Wi-max is a wireless technology with potentially the biggest future in the world of last mile data connectivity. In layman's terms, it was explained to me as WiFi on steroids; using packets with less overhead that make them smaller and faster to resend if corrupted by interference, hence the longer range and durability of the network structure. The technological promises sound extraordinary. This developing technology could be the future of high speed Internet connectivity, 100% coverage nationwide within a decade. It already has been deployed by many different companies worldwide very successfully. Wikipedia and HowStuffWorks have good articles explaining the ins and outs of the 802.16x standard
IEEE 802.16 Specifications
- Range - 30-mile (50-km) radius from base station
- Speed - 70 megabits per second
- Real world speed versus distance is line-of-sight 10 mbps @ 10 km or non-line-of-sight 10 mbps @ 2 km
- Line-of-sight not needed between user and base station
- Frequency bands - 2 to 11 GHz and 10 to 66 GHz (licensed and unlicensed bands)
- Defines both the MAC and PHY layers and allows multiple PHY-layer specifications
- NOTE: the are multiple standards for WiMAX, just like WiFi's a,b,g, and n. Each standard has unique properties that may affect specifications.
Here are some great links for getting 'connected' with WiMAX.