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What is Fixed Wireless Access and What it Means for the Future

To understand the implications of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), let’s take a moment to reflect how we arrived here. The internet has been around since the early 1980’s and has been transformative in terms of providing easy access and a wealth of information at our fingertips. Some consider it to be perhaps one of the most important technological events of our time.

Remember Dial up Internet?                                                                                                                                                  But the crawling speeds of dial-up internet back in the day presented challenges and much frustration with downloading large files, basically anything other than text. The solution to these slow speeds was broadband internet which arrived in the early 2000’s and allowed the signal to be split between telephone traffic and data.

All of the sudden, people were able to download much more than text, they could download songs, TV shows and media rich experiences for the first time! Broadband internet technology improved and with the emergence of 4G, platforms like YouTube were born to quench our appetites for media consumption and video.

5G + FWA                                                                                                                                                                                  Now fast forward many years, with the new rollout of 5G technology, we are in a new landscape and pivotal moment with lightning fast speeds with the very essence of delivery of broadband internet as a viable choice or option for businesses and consumers. And so now for the first time, 5G is allowing wireless technology to intersect with the demands of fixed line services to bring ultra-high speed broadband internet to suburban and rural areas, where deploying fiber may have not been an option or too was cost prohibitive.

Fixed Wireless Access is not new, it has been around for some time, however the delivery of wireless internet over 5G has created a momentum for this service to transform how we communicate. Also the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for ultra-high speed broadband exposed the connectivity infrastructure for a new way of thinking about the internet and how we access it.

No Cables Required                                                                                                                                                                Fixed Wireless Access means no cables are required. So if no cables are required where is the “fixed” part? The internet signals are delivered via radio signals from a base station (and base towers that are typically a few miles away) to a fixed point or antennae on a house, a business, outdoor areas, etc.

The FWA technology provides low latency and now with 5G FWA the speeds of 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps and more, 5G FWA is comparable to wired internet speeds. Verizon, with the addition of their C-Band for 5G to the mix, will enable customers to ramp up to even faster speeds and many are touting FWA as the “next generation of broadband.” Verizon has set a goal to offer service to over 50 million homes by 2025.

AT&T had cited several years ago as having Fixed Wireless Access as one of its three pillars of approach for 5G for business along with mobile and edge computing. AT&T began rolling out 5G FWA in early 2021 and to date, has signed up more than 500,000 Fixed Wireless Access subscriptions.

Is Fixed Wireless the Same as WiFi?                                                                                                                                  WiFi and Fixed Wireless Access are two separate technologies. WiFi uses technology to transmit data from your router to the devices in your home like your laptop, mobile phone, TV, etc… WiFi uses your internet service from an ISP to connect your devices to the internet.

Fixed Wireless Access uses radio signals to deliver the internet from a fixed point that is miles away from your location and is received via an antenna at your location. You can have FWA and WiFi working together in a location to deliver connectivity to your home or business.

The Future Alternative to Wired Broadband                                                                                                          Businesses and consumers alike will benefit from this innovative way to receive broadband internet through 5G Fixed Wireless Access as new demands arise with our “internet of everything” mentality. 5G has become the critical technology game changer and when married with the proven advantages of Fixed Wireless Access will provide many advantages to traditional broadband internet access.

  • Lower cost compared to fiber– especially for more rural areas
  • Simple self-installation methods– businesses alike can easily “turn on” internet and have it up                                    and running quickly
  • Network optimization and efficiency- low latency or lag time which makes FWA good for video                                  conferencing platforms

OVATION can help!                                                                                                                                                        OVATION has over 20 years of experience helping enterprises and SMB’s solve for pain points, enhance technology and productivity, and plan for the future.  A “no cost” consultation is the cornerstone of our consultative approach to address the specific needs of each client.

Contact OVATION today to obtain a mobility assessment and discuss how they can help your business plan for the future.