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What is the iBurst Wireless Standard?

Updated on September 1, 2017
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

iBurst is a rival to the wi-fi and other wireless technology standards.
iBurst is a rival to the wi-fi and other wireless technology standards. | Source

Introduction to the iBurst Standard

The iBurst wireless standard is officially known as the High Capacity Spatial Division Multiple Access or HC-SDMA standard. iBurst is also called 625K-MC mode. iBurst was developed by ArrayComm to work on Kyocera base stations.

iBurst offered higher speed wireless internet connections than 3G, making it one of the more promising and higher quality wireless internet technologies of the early 2000s. Today, it is a niche product primarily limited to areas where 3G and 4G wireless are not practical due to poor infrastructure, few available towers or limited demand.

The iBurst standard is identified as Alliance of Telecommunications Industry Solutions ATIS-0700004 and IEEE standard 802.20. iBurst as an IEEE standard was released later than IEEE WiMax and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), delaying its acceptance by manufacturers and carriers that had already adopted previously issued telecom standards.

The iBurst standard has not yet been adopted as an ISO standard but is under review by the ISO TC204 committee. iBurst is promoted by the iBurstAssociation or iBa to promote its use.

How iBurst Works

The High Capacity Spatial Division Multiple Access protocol uses frequency scanning and optimization to enable wireless connections for mobile users similar to the frequency shifting and communication point forwarding used for cell phone users. The user's desktop computer or mobile internet connection is handled by a base station managed by a network operator. By focusing on the end user's internet connection more tightly than other wireless broadband communication methods, interference with iBurst is lower than comparable methods.

iBurst uses smart antennas that shift the frequencies and modulations used to maximize data transmission and reception. It uses a quality of service scheduler that adjusts the data rate and priority based on the type of information being sent. Data security is handled by IPsec and Multiprotocol Label Switching. iBurst supports both IPv4 and IPv6.

iBurst is primarily used for mobile wireless broadband Internet coverage, not wi-fi. It is considered a WMAN technology. The Kyocera ceramic antennas used to support iBurst wireless systems provide more coverage area per base station than comparable technologies.

One challenge of iBurst technology faces is that it uses licensed frequencies under the 3.5 GHz range. While iBurst can optimize and minimize its frequency use, it is competing with other signals on those frequencies. iBurst is a proprietary technology, hindering its adoption.

History of iBurst Technology

iBurst took off in 2000. In 2003, iBurst offered faster download speeds than 3G and appeared to be the first technology capable of supporting real-time internet video.In 2005, iBurst systems had already been deployed in major metropolitan areas like Sydney, Australia, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Commander Communications acquired iBurst in 2005 and bundled it with NetReturn's software. But adoption of iBurst started to slow by 2006.

Kyocera Corporation released a USB-type modem for use with the iBurst network in 2008. Its continued use has been limited to nations like Indonesia, South Africa, Azerbaijan and other industrializing nations that did not attract initial wireless network investment and are continuing to use the technology they’ve had since its set up.

iBurst is now being replaced by more conventional cell phone technologies.


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