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Get Started with Fixed Wireless Internet

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Fixed wireless internet is a fast-growing internet service option in the U.S. that 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 transmit signals via radio waves.

What is different compared to wired internet is that instead of copper or fiber optic cables, a an over the air microwave platform is used to carry signals from the backhaul tower, until they get to the subscriber’s location.

How Fixed Wireless Internet Gets to You

  1. At the backend the Fiber-backhaul tower establishes a connection to the Internet backbone via a terrestrial hard-wired network.
  2. From the backhaul tower onward, signals travel from one point to another via transmitters connected to stationary objects—like towers, buildings, or utility poles. These access points are placed at strategic locations, and combine to create a wireless network comprising of a series of access points.
  3. The antenna installed at your premises communicates with the nearest wireless access point in the vicinity. And your connection to the internet is established.

The Equipment You Need for Fixed Wireless Internet

It puts less of a burden on your resources to have a fixed wireless internet connection installed. Because no wires need to run between your location and the provider’s Node in the neighborhood.

What you do need is an antenna to communicate with the provider’s access point in your vicinity. It typically gets installed on the roof of your house at a spot that is in direct line of sight of the tower.

A CAT 5 cable is used to connect the antenna to your WiFi router which sets up an in-home wireless network for you just like with any other type of an internet connection.

Why Choose Fixed Wireless Internet

Availability

Fixed wireless internet is fast becoming more and more available across the U.S. It is estimated over 45% of the country now has Fixed Wireless coverage from a variety of providers.

The Fixed Wireless technology has great potential to connect rural areas with a high-speed internet service. In rural America it is a popular option for homes and small businesses that are outside the reach of wireline services, or only have a slow speed wired option.

Another reason why it is has become as widely available is it does not require an elaborate wired infrastructure. This way providers are able to cover larger areas at relatively lower cost. And local and regional initiatives are also able to flourish parallel to the nationwide Fixed Wireless providers.

Speed & Data

Fixed wireless internet speeds range from 3 to 1,000 Mbps, but superfast speeds are mostly delivered for commercial consumption. For homes you’re likely to see download speeds up to 50 Mbps. Which is great for standard usage in a household relative to a slow DSL connection.

Also, since towers can only deliver signals to customers within a 10-mile radius of a fixed wireless access point, the latency is reduced and you experience a better performing connection.

Many fixed wireless providers offer generous data allowance compared to DSL and satellite internet service plans. And, you can also find unlimited data options with fixed wireless access via some providers without spending a fortune.

Who is it Best for?

Fixed wireless internet works best for communities with limited internet options.

When there is no wireline service in your area, or what is available is too slow, Fixed Wireless gives you access to high-speed internet.

It is a great option for anyone who can get a direct line of sight. Because to get the strongest signal, you will need to place your antenna in a spot with a clear view of the nearest access point. If there are buildings, trees, hills, or other obstacles nearby, they can interrupt your connection.

Relative to satellite internet, Fixed Wireless is more reliable, and has much lower latency, which contributes to its growing popularity.

The Pros & Cons of Fixed Wireless Internet

Things to Like

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

Things to Consider

  • Signal obstruction issues
  • Prone to severe weather conditions

More about the Pros

  • Simple infrastructure: Because ISPs aren’t required to invest excessively in a wired infrastructure, providing service to larger areas is relatively cost effective. This upside of this internet service type encourages local initiative to contribute to fixed wireless access in any given area, and also makes it more affordable relative to satellite.
  • Widely available in rural areas: One of the most incredible benefits of fixed wireless internet is its broad consumer availability, especially in rural areas where high-speed wireline service are hard to come by.
  • Fast speeds and lower latency: One of the prime benefits of fixed wireless broadband over other wireless technologies used to serve rural communities is its relatively low latency. Fast speeds combined with reduced lag makes video conferencing and 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 toward the subscriber’s location and not scattered in different directions. Higher frequency bands are usually used for business services, and deliver a boost to the signal strength and bandwidth.

More about the Cons

  • Signal obstruction issues: Fixed Wireless requires direct line of sight between the provider’s access point and consumer’s antenna. Ensuring the line of sight remains clear can be difficult because an ISP cannot always control what happens in the space between transmitters. A tall building could come to stand in the path of the signal, a pole could get knocked over by severe storms, or a tree could grow taller—everything which could potentially interrupt a fixed wireless transmission.
  • Prone to severe weather conditions: Fixed wireless 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.

Rise Broadband

  • 25-50 Mbps downloads with unlimited data
For $55/mo.

AT&T Fixed Wireless

  • At least 10 Mbps with 350 GB data
For $69.99/mo. plus taxes

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

  • 35-115 Mbps downloads with unlimited data
For $50/mo. w/autopay discount, taxes & fees included

Verizon LTE Home

  • 25- 50 Mbps downloads with unlimited data
For $50/mo. includes taxes & fees w/autopay

Ultra Home Internet

  • Up to 100 Mbps downloads with capped data
Starting at $59.99/mo.

Starry Internet

  • Up to 200 Mbps downloads with unlimited data
Starting at $50/mo.

Featured Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

Rise Broadband

Take fixed wireless technology, add speeds ranging from 25 to 50 Mbps, unlimited data options, and mesh Wi-Fi for your home, and you have got Rise Broadband!

Rise Broadband fixed wireless internet is an excellent choice for rural America with internet plans available in 16 states. The provider won't fascinate you with super-cheap pricing or ultra-high speeds, but you’re likely to find the low latency, no mandatory contracts, and WiFi service to be impressive.

Rise Broadband Fixed Wireless Internet

  • Downloads from 25-50 Mbps & unlimited data
  • Enjoy speeds faster than DSL
  • Stream your favorite shows & movies
  • Connect multiple devices with in-home WiFi

Find a Rise Broadband Plan
for Your Home

CLICK HERE
  • Available in rural areas
  • Compared to satellite internet there is more data even with capped service plans
  • Reduced latency makes online gaming possible
  • Advanced WiFi equipment
  • Requires line-of-sight to the nearby fixed wireless access point
  • Unavoidable monthly equipment rental fee

AT&T

If traditional wireline service from AT&T is not available anywhere in its footprint, you become eligible for AT&T Fixed Wireless. The service won’t blow you away with the lowest prices or the fastest speeds in the industry, but it is pretty decent compared to other rural internet options.

Perhaps, the best thing about AT&T fixed wireless internet is that it is available where others are not, and it delivers speeds that do the trick.

AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet

  • Downloads from 10-25 Mbps
  • Connect multiple devices via wired Ethernet or WiFi
  • Stream music & video and connect on social media
  • Includes AT&T Home WiFi Gateway router
  • Bundle with DIRECTV and earn a $10 discount

Explore AT&T Fixed Wireless

  • Available where the wireline service from AT&T does not reach
  • Includes the WiFi gateway router device
  • Gets you savings when you bundle with DIRECTV
  • Data cap
  • Lower speeds

T-Mobile

T-Mobile Home Internet is an industry leading fixed wireless service offered by T-Mobile. Its footprint is continuously expanding across the U.S., and currently it is available to 30 million homes nationwide. This version of fixed wireless internet connects you to the same 4G LTE or 5G network that T-Mobile smartphones run on. Which of the two networks you get to connect with depends on your location.

T-Mobile Home Internet service plans are simple. There is a flat price, no annual contracts, and no data caps. The service is easy to self install and comes with 24/7 customer support.

T-Mobile Home Internet

  • Downloads from 35-115 Mbps
  • Unlimited data
  • 5G Wireless Gateway device for in-home WiFi
  • No annual service contracts, or hidden fees
  • 24/7 customer support

Explore
T-Mobile Home Internet

  • Faster fixed wireless internet speeds
  • Includes the WiFi gateway device
  • No data cap
  • Not too widely available yet

Common Confusion about Fixed Wireless Internet

With the number of wireless internet types in the consumer market it is easy to mistake one for another or confuse the characteristics of each. Depending on your location, one or more kinds of wireless internet services maybe available. So, it is good to know what distinguishes Fixed Wireless from other wireless broadband types such as Mobile and Satellite. And also how does 5G come into play with fixed wireless internet.

Fixed Wireless vs. Satellite

In rural areas, fixed wireless and satellite internet are often the only options, and both have their advantages based on the unique technologies each makes use of.

Satellite internet uses a satellite orbiting the earth to transmit the signals back and forth. While this allows for wider coverage relative to Fixed Wireless, the setup also leads to higher latency.

Since with satellite internet the signal has to travel thousands of miles into space and back through the atmosphere, it is more prone to interruptions or outages during severe weather conditions. On the other hand the Fixed Wireless signal travels over a terrestrial microwave platform.

With fixed wireless internet, you can expect more data and faster speeds. Whereas satellite internet providers offer stiff data caps, and unlimited plan options sky rocket in price. For the most part, Fixed Wireless plans are not as expensive as satellite internet can be.

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. You can connect when in the range. But with fixed wireless internet, coverage is broadcast via the access point on a tower directly to the consumer’s receiver. And if you are not in that “fixed” premises to which this wireless coverage is being delivered, you won’t be able to use it.

Fixed Wireless & 5G

The arrival of 5G has made experts reassess Fixed wireless access technologies. And, we have already started to see how fixed wireless solutions blended with 5G are able to give the consumer an edge with super low latency and a much higher bandwidth.

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

Find Top Fixed Wireless Internet Providers in Your ZIP!

Fixed wireless internet is available right across the U.S. In some states the number of providers delivering a fixed wireless service is astronomical. This is due to the many local and regional initiatives geared to deliver internet connectivity to the otherwise underserved areas.

The top 7 states with the most Fixed Wireless coverage include:

Arizona―95.5% | Idaho―96% | Kansas―93.3% | Nebraska―98.1% | Nevada―98% | Utah―98.7% | Vermont―98.9%

Are you wondering “which providers deliver the best fixed wireless internet near me?”

Just enter your ZIP code, and our smart search tool will get you the answer fast!

Last updated: Feb 14, 2022

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.

Here is how fixed wireless and fiber internet stack up against each other:

  • Fixed wireless signals degrade with distance, while fiber-optic wires can carry a signal without degradation for up to 60 miles
  • Fixed wireless can be subject to interference such as local topography and weather, while fiber keeps your connection smooth and uninterrupted since its wired
  • Fiber is the newest and the most advanced type of internet service available in the consumer market. Fixed Wireless has been around for a while, but its availability and popularity has grown in recent years. It has emerged as a viable high-speed option for rural communities which cannot access a wireline service or only a very slow one. On the other hand you are likely to find Fiber availability concentrated in urban centers and select suburban neighborhoods.

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 plans from Rise Broadband come with fast speeds and unlimited data options. You can also choose an AT&T fixed wireless internet plan, but it comes with a 350 GB data limit.

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