WiMax vs WiFi: A Beginners Guide to the Internet

This article will be talking about the differences between WiMax and Wi-Fi and which one is better along with their characteristics and applications.

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WiMAX vs WiFiWiMax vs WiFi is a debate not easily understood by people. Internet service providers don’t help with confusing terms like, get “ABCD WiMAX” or get a “XYZ WiFi connection”. Let’s get some things into perspective. WiFi is not internet. Neither is WiMAX. WiFi, WiMAX or other connectivity protocols are networking mediums to eventually get to another network from where you get to some server or somebody else’s computer in case of hackers.

Wi-Fi at a glance

Wireless Fidelity, commonly known as Wi-Fi is defined under the IEEE 802.11x standards. WiMAX, on the other hand, stands for worldwide interoperability for microwave access. Defined under IEEE 802.16 standards, these protocols may work in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands or they might use a licensed frequency. Wi-Fi networks have a bandwidth of 20MHz, whereas WiMAX networks have a flexible bandwidth option which ranges from 1.25MHz to 20MHz.

Wi-Fi is a certification applied to products tested by the Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry consortium that promotes interoperability in heterogeneous WLANs. For example, all 802.11g products implement standard orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) and direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS), but only Wi-Fi certified products have proven that they correctly support a mandatory subset of features and options.

And here’s WiMax

WiMax is a certification tested by the WiMAX Forum. Carriers build and operate wide metropolitan area networks (WMANs) by purchasing licensed spectrum and then deploying WiMax base stations throughout a city, region, or other designated coverage area. To use WMAN, subscribers must purchase wireless services from a carrier.

WiMax Vs WiFi

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The WiMax Vs Wi-Fi table below provides the differences at a glance between the two. Or three, since there are differences in various version as well.

Features WiMax (802.16a) Wi-Fi (802.11b) Wi-Fi (802.11a/g)
Primary
Application
Broadband Wireless
Access
Wireless LAN Wireless LAN
Frequency Band Licensed/Unlicensed
2 G to 11 GHz
2.4 GHz ISM 2.4 GHz ISM (g)
5 GHz U-NII (a)
Channel
Bandwidth
Adjustable
1.25 M to 20 MHz
25 MHz 20 MHz
Half/Full Duplex Full Half Half
Radio Technology OFDM
(256-channels)
Direct Sequence
Spread Spectrum
OFDM
(64-channels)
Bandwidth
Efficiency
<=5 bps/Hz <=0.44 bps/Hz <=2.7 bps/Hz
Modulation BPSK, QPSK,
16-, 64-, 256-QAM
QPSK BPSK, QPSK,
16-, 64-QAM
Forward error correction (FEC) Convolutional Code
Reed-Solomon
None Convolutional Code
Encryption Mandatory- 3DES
Optional- AES
Optional- RC4
(AES in 802.11i)
Optional- RC4
(AES in 802.11i)
Mobility Mobile WiMax
(802.16e)
In development In development
Mesh Yes Vendor Proprietary Vendor Proprietary
Access Protocol Request/Grant CSMA/CA CSMA/CA

 

What is WiMax exactly?


 

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