Fixed wireless access, which can support 5G technology, is the next generation of wireless connectivity, offering the potential for ultra-high speeds, low latency and massive capacity. In theory, this could allow users to enjoy speeds comparable to a wired broadband connection. FWA differs from wired broadband in one major way.
Wired, fixed-line broadband works through fiber-optic cables, telephone lines (DSL), coaxial cables (cable modem), or powerlines (BPL); no matter which form of broadband you’re working with, it requires transmission of data through cables. In the case of DSL, for instance, you attach your modem to the phone line in your wall and receive packets of internet data through copper wires. The speed of your DSL connection will depend on how close the phone company’s nearest facility is, as well as the integrity of their phone lines.
With fiber-optic internet, your internet service provider runs the cable all the way to your house, or to a location nearby, in which case you tap in via phone line running to a switching box (or “cabinet”). With FWA, your device is receiving a radio signal from the internet provider’s transmission tower. This doesn’t require any cables or wires to go to your home.
FWA may be able to bring high-speed internet to areas where cables cannot reach, which is why it’s likely to play a role in the future of wireless internet connectivity, especially in digital deserts.