Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)

WiMAX (IEEE 802.16) is a an international standard for wireless network communications over long distances (as opposed to the relatively short range offered by Wi-Fi. WiMAX stands for "Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access".

WiMAX is intended to be a wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) protocol that provides broadband access to fixed or mobile users. It may be used to transport Wi-Fi signals over longer distances, allowing connection of entire LANs over wireless links.

WiMAX can provide service to devices up to 50 kilometers away and at data rates of up to 280Mbps at each base station. It operates in the range from 2 to 11 Ghz, through adoption of the amendment IEEE 802.16a.

While much of the early focus on WiMAX was on providing broadband service to users wirelessly, in 2006 there was a push from the industry to provide mobile WiMAX services (via 802.16e). Motorola was one of the first companies to move in that direction at the request of a number of customers world-wide. Mobile WiMAX services has the potential to provide users with broadband while on the move, potentially replacing any need for the much hyped 3G wireless technology.

Resources: WiMAX Forum

See Also: Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)