Difference Between WiMAX and ZigBee (With Table)

Telecommunication is advancing every day in 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.

WiMAX vs ZigBee

The main difference between WiMAX and ZigBee is that WiMAX is widely brought into use in the area of sensory networks. On the other hand, ZigBee is more popular in the domain of broadband internet connectivity for metro areas. These two also differ on a lot more factors like frequency, range, and data range.

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 Connectivity Standards Alliance. It has surprisingly wide features in the field of sensor networks. The typical data range that ZigBee provides is close to 250 Kilobits per second which is extremely low. Although, its lower cost and power consumption make it superior.

Comparison Table Between WiMAX and ZigBee

Parameters of Comparison




It is widely in use at metro are for broadband internet.

Its wide applications are in sensor networks.

Key attributes

Thorough network coverage is one of its key attributes.

Cost and Power are its key attributes.

Data Range

The typical data range of WiMAX is 75 Mbps.

The typical data range is 250 KBps.

Frequency range

Its typical range of frequency is 2-11 GHz.

Its typical range of frequency is 2.4GHz.

Typical Range

Its 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. 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 the June of 2001. Its main motive was to promote interoperability and conformity that includes system profile definition for commercial vendors. The initial design of WiMAX was capable of providing 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, 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 protocols for communication that is popularly known for creating personal area networks. The development of these networks is done 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 carries specifications and power outputs in mind, the transmission distance gets limited to 20 to 100 because of low power consumption.

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 the 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.


WiMAX and ZigBee are amazing services that help people in several domains of work. They are quite different from each other. This difference in characteristics makes them suitable for different fields of work and tasks. The biggest difference between WiMAX and ZigBee can be seen in their data range.

On the one hand, the typical data range of WiMAX is close to 75 Megabits per second. On the other hand, the typical data range of ZigBee is just about 250 Kbps. These also differ in the range of networks. It is 50 kilometres in the case of WiMAX and is just about 70 to 100 meters in the case of ZigBee. There are still many advancements ahead in the field of wireless telecommunication. However, the development of WiMAX and ZigBee is an amazing way to the high-tech future.


  1. https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/14/12/24408
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5533866/