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5G Fixed Wireless Internet and Satellite Internet

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(Jungfrau, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

 

Fixed Wireless

 

- The Advantages of Fixed Wireless

Fixed wireless is the operation of wireless communication devices or systems used to connect two fixed locations (e.g., building to building or tower to building) with a radio or other wireless link, such as laser bridge. Usually, fixed wireless is part of a wireless LAN infrastructure. The purpose of a fixed wireless link is to enable data communications between the two sites or buildings. Fixed wireless data (FWD) links are often a cost-effective alternative to leasing fiber or installing cables between the buildings.

The point-to-point signal transmissions occur through the air over a terrestrial microwave platform rather than through copper or optical fiber; therefore, fixed wireless does not require satellite feeds or local telephone service. The advantages of fixed wireless include the ability to connect with users in remote areas without the need for laying new cables and the capacity for broad bandwidth that is not impeded by fiber or cable capacities. Fixed wireless devices usually derive their electrical power from the public utility mains, unlike mobile wireless or portable wireless devices which tend to be battery powered.

 

- Fixed Wireless Service

Fixed wireless service is a comparatively new technology that operates commonly on radio transmission to connect established, wired communications systems. Point-to-point microwave transmissions are also under the umbrella of fixed wireless, and are used to bypass many of the obstacles terrestrial Internet connections have.


- Antennas

Fixed wireless services typically use a directional radio antenna on each end of the signal (e.g., on each building). These antennas are generally larger than those seen in Wi-Fi setups and are designed for outdoor use. Several types of radio antennas are available that accommodate various weather conditions, signal distances and bandwidths. They are usually selected to make the beam as narrow as possible and thus focus transmit power to their destination, increasing reliability and reducing the chance of eavesdropping or data injection. The links are usually arranged as a point-to-point setup to permit the use of these antennas. This also permits the link to have better speed and or better reach for the same amount of power.

These antennas are typically designed to be used in the unlicensed ISM band radio frequency bands (900 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), however, in most commercial installations, licensed frequencies may be used to ensure quality of service (QoS) or to provide higher connection speeds.

 

- Fixed Wireless Broadband

With the growing infrastructure of wireless networks, and improving speed and reliability, fixed wireless has also become a viable solution for broadband access. Businesses and homes can use fixed-wireless antenna technology to access broadband Internet and Layer 2 networks using fixed wireless broadband. Networks which have redundancy and saturation and antennas that can aggregate signal from multiple carriers are able to offer fail-over and redundancy for connectivity not generally afforded by wired connections. In rural areas where wired infrastructure is not yet available, fixed-wireless broadband can be a viable option for Internet access.

 

Fixed Wireless Internet

 

More than 1 billion homes worldwide still find themselves without a regular broadband connection. Fixed Wireless Access, or FWA, is an established means of providing Internet access to homes using wireless mobile network technology rather than fixed lines. For example, current A&T Fixed Wireless Internet delivers high-speed Internet service to eligible rural households and small businesses via an outdoor antenna and indoor Wi-Fi Gateway router.

Fixed wireless Internet is different from more common connections like DSL and fiber. Instead of using a cable, it brings the Internet signal to your home via radio waves transmitted by a base station. When you opt for fixed wireless Internet, your provider will install a receiver on your house. It will communicate with the nearest wireless base station and offer you access to the web via a cable carrying the broadband signal from the receiver to the router in your house. Fixed wireless Internet is mainly used in rural areas where setting up the infrastructure for broadband services like DSL is prohibitively expensive. Transporting and burying cables in the ground and getting the necessary permits can be expensive. So it doesn’t make financial sense for service providers to go down this road in less populated areas, where they can’t get enough subscribers on board to justify the total costs. 

The problem with fixed wireless Internet is that the connection isn’t always stable. Rain, fog, and other weather conditions can affect its strength. There also has to be a line of sight between the receiver on your house and the wireless base station. Obstructions such as trees and hills can affect the quality of the service and can even prevent it from being set up.

With the growing infrastructure of wireless networks, and improving speed and reliability, fixed wireless has also become a viable solution for broadband access. Businesses and homes can use fixed-wireless antenna technology to access broadband Internet and Layer 2 networks using fixed wireless broadband. Networks which have redundancy and saturation and antennas that can aggregate signal from multiple carriers are able to offer fail-over and redundancy for connectivity not generally afforded by wired connections. In rural areas where wired infrastructure is not yet available, fixed-wireless broadband can be a viable option for Internet access.[2]

 

- 5G Fixed Wireless Access

 

"While FWA can often prove more convenient to set up, its key weakness compared to fixed line broadband is performance. Current mobile network technology simply isn’t able to provide download speeds or latency levels that can compete with a modern fibre broadband connection. However, the next stage of FWA will utilise 5G network technology, such as beam-forming and a high-frequency mmWave (millimeter wave) spectrum, to provide a considerable performance boost to wireless broadband services.

5G FWA retains the key benefit of current FWA offerings in that it enables the establishment of a quick and cheap broadband service, even in areas that don’t have ready access to fixed line home broadband. 5G FWA doesn’t require any engineering works at the customer end - just the provision of so-called Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs), which can be readily self-installed by the subscriber. 

The chief advantage here, however, is performance. 5G Fixed Wireless Access will be able to deliver a level of service that’s similar to a fibre-based broadband network, and should even be able to provide data speeds that are well ahead of current broadband standards. Initial 5G trials reported download speeds of 10 to 25Gbps, while the current average UK home broadband speed is around 30Mbps. While so-called ‘gigabit-speed’ home broadband services are incoming, 5G FWA could prove to be a match in many instances.

5G FWA will support future mobile usage, and will operate to the same standards as forthcoming 5G mobile networks. This presents mobile operators with the opportunity to use 5G FWA as a means to prepare their networks for full-scale 5G network deployments. In other words, 5G FWA can be used as a stepping stone to full 5G mobility. It could potentially contribute to a much smoother and quicker transition from 4G to 5G for mobile users. Conversely, of course, future 5G FWA services will be able to make use of 5G network technology as it spreads around the country." -- [5G.Co.UK]

 

Satellite Internet

 

Satellite Internet is another option for those living in areas where fixed broadband services are not available. Although it also requires a dish and provides you with high-speed Internet access without using a phone or cable line, satellite is different from fixed wireless in many ways.

Weather conditions affect satellite Internet more than they do fixed wireless. The signal has to travel through the entire atmosphere and back. That means a storm can cause problems. A base station used for fixed wireless internet is about as tall as an average cell phone tower. It’s usually located within 10 miles of your house, so the clouds above it and the storm that’s miles away won’t interfere with the signal it’s transmitting. In addition. Because the satellite is positioned much farther from the receiver on your house than the wireless base station, satellite Internet suffers from high latency. This can make even a high-speed connection sluggish and has a big impact on things like online gaming and streaming video.

 
 
 

 

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