Wireless Broadband

As the name implies, wireless broadband delivers broadband service without using wires to connect to a home or businesses. Wireless broadband is delivered over radio frequencies through transmitters and receivers. Wireless broadband can be categorized into two basic categories: satellite and wireless networks.

Satellite Broadband Service

Satellite Internet service is provided through the same small dishes used to deliver video services, such as DirecTV and Dish Network. Users send and receive information to the Internet via a satellite dish to a receiver on a satellite in space. The satellite retransmits the signal to and from the network operation center that is connected to the Internet. Satellite broadband service is available to nearly any location in the United States that has a clear view of the southern sky.


Ubiquity! A major advantage of satellite broadband is its ability to deliver service to any location in the United States with a clear view of the southern sky.


Satellite broadband offers lower broadband connection speeds than typical DSL, Cable modem and terrestrial wireless broadband services. Upload speeds are also relatively slow on most systems. Weather can provide intermittent service. Satellite broadband costs more to install and monthly fees are usually higher than wired broadband.

Recommended Resource: Satellite Signals (http://www.satsig.net/) provides links to satellite Internet providers serving the United States. Information available through this site includes installation costs, broadband service levels and broadband Internet service costs for satellite Internet service.

Broadband Over Wireless Networks

Cell phone broadband

3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunication networks refer to a generation of standards for mobile phones and other devices such as smart tablets or laptop computers set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Applications that can be delivered over 3G networks include voice, mobile internet, video calls and mobile (IP) TV.

4G or 4th generation mobile telecommunication networks is the successor to 3G networks. ITU standards for 4G set a peak speed requirement for 4G service at 100 Mbps for highly mobility communication (such as from cars or trains) and1Gbps for low mobility communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users).

Several carriers have launched products advertised as 4G that don't follow the ITU 4G standards. While these 4G products don't meet ITU standards they are capable of delivering higher bandwidth than 3G offerings.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi Hotspots are designed for indoor use with a broadcast range of several hundred feet and include both public and private networks. Hotspots are often deployed by businesses to provide broadband access to their employees. Hotspots are also found in many retail environments such as coffee shops to provide service for customers who use built-in wireless cards in their computer or other mobile devices such as wi-fi enabled tablets or cell phones to connect to the Internet.

(Wireless ISPs) Point to Multi-Point

Wireless ISP (Internet Service Provider are designed to serve very large coverage areas using a point-to-multipoint network topology and broadcasts wireless data up to 20-miles. Unlike Wi-Fi networks where the customer uses their own Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) antenna, a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) broadcasts a signal from a base station and the signal is received by a fixed wireless antenna mounted on the customer's premises. Most WISP systems are based on proprietary systems that do not allow roaming.

In between a Wi-Fi Hotspot and a WISP, there is a hybrid version of the first two systems, which is called a Neighborhood Internet Service Provider (NISP) or Wi-Fi Hotzones. Wi-Fi Hotzones use a group of access points to cover a large outdoor environment such as a neighborhood, marina, shopping mall or campground.

What advantages are provided by wireless broadband?

Wireless networks can cover wide geographic areas efficiently, providing the first available broadband service, or a competitive service, into many communities. Networks of varying sizes can be deployed in places where it would be prohibitively expensive to run wires. The lower cost of deploying wireless networks is enabling rural communities and the private sector to build out wireless broadband. Because trenches do not have to be dug, there may be less overall disruption and visual impact to communities. Wireless also has opportunities for mobile uses that other technologies do not.

Recommended Resource: Broadband Wireless Exchange. (http://www.bbwexchange.com/)