What is WiMAX?
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave access) is a standards-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMAX can be used for a number of applications, including "last mile" broadband connections, hotspot and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for businesses.
WiMAX provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMAX can be used for a number of applications, including "last mile" broadband connections, hotspot and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for businesses.
How does WiMAX differ from Wi-Fi?
WiMAX provides metropolitan area network (MAN) connectivity at speeds of up to 75 Mb/sec. WiMAX systems can be used to transmit signal as far as 30 miles.
Wi-Fi is is primarily suited for coverage over small areas. A single base station can service around a thousand users effectively covering a whole campus or a small town.
Analysts say that while Wi-Fi was designed primarily keeping local area networks in mind, WiMax has been designed for metropolitan area networks.
As WiMax can support data ranges across miles, it is well suited for a country such as India where telecom infrastructure is poor and last mile access is expensive.
This ability lets ISPs players offer broadband access directly to homes without worrying about the problems of installing the last mile through optic fibre or cables.
WiMax is also a big boon for telecom companies as it enables these companies to serve customers in rural areas without spending billions installing expensive infrastructure for minimal returns.
WiMAX is referred to as "WiFi on steroids". It has the potential to enable even more millions to access the Internet wirelessly, cheaply and easily. The WiMAX wireless coverage is measured in square kilometers (miles) while that of WiFi is measured in square meters (yards). A WiMAX base station would beam high-speed Internet connections to homes and businesses in a radius of up to 50 km (31 miles); these base stations will eventually cover an entire metropolitan area, making that area into a WMAN and allowing true wireless mobility within it, as opposed to hot-spot hopping required by WiFi. The proponents are hoping that the technology will eventually be used in notebook computers and PDAs. True roaming cell-like wireless broadband, however, is IEEE standard 802.20, which is compatible with WiMAX.
A further benefit of the WiMAX standard is that it relies mainly on 2 to 11 GHz bands, as opposed to the overcrowded 2.4 GHz band used by WiFi. The specifications of WiMAX avoided many of the mistakes that went into the WiFi standard, allowing longer reach, no reliance on line of sight (referred to as Non Line Of Sight, or NLOS), greater bandwith, and better encryption. The 50 km radius should be taken with a grain of salt, it would most probably only apply to a true line of sight point to point connection under ideal atmospheric circumstances.
WiMAX Technical Information