The WiMAX Forum is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization that was established in June of 2001 as a response to the rapidly emerging WiMAX technology. The Forum coined the term WiMAX as a registered trademark, which it defined as “a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL". The organization was modeled after the principles and motives of the Wi-Fi Alliance, a group launched in 1999 to support the advancement of the 802.11 family of standards.

The Forum consists of over 520 companies from a wide spectrum of technical specialties with the common goal of seamlessly integrating WiMAX Forum Certified products into large-scale economies across the globe. These companies range from semiconductor companies and equipment manufacturers, to operators, system integrators, test labs, and service providers. The Board and Officers of the Forum are responsible for agency oversight, goal setting, policies and fundraising.* They also divided the organization into various working groups to focus on vital aspects of the technology including application, certification, global roaming, marketing, network, regulatory, service provider, and technical working groups.

The main objective of the Forum is to certify, promote, and market the compatibility and interoperability of WiMAX enabled products, which are founded on the IEEE 802.16, ETSI HiperMAN, and WiBro/Mobile WiMAX standards. The Forum has made tremendous strides in order to accelerate the adoption of this system by the general public not only by certifying viable, cost-effective standards, but also by educating the consumer market about the capabilities and potentials for this broadband wireless access network. The Forum currently provides several certified training programs in both English and French, and hosts numerous member and industry events to endorse their technology.

The WiMAX Forum was formed to take the 802.16 family of standards, developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and develop them into certifiable interoperable standards. Once these standards pass conformance and interoperability testing they become “WiMAX Forum Certified products.” In January 2006, the Forum announced its first certified product based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard for fixed applications.The Board of the Forum is composed by: Airspan Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Aperto Networks, AT&T, British Telecom, Fujitsu, Intel Corporation, KDDI, KT Corp., Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sprint Nextel, and ZTE Corporation.

By, Ben Feldman


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