A Comprehensive Guide to Fixed Wireless Internet

A Comprehensive Guide to Fixed Wireless Internet

About 97% of the land in the USA is rural. Around 60 million people (19.3%) live in these areas. Now that is a massive number of people and a big market to capture. This is the era of communication. The digital medium is the means to do so, the internet is pivotal in this regard.

Rural areas are remote with a scattered population. It is expensive for cable and internet companies to lay down cable wires and fiber optics. Meaning? Fewer connections offered at a very high cost. This results in limited options to choose from and in some cases no options at all. Do not worry this is not the end of the tunnel and there are other ways of being connected to the internet and one of them is fixed wireless internet.

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What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

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This technology delivers wireless broadband internet connection through airwaves. This is a “last mile” technology. It bridges the gap between the mainstream Internet and the end-user at their house.

DSL and cable bridge the gap using wired phones and television connections. Fixed wireless does the same using radio waves from an access point to reception devices at home or work.

  • Technicalities

A fixed consumer position is easy for the fixed wireless connection to focus on. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus light at a particular focal point. This beam is much stronger than the omnidirectional AM/FM broadcast.

  • Misperceptions

Fixed wireless is often confused with other ways of wireless internet connectivity. Here are a few differences in a wireless and a fixed wireless connection.

  1. Not Satellite

The difference is evident. Fixed wireless broadcasts its signals from a terrestrial tower. It is like how mobile networks work. On the other hand, satellite internet transmits data from the earth’s orbit. A “backbone” connects towers to ISPs. This ensures wider coverage but lacks lower latency. In short, fixed wireless internet is like a mobile connection. The tower connects the main network, which to devices at home using radio waves. 

  1. Not Mobile

Mobile networks work like Wi-Fi. It uses towers to broadcast signals. This enables all devices in its range to connect wirelessly. Fixed wireless internet is like a wire. It connects focused devices only through radio waves. These radio waves only connect to a dedicated device.

  1. Not Wi-Fi

Fixed wireless delivers a point-to-point line of connection. This requires a line of sight connection between the point of access and the connecting device. So, Wi-Fi can pass through walls and other minor barriers. Wi-Fi connection is open to connecting with other devices. Fixed wireless connects to a specific device.

  • Options
  1. Point-to-Point

This connection works like a bridge joining one end to another. This connection uses access points on a tower “backbone” or any two buildings that need to share a network. This is like connecting two stations, only without using a wire.

  1. Point-to-Multipoint

Point-to-multipoint fixed wireless internet connects many locations to a single access point. This bridges the gap between a tower and a customer residence or workplace. This may sound like a Wi-Fi connection, but it is not. Point-to-multipoint connects to a specific number of devices. Configuration on these devices allows them to receive emitting signals from the tower. 

  • Speeds

Directional connections use lower radio frequencies to match cable and DSL. Broadcast uses a higher-frequency microwave and EHF (Extremely high frequency). This helps stabilize and strengthen signals. Proper implementation can help achieve gigabit speeds matching optic fiber. You might not be able to enjoy super-fast internet as offered in CenturyLink internet deals, but still, you will adore the speeds that fixed wireless internet has to offer.

  • Benefits

Cable companies and other ISPs do not cover most of the area. Fixed wireless internet does not need its provider to invest in cables and wires. This makes it easier to extend this service to less populated areas. 

  1. Large Coverage Area

Cable companies and other ISPs do not cover most of the area. Fixed wireless internet does not need its provider to invest in cables and wires. This makes it easier to extend this service to less populated areas.

  1. Low Latency

The Internet is a means of sending and receiving data. Giving a command in a game is you sending signals using the internet. The reaction to this command is the data you receive. This sending of a command and receiving response takes a fraction of a second. This process of sending and receiving data is latency. The less time it takes for it to complete, the lower the latency. Other than large coverage areas, fixed wireless broadband also has low latency. This enables a smooth gaming experience and lag-free video conferencing.

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  • Drawbacks
  1. Line of Sight

Most implementations need the antenna at consumer’s premises. While the ground station of the provider must have a direct line of sight. The tower and the receiving device should have no interruptions between them. 

  1. Cost

The fixed wireless internet is convenient to get. It gives good speeds but the cost of these speeds is higher. 10 Mbps on a normal internet connection costs around $40 a month. The same speeds on fixed wireless internet come at $60 a month. 

  1. Rain Fade

The data exchange happens through radio waves. Distortions in the way can cause slow speeds. Storms and bad weather conditions affect wireless communication services. Fixed wireless internet is the same. Severe storms can affect uploading and downloading speeds.

  1. Range Shortage

Fixed wireless technology uses radio waves to send data. These frequencies need government licensing and approval. Each frequency can only carry so much data and can handle a limited number of connections in an area. This means limited frequencies to more users. This affects internet speeds and internet experience.

That is all you we have about fixed wireless internet for now. Stay tuned for more interesting updates.

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