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Comparison of fixed wireless technology and fiber

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Weekly digest

You are reading the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society’s Weekly Digest. This is a summary of the biggest (or most overlooked) broadband story of the week. The digest will be emailed every Friday.

This week’s guest writer is Andrew Afflerbach of CTC Technology & Energy, author of FixedWireless Technologies and its compatibility with broadband delivery.

Rounding up the week of June 20-24, 2022

Afrabach

Choosing the best technology is long-term, as state, local, and partners plan to invest billions of dollars in federal funding to build broadband infrastructure. Has a great impact on. Federal policymakers have addressed this issue to some extent. For example, broadband equity, access, and deployment (BEAD) programs signal funding opportunities (NOFO) priorities over fixed radio.

To assist state and local policy makers, CTC Technology & Energy has conducted an engineering analysis of fixed wireless technologies and their suitability for providing broadband services in a variety of environments. The report, “Fixed Wireless Technology and Compatibility with Broadband Delivery,” discusses various key technology and cost considerations related to fixed wireless networks and, as a point of comparison, fiber-to-the-premises networks. increase. Do the following:

To provide an accessible guide to current and anticipated future fixed radio technologies, and to provide broadband to residents who are not currently serviced by fixed radio in various deployment scenarios such as urban and rural communities. Shows whether it is a viable approach and suggests how and under what circumstances to show state Public funding for fixed wireless technology as a long-term solution to meet the needs of residential broadband You should consider using.

Broadly speaking, the report concludes:

Fixed-wire technology continues to improve, but it does not match the performance of fiber optic networks, primarily because the existing and potential bandwidth of fiber is thousands of times higher than wireless. Fixed wireless networks also have their own capacity limits that significantly limit the number of users on the network that use a certain amount of spectrum. Fixed wireless network coverage is adversely affected by obstacles in line of sight (including buildings and seasonal leaves) and weather. While fiber networks can physically connect (and provide predictable performance) to all households in the service area, it is very difficult for fixed wireless networks to provide line of sight to all households in the service area. It’s complicated. Scalability is an important issue for the deployment of fixed radio, both technically and economically. A certain amount of wireless spectrum can support a certain amount of network capacity. If the number of network users grows or users need more bandwidth, network operators can increase the spectrum (which is rare, very expensive, and sometimes impossible) or technology. You need to upgrade or add an antenna. It is difficult to design a fixed wireless network that provides sufficient and robust upstream and downstream capacity and reaches all addresses in unserviced areas. The fastest fixed radio technologies (such as those that use millimeter-wave spectra) are effective in providing short-range services to closely grouped households in urban and suburban environments. These technologies are largely unsuitable for servicing local communities due to their geographically dispersed addresses and lack of mounting structures (such as towers and rooftops of buildings). Fiber is sustainable, scalable and reproducible. It offers greater capacity, predictable performance, lower maintenance costs, and longer technology life than fixed-wire technology. Fiber services are not compromised by line-of-sight issues and are not affected by capacity issues that constrain fixed wireless networks.

To further explain the relative strengths and weaknesses of fixed-wire technology, this report provides an analysis of the cost of capital and operating costs of candidate fixed-wire networks compared to candidate fiber-optic networks in the same real-world setting. Each candidate network was designed to provide full coverage for unserviced residential areas.

Cost analysis shows that the cost of upfront capital for fiber is higher than fixed wireless in many situations, but the total cost of ownership for 30 years is comparable for fiber and fixed wireless.

An analysis of fixed wireless and fiber-to-the-premises network designs across four regional deployment scenarios identified the following key cost factors:

The initial cost of capital is higher for fiber than for fixed wireless network deployments. Most of the cost of capital for fiber is related to construction. The cost of capital for fixed wireless deployments is dominated by the cost of customer home equipment. Another big cost is the construction of the tower site (if the tower or building is not yet available for antenna installation). The ongoing operating cost of a fixed radio is higher than that of a fiber, mainly because the fixed radio equipment needs to be replaced on a regular basis. For fixed wireless networks, 40-80% of the capital investment needs to be replaced every 5 years. Only 1-10% of the cost of capital of a fiber network is replaced every 10 years. (Assuming a fiber plant life of 50 years.) Therefore, the economic sustainability of a fiber network is largely determined by the cost of upfront capital of the network. In contrast, the economic sustainability of fixed wireless networks to meet the broadband needs of the home depends on the operator’s ability to reinvest every five years.

Given the above analysis, fiber’s longevity, functionality, scalability, and flexibility provide greater long-term value compared to fixed wireless technology. If the state funds non-textile technologies, such as when the cost of capital to build textiles is high or the need for services cannot wait for the construction of textiles, the state will be a fixed wireless network. Grantee to guarantee long-term maintenance and operation. This can be achieved by requiring a 20-year performance and budget roadmap, and a viable strategy for full-service, difficult to see.

Fixed radio technology and its compatibility with broadband distribution was commissioned by the Communications Workers of America, created by CTC Technology & Energy and published by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.

Andrew Afflerbach, Ph.D., PE are CEO and CTO of CTC Technology & Energy. He specializes in planning, designing, and supervising the implementation of broadband communication networks. Andrew has been in the field for over 25 years, both rural and urban, from small towns to large states to New Zealand’s Fiber to the Premises initiative.

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June 28 II JANOFO Overview: BEAD, DEA, Middle Mile Program Webinar (Advantages)

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June 28 Connections: Impact of Broadband Investment on US Economy (Network: On)

June 29 What is the impact of the UK’s online security bill on online encryption and anonymity? (Data Innovation Center)

June 29 Webinar on the use of broadband data collection systems (FCCs)

July 14, 2022 Open Federal Communications Commission Meeting (FCC)

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization that aims to provide access to competitive, high-performance broadband for all people in the United States, regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe that communication policies rooted in the values ​​of access, equity and diversity have the power to offer new opportunities and strengthen communities.

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