An Overview of Fixed Wireless
Fixed Wireless is an oxymoron in Need of Explaining
On the surface, ‘fixed wireless’ seems like a contradiction in terms akin to ‘jumbo shrimp’ and other amusing oxymorons that pair opposites. Perhaps this explains the buzz around the service that has businesses seeking it out without fully understanding it.
In this blog post, we cut through the hype, clear some confusion, and reveal where fixed wireless is short, providing alternatives you might be better off considering.
Fixed Wireless 101
Simply put, fixed wireless uses radio frequencies (“spectrum”) to transmit data between a wireless base station (usually connected by fiber) and equipment located at the home or business of the recipient. The signal is sent from the wireless base station to antennae on a business premise.
For this reason, fixed wireless is primarily used in rural areas where it can be difficult and expensive to lay cables over long distances. It’s also used in urban areas where there may be limitations on the availability of wired broadband networks.
Advocates for fixed wireless site this versatility as a primary benefit of the service. But as you’ll see, there’s more to it than this.
Challenges of Fixed Wireless
Unlike conventional cable options, fixed wireless has some unique drawbacks that may present challenges for business internet users:
Limited range: It requires a clear line of sight between the wireless base station and the customer's antenna, which can be challenging in areas with obstructed views or topography.
Signal within the premise – Because this technology has just one physical access point per customer and doesn’t support roaming, many businesses will need to install repeaters to get signals in all parts of the business that may not have a direct line of site.
Hidden Costs: Fixed wireless internet can be complicated to install and requires specialized equipment such as antennas and modems. For these reasons, it’s typically more expensive than conventional option.
Inclement Weather: It can be affected by weather conditions, such as rain, fog, and high winds, which can cause signal degradation and service outages.
Fixed Wireless Is Not 5G
Perhaps because they both use radio waves, fixed wireless and 5G are often mistaken as the same. They’re not, and we outline the differences here.
5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile network technology, which provides faster data transfer speeds, lower latency, and the ability to connect more devices at the same time. It’s primarily designed for mobile devices, but it can also be used for home internet connections. 5G networks use radio waves to transmit data wirelessly between devices and base stations.
On the other hand, Fixed wireless uses wireless signals to connect a fixed location to the internet. Unlike 5G, which is mobile technology, fixed wireless is a stationary technology that connects a fixed location to the internet using a wireless antenna.
While both 5G and fixed wireless use wireless signals to provide internet connectivity, they differ in their primary use cases and deployment methods. 5G is essentially a mobile technology and fixed wireless, as the name implies, is fixed.
Alternatives to Fixed Wireless
Although fixed wireless can be positioned as a primary solution for businesses, Cable and Fiber Internet (along with DSL) remain proven options in rural and underserved communities:
Cable internet uses the same coaxial cables that deliver cable TV services to homes and businesses. It offers faster speeds than DSL and is widely available in urban and suburban areas.
Fiber Optic Internet
Fiber optic internet is a type of broadband internet that uses fiber-optic cables to transmit data. It offers faster speeds than cable or DSL and is becoming more widely available in urban and suburban areas.
Sparklight Business Internet
Sparklight continues to expand its offerings to rural and less-served communities, offering a wide variety of high speed internet options that are tailor-made for business. Moreover, we have the expertise and resources to ensure you get the solution that best fits your business needs.
Whether you’re small and rural, large and urban, or somewhere in between, we can help. Let Sparklight assist as you consider the many options available to you. Contact us today to get started.