Pros and Cons of Fixed Wireless Broadband Internet Access
The further you live from a town or city, the fewer your home internet options. Even if your speeds aren’t as fast, you’ll probably have to spend a little more. Fixed wireless internet, one of your options, operates in a slightly different manner than DSL or fiber. Instead of a cable, it uses a base station to transmit data over radio waves. We will discuss the good and bad about fixed wireless internet in this article.
What is the operation of fixed wireless internet?
If you choose fixed wireless internet, your service provider will install a receiver in your home. It will communicate with the nearest wireless base station and provide you with web access via a cable carrying the broadband signal from the receiver to your home router.
Fixed wireless internet is a popular option in rural areas where installing broadband infrastructure such as DSL is prohibitively expensive. Transporting and burying cables in the ground, as well as obtaining the necessary permits, can be expensive. So it makes no financial sense for service providers to go down this road in less populated areas where they won’t be able to attract enough subscribers to justify the total costs.
Pros and cons of fixed wireless internet
- Fixed wireless internet, like everything else in life, has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with the advantages.
- Because fixed wireless internet does not require physical cables or much hassle, it is easier to set up the necessary equipment than other broadband services.
- Fixed wireless internet, in contrast to traditional cellular services, typically has either very high caps (100GB or more) or no caps at all. Furthermore, the technology provides high download speeds that are as fast, if not faster, than those provided by other broadband services.
Signing up for fixed wireless internet does not require a phone plan. You can sign up for an AT&T plan, but it operates independently of your mobile service.
Of course, there are some drawbacks:
- The issue with fixed wireless internet is that it is not always stable. Its strength can be affected by rain, fog, and other weather conditions.
- You’ll also need a clear line of sight between your house’s receiver and the wireless base station. Obstacles such as trees and hills can degrade the quality of the service and even eliminate it as an option.
- Then there’s the issue of cost: fixed wireless internet is typically more expensive than other types of broadband.
Fixed wireless vs satellite internet
For those who live in areas where fixed broadband services are unavailable, satellite internet is another option. Satellite internet differs from fixed wireless in many ways, despite the fact that it also requires a dish and provides high-speed internet access without the use of a phone or cable line.
Weather conditions have a greater impact on satellite internet than they do on fixed wireless. The signal must traverse the entire atmosphere and return. This means that a storm in the next state could cause issues. A base station is roughly the same height as a typical cell phone tower. It’s usually within 10 miles of your house, so the clouds above it and the storm miles away don’t interfere with the signal it’s sending.
And don’t forget about lag. Satellite internet has a high latency because the satellite is much farther away from the receiver on your house than the wireless base station. Lag can make even high-speed connections sluggish, affecting things like online gaming and video streaming.
Satellite internet providers also enforce data caps. However, thanks to everyone’s favorite genius billionaire, Elon Musk, satellite internet is undergoing a bit of an evolution. For the past few years, his Starlink project has been launching a constellation of satellites into low orbit, promising internet access from anywhere on the planet. SpaceX has launched approximately 1,400 satellites from its 12,000-point constellation so far. Beta testing is gradually becoming available, so we’ll have to wait and see how this affects the future of internet service.
What is the cost of fixed wireless internet?
Now comes the all-important question: how much will this cost you? It all depends. Some of the cheapest carriers only cover a portion of the country, while top names like AT&T are among the most expensive. With Starry Internet, you can get up to 200Mbps speeds for a flat rate of $50 per month. Starry currently only covers a few major cities, but it has permits for over 50 more.
AT&T serves parts of 18 states, but speeds are limited to 10Mbps. You’ll also be charged $60 per month, which is excessive given your limited speeds. You can, however, combine AT&T’s service with DirecTV and stream on up to five screens at the same time.
Rise Broadband is a final option worth considering. It is the most widely available, with coverage in parts of more than 40 states. Download speeds are limited to 50Mbps, while upload speeds are limited to 5Mbps. You can customize your pricing based on how much data you require, with 250GB costing $56.95 and unlimited data nearing $100.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider)?
A fixed wireless internet provider provides dependable and affordable broadband internet access to remote farms, homes, and businesses. Your antenna, which powers your home wireless router, will communicate with our Point of Presence (PoP).
What Sets It Apart From Other Internet Service Providers?
Because wireless internet networks require less infrastructure than DSL, fiber, cable, or satellite networks, they can be updated much more quickly, resulting in faster and more reliable service for residents and businesses in remote areas where other network types have not invested time or money.
What Makes It Unique From Satellite Internet?
With fixed wireless internet, your on-site antenna uses radio waves to connect to a nearby tower (just a few miles away), providing you with internet access. Satellite internet relies on signals from a dish 20,000 miles above the Earth. Satellite internet is frequently more expensive, has data caps, and has high latency (delay), making voice or video calls over the internet difficult. There are no data caps with Upward Broadband, just a high-speed connection with low latency.
Does the weather have an impact on fixed wireless internet?
In most cases, severe weather will not disrupt your internet connection. Severe, high winds can disrupt connections if your antenna system is blown out of place. Reputable WISPs design antennas with this in mind, ensuring that the system can withstand extremely high winds.