Wireless Tower
Industry Insight Series

The broadband industry is on a renewed mission to extend high-quality broadband service to every corner of the country, ensuring every household, regardless of location or economic circumstance, has access to it and can thus participate in the 21st century economy. Indeed, it’s equivalent to the historical electrification of the entire country.

To achieve this vital goal, the broadband industry will need to embrace a range of technology solutions. A one-size-fits-all approach will simply not work. Fixed wireless technology is already playing an important role – one that will only grow over time.

Long-Reach 5G mmWave FWA

As broadband operators evaluate their options, a fresh look at 5G mmWave fixed wireless access (FWA) is recommended. Operating in the 24-28 GHz band, the technology can provide fiber-like speed and performance and offers significant opportunities for fixed and mobile carriers alike to leverage FWA.

Initially seen as a dense urban solution, 5G mmWave FWA has evolved and now has multiple applications, including rural. Innovation from Nokia has dramatically improved its rural reach. The introduction of a new high-gain antenna for the CPE now extends the range for gigabit-capable broadband to over 6 kilometers (3.7 miles).

This new CPE is fully 3GPP compliant and can work with any 3GPP compliant radio or radio access network (RAN). The CPE comprises an outdoor unit installed on the roof of the premises and an indoor unit connected to the outdoor receiver with a 2.5 Gbps Power over Ethernet connection.

Australian operator nbn recently adopted this new solution for a large-scale rural fixed wireless network upgrade. The solution will extend an existing fixed wireless footprint by up to 50%, providing approximately 120K former satellite-only eligible locations with access to fixed wireless services for the first time.

With this solution, nbn is launching new wholesale high-speed tiers – 100 Mbps and 250 Mbps – at ranges of up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

“We are facing a step-change in demand for broadband in rural and regional areas, with an estimated 300% increase in demand for data on our fixed wireless network over the next ten years,” said Jason Ashton, Executive General Manager, Fixed Wireless and Satellite at nbn. “Nokia’s 5G mmWave solution allows nbn to better utilize both our sub-6GHz and 5G mmWave spectrum allocations to vastly extend the range, speed and capacity of our existing fixed wireless network and improve the end user’s experience.”

More FWA Innovation

Additional innovation in the 5G mmWave FWA band creates even more opportunities for operators. Nokia has developed 360-degree high-gain technology that provides very high mmWave antenna gains, cost efficiency and power efficiency.

The technology enables CPE to capture the full 360° environment around it, allowing that CPE to pick up on any signal from any direction, leveraging the best available signal for the best performance. This both increases potential performance by mitigating obstructions and simplifies installations. The 360° self-alignment capability ensures the best possible signal reception, both in line-of-sight (LoS) and non-LoS conditions, whether signals are obstructed, attenuated, or diffracted.

As operators evaluate a comprehensive broadband access strategy, technology developments like these should lead them to include 5G mmWave FWA as a part of that strategy. No longer limited to dense urban applications, 5G mmWave FWA is now available to serve semi-rural, regional, and more remote areas of many markets.

This series features insight into important broadband industry issues from industry leaders.

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