Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

Fixed Wireless internet is one of the fastest-growing internet service options in America. Using stationary wireless access points to beam connectivity directly into consumer households, a Fixed Wireless connection forgoes the need for any physical wiring in favor of a completely wireless setup. Serving speeds ranging anywhere between 3 to 1000 Mbps, Fixed Wireless is reliable, efficient, and widely available. As you’d expect with all types of internet service packages, Fixed Wireless plans and coverage vary from provider to provider. As of 2020, Fixed Wireless boasts a nationwide coverage of approximately 51%. While this internet type already covers half the U.S. population, many providers are striving to expand their networks and cast a larger coverage net across the country.

Provider Max Download Speed Up To
AT&T 10-25 Mbps View Plans
CenturyLink 10 Mbps or higher View Plans
Vivint Up to 100Mbps View Plans
Windstream Up to 100Mbps View Plans

What is Fixed Wireless internet?

Fixed Wireless internet is a type of internet service that uses broadcast towers to transmit and receive signals in the form of radio waves. These transmitters are affixed to strategically placed stationary objects—like poles, buildings, or towers—which effectively create a wireless network.

A small dish or antenna affixed to your property receives these signals and sends them to your in-home modem. From there, the signal is converted into the web connection you use to browse the web, stream Netflix, and browse your social media platforms. Though incredibly similar to Satellite internet, Fixed Wireless broadband eliminates the need for a phone or cable line to connect you to the world wide web. This independence from traditional wiring makes Fixed Wireless such a popular choice for those living in rural areas where popular terrestrial internet service options are not readily available.

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How does Fixed Wireless work?

Fixed Wireless internet uses radio waves transmitted by a cell tower to foster an internet connection. Unlike Cable, DSL, or Fiber Optic—which all use some form of in-ground wiring to transmit internet signals—Fixed Wireless simply relies on an exterior antenna to provide your home with speedy web service. This antenna picks up radio signals from the closest provider cell tower (also commonly referred to as a Point-of-Presence). From there, the signal travels to your modem and then to your router where it converts the signal into a WiFi connection.

How is Fixed Wireless internet different from Satellite internet?

Despite their distinct similarities, Fixed Wireless and Satellite are two very separate entities. Both wireless internet types require a dish or antenna to broadcast a web connection, however, both employ different technologies that distinguish one from the other. Satellite internet works using transmitters orbiting Earth. Satellite fosters a web connection via three separate satellite dishes: one attached to your property, one suspended in space, and one stationed at your internet service provider’s hub. Fixed Wireless, alternatively, depends on a connection bridged between a Point-of-Presence (PoP) tower and an antenna affixed to your home. Fixed Wireless internet typically offers higher speeds and lower latency, making it a favoured wireless option above Satellite. However, it’s worth noting that Fixed Wireless internet service could potentially be more expensive than a Satellite package, but this ultimately comes down to your provider and geographical location.

Wireless internet

What are the pros and cons of Fixed Wireless?

Fixed Wireless internet is rapidly emerging as a viable alternative to traditional internet services. Unlike terrestrial internet connections like Cable, Fiber Optic, and DSL, Fixed Wireless offers up an innovative wire-free future of internet connectivity. Between providing access to rural areas and serving up lightning-fast speeds, there’s plenty to love about Fixed Wireless. If you’re considering furnishing your home with a Fixed Wireless connection, make sure to first weigh the pros and cons of your decision.

Pros of Fixed Wireless internet

  • Availability in rural areas: Fixed Wireless broadband can easily reach locales where DSL, Cable, and/or Fiber-Optic internet may not be available—making it the ultimate high-speed option for households outside of urban areas.
  • No phone line necessary: Fixed Wireless internet is one of the most straightforward methods of equipping your home with a cost-effective web service plan that requires no phone lines or direct physical connections.
  • Low latency: Lower latency means higher efficiency, and with a Fixed Wireless connection, signals are able to travel shorter distances between towers and receivers, resulting in attractive latency rates comparable to DSL or Cable.
  • High data allowances: Most internet service providers enforce some form of data cap. Fixed Wireless providers are known for dishing out lenient allowances that give you 100 GB of data per month, or in some cases, unlimited monthly data.

Cons of Fixed Wireless internet

  • Line of sight fragility: As mentioned before, Fixed Wireless connections are made possible through a small dish or antenna stationed at the exterior of your home. These points of contact need direct lines of sight to a PoP tower to receive uninterrupted service.
  • Weather interference: Rain, wind, snow, fog, and other types of inclement weather can obstruct your signal and web connection.
  • Signal disruption: Radio frequencies are always subject to crosstalk and interference, which means that there is always a possibility of temporary service issues.
  • Service and equipment cost: Monthly and initial startup costs for Fixed Wireless internet run a higher bill than other internet types depending on your plan and package availability.

How fast is Fixed Wireless internet?

While Fixed Wireless internet can reach speeds up to 1,000 Mbps, the most common speeds users experience average out around 25 Mbps. Across the board, Fixed Wireless subscribers can expect speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

Fixed Wireless internet speeds will vary depending upon various factors including:

  • How many devices are occupying your web connection
  • The weather your location experiences
  • Nearby buildings, hills, or trees that could interrupt the signal’s line of sight

Fixed Wireless internet installation

Wondering how Fixed Wireless internet is installed? Professional installation requires a certified technician coming to your home to set up the service and mount a small wireless antenna or dish to the exterior of your home.

  • Step 1: A certified technician will assess your home to pinpoint the best location for the wireless antenna or dish to be positioned to guarantee the strongest connection possible.
  • Step 2: The wireless antenna is then mounted on your roof or exterior wall and calibrated for optimal performance.
  • Step 3: Finally, the technician will connect the wireless antenna to your in-home modem for WiFi router. Once this is done, you can enjoy a speedy Fixed Wireless connection to the Internet.

Fixed Wireless internet frequently asked questions

Is Fixed Wireless internet better than Satellite?

Fixed Wireless connection can offer faster speeds and lower latency than Satellite internet, however it largely depends on your particular location. In terms of nationwide coverage, Satellite is more commonly available than Fixed Wireless. Satellite internet plans are also less likely to have hard data limitations.

When it comes to latency speed, and data limitations, Fixed Wireless shines in comparison with Satellite—offering more user-friendly rates that stretch your money longer.

What is the best Fixed Wireless internet?

There are over 1,000 Fixed Wireless in the United States, and many of them are smaller providers that service local areas. Among the very best of available Fixed Wireless internet providers on the market include:

  • AT&T Fixed Wireless
  • Windstream
  • Rise (Colorado)
  • Skyriver
  • GHz Wireless
  • King Street Wireless (Virginia)
  • Etheric Networks