5G Fixed Wireless Internet – What Is It, Why Is It Good And Where Can You Get It?

5G this and 5G that – those two characters have been bandied about a lot in recent times, so what does it mean and how will 5G impact fixed wireless broadband internet access?

5G Wireless BroadbandWhat Is 5G?

5G stands for 5th Generation Wireless. A solid definition is a topic of hot debate, but it’s generally understood to be communications technology that uses uncluttered higher frequencies, is far faster, lower latency and more robust than the 4G and 3G technology that preceded it.

5G adoption will mark a quantum leap in communications.

5G Is Very Fast

In a fixed wireless broadband scenario, 5G can easily attain speeds of 1,000 Mbps. To put that in perspective, that’s ten times faster than a high-end NBN plan (100MBps). While 4G is capable in real-world conditions of speeds of 450Mbps – those have to be pretty much ideal conditions and very close to a tower.

The speed boost provided by 5G  will be particularly important in relation to the uptake of 4K TV and aside from entertainment, has very practical applications relating to business (such as high resolution videoconferencing), telemedicine and transportation (e.g. autonomous vehicles).

But 1,000Mbps isn’t where 5G’s speedy street cred ends for fixed wireless broadband – speeds of 10 – 20Gbps (10,000 – 20,000 Mbps) are theoretically possible. While there’s nothing currently available requiring that sort of speed, if the evolution of the Internet has taught us anything is that make something possible and someone will find a way to utilise it.

5G Is Very Low Latency

Latency is the measure of time delay from one point of a network to another -it’s also sometimes referred to as “lag”. High latency means a degraded internet experience; particularly when engaging in online activities such as gaming. While 3G  latency was around 100 milliseconds,  4G knocked that down to around 30 milliseconds. 5G is even lower – approximately 4 milliseconds, with 1 millisecond on the horizon. This is partly due to fewer computing resources being required to encode/decode packets of data.

This very low-latency attribute will be very important for autonomous vehicle technology. Without 5G, autonomous vehicles might not be possible.

5G Can Handle (Far) More Connections

If you’ve ever tried accessing the internet at a major sporting or music event, you may have noticed heavily degraded performance – not just in terms of speed, but even just making a connection.

A 5G network can provide up to a million connections per square kilometer. While densities of one million people per square kilometre are certainly very rare, something that needs to be considered is the Internet Of Things (IoT), whereby all sorts of devices will be (and are already) connecting to the internet. A fixed wireless internet household of today may just have a few concurrent connections – for example, the family computer and family members’ tablets and phones. In the years ahead this could grow to dozens or hundreds connections as domestic appliances and personal devices increasingly become web-enabled.

Connecting Difficult Areas

5G fixed wireless connectivity will be particularly attractive in urban and suburban areas where fixed line broadband is difficult or expensive to implement. Far from being a “second-best” connection, 5G fixed wireless will offer an equally good user experience as – or even superior to – fixed line connections such as Fibre To The Node (FTTN) or Fibre To The Curb (FTTC) .

Disadvantages Of 5G

Probably the biggest disadvantage of 5G is signal strength. Its range is shorter than the 2.4Ghz network due to the higher radio frequency, which will need to be addressed through the use of more towers and repeater stations. However, more towers doesn’t mean more power demand as 5G technology is an energy-sipper compared to its predecessors. Part of the reason for this is 5G equipment is able to power up and down depending on demand and precise directional control of antennas.

When Will 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband Arrive In Australia?

5G fixed wireless broadband technology is already in use by some Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs). One such ISP is Lightning Broadband. Most of the company’s wireless links already qualify for the 5G “definition”. We’ve been rolling out AirFiber 5X HD radio system rollouts at selected towers, which have a 1 Gbps+ throughput capability.

Learn more about how Lightning Broadband’s fixed wireless internet technology works.

With 5G in the communications mix, the future is very bright (and very fast) for fixed wireless broadband users.

Related: Fixed Wireless Internet Myths