WiMAX vs LTE – WiMAX and LTE are both using a name 4G technology. Which technology is better? Check the comparison test between WiMAX and LTE.



What is 4G

4G is the fourth generation of mobile internet access technology. ITU-R has made requirements for 4G called IMT-Advanced. International Mobile Telecommunication Advanced – ITM-Advanced requirements are the following:

  • Maximum speed of 1 G for low mobility communication like pedestrians
  • Maximum speed of 100 M for high mobility communication like trains and cars

Both WiMAX and LTE still don’t meet these requirements, but they both use the name 4G.

What is really 4G What is 4G and what is the 4G Speed.

More about the 4G internet and 4G technologies you can read on 4G Internet – There is still no Real 4G Technology on the Market.

WiMAX and LTE Similarities

Before going in WiMAX vs LTE duel, let’s check their similarities. Both these 4G technologies are quite similar. Check below the similarities:

  • They are both all IP technologies
  • They both support advanced MIMO – multiple input and multiple output antenna technology
  • They both use similar modulation technology based on OFDM – orthogonal frequency division multiplexing

WiMAX vs LTE Differences

Beside similarities, WiMAX and LTE also have many differences:

  • LTE-A uses different channels bandwidth from 1.4 MHz to 100 MHz, while WiMAX uses channels bandwidths up to 40 MHz
  • LTE uses different modulation for uplink (SC-FDMA) and downlink (OFDMA), while WiMAX uses the same modulation for both uplink and downlink – SOFDMA
  • LTE frame duration is 10 ms, WiMAX is 5 ms
  • LTE-A can handle speeds up to 450 km/h or 280 mph, while WiMAX 120 km/h or 75 mph
  • WiMAX network doesn’t support legacy systems like 2G and 3G, while LTE is compatible and enables coexistence and roaming between LTE and 3G.
  • Cost for building WiMAX network is lower than cost for building LTE network

LTE Advantages over WiMAX

What is LTE

What is LTE

  • LTE is compatible with previous mobile technologies – GSM, GPRS, UMTS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSPA, CDMA-one, CDMA2000, EV-DO, EV-DV and the synchronous SC-CDMA
  • Enables much greater speed for the mobile users – speed up to 450 km/h or 250 mph
  • Better technology for power consumption of mobile terminals – it uses SC-FDMA for uplink – modulation technology that saves battery life of mobile terminals
  • LTE-A is only true 4G technology

Read more about the LTE technology in the post What is LTE, 4G Technology and LTE Advanced.

WiMAX Advantages over LTE

IEEE 802.16

IEEE 802.16

  • Deployment of WiMAX network is much cheaper than deployment of LTE network
  • Great choice for private mobile broadband wireless networks

More about the WiMAX standard you can read in the post 802.16 – Standard for Wireless MAN or WiMAX Network. In the post What is WiMAX and How WiMAX Works, you can read about what is WiMAX, WiMAX vs WiMAX2 and how WiMAX works.

The Conclusion of WiMAX vs LTE – Which 4G Technology is Better

The LTE is much more popular and widespread than WiMAX and I am sure that the big majority of the mobile operators will chose the LTE as its 4G technology. One of the biggest advantages of LTE over WiMAX is its compatibility with all previous mobile technologies GSM, GPRS, UMTS, WCDMA, CDMA, CDMA200, EV-DO. WiMAX is compatible with the previous version of WiMAX that were not used as mobile technologies.  It is also important to mention that the latest LTE standard, LTE – Advanced or LTE-A, is the only true 4G technology.

WiMAX is a better choice for the low cost installing network in developing countries, wireless replacement for the DSL, private networks in dedicated industrial segments.

Read another article – 4G vs LTE – key differences explained about the WiMAX vs LTE.

  1. Ali Saeed says:

    Both are 4G technologies but LTE is TRUE 4G

    OFDM at access (last mile)
    MIMO being used in both the technologies
    SOFDM in Uplink and OFDM in downlink (LTE)
    SCFDMA on Uplink and downlink in WiMAX
    Voip services will be better in WiMAX as Round Trip Latency is 5ms less than LTE
    WiMAX is cheaper
    WiMAX has better spectrum efficiency as works on High Frequency Range
    LTE jumped late but most of the market has nothing like 4G
    WiMAX range is better 50KM
    LTE better for Mobility
    LTE has greater throughput (1G for Stationary and 100M for mobile at downlink)
    WiMAX seems to compete only on cost affective ground otherwise RIP WiMAX

  2. Cecilia says:

    I’m paying $50/month for 4gWimax internet (now owned by Sprint). My question is will LTE be more expensive? Will I need a different mobile USB?

    • Igor Bartolic says:

      Hi Cecilia,

      I am not sure for the prices. You will need to check them at the web sites of the other mobile operators (T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T). There are modems that supports both LTE and WiMAX, but I am not sure for USB dongles.

      LTE and WiMAX are different technologies and there is different chipset needed to enable connection to these technologies. Before going from WiMAX to LTE, also check the coverage map.

  3. mobeen babar says:

    i am confused at one point, WIMAX is a totally new technology and its installation is very cheaper but how is it possible, its implementation required a new network architecture and it require a lot of money respective to LTE network installation. because lte technology basis on old GSM, and some modulation required in an exist network structure in which it does not require a lot of money.
    My opinion is that the deployment of wimax network is very expensive than the deployment of lte network. Thanks for the above description too much understandable…

  4. Samuel says:

    Hello, good work you are doing. I have a friend who wants to start an ISP business and is considering Wimax technology over LTae. What advise would you give him. Thanks

    • Igor Bartolic says:

      Hello Samuel,

      Thanks for contacting TheBestWirelessInternet.com.

      If you are not already Mobile operator, better choice (from the cost perspective) would be WiMax.
      If you are Mobile operator and you already have Base stations working on 3G, the better and logical choice is LTE.

      This is high level analysis. For deeper analysis, you need to take in consideration much more factors.

  5. Ahmed Fox says:

    Thank you very much for your post, it really helped me decide which technology should we use in our project, we are a small company in a developing city and we would like to install WiMax, if you could direct me to where we can start gathering information I’d be very thankful.

    Thank you.

  6. Mike Nelson says:

    All very interesting, but for the average guy who is not so up to date with tech, it becomes a mine field.
    I have basic internet which freezes throughout viewing, after many complaints and three visits from an engineer who has gone from changing my dish to changing the dish direction, even though from my villa to the masts on the hill top there are no buildings just clear sight.
    So with this I have been trying to obtain the cheapest reliable system including installation, the 4G is to expensive for installation and way over the top for monthly payments, but do boast that they are the only company that Orange have contracted unlimited 4G to here in Nerja.
    What would be my solution to get a freeze free system? are there any ideas??
    Thank you for your time.

  7. Mike says:

    LTE (900/月)只能插一台 USB 孔,不然就要買『4G LTE筆電』。
    LTE ($30/mo) can only be used on one device with USB port, or you have to buy a “4G LTE Notebook”.

    Wimax 小白盒 (500/月) 帶出門,周圍蜂巢內 250台朋友的手機、筆電、印表機、分享器、智慧電視都能跟我一起上WiFi了!結果,我朋友剛誇說都想轉威達雲端不到2個月竟說 Wimax無法拿到執照!
    Whereas the little Wimax white box ($17/mo) on the go can share broadband internet with 250 nearby IP devices inside the cell zone, such as mobile phone, notebook, printer, Wireless AP, IP TV, etc with WiFi. However, the newly migrated Wimax operater VeeTime in Taiwan got suspended 2600 MHz license by the corupted government in 2014, and eventually transfer the 2600 MHz to the 3 old mobile carriers without using 2600 MHz popularity now.

    這 NCC跟全球一動(中華電信的股東在控股)都該斬首!
    The National Communication Committee and the fake Wimax operator Global Mobile (holding company of the Chunghua Telecom stakeholders) are to be blamed for the failed de-regulation of Wireless Broadband Access in Taiwan

  8. Jerry Bickle says:

    LTE assigns resource blocks of data to each customer. each RB has it’s own modulation rate depending on the client’s distance, obstructions, etc. WiMax assigns the same modulation rate to all clients. Therefore, the old lady 10 miles away that you signed up is dragging down your entire sector to the necessary modulation rate she gets. So, all your customers will experience slower speeds, even that guy that’s close to the tower. WiMax is cheap for a reason. Not much R&D is going into it. it’s been around a long time and cheap players like Ubiquiti are able to sell stuff for a few hundred bucks. WiMax also doesn’t have the path loss of LTE. LTE has a 9-12 db advantage and that makes connections to people in non LOS locations possible. buy WiMax because it’s cheap and you’ll get what you pay for. Also, cheap equipment has a cost; how many times do you want to visit that customer location to reset something. Truck Rolls will kill your profitability. You must look at the entire project with an eye to ARPU, Reputation, and the Future.

  9. advisor says:

    Wimax is new era of technology and has many advanced & effective technical procedures for OFDM, but LTE procedures for frame are not so sophisticated and are in infancy. Also LTE is using more space of frame for downlink as compared to uplink, by default. However, Wimax can also be run in this fashion for greater downlink throughput, by changing the default frame distribution. LTE has better backward compatibility. But LTE has bad performance for uplink oriented operations like disaster management network, which needs real time uplink high throughput.

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