A wireless wide area network (WWAN) technology that conforms to certain parts of the IEEE 802.16 standard
. WiMAX's focus is the WirelessMAN-OFDMA air interface in the 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5 GHz bands.
Governed by the WiMAX Forum (www.wimaxforum.org), WiMAX allows ISPs and carriers to offer last mile connectivity to homes and businesses without having to route wires. In addition, Mobile WiMAX provides high-speed data for users on the go, even in fast trains. Whereas Wi-Fi hotspot coverage is measured in feet, WiMAX cells are measured in miles similar to the cellular systems. WiMAX competes with the cellular carriers' 4G LTE service.
(Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access
) is a wireless communications standard designed to provide 30 to 40 megabit-per-second data rates, with the 2011 update providing up to 1 Gbit/s for fixed stations. It is a part of a "fourth generation
," or 4G
, of wireless-communication technology. WiMax far surpasses the 30-metre (100-foot) wireless range of a conventional Wi-Fi local area network (LAN), offering a metropolitan area network with a signal radius of about 50 km (30 miles).
as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL".
offers data-transfer rates that can be superior to conventional cable-modem and DSL connections, however, the bandwidth must be split among multiple users and thus yields lower speeds in practice.
WiMAX Femto Access Points
WiMAX femtocells improve coverage within a building. A "WiMAX femto access point" (WFAP) is a small, indoor base station with a limited range. It connects to the organization's network and passes data to the WiMAX carrier's network via the Internet
An indoor cellular access point that routes cellphone calls over the Internet. Connecting to the home or office network, which must have a broadband Internet connection, the femtocell is a mini cell tower with a range of approximately 5,000 square feet. When users are within range, their phones pick up the stronger femtocell signal rather than a weaker signal from an external cell tower.
The femtocell is like a mini cell tower inside the home or office that routes cellphone calls over the Internet to the carrier's network.
Google, Clearwire and WiMAX
In 2008, Sprint and Clearwire merged to develop Internet access to mobile devices using WiMAX, rather than the traditional CDMA and GSM cellular technologies. Google also invested in the venture
A wireless Internet service provider that offers WiMAX under the CLEAR brand. Founded in 2003 by Craig McCaw, Clearwire merged its WiMAX network with Sprint Nextel's Xohm-branded WiMAX network in 2008. CLEAR is geared to people who travel with their laptops. With 4G download speeds up to 6 Mbps, it provides a faster alternative to the 3G cellular offerings of other carriers. Clearwire also offers a voice over IP (VoIP) service.
announced the first WiMAX enabled mobile phone, the Max 4G, on November 12, 2008. The device was only available to certain markets in Russia on the Yota network.
and Sprint Nextel released the second WiMAX enabled mobile phone, the EVO 4G, March 23, 2010 at the CTIA conference in Las Vegas. The device, made available on June 4, 2010, is capable of both EV-DO(3G) and WiMAX(4G) as well as simultaneous data & voice sessions. The same applies to the HTC
Evo 3D, which was released in 2011. A number of WiMAX Mobiles are expected to hit the US market in late 2011 and into 2012.