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  • 5G
  • 4 Min Read

What is 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

Uday Parida

Fixed wireless access is one of the widely used concepts in the telecom industry. Many telecom industries use fixed wireless access as a cost-effective alternative to the wired connection. The ultrafast connectivity provided by 5G technology will help telecom operators to provide reliable broadband access to the underserved communities by leveraging fixed wireless access.

According to Technopedia.com,

Fixed wireless access (FWA) is the process of accessing a communicating network or internet on fixed wireless networks. It is a type of wireless broadband data communication, which is performed between two fixed locations – connected through fixed wireless access devices and equipment.

The enterprises rely on cables or leased lines to establish a connection between two locations. 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) enables both large and small enterprises to facilitate connection and communication between multiple sites and locations using radio links. Hence, they are not required to incur the upfront infrastructural cost. The enterprises can facilitate seamless communication and data transmission simply by configuring the FWA devices.

In developed economies, telecom companies leverage FWA as a standard-based alternative to slow and expensive wired connections. The cost-efficient nature of fixed wireless access helps telecom operators to provide broadband access to small businesses and underserved communities. 5G will enable the telecom companies in emerging countries to optimize FWA to make broadband available in densely-populated areas.

Understanding Important Aspects of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

A Low-Cost Alternative to Wired Connectivity

The wired connectivity options require enterprises to invest in cables, fiber, and DSL. Also, they have to incur recurring expenses to maintain and improve the infrastructure. FWA will enable enterprises to reduce both upfront and operational costs by replacing the hardware components with radio links. The enterprises can install the configured FWA devices on the building locations to facilitate communication and data transmission between two sites or locations.

Use Higher Frequency Bands

5G FWA will outperform 4G FWA by leveraging the ultra-fast performance of 5G networks. Unlike 4G FWA, 5G FWA will access advanced millimeter bands like 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and 39 GHz. The millimeter bands will make 5G FWA effective in supporting more data traffic and increase download speed. Also, the spectrum bands feature a tighter radio beam which will boost the network experience of a limited number of end-users in the immediate vicinity. Hence, the performance of the 5G FWA will not be impacted by a surge in the number of concurrent users.

Boost Data Transmission Speed

The average latency delivered by 4G networks stands at 50 seconds. The latency is not adequate to facilitate real-time communication between multiple sites and locations. The enterprises cannot rely on 4G FWA to transmit real-time data and carry out sensitive activities due to the lower latency rate. But 5G will reduce the latency to 1 millisecond. The ultra-low latency will make 5G FWA more effective than 4G FWA to speed up data transmission. At the same time, the ultra-low latency will make 5G FWA perform just like fixed broadband.

Leverage Robust 5G Ecosystem

Before deployment of 5G networks, telecom operators have to rely on proprietary hardware and software to launch FWA. Proprietary technologies increase the overall cost of FWA deployment significantly. Also, telecom companies lack the option to customize and optimize due to the absence of a robust ecosystem.

But telecom companies leverage Open Radio Access Network (OpenRAN) to build 5G infrastructure by combining standardized mobile networking equipment and user equipment provided by various vendors. The robustness and flexibility of the 5G ecosystem will enable telecom companies to provide broadband access to underserved communities without investing in proprietary technologies.

Multiple Transport Modes Support

FWA will facilitate communication and data transmission across multiple sites without requiring cables and wires. The users can configure the FWA devices in the direction or line of the targeted site to improve signal reception and data transmission. Along with connecting with one location to another, FWA supports multiple modes of transport – point-to-multipoint and multipoint-to-multipoint.

Facilitate Full-Scale 5G Network Deployment

The ultra-fast speed of 5G networks will help telecom companies to optimize and deploy FWA. But FWA will help telecom companies to deploy 5G networks on a mass-scale. Both 5G mobile networks and FWA will operate using the same set of standards. The telecom companies will roll out 5G technology gradually across geographic locations. They can use 5G FWA as the stepping stone to prepare end-users to switch from 4G to 5G networks.

Create New IoT Use Cases

Many enterprises these days need telecom networks that facilitate machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. The enterprises cannot rely on 4G FWA to leverage the machine-to-machine interaction facilitated by the Internet of Things (IoT). But the enhanced speed and reduced latency will make 5G FWA create many new IoT use cases. The enterprises will switch from wired connectivity to FWA to collect real-time data from a wide range of devices and sensors instantly.

The telecom companies will soon leverage 5G fixed wireless access to enable small enterprises and underserved communities to access broadband.

According to Market Research Future,

The global 5G fixed wireless access market is expected to grow from USD 400 million in 2018 to USD 7,553.87 million by 2024, at a CAGR of 70.75%.

The leading telecom companies will offer new FWA products at competitive prices to acquire customers and capture market share. But they can make FWA a popular alternative to wired connectivity only by addressing a slew of challenges – interoperability of network infrastructure and devices and standardization of the 5G FWA ecosystem.

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