The two driving forces of modern Internet are broadband, and wireless. The WiMax standard combines the two, delivering high-speed broadband Internet access over a wireless connection. Because it can be used over relatively long distances, it is an effective "last mile" solution for delivering broadband to the home, and for creating wireless "hot spots" in places like airports, college campuses, and small communities.
Based on the IEEE 802.16 Air Interface Standard, WiMax delivers a point-to-multipoint architecture, making it an ideal method for carriers to deliver broadband to locations where wired connections would be difficult or costly. It may also provide a useful solution for delivering broadband to rural areas where high-speed lines have not yet become available. A WiMax connection can also be bridged or routed to a standard wired or wireless Local Area Network (LAN).
The so-called "last mile" of broadband is the most expensive and most difficult for broadband providers, and WiMax provides an easy solution. Although it is a wireless technology, unlike some other wireless technologies, it doesn't require a direct line of sight between the source and endpoint, and it has a service range of 50 kilometers. It provides a shared data rate of up to 70Mbps, which is enough to service up to a thousand homes with high-speed access.
WiMax offers some advantages over WiFi, a similar wireless technology, in that it offers a greater range and is more bandwidth-efficient. Ultimately, WiMax may be used to provide connectivity to entire cities, and may be incorporated into laptops to give users an added measure of mobility.
WiMax requires a tower, similar to a cell phone tower, which is connected to the Internet using a standard wired high-speed connection, such as a T3 line. But as opposed to a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP), which divides that bandwidth among customers via wire, it uses a microwave link to establish a connection.
Because WiMax does not depend on cables to connect each endpoint, deploying WiMax to an entire high-rise, community or campus can be done in a matter of a couple days, saving significant amounts of manpower.