Wireless technologies are all the rage right now. We see explosive growth in mobile technology not only in speed but also in utility as consumers rely on smartphones as a vital link to work, friends, family and the world around them. The promise of 5G adds to this with the potential of much greater speeds and lower latency.
Operators globally look to wireless technology as a new, low cost alternative for connecting homes. On the surface, it looks like the worlds of wired and wireless are colliding but in reality, what we see are two uniquely different broadband networks maturing and evolving in ways that are mutually beneficial. A botanist may call this symbiotic but we call it fixed mobile convergence.
FMC means different things to different people. As we look to the future of 5G, we see a need to connect an increasing number of 5G small cells. Since fixed networks are close to where 5G growth initially will take place, fixed networks are ideally positioned to provide the fiber transport required, doing so at 50% of the cost of building dedicated and parallel networks.
This sets the scene for fixed wireless access. I know weíve never seen widespread market adoption despite previous advocacy but this time it is right for FWA. Why, you say? Iím glad you asked.
Mobile networks with 4G -- ultimately leading us to 5G -- can deliver competitive speeds to homes. In some cases, these networks must be dimensioned to meet the peak and sustained rates users demand. As we move towards 5G, we can use mm Wave to drive speeds up to 1Gbps and more to subscribers.
Now, mm Wave is not limited to 5G. Operators can consider using unlicensed 60GHz 802.11ad in their access network to drive gigabit speeds. Since it uses unlicensed spectrum, 802.11ad is available to any operator -- including traditional fixed operators that donít currently own any licensed spectrum. This is a line-of-sight technology that cannot travel vast distances. This is where we go full circle and again discuss symbiotic relationships.
Fixed and wireless technologies can now come together, one providing efficient transport in the form of PON networks and the other providing a cost-effective alternative to the fiber drop.
Fixed wireless access is not about competing technologies; it's about adding tools to every operator's toolkit to ensure they can deliver ultra-broadband services to all their subscribers in time to beat the competition and meet national broadband plans at a cost that makes their business cases work.
For those planning to attend Broadband World Forum in Berlin Oct. 24-26, there will be a session Oct. 25, "The Time is Right for Fixed Wireless Access."
— Keith Russell, Marketing Director, Nokia.