When we connect to the internet, we usually don’t think about how that internet connection works and how it reached us. But there are many different ways internet providers can create a connection for people, both in cities and in rural communities. One of these technologies provides internet connectivity through fixed wireless internet. Learn about this type of internet connection and what it can offer you. 

Fixed Wireless Internet Definition 

Fixed wireless internet uses transmitters to create an internet connection. Transmitters are fixed to towers or poles nearby and create an internet connection with any building within approximately 10 miles that also has a transmitter. It requires no physical wires or cables to create the connection, unlike other internet services. Fixed wireless internet is often used in rural areas because it can provide high-speed connectivity and only requires a tower and transmitters to make it happen. 

How Fixed Wireless Internet Works

Fixed wireless networks work with transmitters and receivers. A transmitter tower supplied with high-speed fiber-optic wires needs to be hardwired into an Internet Service Provider (ISP) network to provide connectivity. Once the tower has a connection, it sends out a network signal directly to receivers within a ten-mile radius. Any building with a receiver installed then receives the signal and connects to the network. Unlike with other connection towers, the fixed wireless towers don’t disperse the signal anywhere—the connection goes directly to the receivers. But for the signals to reach the receivers, the tower has to have a direct line of sight. Trees, houses, mountains, and other obstacles can obstruct the signal. 

Once the receiver gets the internet signal, it sends it directly to the modem or router. From there, the router provides a wireless connection through Wi-Fi and wired connections through cables (much like what’s used with TVs). 

Benefits of Fixed Wireless Internet

There are many benefits to using fixed wireless internet. These are a few of the main advantages: 

Fixed Wireless Internet vs. Other Services

Fixed wireless internet isn’t the only way to get a connection—not even close. So to understand fixed wireless better, it’s important to see how it compares to other internet connection providers. 

Fixed Wireless Internet vs. DSL

Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) use existing phone lines to provide connection. DSL is different from dial-up internet because it allows phone lines and the internet to be used at the same time, and the internet is always on, no need to wait for the connection to start. No new wires are needed for DSL—so long as you have a phone line. 

The major difference between DSL and fixed wireless internet is that fixed wireless requires absolutely no lines and no phone service. Fixed wireless also provides faster and less limited connection. DSL doesn’t provide a great connection to stream or download. 

Fixed Wireless Internet vs. Mobile Broadband 

Mobile broadband refers to the broadband connection you get on your cell phone or other mobile devices. It depends on the connection from cell phone towers. It’s essentially a different approach to the same technology. Both are delivering a broadband connection from a nearby tower and services are wireless and require no cables. 

Mobile broadband’s network uses, however, are much harder to optimize for. Because fixed wireless broadband is stationary, providers are able to know exactly how much bandwidth can be supported per tower. With mobile broadband, network capacities are constantly changing depending on how many people are connecting in the tower’s area. This causes mobile broadband to sometimes provide a lesser connection than fixed and why it’s primarily designed to be used for streaming and surfing the internet. 

Fixed Wireless Internet vs. Satellite Internet

Satellite internet uses a dish to provide an internet connection, usually where typical broadband connections aren’t available. It doesn’t require cables, and it does provide a strong connection that’s viable for downloading. Both satellite and fixed wireless require a signal from a tower or satellite that travels to the receiver in the building for connection. Both can also suffer when bad weather delays connection, but satellite internet can be affected by the weather in the next state over while fixed wireless will only be affected by nearby weather conditions. 

The main difference between fixed and satellite internet connection is where the connection is coming from. Both are strong connections without cables, but one connection is from an ISP and the other from a satellite dish. Fixed wireless internet is usually more affordable because a tower is less costly to install. 

What About 5G Fixed Wireless? 

5G fixed wireless refers to the next generation of technology to provide internet rather than a specific type of network. Cell phone providers are moving toward more and more 5G technology use, and internet providers are too. One of the next steps with fixed wireless internet is to provide more 5G connections via fixed towers and transmitters. 

Another addition to the 5G revolution is the 5G millimeter wave (mmWave). The 5G millimeter wave unlocks an ultra-wide bandwidth opportunity like delivering multi-Gbps per second at much lower cost-per-bit. This technology does require a bit of planning, however, as 5G millimeter wave connections require a direct line of sight from a device to the tower for optimal connections. As 5G connections grow, fixed wireless internet will become an even more powerful internet solution.  

What SIMON IoT Brings to the Table

Wireline and wireless broadband networks alike are the connectivity fuel of the Internet of Things. From the smart home to the smart farm to the smart town, IoT is reshaping how daily life and business look. With the increasing demands of IoT, service providers should aim to include as much IoT opportunity as possible in their network planning. With SIMON IoT, we already have those relationships with service providers so you know you’ll get the best in business. With industry-leading IoT connectivity, lean into SIMON IoT’s solutions to provide strong, reliable, and modern solutions for whatever stage of IoT deployment you’re currently in. SIMON IoT offers you:

View our pricing to get started with your IoT connectivity transformation.