Difference Between WiMAX and Wifi

WiMAX vs Wifi

WiMAX and Wi-Fi are both wireless technologies but Wi-Fi can only be operated in short ranges (Max 250 m) and WiMAX could be operated in long ranges (around 30 Km). WiMAX has fixed and mobile version which could be used for several applications with higher bandwidth (around 40 Mbps). Like DSL or Cable internet in cities, WiMAX could be a cable broadband replacement in rural areas where most providers don’t have copper network to offer DSL services. And 40 Mbps is much faster than even ADSL2+. Triple play services like voice, video and data could be easily offered over WiMAX. The new version of WiMAX 802.16m is expected to deliver 1 Gbps which is equivalent to Fibre to Home and it’s very useful for backhauling of remote offices or provider access stations.

WiMAX (IEEE 802.16)

WiMAX (802.16) (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a 4th Generation mobile access technology for high speed access. The current version of this technology can provide around 40 Mbps in reality and the updated version is expected to deliver 1Gbps in fixed endpoints.

WiMAX falls under IEEE 802.16 family and 802.16e (WiMAX expected wave 1, 1×2 SIMO) gives 23 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload and 802.16e (WiMAX expected wave 2, 2×2 MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) offers 46 Mbps downlink and 4 Mbps uplink . 802.16m is the expected version to be delivered around 1Gbps in fixed endpoints.

WiMAX has fixed version and mobile version. The fixed WiMAX version (802.16d and 802.16e) could be used for broadband solutions for home and can be used for backhauling remote offices or mobile stations. The WiMAX mobile version (802.16m) could be used as the replacement of GSM and CDMA technologies.

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 family)

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a wireless LAN technology which could be used in short range. It’s a most common wireless technology used in home, Hotspots and corporate internal wireless networks. Wi-Fi operates in 2.4GHz or 5GHz which are unallocated frequency band (Specially allocated for ISM – Industrial Scientific and Medical). Wi-Fi (802.11) has couple of varieties and some of them are 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n. 802.11a,b,g operates in 2.4 GHz frequency and range from 40-140 meters (in reality) and 802.11n operates in 5 GHz with OFDM modulation technology thus results higher speed (40Mbps in reality) ranged to 70-250 meters.

We can easily setup a Wireless LAN (WLAN) at home with Wireless Routers. When you setup Wi-Fi at home make sure you enable security features on it to avoid 3rd party access. Couple of them are, Secure Wireless or Encryption, MAC address filter and more than these don’t forget to change the default password of your wireless router.

Difference between WiMAX and Wi-Fi

(1) Both operates in Microwave frequency range to offer wireless access

(2) Wi-Fi a short range technology mostly used in, in-house applications whereas WiMAX is a long range technology to deliver wireless broadband to far end.

(3) Wi-Fi is mostly an end user technology where users can purchase Wi-Fi devices and configure them by themselves and WiMAX is mostly deployed by service providers.

(4) Wi-Fi uses CSMA/CA protocol which could be connection based or connection less whereas WiMAX uses connection oriented MAC protocol.

(5) Wi-Fi is a wireless LAN technology and WiMAX is a wireless LAN technology (WLAN)