Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is maturing rapidly and 5G is set to take it to the next level

“Fixed wireless access has had a chequered past, so the question is: will that continue, or have we now got a successful formula that makes both economic, commercial, and practical sense?” asks Prof William Webb of Webb Search, introducing Total Telecom’s latest fascinating webinar.
FWA has long been an interesting prospect for operators. Typically thought of as a rural alternative to fixed line broadband, providing connectivity to areas where installing fibre was prohibitively expensive, now, with the advent of 5G, the technology is rapidly growing more competitive.
“What’s interesting to me right now is how 5G and global harmonisation has allowed manufactures to get together to look at FWA as much more of a volume market,” said David Burns, chair of UKWISPA, noting that that technology is rapidly growing more and more competitive with traditional fixed broadband. “We’re at a new dawn and that is really driven by the harmonisation that comes from 5G and the new potential that brings with it, coupled with better fibre backhaul.”
Of course, one of the major advantages of FWA is the simple installation by the customer themselves, without typically requiring the call-out of an engineer or the disruptive installation of fibre. Indeed, Malcolm Latham, portfolio marketing director of home networks at CommScope, shared some revealing statistics from a recent trial of their latest FWA device with a Tier-1 US operator, showing that 86% of FWA users took less than 10 minutes to self-install the CPE device, with 96% managing to do so in under half an hour.
When it comes to speed, FWA has in the past lagged behind more traditional connectivity methods. Now, this is no longer the case, with advances in technology making fibre-like speeds within reach.
“The speeds that your average Australian enjoys over fixed line are pretty limited – the top speeds are, up until recently, around 100 Mbps, and only around 10% of the population uses this type of package,” explained Harvey Wright, Head of 5G at Optus. “What we’re seeing with our FWA product are speeds of around 200 Mbps, going up to 500 Mbps for some users.”
5G is set to be a game changer for FWA. The question is: will operators take advantage of its many benefits effectively?
Featuring a broad panel of expert speakers, Total Telecom’s webinar, A home broadband revolution: Exploring the use cases and potential of 5G fixed wireless access, is available to watch in full for free. Register here.
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