Is Fixed Wireless the Same as Rural Cellular Internet?


How people connect to the internet continues to change as current technologies are improved, and new technologies are introduced. A case in point is fixed wireless. It is among the latest offerings for people who cannot get traditional broadband or want another choice. Note that set wireless and rural cellular internet are not the same things.

The two are often confused because fixed wireless can be used in rural locations. But it doesn’t have to be. And as 5G is being rolled out, we are seeing more fixed wireless solutions in major population centers. However, that is another topic for another post. The goal of this post is to explain fixed wireless thoroughly.

Is Fixed Wireless the Same as Rural Cellular Internet? 1

Direct Wireless Communication

The basis of the fixed wireless concept is direct wireless communication. A typical fixed wireless network consists of transmitters and receivers that send signals back and forth via radio waves. Specialized antennas create a narrow radio band to ensure that passwords are concentrated and harder to interrupt.

As it turns out, fixed wireless itself is not a new technology. It is unique in terms of its use as a means of providing broadband internet. But fixed wireless has been utilized for other purposes for years.

Fixed Wireless Internet

Fixed wireless internet is a broadband solution built on the fixed wireless concept. The idea is to connect a home to a wireless LAN to provide internet access without having to run cables or build fiber-optic infrastructure. You need a fixed wireless device that acts as a hub to make it work. The device can be installed on a utility pole, a building, or any other structure an installer feels appropriate.

Back at the customer’s house, a specialized antenna is also installed. It is a directional antenna, which must be pointed at the wireless hub. That wireless hub must be relatively close to avoid latency issues. Finally, the home antenna is connected to a modem/router through which the customer can connect computers, tablets, etc.

Cellular or Wired Signals

So far, what we have discussed about fixed wireless internet doesn’t create a whole lot of distinction between it and rural internet provided through cellular signals. We turn to a Houston company known as Blazing Hog for that distinction.

BlazingHog offers unlimited 4G internet around the country utilizing existing cellular networks. All the same cell towers, hotspots, etc., that provide phone service to consumers is also used by Blazing Hog and its competitors to provide rural internet. They have no choice but to rely on cellular networks because that is their technology model.

No Cellular Needed

Fixed wireless is different because it doesn’t necessarily have to utilize cellular networks. For instance, a local hub device mounted on the side of a building could access the internet through a wired broadband network. The only wireless aspect of the setup would be the customer’s connection to the hub device. This is the ideal scenario because it increases speeds and reduces latency.

A local wireless hub device might be mounted on a utility pole where no wired broadband connection exists in a rural setting. It would access the internet through cellular signals, accomplishing the same thing as Blazing Hog’s rural internet service, but at shorter distances.

Like all wireless internet solutions, fixed wireless does have its strong and weak points. It is not the ideal internet access solution in every case. But where it is the best choice, it gets the job done. It is an option where traditional wired broadband doesn’t exist.

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Scott M. Long
Thinker. Pop culture aficionado. Introvert. Incurable entrepreneur. Amateur zombie advocate. Social media fanatic. At the moment I'm consulting about Slinkies in Orlando, FL. Spent 2001-2008 licensing fried chicken in Africa. Spent 2001-2005 working with yogurt in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent 2002-2009 selling Roombas in the government sector. Uniquely-equipped for licensing Uno in Las Vegas, NV. Spent several months investing in tar in Washington, DC.