LTE vs WiMAX: Battle of the Networks

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2013)

WiFi - WiMAX vs. LTEOther than knowing what differentiates 3G and 4G in the wireless data world, choosing the network provider should be done after some careful analysis. Most carriers in the United States just have WiMAX; however, there are some networks that are upgrading from WiMAX to LTE.

For starters, the term “4G’ does not reveal much details; it is a much broader field. Both WiMAX and LTE are part of the 4G technology, with WiMAX being the first technology from the world of 4G. Though WiMAX has its roots from Wi-Fi, it does has some similarities with LTE, another mobile network technology standard.

A Bit of History

WiMAX started its journey by offering broadband connections to users at home. In most parts of America, wireless ISPs still use WiMAX to deliver broadband services. With WiMAX, the need to route expensive cables to every household is negated, thereby making it a fairly cost-efficient option.

LTE is another network technology that is being offered by the same people who gave GSM and who have promised much better speeds and compatibility with mobile devices. The LTE technology got its approval in December 2008, with MetroPCS being the first network to offer LTE services in America in October 2010.

Performance

As far as speed delivery is concerned, WiMAX can offer speeds in the range of 30-40Mbps, whereas LTE can offer network speeds close to 100Mbps. However, these numbers are only for the papers and they are not even close to offering such remarkable speeds in the real sense. This is due to the fact that a network’s speed depends more on its build, rather than just its specifications.

In most speed tests, LTE always tends to outperform WiMAX with its speed. In reality, WiMAX caps at an average of 3Mbps, whereas LTE clocks in at 10Mbps, making it as quick as most of the home broadband networks. However, the network speed also depends on the network provider. For instance, LTE speed offered by MetroPCS may not necessarily reflect Verizon or other network provider’s LTE speed numbers.

Coverage

LTE seems to defeat WiMAX in the coverage department as well, with most network providers expecting better network coverages with LTE, when compared to WiMAX. The WiMAX system is good at supporting multiple users simultaneously; however, it fails to make its impact felt with wall penetration and increased distance. This being said, LTE does not have an unfair advantage and it uses the same network towers that are being used by WiMAX.

Phone Options

WiMAX has several options for smartphones; however, most of them are already in the market and there is nothing new erupting from the WiMAX stable, as far as phones are concerned. LTE has quite an impressive list of phones and other portable devices to be released in the future by different network carriers.

Choosing Between the Two?

To be honest, it is a very subjective question, with preferences differing across individuals. If the user is happy with his WiMAX phone and does not plan to buy a new one in the next few years, then WiMAX should probably suffice. However, for users with a more futuristic perspective, LTE should be the way to go! ┬áIf you’ve got a device that you’d like to get fixed so it can be used for either of these networks, get in touch with iFixYouri so you can bring faster mobile capabilities to your smartphone.