Line of Sight for Fixed Wireless Internet
If you live in a rural area, one type of internet service you may want to look into is Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). Fixed wireless, however, sometimes requires a Line of Sight internet connection to your home. Here’s what that means.
What is Fixed Wireless Access?
Fixed Wireless Access involves an internet service tower sending a radio signal to a receiver, requiring no underground cables or cords. When microwave radio waves travel without interruption, FWA can be fast and reliable, especially for those living in rural areas.
Benefits of Fixed Wireless Service
Quick to install
A house can receive an FWA connection in under 24 hours. However, other internet services can take weeks or months to install, depending on the situation. For rural communities, it is a comparatively more straightforward setup.
You can maintain a consistent internet speed if there is a clear line between your receiver and the tower. Many who have FWA can stream high-quality movies and easily play online games.
Very Low Latency
The wireless microwave signals can travel 189,000 miles a second, making it excellent for those wanting a high-speed internet connection. With gaming, latency can make the difference between a playable and an unplayable online game, so having very low latency is what you need.
An FWA connection usually has no data caps, and the providers tend to be locally-owned businesses instead of large corporations. However, with other connection types, you have to deal with data caps that can lead to unnecessary fees if you go over them.
Drawbacks of Fixed Wireless Access
You May Need No Obstructions
An FWA connection can be an excellent solution for those living on flat, rural land. However, if you live on uneven terrain or have trees or buildings blocking your home, this can lead to slower connections, so line of sight is optimal and may be the only way some signals can reach your home.
You Must Be Close to the Tower
Since it is a wireless internet connection, the further you are from the tower, the less reliable your connection is. Usually, the best connection is if you live in a place that’s a direct line to the tower within a 10-mile range. If you’re further, it can lead to less reliable connections. Think of how radio waves work and how spotty a radio station can be if you’re far from the tower. It’s the same principle.
What Line of Sight Internet is Not
Some people confuse FWAt for three similar connection types. So let’s clear the air.
Satellite Internet uses a connection from a satellite in space. While it is slower than FWA, it does benefit from being available in more places.
A mobile hotspot creates a wireless internet connection through their mobile device. While both have a connection from a tower, a mobile hotspot tends to be less reliable due to changing installation conditions and oversubscription. You also are stuck with their single device rather than the ability to install a mesh Wi-Fi system to cover your home entirely.
Wi-Fi is a connection from a router, requiring a broadband connection from your service provider, whether Satellite, DSL, Fiber, Cable, or FWA. All our customers will use a Wi-Fi router to distribute the signal within their house, so Wi-Fi is different from broadband.
Fixed Wireless Access Statistics
If you’re curious about how much an FWA internet connection costs, here are some statistics we’ve gathered.
Depending on the quality of the connection and the provider (sometimes referred to as a WISP -Wireless Internet Service Provider), the download speed can be anywhere from 5 MBPS to 1GB.
Depending on the WISP, you can pay anywhere from $10-$300 monthly.
FWA covers around 46% of the US. Check your local WISPS to see if it’s available in your area.
Most FWA providers allow for data limits between 5GB to unlimited. Once again, this can vary depending on what your local WISP can offer.
Fixed Wireless internet is giving people in rural areas a straight line to a reliable connection. If you live in a location with unreliable internet, contact us, and we can provide faster internet solutions to your site.
Written By Brittany Bowlin, Director of Marketing
Brittany Bowlin is the Director of Marketing at Broadlinc internet services. Her responsibilities include leading the company’s marketing efforts, overseeing and growing the marketing department, consistently identifying revenue opportunities within our established client base and managing consistent growth by securing new accounts, collaborating with the leadership team to uncover insights and strategies to develop and implement marketing and branding strategies for new and existing products, and spearheading the strategic and tactical execution of marketing campaigns, including design of test/control segmentation, implementation of tests, tracking, results reporting, analysis, and recommendations. You can find her on the weekends enjoying the outdoors of Colorado with her fiancé, Logan Derderian.