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What is Fixed Wireless?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2016
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Fixed wireless is a form of wireless service or connectivity that exists between two or more fixed locations, rather than mobile or portable locations. This type of wireless connectivity is often established between two fairly permanent locations, such as two buildings, and can be used for a number of private and commercial applications. Microwaves are typically used to establish the signal between locations on this type of wireless system, and the antennae or dishes used are often mounted outside and intended for precise signal sending and receiving. Fixed wireless services can also be used for broadband Internet access, often as a preferable alternative to wired connections in some regions.

While there are a number of different uses for a fixed wireless system, it is commonly used in the creation of a wireless local area network (WLAN). A standard local area network (LAN) is often created through the use of wired connections, such as fiber optics or Ethernet cables. In situations in which this type of connection would be impossible or extraordinarily expensive, such as a network that would connect two or more buildings, then a fixed wireless system can be preferable. This type of system is created to connect multiple locations, such as near or adjacent buildings, onto a single wireless network.

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A fixed wireless network is typically created using multiple antennae or dishes that transmit and receive microwave signals. These signals are sent directly between the devices, so there is no requirement for satellite or other hardware to facilitate the network connection. The devices used are often designed to send signals in narrow bands that are difficult to access by unauthorized users, and provide strong connections even over relatively great distances. In this way two buildings, such as a library and a computer lab in different buildings of a college campus for example, could be connected by a fixed wireless network.

The use of fixed wireless in creating broadband networks has also been explored as a viable means of providing Internet access in some areas. This is an especially attractive prospect in rural or undeveloped regions, which would otherwise require expensive and lengthy construction of physical network infrastructures to accommodate broadband Internet connectivity. A fixed wireless signal can be sent from a service provider to a particular house, each outfitted with an appropriate device, to provide Internet access to that house. Additional houses can then be added easily, each with receiving devices, to create a large area wireless network for Internet access.

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