These are two totally different wireless networking standards that only share their first two letters to begin with. WiMax is still in the research and Development phase with many major chip makers such as Intel, Samsung, Motorola and others doing their respective work. WiFi, on the other hand has already been in implementation for quite some time and is used in short range data transmission between computers. WiMax has a longer range with a theoretical projected effective range of up to 50 kilometers but real-world implementation of test sites have the distance to around 20-25 for the best transmission rates. WiFi works more in the hundreds of meter’s range and WiMax as an implementation can be used to tie existing WiFi hotspots together making giving them more coverage thus more effective.
WiMax begins with a dedicated card that is connects to the host with several of them competing for the host’s “attention” which as the WiFi network addressed has a trade-off between the bandwidth and distance which lowered the effective range to around a realistic 20 to 25 kilometers. WiMax also suffers from a deficiency in the sense that the antenna used is directional and operates mostly on a line-of-sight topology making it highly unacceptable for city implementation. A difference of a few blocks can be all the difference from a connection to a bust in the best transmission speeds for a particular area. WiMax can be used as said to connect local WiFi Hotspots together having a higher bandwidth than WiFi thus having a distinct and totally different area of application. We will be sure to hear from the said transmission technology in the near future as companies and chip manufacturers develop and refine the said standard for the future wired world.