WiMAX is a wireless digital communications system, also known as IEEE 802.16, that is intended for wireless "metropolitan area networks". WiMAX can provide broadband wireless access (BWA) up to 30 miles (50 km) for fixed stations, and 3 - 10 miles (5 - 15 km) for mobile stations. In contrast, the WiFi/802.11 wireless local area network standard is limited in most cases to only 100 - 300 feet (30 - 100m).
With WiMAX, WiFi-like data rates are easily supported, but the issue of interference is lessened. WiMAX operates on both licensed and non-licensed frequencies, providing a regulated environment and viable economic model for wireless carriers.
WiMAX can be used for wireless networking in much the same way as the more common WiFi protocol. WiMAX is a second-generation protocol that allows for more efficient bandwidth use, interference avoidance, and is intended to allow higher data rates over longer distances.
The IEEE 802.16 standard defines the technical features of the communications protocol. The WiMAX Forum offers a means of testing manufacturer's equipment for compatibility, as well as an industry group dedicated to fostering the development and commercialization of the technology.
WiMax.com provides a focal point for consumers, service providers, manufacturers, analysts, and researchers who are interested in WiMAX technology, services, and products. Soon, WiMAX will be a very well recognized term to describe wireless Internet access throughout the world.