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This project report is about a feasibility study on implementing WiMax in the sultanate of Oman.
In this report we had evaluated WiMax in terms of what is WiMax, types of WiMax, technical details on WiMax, benefits and limitations of WiMax, and what could we gain as users from implementing this technology here in Oman. Also, we had talked about Oman as geographical barriers to WiMax and Oman's population because those two things have a direct relation to the cost of the WiMax services. Also, we had talked about other region countries regarding experience gained from implementing and operating of WiMax in order to make an idea about whether WiMax technology is up to its claims or not.
In this report we had analyzed the results of an interview we had conducted with Nawras telecommunication Company officials discussing some issues regarding their WiMax project in the sultanate. Also, the report includes an analyzing of a questionnaire we had distributed to fifty internet users in order to know the impressions of the public about the existing broadband services and their future expectations.
We had conclude our report with our opinion on the possibility of implementing
Broadband services distributed through a WiMax network infrastructure, depending on the results of this study.
This is a feasibility study on implementing WiMax in the sultanate of Oman. Broadband services in Oman are mainly delivered using a wired infrastructure, but using this way of delivery has a major problem which is, delivering the service to remote parts of the country is much expensive than benefits ISPs can gain from selling the services. Another problem regarding to the broadband in Oman is that broadband services like internet is so slow that it decrease from the interest of potential subscribers.
Also, Oman geographically, presents some challenges to the expansion of internet penetration - not least its size and relatively low density of its population outside major urban centers. However, with a GDP per capita of just under 20 000 $ at parity purchasing power, it is clear that the current level of Oman Internet penetration is well below potential. An entry of a second way to deliver broadband services should find some ways to increase the number of subscribers and quality of the delivery in order to open the economy of Oman into an e-future . WiMax is relatively new technology to deliver broadband services wirelessly in high speed and over large distances. This technology could be a part of the solution that the Sultanate of Oman needs to solve its problems regarding delivery of broadband services.
In this study we will evaluate WiMax in terms of what is WiMax, types of WiMax, technical details on WiMax, advantages and disadvantages of WiMax, and what could we gain as users from implementing this technology here in Oman. Also, we well talk about Oman as geographical barriers to WiMax and Oman's population because those two things have a direct relation to the cost of the WiMax services. Also, we will talk about other region countries regarding experience gained from implementing and operating of WiMax.
Nawras Telecommunication Company is one of the major telecommunication service providers in Oman. Nawras is about to develop a WiMax project to cover major cities in Oman. According to Nawras Company, the main purpose of this project is to cover big areas in Oman in order to deliver third and fourth generation of broadband services to customers in these eras in a good quality. We had included our report some information about this project.
We had conducted an interview with Nawras Telecommunication Company officials and we had discussed with them some issues regarding their WiMax project. We had talked about some companies which are intending to implement WiMax infrastructure in Oman. The result of this interview will be discussed latter on in details in this report.
Also, in order to know the impressions of the public about the existing broadband services and their future expectations, we had distributed a questionnaire. In this questionnaire we had asked some simple questions to give us a clue if they are satisfied or not from services provided by the internet service provider. And what are the refinements they suggest to make the services better and smoother (according to their opinions).
This report will include some graphs, tables and charts to make it easy for the reader to understand our ideas from this report and to follow up with WiMax technology and its main goals economically and in terms of related technology like internet and VoIP, etc...
At the end of this report we will summarize our report and give our opinion wither it is worth or not to implement WiMax in Oman.
Oman is an Arabic country located in the southwest of Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is 309500 square kilometer in size. Oman is bordered by the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) on the north, on the northwest by Saudi Arabia, and by the Republic of Yemen on the southwest. The Omani coastline stretches 3,165 kilometer. Oman has the population of 3.2 million; about fifty percent of them are located in Muscat and Albatinah region. The density of the population is 9.2 people in each square kilometer. The Annual growth rate of the population is 3.2 percent.
Internet in Oman
Oman was connected to the Internet at the first time in January 1997 with one Mbps link. On May 2001, international connectivity reaches almost 30 Mbps. There are 33'000 Internet subscribers or almost 100'000 users in the country (just over 9% of the population). Barriers are the shortage of PCs in homes and that the internet infrastructure is not covering many places in Oman. 
Information Technology Authority (ITA):
Information Technology Authority (ITA) was founded by the Royal Decree number 52/2006 issued on the 31/5/ 2006. This independent legal body is associated to the Minister of National Economy. Information Technology Authority (ITA) is responsible about the supervising of all projects related to the implementation of the Digital Oman Strategy and providing professional aids to all government organizations in the way of shifting to the e-Governance .also responsible for the implementation of projects regarding the national IT infrastructure.
Wired network is a type of network that uses network cards and network cables such as coaxial, twisted pair or fiber optics to transmit signals and connect computers together forming a network.
Such a network can provide users with security and ability to transfer a big amount of data very fast. Wired networks are usually faster than wireless networks. However, the cost of wired network could be unaffordable because increasing of Ethernet cables to add more computers to your network is expensive especially if your computers are far from each other.
Wireless is an expression used to describe the transmission of data without the need of using wire, but by converting the signal from its electrical condition to an electromagnetic waves carry data packets over a part or over the entire communication path from the sender to the receiver. There are many types of monitoring devices employ sound waves at a very high frequencies that a human been cannot hear, such waves are also considered and classified as wireless.
Wireless network is a network that allows you to connect your computer to it without using wires but by using radio. As long as you're within the range of the wireless access point (hot spot), you can move your laptop from one place to another while remaining connected to network resources. Unlike Ethernet which uses wires, wireless networks uses air as a medium to transfer data. As long as you have a wireless network card to configure your laptop correctly you are free to roam around the Web with the same traditional Ethernet functionality that has low speed.
In the early 20th century the first wireless transmitters started sending signals to the air using radiotelegraphy (Morse code). Later, as modulation (changing in the shape or the frequency of the waves) made it possible to transfer voices and music using wireless, the standard came to be called "radio." With the introduction of television, fax, telegraph, and the valuable use of a larger section of the spectrum, the term "wireless" has been introduced.
Some common examples of wireless devices and applications in use today include:
- Pagers and cellular phones --allow connectivity for mobile and portable applications, for both personal and business usage.
- Global Positioning System (GPS) -- allows pilots of aircraft, drivers of cars and trucks and captains of ships and boats to determine their location anywhere on earth
- Cordless computer input and output devices -- the cordless keyboards is a common example; mouse and printers can also be linked to a computer using wireless.
- Wireless telephone sets -- these are limited distance range devices, not to be confused with cellular phones.
- Home-entertainment-system control boxes -- the Video cassette Recorder remote control device and the television channel remote control device are the most common examples; some FM broadcast receivers and hi-fi sound systems also use Wireless technology
- Remote hose door openers -- one of the oldest wireless devices in common use by people; usually operates at Ultra band width radio frequencies
- Two-way (half and full duplex) radios -- which includes Citizens and Amateur Radio Service, as well as marine, military, and business communications
- Baby monitors -- such devices are simple radio transceiver units used in limited distance range.
- Satellite television -- enables viewers in almost any place to choose from hundreds of TV channels.
- Wireless LANs or local area networks - it offer reliability and flexibility for home and business computer users.
Wireless can be divided into:
- Fixed wireless - in this type the operation of wireless devices or systems is limited in homes and offices, generally, equipments are connected to the Internet using specialized modems. Wireless equipments should be in the range (distance) of those modems or hot spots in order to maintain the connectivity.
- Mobile wireless -- in this type the use of wireless devices is from moving places like moving cars and vehicles; examples include the cellular phones and personal communications services (PCS).
- IR wireless -- in this type the use of devices that transmit data by converting it into IR (infrared) radiation; used in some certain limited-range communications and control systems.
What is WiMax?
WiMax is a short form for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. It was developed by the IEEE and promoted by WiMax Forum which was established in June 2001 to promote conformance and interoperability of the IEEE 802.16 standard (Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks, WirelessMAN).
WiMax is a new standard or a new technology which was built to focus on solving the problems of point-to-multipoint broadband outdoor wireless networks. It has lots of possible applications that include last mile connectivity for businesses and homes and backhaul for wireless hot spots.
While WiMax does not have that much of popularity of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11), the technology is gaining a significant traction from the biggest companies and corporations around the world. Supporters of WiMax standard have some very big expectations for its future. Intel, for example, said that IEEE 802.16 is, "as important as the Internet itself" -- a technology that will enable up to 5 billion people to be connected over time. [http://blog.tmcnet.com/4g-wirelessevolution/2009/01/wii-mii-and-the-iphone.html]
Only in the nearest future we can tell if WiMax will live up to the claims of its supporters. Tell now, it is very important to understand how WiMax works and to examine the role that WiMax might play in environments looking to gain profit from wireless mobility.
WiMax is new technology that will provide Internet access wirelessly in a high-speed over a large coverage area. This technology is much faster and more effective than the current 3G technologies. It allows users to surf the Internet anywhere and from any place.
Today, WiMax is one of the most famous broadband wireless technologies around the world. It is expected that WiMax systems will deliver broadband access services like internet to residential and enterprise customers in an economical way.
WiMax is a wireless version of the Ethernet standard which primarily intended to act as an alternative for wiring technologies (such as cable modem, DSL and T1/T2 links) to provide broadband access services to customers.
In remote cities and places which do not have a pre-existing physical cable or telephone networks infrastructure, WiMax will be the best choice for delivering broadband access services.
Types of WiMax
WiMax could be classified into two types: Fixed and Mobile.
The IEEE 802.16d standard (now called 802.16-2004) has been proposed to provide last-mile connectivity to fixed locations by radio links. The standard is specified to allow nomad city, where users can access the service from any locations covered by the network. However, in the absence of portable devices currently, present deployments offer only fixed wireless access, meaning users can access the service only from their home location, where the CPE (customer premise equipment) is installed.
Fixed WiMax is excellent for delivering wireless last mile access for fixed broadband services and equipments, like DSL or cable modem service. [ http://www.dsl-isp-guide.com/wimax_wireless.htm]
Mobile WiMax - also known as 802.16e. Based on IEEE 802.16-2005 standard. IEEE 802.16e adds WiMax mobility in the 2-to-6GHz-licensed bands. It was designed to support both fixed and mobile applications with improved performance and capacity while adding full mobility.
differences between WiMax types
T he main differences between mobile and fixed WiMax standards are the increased capacity and the addition of mobility. Fixed WiMax, based on IEEE 802.16-2004, is designed to work as a stationary technology usually with separate customer premises equipment (CPE) and with an antenna installed in a fixed location. Many companies have been working hardly within the IEEE and WiMax Forum standards to build limited mobility and portability into their devices, but only with Mobile WiMax IEEE 802.16-2005 the capability comes to hand off sessions between different base stations, allowing true and reliable mobility.[ http://telephonyonline.com/wimax/regulatory/wimax_forum_standard_120705/
WiMax benefits for business
There are lots of business opportunities attracting the developers towards WiMax industry. Some of these include:
- WiMax is introduced as a good alternative to T1 network as a broadband services access method to small business organizations. If WiMax technology is going to be developed as expected, one base station could support up to 60 T1-equivalent connections, which means that the cost of broadband access will be reduced.
- WiMax is introduced as a good alternative to ADSL and wired network for broadband access to the home. WiMax can offer a viable alternative to the existing technologies that delivers broadband access by using wireless technology.
- WiMax could be a reliable backhaul for 802.11 hotspots, especially in remote places or countries that does not have wired infrastructures over wide areas.
- Additionally, the WiMax technology is to be developed to work in mobile environments in order to be competitive with 3G standards.
One reason motivating the interest in developing WiMax technology is the increasing of the popularity of unlicensed bandwidth while cellular operators still paying billions of dollars for 5 MHz licensed bandwidth, unlicensed bands provide hundreds of MHz for free. As the cost of licensed bandwidth will be transferred to the subscriber, the ISP is been forced to charge a big sum of money from the subscriber at the end of each month. In the contrary, WiMax is a better technology for delivering unlimited use of high amounts of bandwidth, making wireless broadband services much more economical than if it were delivered over a wired or cellular infrastructure. So, while technologies like WiMax and Wi-Fi are the technical enablers of wireless broadband services, the unlicensed band is the physical enabler of the wireless broadband revolution.
Benefits of WiMax for Oman
Using the internet resources is a major benefit for all Omanis, because it is a good way to provide education to people. Before WiMax, it costs the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) a large sum of money to provide internet services to remote areas and locations. Thus, the ISP should think twice before doing so. ISP will check whether he is going to earn more money than what he going to spend from establishing an internet network in a certain location or not, this mean, what is the population of this region?, how many people have the interest to subscribe for his services? And what kind of services should he offer to attract this interest?
WiMax is a new technology to provide the internet wirelessly and in high speed, which means, No much expenses in infrastructure and a lot of internet services could be offered through it. These are good reasons for ISP to not be hesitated in providing internet to all areas and locations.
So, the major benefit of WiMax in Oman is contributing in education by providing internet for all in any place by low cost. Another benefit is contributing in the process of delivering broadband access services to all areas of Oman.
Benefits of WiMax For Network Industry
As we said before WiMax is a technology or a standard that deliver broadband access in high speed over large coverage area. So, there are many benefits from using WiMax which are:
- Large coverage area: The most significant benefit from using WiMax compared to other existing technologies is the coverage range. WiMax can cover a range of up to 30 miles (48 km). This can cover over 2800 square miles (7250 sq km) which is enough to cover an entire city with one antenna.
- Low Cost: One WiMax base station could support up to 60 T1-equivalent connections, which means that the cost of broadband access will be reduced.
- Wireless: By using WiMax technology there will be no more wires needed. This means there will be no longer need to rip up streets and walls to lay down cables.
- High Bandwidth: WiMax can offer shared data transfer rates of up to 70 Mb/s. This is more than enough bandwidth to support more than 60 T1-equivalent connections. It can also support more than one thousand house which use connectivity of one Mbps DSL-level. Also, this bandwidth will provide a reduction in latency for WiMax services.
- Service: WiMax can offer its users two forms of wireless service:
Operates at 2 to 11 GHz: this frequency is a low level and has the ability to bend around obstacles like walls more smoothly. In this case, one small antenna on a computer can be connected to the tower and backwards with a compatibility with the Wi-Fi equipments.
Operates as high as 66 GHz since the transmitted signal is strong and more stable, which means a very great bandwidth. In this case, a fixed dish antenna should be aimed straightly to a tower. An also, this frequency could be used for communication between tower to another tower.
Limitation of WiMax
Now we are going to speak about disadvantages of WiMax technology. Every technology should have its cons and pros if we measured its overall performance with its expected performance. Common misunderstanding is that the WiMax can offer 70 Mbps in range of 113 kilometers with mobile stations. In reality condition is not like that. This claim is only true if we have one recipient only.
With line-of-site (optical visibility), we could get a speed of 10 Mbps at 10 kilometers. In the urban areas with non line of site users can get10 Mbps at 2 kilometers only. If users have a mobile connection, the speed will significantly drop.
Another disadvantage is that Bandwidth is shared between several users in a certain radio sector. So, many users mean a lower and lower speed. Users could have between 2, to 10 Mbps each of bandwidth.
The biggest disadvantage is that WiMax still cost too much for its installation and also has a big operational cost compeered to other technologies like LTE because WiMax has no existing infrastructure.[ http://www.home-wlan.com/disadvantages-of-wimax.html]
The main disadvantages of WiMax are listed below:
- Lower speed in non line of site situation.
- Rain, storms and mountains could interrupt the WiMax signal.
- Other signals coming used in other wireless technologies could interfere with WiMax signals.
- There are many frequencies used by WiMax.
- WiMax equipments consume too much electrical power.
- WiMax has a relatively high operational and installation cost.
WiMax and 3G
In Oman most people connect to internet by using 3G technologies. Internet services provider (Oman mobile Company and Nawras Company) provides broadband services like internet through 3G technologies. Most of internet users in Oman prefer these technologies because they are wireless. So, in this report, it is a must to compare between our suggested technology (WiMax) and the current technology which the users prefer (3G technology).
What is 3G technology?
3G (short for third generation technology) is wireless technologies which come into wider use these days. By using 3G technology, you can send high speed rate data and video using wireless technology mobile phones, e-mail and internet browsing capabilities.
The throughput capabilities of WiMax depend on the bandwidth of the channel that used. It is not same as 3G systems, 3G systems have a fixed channel bandwidth, WiMax defines a range of channel bandwidth that starts from 1.25 MHz up to 20MHz and this feature allows WiMax for a very flexible deployment.
When deploying, using the most likely 10MHz TDD (time division duplexing) channel, assuming that 3:1 downlink to uplink .WiMax provides 46Mbps downlink and 7Mbps uplink.
WiMax depending on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) modulation for modulate the wave, unlike 3G which depending on CDMA (Code division multiple access) modulation.
OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) modulation allows WiMax to support very high peak rates. The spreading of high data rates in CDMA (Code division multiple access) systems more difficult than OFDMA
By this we proved that WiMax can achieve spectral efficiencies higher than 3G spectral efficiencies.
Actually WiMax specifications can support multiple antennas from the start gives a strong boost in spectral efficiency
On the other hand 3G systems, the support of multiple antennas was added in form of revisions.
WiMax compared to 3G, provide heights peak data rates, higher throughput and more flexibility.
Another feature of Max is it's the ability to provide effective support and more systematic links, and it is useful for fixed applications.
An internet services provider in Oman is planning to get a license to provide broadband access services using LTE technology. LTE (short of Long-term evolution) is a new technology which will be implemented in Oman soon by Oman mobile Company, if everything gone ok.
LTE is considered by some ISPs to be the observable successor to the existing generation of UMTS 3G technologies. UMTS 3G technologies based upon WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA, and HSPA. LTE is not considered as a replacement for UMTS as UMTS was considered as a replacement for GSM, but it is an update to the UMTS technology which is going to be provided in significantly faster data rates for both uploading links and downloading links. LTE is a 4G technology and an abandoning to current CDMA based network. [ http://www.mobileburn.com/definition.jsp?term=LTE]
LTE will use the existing GSM network as its infrastructure. As a 4G technology, Long Term Evolution is a standard working by (3GPP) to provide a new high-speed radio access method for mobile communications systems.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) specification can provide downlink peak rates of 100MbPs and uplink of 50MbPs. Long Term Evolution (LTE) supports carrier bandwidths from 1.4MHz up to 20 MHz.
Comparing LTE to WiMax
WiMax is considered as a new technology here in the sultanate of Oman, but LTE is an update for the existing technologies. Which mean that LTE could offer cheaper services because it will use the existing infrastructure but WiMax will offer the highest capability.
WiMax and WiFi
Wi-Fi (short form for wireless fidelity) which was created in 1997 by an organization called the Wi-Fi Alliance is a term for another type of wireless local area network (WLAN) which belongs to the IEEE 802.11 family. 
WiFi 802.11g is the newest working version of Wi-Fi, uses 2.4 GHz unlicensed band of radio signaling frequency to cover a greater range (100 square meters maximum) than old versions. WiFi 802.11g can deliver a data rates from 6 Mbps to 54 Mbps.
The main difference between WiMax and Wi-Fi is that they were implemented for entirely different purposes. Wi-Fi is described as a local network technology intended to add the feature of mobility to the private wired LANs. In other hand, WiMax was intended to deliver a broadband wireless access (BWA) service to wide area. The proposal behind BWA is to offer a fixed location wireless Internet access service to alternate the existing technologies like cable modems and DSL. So, while Wi-Fi could cover a transmission range of up to one hundred meters, WiMax antennas could maintain a connection with users at ranges up to 30 miles. This major difference helps to clarify the working area of both WiMax and WiFi. Where Wi-Fi marketing is targeting the end user, WiMax was intended to work as a carrier service. WiMax Forum (the organization intended to promote for WiMax) has been working with its companies and equipment providers to develop base stations and premises devices that carriers could use to deliver the broadband services.
WiMax antennas are like the antennas for car radio, FM radio or cell phone. WiMax antennas are designed to achieve optimal performance for a given application.
First antenna called an omni-direction antenna. Omni antenna can broadcast 360 degrees from the base station.
The main disadvantages of Omani antenna is that the broadcasting of omni-direction antenna is in 360 degrees and this degree will limits the range of the broadcasting and the signal strength will be weak.
Where there are a lot of subscribers close to the base station we can use Omni antenna.
WiFi hotspot is an example of Omni antenna where the range is less than 100 M and the subscribers are intense in a small area.
The second type of antennas is Sector antenna. Sector antenna is focusing the beam in focused area by this focusing sector antenna can broadcast in a greater range and throughput with less energy power unlike omni antenna.
The beast way is to use 4 sector antennas to cover 360 degree. The method is each sector can cover 90 degree than we can cover 360 degree from the base station
The third type of WiMax antenna is panel antennas. Panel antenna is used for point to point applications. Panel antenna is a flat panel it is about 20 cm square. Also, we can use it where the WiMax radio is contained in the square antenna enclosure.
In technical term customer premise equipment (CPE) is the subscriber station.
There are two types of customer premise equipment (CPE) indoor CPE and outdoor CPE.
The advantages and disadvantages for both of them are discussed below.
Outdoor CPE provide better performance than indoor CPE given that the reception is not obstructed by walls. Radio frequency could be blocked by glass or steel in walls.
The subscriber uses outdoor CPE to maximize the detected signal by a line of sight connection to the base station. But by using indoor CPE it is not possible to detected signal by a line of sight connection to the base station
Outdoor CPE is more expansive than indoor CPE because it is has extra measures to make outdoor CPE resistant the weather.
The most important advantage of indoor CPE is that it is installed by the subscriber. This can make WiMax subscriber free from the cost of installation also, it can be sold online.
Nawras Telecommunication Oman, WiMax Project
In early 2009, Nawras had announced that it had got a new fixed line license for the Sultanate of Oman. This License was granted by a royal decree from His Majesty the sultan of Oman. With this new license Nawras will be able to develop and deploy a fixed line and broadband services in the Sultanate of Oman. Nawras is now allowed to offer fixed, data and international telecommunication services for its subscribers in the Sultanate of Oman, and also, it can use its network infrastructure to offer a variety of leading-edge technologies, for example WiMax and HSDPA services.
Nawras as a part of Qtel telecommunication international company will employ its excellent experience in providing its Omanis with reliable and dependable broadband services through new technologies like WiMax. Qtel international company is one of the biggest telecommunications operators in the world with mobile and fixed operations in more than15 countries. Qtel is following a strategy to be by 2020 in the world's top twenty telecommunications company's league. Qtel can provide best practice and much knowledge for Nawras Company to go on in its fixed services implementation here in Sultanate of Oman.
With the new fixed license, Nawras will start to build the latest generation of WiMax wireless access networks across the Sultanate of Oman to deliver Broadband and Internet access to businesses and government. Nawras said that it will build a new international gateway to provide both international internet and voice access choice for all subscribers in the Sultanate.
Regarding their WiMax project in Oman Nawras plans to roll out its wireless broadband service in the coming two years to fourteen Wilayats which are Al Amrat, Al Seeb, Bawshar, Muscat, Mutrah, Barka Sohar, Nizwa, Sur, Dhofar, Al Mazyunah, Salalah, Thumrayt, Sadah and Muqshin.