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Get Started with Fixed Wireless Internet

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Fixed wireless internet uses stationary wireless access points to deliver connectivity.

Different providers may use somewhat different technologies, but the basic principle is using a series of broadcast towers to transmit signals via radio waves.

An over-the-air microwave platform is used to carry signals from the backhaul tower, until data get to the user’s location.

How Fixed Wireless Internet Gets to You

At the backend, the Fiber-backhaul tower connects to the internet backbone via a terrestrial hard-wired network.

Transmitters placed on stationary objects like utility poles transmit signals through a wireless network of access points.

The residential antenna communicates with the nearest access point, and connects you to the internet.

The Equipment You Need for Fixed Wireless Internet

Fixed wireless internet installation doesn’t need wires to run from your location to the provider’s Node.

An antenna communicates with the provider’s access point in your vicinity. It is typically installed on the roof of your house in direct line of sight of the tower.

A CAT 5 cable is used to connect the antenna to your wireless router for in-home Wi-Fi.

Why Choose Fixed Wireless Internet

High speed internet across the US globe photo

Availability

Fixed wireless internet technologies have a great potential to connect rural areas with a high-speed service.

Fixed wireless does not require an elaborate wired infrastructure. So providers are able to cover larger areas at relatively lower cost. It also attracts local and regional initiatives.

Coverage is thus expanding fast across the U.S., and now stands at about 46%.

High speed internet across the US globe photo

Speed & Data

Download speeds range from 3 to 1,000 Mbps, but superfast speeds are mostly delivered for businesses. For homes, around 100 Mbps is common.

Latency is lower than satellite internet, because an access point transmits signals within a 10-mile radius.

Fixed wireless plans usually include more data compared to DSL & satellite internet, and some even offer unlimited data.

High speed internet across the US globe photo

Who Is It Best for?

Fixed Wireless internet works best for communities that don’t have wireline internet available or it’s too slow.

Fixed Wireless gives them access to high-speed internet, and is a better-performing option relative to satellite internet.

If you’re in the direct line of sight of an access point in your vicinity, with no obstacles like buildings or trees, you’re good to go.

The Pros & Cons of Fixed Wireless Internet

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Things to Like

  • Simpler infrastructure
  • Widely available in rural areas
  • Fast speeds & lower latency
  • Higher quality of signal relative to other wireless internet types
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Things to Consider

  • Requires direct line of sight for optimal performance
  • Prone to severe weather conditions

More about the Pros

Simple infrastructure:Low infrastructure costs allow fixed wireless providers to expand coverage easily. This encourages local initiatives to contribute, and also makes it more affordable than satellite.

Widely available in rural areas: One of the most incredible benefits is its increasing availability in rural areas without access to wired high-speed internet.

Fast speeds and lower latency: Compared to other wireless technologies it depicts relatively low latency. Fast speeds with reduced lag makes video conferencing & online gaming feasible.

Higher quality of signal: Directional fixed wireless access provides a higher-quality signal even when using the lower end of the radio spectrum. Signal transmission is focused in the direction of the user’s location, and not scattered. Higher frequency bands are usually used for business services to boost the signal & bandwidth.

More about the Cons

Direct line of sight for optimal performance:An optimal fixed wireless internet performance requires a direct line of sight between the provider’s access point and user’s antenna.

Ensuring the line of sight remains clear can be difficult because a provider cannot always control what happens in the space between transmitters. A newly built tall building, a pole knocked over by a storm or a tree grown taller, could potentially interrupt signal transmission.

Prone to severe weather conditions: Fixed wireless internet service can get affected by extreme weather conditions as do other forms of wireless internet. Humidity and precipitation could cause a slight reduction in signal strength, referred to as the rain fade.

Discover Top Fixed Wireless Internet Providers in Your ZIP Code

Looking for high-speed fixed wireless service plans in your area? Make it easy for yourself. Let’s find you the available offers so you can compare all in one place and choose better.

Top Fixed Wireless Internet Providers in the U.S.

Access to a reliable fixed wireless broadband connection saves the day for communities in underserved regions. This is why more providers are now responding by introducing cost-effective internet plans that keep families in small towns and rural areas connected.

Prices start at around $50/mo. but special offers can get you a better deal. If you have explored rural internet services services you’d know satellite internet costs more, making fixed wireless internet a far more practical option.

Rise Broadband

25 Mbps - 100 Mbps for downloads & unlimited data

starting at

$55/mo.

AT&T Fixed Wireless

At least 10 Mbps (typical speeds up to 25 Mbps) & 350 GB data

$69.99/mo. plus taxes

AT&T Internet AirTM

40 Mbps - 150 Mbps for downloads & unlimited data

$55/mo.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

72 Mbps - 245 Mbps for downloads & unlimited data

$50/mo. w/Autopay

Verizon 5G Home Internet

50 Mbps - 300 Mbps downloads & unlimited data

$50/mo. w/Auto Pay & Paper-free Billing

Starry Internet

300 Mbps for downloads & unlimited data

$50/mo.

Featured Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

Rise Broadband fixed wireless internet is an excellent choice throughout rural and suburban parts of the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, and the Southwest regions. You’re likely to find the low latency, no mandatory contracts, unlimited data options, and WiFi service to be impressive.

Rise Broadband Fixed Wireless Internet

  • Downloads from 25-100 Mbps
  • Unlimited data
  • Connect multiple devices via in-home WiFi
  • Streaming videos & gaming at fast speeds

Find a Rise Broadband Plan for Your Home
ClicK Here

Things to Like

  • Enjoy speeds faster than DSL
  • Get unlimited data at fast speeds unlike satellite internet
  • Cheaper than satellite internet
  • Advanced WiFi equipment

Things to Consider

  • Availability of max speed is limited
  • One-time installation fee can be up to $150
  • Monthly rental fee for WiFi equipment

In rural areas wherever the traditional wireline service from AT&T is no longer available, you may be eligible for AT&T Fixed Wireless or AT&T Internet Air, the new 5G Fixed Wireless service. You won’t be blown away with the lowest prices or the fastest speeds in the industry, but overall these are decent rural internet options that you can count on.

Fixed Wireless with AT&T Internet Air

  • 40-150 Mbps for downloads
  • Unlimited data
  • No price hike at 12 months & no annual contracts
  • Equipment included

Learn More about AT&T Air

Things to Like

  • Good speeds for the price
  • No data overage fees or contracts
  • Cheaper than satellite internet
  • No added equipment cost
  • Quick & easy self-install

Things to Consider

  • Limited availability
  • Not the industry’s fastest speeds for the service type

Common Misconceptions about Fixed Wireless Internet

With the various wireless internet types on the consumer market, it is easy to mistake one for another. Depending on your location, one or more kinds of wireless internet services may be available. So, it is good to know what distinguishes fixed wireless from other wireless broadband types such as satellite and mobile.

Fixed Wireless vs. Satellite

Both fixed wireless and satellite internet have their advantages based on the unique technologies each makes use of.

Satellite internet uses satellites orbiting the earth to transmit signals over thousands of miles to and from space.

  • Higher latency due to the mode of signal transmission
  • Limit on high-speed data usage
  • Expensive given its costly infrastructure

Fixed Wireless internet signal travels over a terrestrial microwave platform.

  • Lower latency relative to satellite internet
  • Not as expensive as satellite internet can be
  • Unlimited data options are in plenty

Fixed Wireless vs. Mobile Broadband

While both are types of wireless internet, Fixed wireless is quite different from what is referred to as Mobile Broadband.

Mobile wireless coverage is like a big WiFi zone created by a network of broadcast towers that allow the user to connect when in the range, regardless of their location.

With fixed wireless internet, signal is broadcast via the access point in the direction of the user’s location. And if you are not at that “fixed” location you won’t be able to use it.

How Does 5G Come into Play with Fixed Wireless Internet?

The arrival of 5G has made experts reassess fixed wireless access technologies. Fixed wireless solutions blended with 5G give the consumer an edge with super low latency and more bandwidth.

Both 4G LTE and 5G are broadband cellular network technologies, but are now also utilized in the fixed wireless internet mix to enhance the consumer experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fixed wireless internet is a fast-growing internet service option in the U.S. It uses stationary wireless access points to deliver internet connectivity to subscribers. Fixed Wireless providers may use somewhat different technologies. But basically this internet type utilizes a series of broadcast towers to send and receive signals via radio waves. The speeds range from 3 to 1,000 Mbps.

Fixed wireless internet uses transmitters to send and receive signals in the form of radio waves. These transmitters are connected to stationary objects—like towers, buildings, or poles—at strategic locations, and combine to create a wireless network. Service providers will install an antenna or receiver at your home which communicates with the nearest wireless base station to give you fixed wireless access.

Aside from providers like Verizon and T-Mobile which are using 4G LTE and 5G technologies blended with fixed wireless access solutions for homes, a fixed wireless internet service will only require you to have a WiFi router in addition to the antenna you install on the roof. This antenna works both as a modem and a radio receiver. And the WiFi router transmits the signals from the antenna to your devices over the in-home network.

Unlike satellite internet, fixed wireless technology—when configured correctly—can survive most extreme weather conditions. This is because fixed wireless operates on much lower frequencies than Satellite. And is also not subject to atmospheric conditions for thousands of miles as is with satellite internet.

Fixed Wireless is good for lightweight online gaming but not competitive gaming like Apex Legends or Fortnite. It all depends on your connection speed and latency.

Rise Broadband fixed wireless plans are among the best options in rural areas. Widely available and affordable Rise Broadband plans come with fast speeds and unlimited data. AT&T Air and other 5G Home Internet options may deliver faster speeds, but availability can be an issue.