What is Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and its main benefits?

Sponsored by MediaTek

What is FWA?

In recent years, the demand for fast and reliable internet access has skyrocketed. I have discussed at length in previous articles and in my book “The Talking Dog” about 5G, sustainability, Internet of Things and all connectivity subjects. Whether it’s for streaming movies, browsing the web, or working from home, people are increasingly dependent on a stable and speedy internet connection. While traditional wired connections such as fiber-optic and DSL have been the go-to options for most people, fixed wireless access (FWA) has emerged as an attractive alternative. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a type of wireless broadband service that provides high-speed internet access to fixed locations such as homes, businesses, and schools using radio waves. FWA technology uses a fixed antenna to receive and transmit signals to a nearby base station. This base station is typically connected to the internet through a wired connection, such as fiber optic cable, and provides wireless connectivity to multiple end-users within its coverage area.

Unlike wired broadband, FWA does not require physical infrastructure to be installed, making it a more flexible and cost-effective solution for delivering high-speed internet to areas where wired broadband is not available or is expensive.

FWA is becoming increasingly popular around the world, particularly in areas where wired broadband infrastructure is lacking or inadequate. FWA has been used to bridge the digital divide by providing high-speed internet access to underserved communities, improving access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. As the UN has given a list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to reach by 2030, FWA will help answer SDG 3, 4 and 9 (to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, inclusive and equitable quality education and to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation).

The main benefits of FWA are:

  1. Environmentally friendly: Since FWA doesn’t require digging trenches or laying cables, it reduces the carbon footprint associated with installing and maintaining wired connections. In addition, FWA uses less energy compared to wired connections, making it a more energy-efficient option.
  2. Lower costs: Again, as FWA doesn’t require laying cables, it’s much cheaper to set up. In addition, FWA eliminates the need for expensive equipment such as modems and routers, further reducing costs for users.
  3. Faster deployment
  4. Higher bandwidths and lower latency
  5. Improved mobility: While wired connections require users to be physically connected to a cable, FWA allows users to access the internet from any location within the coverage area.
  6. Increased reliability: Unlike wired connections, which can be affected by environmental factors such as weather and physical damage to cables, FWA uses radio waves to transmit data. This means that it’s less susceptible to physical interference.

The technology behind FWA

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a technology that uses wireless radio waves to provide internet access to fixed locations such as homes, offices, and schools. One of the main considerations in choosing a wireless technology for FWA is the frequency band used for data transmission. Sub-6GHz connectivity refers to the frequency bands below 6GHz and is becoming a popular choice for FWA. Sub-6GHz connectivity offers wider coverage area, better building penetration, lower cost, and improved mobility. On the other hand, mmWave connectivity offers high-speed internet, higher capacity, reduced interference, and flexibility. A combination of sub-6GHz and mmWave connectivity can provide both wider coverage and higher data rates to FWA users, accommodate more users, and tailor the FWA solution to specific use cases and deployment scenarios.  

Why MediaTek?

I have been involved with launching and promoting wireless technologies for many years (as a reminder, I worked for Sony from early 1996 until 2008. We launched 2G, 3G and 4G during that period). I have therefore seen all progress made in terms of bandwidth, latency, sustainability and greater access to information. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is sponsored by MediaTek. MediaTek 5G FWA platforms are available meeting wide-ranging market requirements. They can receive multi-Gigabit 5G and distribute it via Wi-Fi 6/6E and Wi-Fi 7 or multi-Gigabit Ethernet, upgrading home and business local networks instantly. I am impressed by their approach, quality of technology and customer service. This is why I agreed to promote them. They are at the forefront of innovation, especially as they have started to integrate Artificial Intelligence applications. MediaTek’s solutions support several AI engines, allowing for scalability that extends and unlocks AI capabilities for next-generation technology. They provide a greater vision than any other actor on the market today. As I have written previously about 5G, it has definitely become a key driver and accelerator for all Internet of Things (IoT) applications (this is the main reason we launched 5G in the first place). Thanks to MediaTek’s innovation power, they have managed to integrate 5G technology and Artificial Intelligence capabilities which allows higher performance, energy efficiency and the ability for their customers to build small and powerful high speed, low latency networks. Have a look at their website and judge for yourself: https://www.mediatek.com/products/networking-and-connectivity/5g-broadband

 As always, feel free to reach out, should you have any questions.