WiMAX & 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 whereas WiMAX is based on IEEE 802.16. However, both are IEEE standards.

Range

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

Freature

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

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


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