What is WiMAX Technology? Is it Different from Wi-Fi?

There have been many news recently about BSNL and Tata setting up WiMAX in India

WiMAX stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. It is a telecommunications technology providing wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways, from point-to-point links to full mobile cellular type access. It is based on the WirelessMAN (IEEE 802.16) standard.

WiMAX is a highly scalable, long-range system, covering many kilometers using licensed spectrum to deliver a point-to-point connection to the Internet from an ISP to an end user. WiMAX can be used to provide a wireless alternative to cable and DSL for broadband access, and to provide high-speed data and telecommunications services. WiMAX can also be used to Connect many Wi-Fi hotspots with each other and also to other parts of the Internet.

When using WiMAX device with directional antennas, speeds of 10 Mbit/s at 10 km distance is possible, while for WiMAX devices with omni-directional antennas only 10 Mbit/s over 2 km is possible. There is no uniform global licensed spectrum for WiMAX, although three licensed spectrum profiles are being used generally – 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz [wiki]

With WiMAX enabled handsets and laptops coming into the market, people could connect to the fast broadband internet from anywhere, without having to depend on the slow rate mobile network data transfer. You can work on broadband, call friends and colleagues and watch real-time TV from the top of a forest hill station many kilometers away from the access point – without compromising on quality, speed or screen size!

WiMAX could connect remote Indian villages to the Internet using broadband. This would avoid hassles in cabling through the forests and other difficult terrain only to reach a few people in remote places. Maintaining such system would also be easy. WiMAX could provide Internet access, voice and IPTV to those areas.

Comparison with Wi-Fi

Simply put, if WiMAX provides services analogous to a cellphone, Wi-Fi is more analogous to a cordless phone.


Wi-Fi is a shorter range system, typically hundreds of meters, typically used by an end user to access their own network. Wi-Fi is low cost and is generally used to provide Internet access within a single room or building. For example, many coffee shops, hotels, railway stations and bus stations contain Wi-Fi access points providing access to the Internet for customers.

Wireless Routers which incorporate a DSL-modem or a cable-modem and a Wi-Fi access point, often set up in homes to provide Internet-access and inter-networking to all devices connected (wirelessly or by cable) to them. One can also connect Wi-Fi devices in ad-hoc mode for client-to-client connections without a router. Wi-Fi allows LANs to be deployed without cabling for client devices, typically reducing the costs of network deployment and expansion. Wireless network adapters are also built into most modern laptops. [wiki]

For example, I have a BSNL DataOne broadband Wireles DSL modem at home. I can freely work from my Wi-Fi enabled laptop anywhere in my home or even from its premises.


  1. Wi Max has been a good solution to our communities which does not have a good wired telecommunications systems. This is very applicable to unstructured villages or where residences sporadically located as in provincial villages.

  2. I’m really exclaimed about this wimax technology. Thanks for giving this article to us. Thank u very much. Thanks alone.

  3. Dear sir/Madam,
    I am interested to work on wimax but i know it little bit but i don’t know how to start and what the problem and what simulation i have to use plz guid me

  4. Thanks…..

    This is really useful information …who is in the IT field must know this kind of things about the Latest Technology coming up in the market..
    If possible please provide more information as this kind of this will gonna imlemented by todays Industries…

  5. wi max is too good….. it will b rocking technology up till now….

    and the information given here is very useful… it helped to make my project on WI-MAX…….

    thank you

  6. thankyou your information i like most of instruction i ask one question studyed wimax all over tamilnadu which place best center tell me sir…
    i am study for wimax technology main purpose of security briefly explain
    it is very use one thankyou

  7. thank you for the informations you provide in your page.
    now i have good idea about WiMax technology.

    i just need afavour from you, can you pls. provide me with all new updates, vital informaions & news for this issue.

    thank you in advanced

    Mohd. al masri

  8. hello sree
    im doin engineering 3rd yr in elex and comm .from indore only.

  9. i guess the crux of WiMax’s long range and supposedly high data rate is the licensed band. for WiFi, the spectrum is not licensed (usually ISM band) and is limited by regulations on maximum power. even then, i’ve seen (infact, been part of a team building it) WiFi systems, which can do abt 70Mbps (using dual radios, 30mbps with single radio) over a few km range! given a higher cap on power and a licensed spectrum (nothing stops network operators from running WiFi in a 2.3 spectrum license), WiFi can easily achieve higher ranges

    even in WiMax, if the client is a laptop, the power will always be limited. though, the standard talks abt a range, it will be impossible to achive this range using a 50mw radio in a laptop

    for people working in wireless industry, WiMax is another hype (after some of the 3G cellular technologies) which will take a lot of time before it can live up to the expectations. at the end of the day, WiFi or WiMax, its abt the physics/logic/engineering of power, battery life, timeout period and interference.

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