What is Microwave Internet?
Microwave internet or Wireless Access (WLA) is a fixed wireless broadband connection delivered by high capacity microwave radio link, which does not require any other infrastructure other than power, and a clear or near line of sight. This technology with the help of point to point microwave antenna can rival the reliability of fibre optic networks connections.
A point to point microwave link is a permanent connection between two sites, and it is a tried and tested and most importantly cost-effective alternative communication system to leased line technology. It delivers both voice and data traffic over long distances and to more remote locations and rural areas, offering reliable microwave broadband.
How does microwave internet work?
Microwave internet starts with a fibre connection at a point of presence (PoP), which is connected to the national fibre network, or the internet. This in return is connected into the interface of the radio which transmits ultra-high frequency internet access over the air, and it is converted back into a copper or fibre cable at the recipients end by a router.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of microwave internet?
Microwaves are widely used for point to point wireless connectivity because their small wavelength allows antennas to direct them in narrow beams, which can be pointed directly at the receiving antenna. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of microwave internet technology.
A big advantage of a microwave data link is that in the absence of fibre broadband, or where the available copper lines are not suitable for internet connectivity, WLA microwave internet provides a stable high-speed communication solution for more remote locations. With this high-frequency internet service, businesses can receive impressive and reliable internet speeds without needing to wait for new infrastructure to be laid in the area.
The higher frequencies of microwave give the microwave band a significantly high information-carrying capacity that can rival the most commonly used fibre optic fixed wireless internet solutions. Latency is a measure of how long it takes for data to travel along an internet connection, and while this is negligible for homes, when it comes to businesses, latency can make or a break business productivity. Low latency is essential for VOIP systems, financial trading, and businesses where high volumes of data are being transferred and received on a daily basis, and a rapid response is required.
Cabled internet connections and leased lines can sometimes fall foul of installation issues, which can add delay and on occasion even require intrusive structural building work in order to connect a customer and successfully complete the installation. In essence, the further the nearest exchange, the bigger the risk that these structural issues may occur.
On the other hand, microwave internet is reasonably straight forward to install in places where cable installation would normally be impractical. With this technology, there is no need for cumbersome satellite dishes; it only requires a discreet antenna, which is unlikely to breach any building planning restrictions. The installation is normally carried out within a few days, as opposed to fibre broadband connections, which can span several weeks.
Similarly, to fibre leased lines, microwave internet or WLA is an uncontended connection, which means that it is not shared with other users and most importantly it comes with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Uncontended internet is naturally pricier than a home connection or a shared business FTTC broadband solution, however, microwave internet is nowadays competitively priced in line with fibre leased lines and other ethernet circuits.
Microwave internet provides an effective and secure connection to businesses in more remote locations. This technology can help businesses maintain faster internet speeds, and in turn, enhance business productivity.