Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a stable and scalable substitute for wired connections while millions of people wait for dependable home broadband. According to analyses, with wise and focused deployments, the investment often pays for itself in less than two years. This is accelerated by 5G.
5G millimeter-wave technology improves on early installations and devices. Just in time, as the US is driving the 5G Fixed Wireless Access industry. 5G FWA will be the fastest-growing residential broadband service, with a compound annual growth rate of 74% and 58 million subscribers by 2026, according to ABI Research. To enable fast growth, 5G FWA deployments must transition to millimeter-wave.
Nokia Broadband Devices Business Unit Upstream Head Willem Verbiest sees two significant drivers driving operators to mmWave. First: Fixed Wireless Access deployments are growing CSPs’ client base and revenues. FWA is data-hungry, yet they want growth to continue. He says that while a mobile user might use 10 GB of data per month, FWA customers will use 200 GB or more—and terabyte-per-month users are not uncommon. Operators are using ample millimeter-wave spectrum to cost-effectively increase network capacity.
Verbiest suggests operators enter mmWave to grow FWA. “If they don’t join, the network will overflow. Growth will stall, which nobody wants. Thus, entering mmWave is crucial to solving that pleasant problem of success.”
Nokia has been preparing for this global shift to mmWave by overcoming spectrum difficulties and simplifying implementation. Nokia’s home gateway device combines high performance and sleek aesthetics with clever algorithms that “fingerprint” the RF environment and assist the user via simple, optical self-installation. Nokia has created a high-gain antenna with a 360-degree “view” to allow FWA Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) to connect from any direction. Nokia’s Long Reach technology can extend mmWave’s FWA range to 10 kilometers. This invention transforms the discourse around mmWave site density, ROI, and cost-effectively expanding service territory to attract new users.
Leaders and followers will adopt mmWave FWA. Verbiest expects a few courageous leaders to attract many clients, with few competition.
Fixed wireless access is the 5G promise that worked five years ago. “That’s clear,” he says. Thus, FWA will thrive on mmWave.