WiMAX vs ZigBee: Difference and Comparison

Telecommunication is advancing every day, with wireless communication at the top of the charts. WiMAX and ZigBee are two essential, emerging, and commonly used wireless communication technologies that are continuously making a lot of tasks easy in the land of the Internet.

The differences between these two are important to know and understand for easy selection.

Key Takeaways

  1. WiMAX offers higher data rates and longer transmission ranges than ZigBee, making it more suitable for broadband applications.
  2. ZigBee consumes less power and has lower latency than WiMAX, making it ideal for sensor networks and home automation systems.
  3. WiMAX operates on various licensed frequency bands, while ZigBee operates on unlicensed bands such as 2.4 GHz.

WiMAX vs ZigBee

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless communication technology that provides high-speed internet access over long distances using radio waves. It is an alternative to traditional wired and wireless internet technologies. Zigbee is a wireless communication standard for Internet of Things (IoT) devices operating on low-power, low-data rate applications. It is designed for reliable and secure communication between devices.

WiMAX vs ZigBee

WiMAX is the short form of worldwide interoperability for microwave access. It is regarded as a bunch of communication standards that originate from IEEE 802.16.

The initial design of WiMAX provides a 30 to about 40 Mbps data rate. But today, the typical data range that WiMAX provides is 75 megabits per second.

ZigBee is a very well-known communication protocol that was a project of the Connectivity Standards Alliance. It has surprisingly wide features in the field of sensor networks.

ZigBee’s typical data range is close to 250 Kilobits per second, which is extremely low. Although, its lower cost and power consumption make it superior.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWiMAXZigBee
ApplicationIt is widely in use at metro are for broadband internet.Its wide applications are in sensor networks.
Key attributesThorough network coverage is one of its key attributes.Cost and Power are its key attributes.
Data RangeThe typical data range of WiMAX is 75 Mbps.The typical data range is 250 KBps.
Frequency rangeIts typical range of frequency is 2-11 GHz.Its typical range of frequency is 2.4GHz.
Typical RangeIts typical range is 50 km.Its typical range is 70 to 100 metres.

What is WiMAX?

WiMAX is a convenient and small form of the actual name that is Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. It is a big group of broadband communication that is wireless. Its standards follow IEEE 802.16 standard set.

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This provides a media access control and also a physical layer option. This was first started in early 2000, and a more accurate date can be June 2001.

Its main motive was to promote interoperability and conformity, including system profile definition for commercial vendors.

WiMAX’s initial design could provide 30 to 40 Mbps of data rate. After the update of 2011, it now provides 1 Gigabit per second, which is fantastic. However, this is only for fixed stations.

There are several uses of WiMAX that include providing telecommunication, IPTV services, data, internet connectivity, smart grids and metering, and broadband connectivity that is also portable.

It is capable of providing a complete city or a country with Internet access at home. The best feature about WiMAX is that it has the lowest cost in comparison to any competitor in the market.

It is also economically viable to deploy a WiMAX network. Its typical frequency range is about 2 to 11 GHz, and the typical network range is about 50 km.

What is ZigBee?

Zigbee is one of the high-level communication protocols popularly known for creating personal area networks.

These networks are developed with digital radius at low power that is small in size, like medical data collection and Home automation.

The most astonishing thing about this is that even with such high specifications, it is still less expensive and simple when compared to other networks for WPANs like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Keeping environmental carriers specifications and power outputs in mind, the transmission distance gets limited to 20 to 100 because of low power consumption.

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The standardization of ZigBee was in the year 2003. Its revision was put forward in 2006. The meaning of ZigBee referred to The honey bee waggle dance performed on coming back to the beehive.

A wide application of ZigBee can contribute to embedded sensing, wireless sensor networks, smoke and intruder warning sensors, industrial control systems, and medical data collection. It has a typical frequency range of about 2.4 GHz, which is a service point.

The typical data range, on the other hand, is 250 kbps. It is a vast market in security devices and services too.

Main Differences Between WiMAX and ZigBee

  1. WiMAX is very popular for its use in metro areas, whereas ZigBee is commonly known for its wide application in sensor networks.
  2. The typical range of WiMAX is amazing and can reach up to 50 km. On the other hand, the typical range of ZigBee is about 100 meters.
  3. The data range is an important factor, and WiMAX is better at it with 75 Mbps, whereas ZigBee only reaches about 250 Kbps.
  4. The key attribute of WiMAX is throughout network coverage. On the other hand, the key attribute of ZigBee is a better economy as well as power.
  5. The frequency range of WiMAX is appreciable and can be anywhere between 2 to 11 GHz, depending upon the distance. The typical frequency range of ZigBee is 2.4 GHz.
  1. https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/14/12/24408
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5533866/

Last Updated : 27 July, 2023

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