What I learned about WiMAX in the Philippines

Our class recently attended a seminar about the WiMax technology, last January 12, 2011 at the Telecommunications Training Institute (TTI) in Valenzuela City, Philippines.

WiMAX Seminar on TTI

WiMAX Seminar on TTI

This topic somehow caught my interest. I was like asking such questions to myself: “How come WiMAX is advertised to be having a speed that fast?”, “So it is the fastest internet connection here in the country?”, and a lot more.

While we can already gather information about WiMAX from the internet, still its fun to see the real thing. Here are some of the few stuff that I found out about WiMax from that event:

  • WiMAX is an adaptive modulation. Why? Because there isn’t just one modulation technique that is being used for this process. It adapts its modulation technique depending on location, how far or how near a subscriber is located. (QAM/BPSK/QPSK modulation)
  • WiMAX is based on the IEEE 802.16e Standard. (I’m an ECE student but still I do not know what does this mean. LOL)
  • WiMAX is 4G, falling above 6GHz frequency on the spectrum.

Estimatedly, WiMAX has been completed since 2005. But how come it was only getting its popularity only by nowadays? I did not know it, I just started hearing the term WiMAX by the mid 2010. Right now, I only know Wi-TRIBE and Globe WiMAX offering such kind of services, currently in the Philippines, for home and postpaid internet services.

WiMax is just like a VPN connection, as what we are told by one of the lecturers that day. For the internet connectivity that is needed to be sent to a certain client, a connection via wireless protocol was done by what they call: a base station and a CPE (customer-premises equipment).

Internet connection was shared by the base station to its CPE units along its coverage.

From that seminar, I found out the meaning of the term that is widely usedby advertisements from network providers, the:

“get a speed up to <insert large number here>MBps!”

For example, when they say “get a speed of up to 10MBps”, that can sometimes mean even just “64KBps”, or even worse. Well, we cannot blame them for that, they used the term “up to”. Being grammar-wise, they are right. No guarantees.

Adding a trivia, did you know that there was this GPON technology, in some country that is capable giving a 1GBps internet data transfer? Awesome, right? To wow you more, in Tokyo, Japan, their GPON technology was even reaching a 10GBps speed. O_o that was too much!

Here are some of the photos I had taken at the event: (some images are Panoramic, I had used the Alcatel OT-918N for these shots.)

Connecting on a WiMAX

Connecting on a WiMAX

We learned how to configure WiMax clients, putting up necessary values for a specific client before it can be able to connect on the internet. This was done via Telnet function using CMD.

WiMAX Base Station Unit - Libra5800

WiMAX Base Station Unit - Libra5800

They said that the Libra 5800 model of WiMAX is an old model. This unit has been into the Philippines for so may years, from different institutions, and finally rested on TTI’s home. WiMAX units are very expensive to purchase, in case you are planning one. LOL Setting up a base station can cause millions, and these should still be registered on NTC, so the cost for tax adds up.

This base station is usually placed on top of a building. Its elevation is important. But since, what they had showed us was for display and easy hands-on purpose, its only elevated at a human height. Just like your home electricfan.


This is how the CPE unit looks like. It is the one that is settled on the subscribers’ homes. It looks like a plate that is just in a rectangular shape. It was docked at the same height of your home electricfan as well.

WiMAX CPE Unit - Side

WiMAX CPE Unit - Side


WiMAX CPE Unit - Rear

WiMAX CPE Unit - Rear

WiMAX, in order to have the proper propagation, signals are only sent via a 60-degree angle range in front of the base station to the CPE units.

Okay, for me, WiMax is just another way to share your Internet Connection wirelessly, over a longer or at the longest range. However, the units costs very high, especially the base stations, so only few are able to have these. Lucky we are able to see one on TTI.

It seems that WiMax is not a guarantee of a faster and better internet connection. It will still depends on the main ISP, on the quality of internet service it can deliver. On that event, they had shared a Bayantel Internet connection. I do not know much about Bayantel’s internet quality, but when I decided to connect my phone via WiFi, the speed was good.

There is also a division of speed per number of subscribers on assigned on a certain base station. I thought there wouldn’t be as per it is WiMax already, and I was so wrong.

Another trivia, our proctors also said that exposure to radiation made their heads bald, even at young age. I am not sure if this was true but, they are all living evidences, as you can clearly see it on their heads. LOL

I also realized that the speed that WiMAX are staging is the speed of its transfer, not the actual speed of the internet service providers.

Well, that’s it. I hope you learned something from this post. :)

PS. Sorry for some terms that you might not be able to understand unless you are studying Communications, or an ECE by education/profession. :D

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