WiMAX and Wi-Fi Comparison

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WiMAX is similar to the wireless standard known as Wi-Fi, but on a much larger scale and at faster speeds. A nomadic version would keep WiMAX-enabled devices connected over large areas, much like today.s cell phones. We can compare it with Wi-Fi based on the following factors.

IEEE Standards:

Wi-Fi is based on IEEE 802.11 standard where as WiMAX is based on IEEE 802.16. However, both are IEEE standards.

Range:

Wi-Fi typically provides local network access for around a few hundred feet with speeds of up to 54 Mbps, a single WiMAX antenna is expected to have a range of up to 40 miles with speeds of 70 Mbps or more. As such, WiMAX can bring the underlying Internet connection needed to service localWi-Fi networks.

Scalability:

Wi-Fi is intended for LAN applications, users scale from one to tens with one subscriber for each CPE device. Fixed channel sizes (20MHz).

WiMAX is designed to efficiently support from one to hundreds of Consumer premises equipments (CPE)s, with unlimited subscribers behind each CPE. Flexible channel sizes from 1.5MHz to 20MHz.

Bit rate:

Wi-Fi works at 2.7 bps/Hz and can peak up to 54 Mbps in 20 MHz channel.

WiMAX works at 5 bps/Hz and can peak up to 100 Mbps in a 20 MHz channel.

Quality of Service:

Wi-Fi does not guarantee any QoS but WiMax will provide your several level of QoS.

As such, WiMAX can bring the underlying Internet connection needed to service local Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi does not provide ubiquitous broadband while WiMAX does.

Comparison Table:

FreatureWiMax
(802.16a)
Wi-Fi
(802.11b)
Wi-Fi
(802.11a/g)
Primary
Application
Broadband Wireless
Access
Wireless LANWireless LAN
Frequency BandLicensed/Unlicensed
2 G to 11 GHz
2.4 GHz ISM2.4 GHz ISM (g)
5 GHz U-NII (a)
Channel
Bandwidth
Adjustable
1.25 M to 20 MHz
25 MHz20 MHz
Half/Full DuplexFullHalfHalf
Radio TechnologyOFDM
(256-channels)
Direct Sequence
Spread Spectrum
OFDM
(64-channels)
Bandwidth
Efficiency
<=5 bps/Hz<=0.44 bps/Hz<=2.7 bps/Hz
ModulationBPSK, QPSK,
16-, 64-, 256-QAM
QPSKBPSK, QPSK,
16-, 64-QAM
FECConvolutional Code
Reed-Solomon
NoneConvolutional Code
EncryptionMandatory- 3DES
Optional- AES
Optional- RC4
(AES in 802.11i)
Optional- RC4
(AES in 802.11i)
MobilityMobile WiMax
(802.16e)
In developmentIn development
MeshYesVendor
Proprietary
Vendor Proprietary
Access ProtocolRequest/GrantCSMA/CACSMA/CA


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