A standard, according to De Vries (1997) is “an approved specification of a limited set of solutions to actual or potential matching problems, prepared for the benefits of the party or the parties involved, balancing their needs and intended and expected to be used repeatedly or continuously during a certain period, by a substantial number of the parties for whom they are meant” . The six basic principles of standardization are: voluntary, open, consensus, public, general purpose for the society and compatibility between generation . According to Simons and De Vries (2002), a standard is considered to be “good” when:
· it provides a solution for a matching problem
· it fulfills the need of parties (workable and acceptable)
· there is more than one party involved
· its lifetime is longer than the process for creating the standard
· it is not in contradiction with other valid, operational standards
· it has backwards compatibility
· it does not block a priori future improvements and developments
· it is easily readable and unambiguous
· it fits for repetitive, frequent application
WiMax standardization aims towards these targets and has achieved most of them. To start with, the initial suggestions within the IEEE differ quite a lot from the final standards. At the first years of 802.16 WG, the focus was mainly on the spectrum of 10 to 66 GHz, before shifting to the lower frequencies of 2 to 11 GHz . IEEE includes three different physical layers (SC, OFDM and OFDMA), but only one MAC protocol, with new features still being added at every single major release and amendment. IEEE has maintained close contacts with ITU, which has included WiMax in IMT-2000 and later in the 4G wireless technologies. This provides WiMax with global recognition and prestige. WiMax Forum is responsible for the fixed WiMax and the mobile WiMax profiles, with extra features apart from those originally implemented by the IEEE 802.16 WG. The WiMax certification ensures interoperability and global roaming among the vendors’ equipment .
De facto standards are the standards that are used by the industry and get adopted by managing to acquire a big market share. They are market-driven standards not developed by law and official standardization organizations. On the other hand, de jure standards are developed by such organizations. All members are encouraged to take part in the development process and consensus is one of the main targets. Usually, de jure standards take more time to finalize, as they have more formal and bureaucratic processes and the members typically pay a fee in order to be members. In this context, WiMax standardization is de jure standardization, international, open and compulsory. It is conducted by IEEE, WiMax Forum and ITU, any member can take part in the standardization process, it holds in international level and the standards have to be applied to a product, so that it will be able to operate according to the WiMax technology.