WiMAX vs LTE – What is a Better 4G Technology

WiMAX vs LTE Overview


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.