What is WiMAX Broadband Wireless Networking?

WiMax logo
WiMax Forum

WiMAX (short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a technology standard for long-range wireless networking. WiMAX equipment exists in two basic forms - base stations, installed by service providers to deploy the technology in a coverage area, and receivers, installed in clients. WiMAX supports several networking usage models:

  1. a means to transfer data across an Internet service provider network, commonly called backhaul)
  1. a form of fixed wireless broadband Internet access, replacing satellite Internet service
  2. a form of mobile Internet access to competes directly with LTE technology

While at one time WiMAX was envisioned to be a leading form of Internet communications across all three of the areas above, it's adoption has been limited.

WiMAX is developed by an industry consortium, overseen by a group called the WiMAX Forum. The Forum certifies WiMAX equipment to ensure it meets the technology specifications. Its technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 set of wide-area communications standards. WiMax transmitters can span a distance of several miles (kilometers) with data rates reaching up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps). A number of wireless signaling options exist for WIMax ranging anywhere from 2 GHz up to 66 GHz bands.

Primarily due to its much higher cost, WiMAX is not a replacement for Wi-Fi home networking or wireless hotspot technologies.

The global telecommunications industry has also chosen to invest fully in LTE, leaving the future viability of WiMAX Internet services in question.