Fixed wireless has been proving its mettle recently and making a substantial impact on the market.
It has come into its own as an affordable means of delivering consistent broadband services to homes and businesses underserved by fixed-line networks. Now, as coverage continues to expand and 4G technology evolves to higher standards with the emergence of 5G, new markets and service categories are set to open up.
The added benefits of 5G
The progress of 5G is being discussed almost daily in the media with reports on trials, products and launch plans, and is adding to the hype. The excitement is not unfounded. That’s because the benefits of 4G, which has endeared it to so many businesses and consumers, are simply augmented with 5G.
A principal reason for the popularity of 4G has been the speed and affordability of deployment. This is because it avoids the need for expensive, fixed-line installations which require trenching and the associated inconvenience. S, with the performance that 5G promises – it’s capable of outperforming VDSL networks in urban areas – it’s clear that fixed wireless has the potential to become the new standard for broadband.
The unique challenges of rolling out fibre in rural areas – where the terrain poses countless hurdles – is often overlooked, yet it has an enormous impact on the cost of the service. Fixed wireless offers a new and growing range of deployment models. Line-of-sight is becoming less of a requirement with newer, fixed wireless services employing improved beamforming and beam steering technologies that allow for “near line-of-sight” or “non-line-of-sight” deployment. For example, areas surrounded by dense vegetation can now be served with negligible hindrance. In addition, problems caused by surrounding wireless signals have been addressed through enhanced interference cancellation technology.
Recently, the US Federal Communications Commission announced that it would allow the use of several new spectrums for fixed wireless applications in licensed, shared and unlicensed categories. The South African government is expected to make a similar announcement soon, but the question of exactly how to go about it is proving to be contentious. The move will allow service providers to offer fixed wireless for different applications and enable rural areas to use unlicensed and shared spectrums, whereas dense urban areas are required to use licensed spectrum to avoid interference.
Fixed wireless already has a crucial role to play in the connectivity landscape as part of a mix of technologies that connect a continent. It is increasingly bringing high-speed broadband to areas that could never benefit from it before, driving business growth and creating new opportunities outside major metropolitan areas.
And, especially as 5G becomes a reality, fixed wireless will neatly complement fibre by bridging the last mile to homes and businesses with agile, high-speed connections that are especially quick and affordable to deploy. As a result, opportunities for people offering wholesale connectivity solutions will continue to flourish, so why not become an LTE-A reseller?
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