WiMAX, (wireless digital communications system)meaning Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access.The technology provides up to 3Mbps of speed without the need of  any cable. The technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access). The name “WiMAX” was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as “a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL”.

 Uses

The bandwidth and range of WiMAX make it suitable for the following potential applications:

  • Connecting Wi-Fi hotspots(Public Place where Internet is available  for  the people who comes to that place) to the Internet.
  • Providing a wireless alternative to cable and DSL for “last mile”  broadband access.
  • Providing data and telecommunications services.
  • Providing a source of Internet connectivity as part of a business  continuity plan. That is, if a business has both a fixed and a wireless  Internet connection, especially from unrelated providers, they are  unlikely to be affected by the same service outage.
  • Providing portable connectivity.

With the potential of mobile WiMAX, there is an increasing focus on portable units. This includes handsets (similar to cellular smartphones), PC peripherals (PC Cards or USB dongles), and embedded devices in laptops, which are now available for Wi-Fi services. In addition, there is much emphasis from operators on consumer electronics devices such as Gaming consoles, MP3 players and similar devices. It is notable that WiMAX is more similar to Wi-Fi than to 3G cellular technologies.

 Broadband access

Companies are evaluating WiMAX for last mile connectivity(The “last mile” is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer). The resulting competition may bring lower pricing for both home and business customers or bring broadband access to places where it has been economically unavailable.

WiMAX access was used to assist with communications in Aceh(a smaall territory in Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra), Indonesia, after the tsunami in December 2004(2004 Indian Ocean earthquake). All communication infrastructure in the area, other than amateur radio(Amateur radio, often called HAM radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called “hams,” use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training.), was destroyed, making the survivors unable to communicate with people outside the disaster area and vice versa. WiMAX provided broadband access that helped regenerate communication to and from Aceh.

In addition, WiMAX was donated by Intel Corporation to assist the FCC and FEMA in their communications efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. In practice, volunteers used mainly self-healing mesh, VoIP(Voice Over Internet Protocol), and a satellite uplink combined with Wi-Fi on the local link.

Security

  • As the name Security, Hacking comes in everyone becomes so  concious. I am not saying that it is wrong but it is something we  should aware of.
  • Realizing the sticking point that security has been in the widespread  adoption of broadband wireless service, the IEEE and the Forum both  determined to define a robust security environment.  WiMAX security  supports two quality encryptions standards, that of the DES3 and  AES.
  • Basically, all traffic on a WiMAX network must be encrypted using Counter Mode with Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol (CCMP) which uses AES for transmission security and data integrity authentication. 
  • When the Security comes with WiMAX then I can surely say that it is  one of the most secure Internet connection,as it works on MAC  binding i.e.Cloning your MAC address(Media Access Controller).
  • Your computer’s MAC address will be binded to  the Internet connection so that only you can get the IP address  onto that particular computer.And MAC address is unique for  each  and every computer in this World.
  • This binding will be stored on the Server of your Internet Provider. A  particular IP address will be available for you for your connection.

 

Comparison with Wi-Fi

Comparisons and confusion between WiMAX and Wi-Fi are frequent because both are related to wireless connectivity and Internet access.

  • WiMAX uses is a long range system, covering many kilometers, that  uses licensed or unlicensed spectrum to deliver a point-to-point  connection to the Internet.
  • Different 802.16 standards provide different types of access, from  portable (similar to a cordless phone) to fixed (an alternative to wired  access, where the end user’s wireless termination point is fixed  in location.)
  • Wi-Fi uses unlicensed spectrum to provide access to a network.
  • Wi-Fi is more popular in end user devices.
  • WiMAX and Wi-Fi have quite different quality of service (QoS)  mechanisms.
  • WiMAX uses a mechanism based on connections between the base  station and the user device. Each connection is based on specific  scheduling algorithms.
  • Wi-Fi has a QoS mechanism similar to fixed Ethernet, where packets  can receive different priorities based on their tags. For example VoIP  traffic may be given priority over web browsing.
  • Wi-Fi runs on the Media Access Control’s CSMA/CA protocol, which is  connectionless and contention based, whereas WiMAX runs a  connection-oriented MAC.
  • Both 802.11 and 802.16 define Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and ad hoc  networks, where an end user communicates to users or servers on  another Local Area Network (LAN) using its access point or base  station.

 

Limitations

A commonly-held misconception is that WiMAX will deliver 70 Mbit/s over 50 kilometers (~31 miles). In reality, WiMAX can either operate at higher bitrates or over longer distances but not both: operating at the maximum range of 50 km increases bit error rate and thus results in a much lower bitrate. Conversely, reducing the range (to <1 km) allows a device to operate at higher bitrates. There are no known examples of WiMAX services being delivered at bit rates over around 40 Mbit/s.

Typically, fixed WiMAX networks have a higher-gain directional antenna installed near the client (customer) which results in greatly increased range and throughput. Mobile WiMAX networks are usually made of indoor “Customer-premises equipment” (CPE) such as desktop modems, laptops with integrated Mobile WiMAX or other Mobile WiMAX devices. Mobile WiMAX devices typically have omnidirectional antennae which are of lower-gain compared to directional antennas but are more portable. In current deployments, the throughput may reach 2 Mbit/s symmetric at 10 km with fixed WiMAX and a high gain antenna. It is also important to consider that a throughput of 2 Mbit/s can mean 2 Mbit/s, symmetric simultaneously, 1 Mbit/s symmetric or some asymmetric mix (e.g. 0.5 Mbit/s downlink and 1.5 Mbit/s uplink or 1.5 Mbit/s downlink and 0.5 Mbit/s uplink), each of which required slightly different network equipment and configurations. Higher-gain directional antennas can be used with a WiMAX network with range and throughput benefits but the obvious loss of practical mobility.

Ensuring continuity:

WiMAX is to 802.16/HiperMAN as WiFi is to 802.11

WiMAX seeks to build on the success of established business models that have reaped benefits in the field. Just as the WiFi and DSL forums ensured the success of WLAN (802.11) and DSL, WiMAX represents a significant leap forward in ensuring the standardization of the Wireless MAN protocols.

Over the coming year, the WiMAX Forum intends to develop equipment conformance tests to be performed in reputable certification labs.

The WiMAX standard is beneficial to every link in the broadband wireless chain:

Operators:

Wireless systems significantly reduce operator investment risk

Common Platform drives down costs, fosters healthy competition and encourages innovation

Enables a relatively low initial CAPEX investment and incremental expenditures that reflect growth

No more commitments to a single vendor, a typical by-product of the proprietary technology model

Consumers:

Receive services in areas that were previously out of the broadband loop.

More players in the market translate into more choices for receiving broadband access services.

Quick “trickle down” effect of cost savings to consumers, translating into lower monthly rates.

Component Makers:

Standardization creates a volume opportunity for chip set vendors/silicon suppliers.

Equipment Vendors:

Concentrate on specialization (i.e. Base Stations or CPEs) – no longer need to create an entire end-to-end solution as in proprietary model.

 Standards-based, common platform fosters rapid innovation and the addition of new components and services.

 

 

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