What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

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Fixed wireless internet is a type of wireless internet that functions similarly to satellite internet. Instead of the internet signal coming from a satellite orbiting the Earth, the signals come from a nearby tower that broadcasts the signal wirelessly to receivers at a fixed point or address.

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Just as satellite internet is widely considered one of the most ideal rural internet options, so is fixed wireless internet. It is also helpful in densely populated metropolitan areas where a fixed wireless tower can efficiently serve many people in apartment and condominium buildings. 

Unlike cable, DSL, or fiber, fixed wireless internet does not rely on cables to the home to distribute internet access, which are costly and time-consuming to deploy. Instead, it transmits data over radio waves, so all you need is a receiver to tap into a fixed wireless network.

Fixed Wireless At a Glance

Pros

  • Where available, it is a great solution for customers in country settings and rural areas
  • It is capable of speeds up to 1000 Mbps
  • It is more affordable than satellite internet

Cons

  • It is fixed to an address, unlike that of a 5G cellular connection
  • Connectivity demands a clear line of sight between your property and the provider’s tower
  • At this time, fixed wireless internet has very limited availability

How Does Fixed Wireless Internet Work?

Fixed wireless works very similarly to the way in which 5G internet services  work. The signal is transmitted from a tower (also known as a Point of Presence (PoP)) to a receiver to establish an internet connection. However, there are two significant differences between fixed wireless and 5G cellular networks.

First, a fixed wireless signal is transmitted to a fixed receiver or antenna at your house or on your property. In contrast, a 5G signal is accessible anywhere within the tower or network’s range and is not fixed to a physical location. 

Secondly, a fixed wireless internet connection requires a line of sight between the antenna at your address and the tower. With 5G cellular, line of sight is not required, but obstructions may cause interference, reduced speeds, and increased latency.

Aside from wireless connectivity, fixed wireless internet works just as all internet connection types do. Data is transmitted between the devices in your home and the network hub at your internet provider, which allows users to browse websites, access popular streaming services,  and work from home.

Is Fixed Wireless Internet Reliable?

Fixed wireless internet is very reliable as long as the line of sight between your antenna and the provider’s tower (PoP) is clear. If you’re in a country setting or rural area and you have a significant amount of land, you can place the antenna anywhere on your property if the line of sight from your house to the tower isn’t ideal. But once that connection is established, fixed wireless internet is very stable and reliable and can achieve speeds up to 1000 Mbps.

One other aspect to consider with fixed wireless internet is inclement weather. Most providers will assist in determining the best location for your antenna for optimal performance, but weather can have an effect on your fixed wireless connection. It is not as susceptible to severe weather as satellite internet, given how far away the satellites are and the atmospheric disturbances between them and receivers on the ground. But wind, snow, and rain may affect fixed wireless performance.

Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds
  • Fast symmetrical speeds
  • Fiber-optics network
  • No annual contracts
  • 5G Fixed Wireless Provider
  • Contract buyout up to $200
  • Pause or cancel anytime for free
  • Fast speeds in rural areas
  • Affordable prices
  • Quick installations

Is Fixed Wireless Right for Me?

The most important factor to consider is your location. Are you in an area where other ground-based services (like DSL and cable) are available? If so, cable internet would be a better choice for faster internet speed at a lower cost. 

Are you in an area where only satellite internet and fixed wireless internet are available? Then fixed wireless may be the way to go in terms of affordability and potential speeds compared to satellite internet.

If you are in an area where satellite and fixed wireless are the only options, what is the terrain around you like? If you’re in a mountainous, hilly, or heavily-wooded area, fixed wireless may not work for you since it relies on a direct line of sight to the tower. In regions like these, the mountains and trees may obstruct the PoP too much to acquire a strong connection.

Are you in an apartment or condo in a metropolitan area? Fixed wireless may be a more affordable internet option than other connection types. Be sure to compare available speeds and prices to find the best speed-to-cost ratio for your budget.

If you’re interested in fixed wireless internet or want to compare other types of internet connections that are available in your area, enter your zip code below.

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Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Keith is a Contributing Writer for HighSpeedOptions with over 10 years of experience in writing and marketing. He has written for and contributed to organizations in the non-profit, financial, and enterprise internet and cable service industries. At HighSpeedOptions, Keith covers everything from broadband news to emerging technologies and how they complement different lifestyles and budgetary needs. In his free time, Keith enjoys spending time with his family, reading as many books as he can, and photography.