Along with 5G that is now starting to make an impact in Australia, you’ll probably be hearing more about NLOS wireless broadband technology in the time ahead.
Fixed wireless internet has come of age and while it’s an excellent choice for connectivity; a major challenge has remained – connecting customers who aren’t in line of sight (or near line of sight) of a tower or a repeater.
Good design of fixed wireless connectivity requires significant number crunching and planning; even taking into account issues such as the impact of wind causing movement in trees. It’s particularly challenging in a metropolitan environment that has many obstacles and where additional equipment may need to deployed.
This adds costs to the provider, and consequently customers. In some cases, the obstructions can be such and the costs involved in working around them so prohibitive that it excludes an area, or a number of customers in an area, from coverage. The situation is bad for customers who then miss out on the benefits of fixed wireless, and bad for wireless ISPs as they miss out on business.
NLOS broadband technology will help change this. The acronym stands for “Non- Line Of Sight” and is self-explanatory.
Most of us are already familiar with non-line-of-sight devices and use them daily – our phones and other internet-connected handheld devices. But NLOS fixed wireless broadband technology is capable of delivering data at much high rates over considerable distances, and it’s been improving all the time since it first started being tinkered with in the early 2000’s.
In a nutshell, NLOS approaches the issue using smart antennas and advanced modulation techniques.
Tried and tested NLOS broadband solutions have been making their way onto fixed wireless market over the last few years, particularly in the USA. Some solutions offer end users speeds of up to 200Mbps (upload and download) in a non-line of sight range of 2 kilometres in a suburban setting, and a near line of sight (nLOS) range of up to 30 kilometres in a rural scenario. These high-tech NLOS stations have 10 Gbps capacity and can support thousands of users.
Melbourne-headquartered Lightning Broadband, which was also among the first ISPs to start rolling out 5G wireless broadband infrastructure in Australia, will soon be trialing NLOS technology at selected locations – so stay tuned to learn more about this exciting development.