also emphasize the steps that were taken in cooperating with the ITU to improve the international esteem of the technology. Finally, a WiMAX trend analysis is made. We showed how industry interest has fluctuated over time and quantified the evolution in WiMAX product certification and deployments. It is shown that most interest went to the 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequencies, that most deployments are in geographic regions with a lot of developing countries and that the highest people coverage is achieved in Asia Pacific. This elaborated description of all standardization and certification activities, from the very start up to now, will make the reader comprehend how past and future steps are taken in the development process of new WiMAX features.
Date of Publication: Fourth Quarter 2012