WiMAX means Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. It is a telecommunications technology that provides the wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point to multi point links to portable and fully mobile internet access. The technology provides up to 3mbps broadband speed without the need of cables. The technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standard. The name WiMAX was given by the WiMAX forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard .It describes WiMAX as “a standards based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broad band access as an alternative to cable and DSL”
WiMAX will provide fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line of sight for the base station. In a typical cell radius deployment of 3 to 10 km. WiMAX is the real wireless architecture by which wireless range can be extended to 50 km (approx) when compared with Wi-Fi 91 meters and Bluetooth’s 9 meters.
A WiMAX system consists of two parts:
  1. A WiMAX tower, similar to a cell phone tower –A single WiMAX tower can provide coverage to a very large area as big as 3000 square miles.
  2. A WiMAX receiver, this could be a small box or a PCMCIA card or they could be built into a laptop the way Wi-Fi access today.
A WiMAX tower station can connect directly to the internet using a high bandwidth, wired connection. It can also connect to another WiMAX tower using a line-of-sight, microwave link. This connection to second tower, along with the ability of a single tower to cover up 3000 square miles, is what allows WiMAX to provide coverage to remote rural areas.
wimax-diagram Alv_WiMAX1
This points out that WiMAX provides two forms of wireless communication i.e. non line of sight, Wi-Fi sort of service and line of sight service, where a fixed antenna points straight at WiMAX tower from roof top or pole.
WiMAX operates on the same general principals as Wi-Fi. It sends data from one computer to another via radio signals. A computer equipped with WiMAX would receive data from WiMAX transmission station, probably using encrypted data keys to prevent unauthorized users from stealing access.
The fastest Wi-Fi connection can transmit up to 54 Megabits per second at optimum conditions. WiMAX should be able to handle up to 70 mega bits per second. The biggest difference isn’t the speed; its distance .WiMAX outdistances Wi-Fi by miles. Wi-Fi’s range is about 100 feet (30 meters), where as WiMAX will cover an area of 30 miles (50Km) with wireless access.
Hence WiMAX can potentially erase the suburban and rural blackout areas that currently have no broadband internet access as phone and cable companies have not yet run the necessary wires to those remote locations.