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Difference Between WiMAX and Wi-Fi

WiMAX vs Wi-Fi

WiMAX and Wi-Fi are wireless technologies. “WiMAX” stands for “Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access” and “Wi-Fi” stands for “Wireless Fidelity.” They are different from each other in many ways. In this article we will discuss WiMAX IEEE 802.16 and Wi-Fi 802.11.

One of the main differences is the range in which they operate. WiMAX can be used for long ranges. It provides broadband connectivity up to varied ranges, around 30 km. The service is provided from a central location, and the connectivity is inside or outside the service radius plus the people moving in cars, etc., just like a mobile phone. Wi-Fi, however, is used for providing connectivity to a smaller range, say, around 250m. It is used to provide connectivity to shorter ranges like within an office or home.

WiMAX has two different versions; fixed and mobile versions. The mobile version is 802.16 m and can replace CDMA and GSM technologies. The fixed version is 802.16d, and 802.16e is used for home whereas Wi-Fi which comes in 802.11 families has many versions like 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n

Wi-Fi operates in spectrum which is unlicensed. It may interfere with each other and with cordless phones also. It can operate in uncontrolled environments along with Bluetooth, walkie-talkies, and sometimes microwave frequencies too. This results in a powerful device, and the one which is closer to the access point getting more airtime than its fair share. Whereas WiMAX was developed in a way that it requires a license. The frequencies and license has to be purchased. These frequencies are more powerful and of a higher range. It has more of control and command and can be used for cable, Internet, and DSL. It helps in providing services like video, data, voice, etc.

Some new spectrums which are licensed like 700MHz are available to WiMAX but not for Wi-Fi. Thus, eventually WiMAX becomes more popular as it can operate in this frequency whereas Wi-Fi cannot and may lose its popularity.


1.“WiMAX” stands for “Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access”; “Wi-Fi” stands for “Wireless Fidelity.”
2.WiMAX provides wireless broadband connectivity for long ranges; Wi-Fi provides short-range, wireless broadband connectivity mostly within an office or home.
3.WiMAX is more controlled and requires a licensed spectrum; the service is deployed by the service providers. Wi-Fi can work in a less controlled environment; it works in an unlicensed environment and is less controlled. Moreover, the end users have to buy the devices.
4.WiMAX uses MAC protocol which is connection oriented; Wi-Fi uses connection-based or connectionless protocol called CSMA/CA.

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  1. It’s WIMAX still best than wifi but it also depends where you are and when in convenient.

  2. Wimax is the best and is mostly used by companies…but WiFi is limited

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