WiMAX = Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access
from the Wikipedia article
"WiMAX is an acronym that stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, a certification mark for products that pass conformity and interoperability tests for the IEEE 802.16 standards. WiMAX is a standards-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMAX can be used for a number of applications, including "last mile" broadband connections, hotspots and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for business.
Products that pass the conformity tests for WiMAX are capable of forming wireless connections between them to permit the carrying of internet packet data. It is similar to WiFi in concept, but has certain improvements that are aimed at improving performance and should permit usage over much greater distances."
Importance of WiMAX
From a commentary in the Smart Mobs blog at
"WiMAX is a technology that may eventually make cable, DSL, and conventional phone systems obsolete. True, there is a lot of hype around WiMAX. Yet, there is a definite arc in progression of technological evolution in Wireless networking that appears to be taking us from WiFi WLANs (IEEE 802.11x) , to emerging MAN (Metropolitan Area Networks WiMAX IEEE 802.16)s, to a worldwide "GAN" (Global Area Network IEEE 802.20). The nature of ubiquitous wireless broadband networks (like WiMAX technology) may help defeat the digital access feudalism proposed by the telcos, (and their attacts on Network Neutrality.)
We are currently seeing the building momentum of more and more installations of citywide WiFi and WiMAX services across the US, and in other countries. We are also seeing more and more competitors, as compared to the relative duopoly in many areas of the US, of Cable and telco DSL broadband. Intel gave a boost to WiMAX by announcing that they will work with the wireless industry to "drive deployment of WiMAX networks." (http://www.smartmobs.com/archive/2006/03/07/internetsatura.html)