WiFi and WiMAX: What are the Differences?

WiFi or Wireless Fidelity is a standard system used for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) which has IEEE 802.11 specification. While WiMAX or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is technology using Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) which has high speed and broad scope. This is the breakthrough from BWA technology. It uses IEEE 802.16 standard.

The difference between WiFi and WiMAX network is on the division of spectrum used and the used frequency. Although both of them use 5.8GHz frequency, WiMAX is arranged to be able to use the other two frequencies, 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz. It makes a possibility for users to increase the output power of WiMAX device so that they can reach further scope.

Based on the range scope, the differences are:

1.WiFi can reach 30 meters range while WiMAX has 40-50 km range. So, WiMAX has broader scope than WiFi.

2.WiFi has power to share data up to 11 Mbps while WiMAX has power up to 75 Mbps to share data.

3.WiFi has frequency from 2.4 up to 5Ghz while WiMAX has lower and wider frequency, which is 2-6GHz.

The plus and minus of WiFi and WiMAX network

WiFi and WiMAX have their own points to be considered by the users if they are confused which one they want to use.

The plus points of WiFi:

a.It has as fast access as broadband has.

b.It is accessible, as long as within the hotspot area.

c.It can uphold many users in one hotspot area.

d.It is flexible and cheap.

While the minus points are:

a.Data sharing is easy to tap

b.The Access Point is easy to be attacked by virus.

c.To activate the WiFi, users have to stay in hotspot area.

d.The scope is still limited. It is hard for the signal to pass through the wall.

If those who want to use WiMAX, here are the plus points of it:

a.It has as fast access as broadband has.

b.The infrastructure development is more faster and cheaper than broadband access.

c.The range scope is wider than WiFi and broadband access, which is up to 50 km in maximum.

d.Since it has wider range scope, it has many features that WiFi does not have with IEEE 802.11 standard.

The last but not the least is the lack of WiMAX:

a.It needs experienced technician to install the devices.

b.The infrastructure price is very expensive.

c.The Indonesian government is not ready yet to set the WiMAX frequency as other countries are. The biggest possibility frequency is 3.5GHz. But the government still has to set the most exact frequency range since it will be also used for satellite communication.