What is Fixed Wireless? Fixed wireless is a high-speed internet connection that relies on radio signals instead of cables. This type of connection can provide speeds of in excess of 1Gbps.
Fixed wireless was generally considered as a preferred choice over satellite and fibre internet in areas where wired solutions were prohibitively expensive to obtain.
However, recent technological improvements are making fixed wireless a powerful alternative in any setting, though there are certain limitations that still make this type of connection hard to access.
What is Fixed Wireless
The service most people are familiar with is cable and fibre internet, which involves a physical cable coming into your office. Data signals are carried over the line, which can be copper wire for DSL, a coaxial line for normal cable, or optical fiber cable made from glass or plastic.
The line is connected to a node, which then connects to the internet. In your office, the line connects to a modem/router, which then can be connected to your computer and/or mobile devices via a wireless signal.
Fixed wireless operates on the same principle except that instead of using physical cables to connect the node to your office, this type of connection relies on microwave signals. Thus, your office will require a receiver/transmitter that looks something like a satellite dish that has been flattened. The dish is pointed at the node, which is usually mounted on a tower.
Though satellite internet also requires a dish, the difference is that fixed wireless communicates only with ground stations instead of communicating with systems in space.
The Advantages of Fixed Wireless
Fixed wireless provides a wide range of advantages, including internet access in remote areas, very low latency, imperviousness to weather conditions, and lack of data cap.
Internet Access in Remote Areas
First of all, it allows businesses in even the most remote areas to access the internet. Most internet providers eschew remote areas or even small towns because it doesn’t make financial sense to lay down a cable infrastructure for only a few customers.
This means that many customers either can’t access the internet or they can only do so via satellite connection.
Weather and Latency Aren’t an Issue
Fixed wireless is preferable to satellite internet because it isn’t affected by the weather and the latency is much better.
With satellite internet, the signal has to travel up through the atmosphere and then back down through it in another area, which makes weather a very significant issue.
Conversely, with fixed wireless, the signal doesn’t have to go through the atmosphere. In fact, towers are generally the same height as mobile phone towers, which are low enough for the weather not to pose any interference.
In terms of latency, fixed wireless base stations are much closer to your office than a satellite in space, which cuts down on latency significantly. In fact, fixed wireless latency is very similar to a cable or DSL connection, with users being able to use VoIP and video conferencing services with absolutely no issue.
No Data Cap
Another advantage is the lack of a data cap, which satellite or mobile phone internet connections enforce.
Generally, the data cap with a satellite internet connection is between 5 and 20GB per month. Once you exceed the cap, they provider strangles your connection speed until it’s as slow as a dial-up connection. This is definitely not practical for a business that requires reliable access to the internet to do business.
At first glance, you might consider 20GB more than enough, but the reality is that it’s easier to use up than you realize. Two or three computers in your office and a few large files, and you’re done.
However, with fixed wireless this isn’t a problem as providers generally don’t enforce data caps. Thus, you can download and upload large files, use VoIP phone systems ad internet-based apps, conduct video conferencing and much more without having to worry about your internet slowing down to a crawl when you exceed the cap.
Pricing and Contract Duration
In the majority of situations, a fixed wireless connection will cost you less than a satellite connection in terms of monthly fees as well as installation costs. Furthermore, you won’t be tied to a long-term contract, which is what satellite internet providers usually require.
Why Fixed Wireless Is A More Efficient Option?
Like any service, fixed wireless connections have their share of disadvantages. For example, a fixed wireless connection will often feature a speed lower than a wired connection. Luckily, though, the difference isn’t always significant. In fact, some of the connections can reach speeds of 1 Gbps.
If compared to a wired connection, fixed wireless connections can be slightly more expensive, especially when taking account the speed they offer.
However, if you are stuck in an area where your only options are fixed wireless or satellite, then you are definitely better off going with a fixed wireless connection.
Furthermore, tech advances are slowly closing the gap and making fixed wireless a great options for other areas too.
When compared to a satellite connection, fixed wireless connections are much more reliable and cost-effective, making them a much more efficient option for a business in a remote area.