Fixed 5G, The Prequel: Starring AT&T And Verizon Wireless [telecom]

By Will Townsend

I'm a Star Wars nerd and this week brings the release of the latest installment to the franchise, The Last Jedi. Before Disney took the helm, George Lucas kept us all confused with prequels and sequels. When it comes to 5G, one thing is certain - "fixed" 5G is the prequel to mobile broadband 5G network rollouts, expected by 2019 to 2020. Recently there's been lots of talk about fixed 5G. What is it? When will it be available? Why should you care?

Fixed Wireless Access (or FWA) provides connection to the Internet via wireless mobile networks, rather than traditional cable, digital subscriber line (DSL) or fiber. The benefit of FWA lies in the convenience of set-up, but traditionally its performance relative to wired methods is poor. Remember the WiMAX technology promoted by Clear several years ago? I was able to easily self-install a router in a window of my home, but the throughput and reliability was always lacking. With 5G, however, lower latency and fast speed should prove to make the offering much more viable. In 2018, the tier one carriers will be rolling out fixed "pre-5G" deployments based on high frequency millimeter wave (mmWave), beam-forming, and massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technologies. The revenue potential is significant, with many forecasting it to be a $1B business by the end of 2019.

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