Is it possible for a network to be both 'fixed' and 'wireless'?

Fixed Wireless

Is it possible for a network to be both 'fixed' and 'wireless'?

It’s almost a cliché these days to say that demand for bandwidth will continue on into eternity, demanding organisations commit to a never-ending cycle of equipment and software upgrades.

But as is apparent sometimes, Australia does indeed continue to have a major problem when it comes to network capacity. And among those worst hit are businesses and communities in rural or regional areas.

Traditional fibre-based infrastructure can be prohibitively expensive in these situations, while often being flat-out impossible.

It’s this opportunity to help support businesses that can’t readily access the NBN or other ‘terrestrial’ alternatives that has helped drive the creation of Australia’s largest fixed-wireless network for business.

Before getting into what that means, let’s focus first on what it isn’t.

Fixed-wireless is neither wi-fi nor cellular mobile (or mobile broadband), and it most certainly is not fixed fibre or copper.

All of these technologies depend on complex transmission technologies connected to the earth. By contrast, fixed-wireless requires only a radio transceiver, with the actual network connection wired into a LAN (local area network) using a simple Cat 5 Ethernet cable.

So why does that matter?

Number one, fixed wireless allows organisations to create network connections much faster and for far less investment than the alternatives mentioned above. New offices or other locations can be connected very quickly, requiring only that transceivers are positioned to have line-of-site.

It also provides very high speeds of up to 10Gbps in both directions, delivering ample redundancy and scalability.

Because fixed wireless is symmetrical it’s an ideal solution for organisations heavily reliant on cloud services and applications. Whether it’s Office 365, Dropbox, Google Docs, or Xero, a fixed wireless network will deliver you better performance and reliability than just about any alternative.

And as there are no physical cables, such as you’d find with a typical fibre network deployment, there really is no way that the signal can be easily interrupted.  This is extremely important of course for organisations with exposure to disasters such as Cyclone Debbie which lashed large parts of Queensland in 2016.

While countless thousands of businesses were knocked offline for extended periods, Superloop's fixed wireless network continued to operate.

Creating an effective disaster-recovery strategy is no simple task, especially when trying to ensure proper data back-up and business continuity across multiple or remote locations.

With traditional networks, one broken cable is enough for everything to grind to a halt, often leading to costly productivity losses, and even lost customers.

A fixed wireless network on the other hand is perfectly designed and equipped to provide fast and effective back-up connectivity in the event of floods, fires and other dramatic events.

It’s also important to note that our fixed wireless network runs on proprietary protocols and is therefore extremely difficult to hack when compared to IP-based networks such as ADSL, as well as wi-fi.

And finally, we wouldn’t be providing an especially helpful commentary on the demands being placed on today’s corporate networks without addressing the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Technology analysts Gartner predicted that between 2016 and 2020, there will be a 30-fold increase in the number of internet-connected sensors and devices to around 26 billion. That’s more than three-times the current population of the world, huge areas of which are yet to receive reliable electricity at all.

It’s no exaggeration to say that IoT will have profound implications for virtually every industry, from retail, to manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, mining and others. However, being able to extract the insights and opportunities buried in the masses of real-time data, depends very much on the capabilities of the corporate network.

Being able to scale up enough in terms of sheer capacity, as well as geographic reach will be critical factors; factors that a fixed wireless topology is uniquely well positioned to handle.