What is wireless internet?
Starting with the basics, let’s discuss what wireless internet is, exactly.
Wireless internet, most often referred to as “fixed” wireless internet, is a type of connection that uses radio frequencies to give you online access. These radio waves are released from cell towers in your area and omit the need for any hard wires.
How does wireless internet work?
Unlike DSL and fibre which rely on underground cables to work, a wireless internet connection uses an antenna to send and receive data. This antenna is typically placed on the exterior of the building it’s going to cater to. The antenna is the device that’s responsible for picking up radio signals from the closest cell tower. Once the antenna picks up a signal from the nearest tower, an internet service provider will then give you access to the internet via a cable carrying the signal from the antenna to the router in your home.
The Difference Between Fixed Wireless Internet and Satellite Internet
Fixed wireless and satellite internet are often thought to be the same, but they are not. To set the confusion straight, let’s look at how the two connection types differ:
- Satellite Internet: Satellite internet requires a receiver/broadcaster to work. This hardware connects you to orbiting satellites so that you can send and receive information online. An ISP rep will measure the signal strength across your home to find the best place to install the receiving and broadcasting device so that the radio waves are kept as steady and consistent as possible.
- Fixed Wireless Internet: Fixed wireless connections rely on a network of cell towers to work. You'll still need a rep to install a communicating device (an antenna) to your home but instead of directing it to satellites in orbit, its target will be a nearby tower.
Fixed wireless internet has many advantages over satellite services – mostly because the distance to the receiver has been reduced.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wireless Internet
Fixed wireless internet is growing to become a popular alternative to traditional methods of connecting to the internet. But, like with all types of internet connections, you need to weigh the pros and cons before you sign any internet plans.
The Advantages of Wireless Internet:
- With no cables involved, it’s one of the easier internet connections to set up.
- Because there are no cables, you don’t have to worry about connectivity interruptions due to damaged or cut wires.
- There are no enforced data caps involved.
- It gives rural areas access to high-speed internet.
- Many users can use the connection at once.
- The weather won’t drastically affect your connection because the towers are land-based (as opposed to orbiting satellites).
The Disadvantages of Wireless Internet:
- The receiver and the transmitter require an uninterrupted signal to communicate. This may be impossible in some areas where trees, hills, and large buildings block this communication path.
- Because it’s a dedicated service (i.e. your connection will be solely yours), the connection will cost more than cable, DSL, and satellite alternatives.
- Weather conditions such as rain and fog can interrupt a fixed wireless connection – although this type of interruption is often slim to none.
Is wireless internet available in my area?
Most major internet service providers in the US provide fixed wireless internet solutions. In fact, there are currently over 1,566 providers across America that are eager and waiting to sign up new users.
Some of the most established wireless internet providers include:
- Charter Spectrum
- Frontier Communications
- Verizon Fios
Fixed wireless internet plans will vary by location. You may also want to consider where your nearest wireless towers are located (ideally, you want to be positioned within 10 miles from the closest tower to increase your connection’s quality). For this reason, some addresses may not be eligible for a fixed wireless internet service, even if there is a provider in the ZIP code.
How can I find the best wireless internet or WiFi service provider?
When shopping for a cheap internet
plan that’s going to aspire to your needs, then it’s important that you diligently compare internet
providers. This will help you to get the connection type you want, at the speed you need, and at a price that you are happy with.
To do a hassle-free quote comparison, you can use our free online comparison tool to see which internet service providers are in your area and what their deals are. This tool is easy to use, and you will have all the information you need with just a click of a button. This way, you can make an informed choice when it comes to your home or office internet plan.