Fixed wireless is the base concept for the metropolitan area networking (MAN), given in the 802.16 standard. In fixed wireless, a backbone of base stations is connected to a public network.
Each of these base stations supports many fixed subscriber stations, either public WiFi hot spots or fire walled enterprise networks. These base stations use the media access control (MAC) layer, and allocate uplink and downlink bandwidth to subscribers as per their individual needs. This is basically on a real-time need basis.
The subscriber stations might also be mounted on rooftops of the users. The MAC layer is a common interface that makes the networks interoperable. In the future, one can look forward to 802.11 hotspots, hosted by 802.16 MANs. These would serve as wireless local area networks (LANs) and would serve the end users directly too.
WiMax supporters are focusing on the broadband ~Slast mile~T in unwired areas, and on back-haul for WiFi hotspots. WiMax is expected to support mobile wireless technology too, wireless transmissions directly to mobile end users.
WiMax changes the last mile problem for broadband in the same way as WiFi has changed the last one hundred feet of networking.
WiMAX has a range of up to 31 miles, which can be used to provide both campus-level network connectivity and a wireless last-mile approach that can bring high-speed networking and Internet service directly to customers. This is especially useful in those areas that were not served by cable or DSL or in areas where the local telephone company may need a long time to deploy broadband service.