• Posted on Aug 29, 2022

Building the Best and Most Reliable Network: Fixed Wireless vs. Fiber

In this day and age, everything runs on digital information. We use the internet all day, every day. From online gaming to streaming videos to workplace presentations, the internet keeps the societal globe spinning.

The internet is vital in the business world now more than ever. Small home businesses and large corporations alike depend on the fastest delivery of information possible. This necessity often leads to the inevitable debate over fixed wireless vs. fiber networks.

Some think fiber optic networks are the superior option, while others say wireless connectivity is the future of data sharing, and fiber is now archaic and obsolete. Let’s break down the situation and look at the facts.

What Is Fiber Optic Internet?

Fiber optic internet is a network deployment that sends data through fiber optic cables. The cables convert data from electric to light signals. These signals then travel through the cables inside tiny glass wires at up to 70% light speed.

What Is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Wireless internet is a network deployment that broadcasts data signals to a specific area through satellite signals or radio waves. WiFi and wireless internet are not the same things.

WiFi is the wireless connection that comes from the modem in your home or business, connecting your computer, laptop, phone, and tablet to the web.

However, wireless internet is the data service that connects your modem to the internet.

Fixed Wireless vs. Fiber: Getting the Facts

Many people firmly believe that fiber optic networks are the best way to provide internet connections to rural areas. Others say that wireless connections are a better, more reliable option. These are the considerations we need to take when analyzing this debate:

Network Installation

Fiber optic networks take time and work to build. Because of the cables’ physicality, the installation of these networks can become pretty complex. Some of the factors that affect the construction of fiber networks are:

  • Terrain: When laying the fiber optic cables, the construction team will often encounter rivers, mountains, and forests that they will have to circumvent.
  • Private property: Sometimes, fiber optic cables require placement on private land. Getting approval for this is time-consuming and often expensive.
  • Space: The amount of space you’re using to lay cables will affect the time it takes to dig and lay cables. It will also increase the number of obstacles encountered when laying the cables.
  • Municipalities: If you lay cables across multiple town or county lines, it will require permits from each municipality. Coordinating with the separate cities’ schedules can become troublesome.

Due to these requirements, it can take months or even years to install fiber optic networks. A new business that needs an online network to operate usually can’t afford to wait months on end for fiber optic network construction. For these reasons, building a fiber optic network is neither time nor cost-efficient endeavor.

On the other hand, wireless network deployments have none of these problems and takes less time for deployment compared to fiber optic internet. Radio signals in a wireless network pass over all terrain without issue. Wireless network construction is much easier, requiring minimal time, manpower, and recourses.

Network Speed

Network speed is not only important for gaming and entertainment, but it’s paramount when it comes to business internet. A low-speed connection will negatively impact applications that run on the network. Slow internet service speed causes buffering while streaming video, lagging in online gaming, and poor communication in voice and video calls.

While fiber optic networks are high-speed, wireless internet deployments are much faster. As the fiber cables stretch long distances and navigate twists and turns, the speed at which the data travels is noticeably slower. Fiber network speed is excellent for small networks in small areas, but larger networks will feel the drag.

Network Reliability

Network reliability is a major factor when considering the debate on fixed wireless vs. fiber. Business owners need to trust that their network won’t fail and shut down all operations. Even domestic network users experience significant problems when their network goes down.

Wireless links boast reliability rates of up to 99.99%. Fiber optic networks, on the other hand, are frequently shut down due to damage to the cables. Fiber optic internet cables lay underground and are vulnerable to damage.

Some of the causes of fiber optic cable damage are:

  • Lightning
  • Construction
  • Water
  • Rats
  • Voltage
  • Ice

Network Security

One of the most crucial concerns when choosing a network is data security. Someone using a network in a domestic sense needs to know that information like credit card numbers and banking data are safe. Businesses with poor network security may become victims of data theft and corporate espionage.

Fiber optic network suppliers purport to provide better security than wireless providers due to the data flying from wireless links to satellites. However, many wireless providers equip their networks with security protocols that meet military and government standards. Providers also install complex algorithms and encryptions within network software to further secure data within the network.

Network Installation Cost

Whenever we buy, build, or create something, the ultimate concern is cost. Nobody wants to pay more than they need to for an inferior product or service. In the business world, the way to see a positive return on investment is to make smart choices with your capital.

Laying fiber optic cable comes at an average cost of $27,000 per mile. Wireless network providers create wireless links at a tenth of the price of fiber optic network providers. This means that businesses who need to create a network will see a positive return on investment faster with a wireless network.

In the debate of fixed wireless vs. fiber optic networks, wireless networks are the clear winner. Contact eNetwork Supply in Skokie, IL, at 312-283-5983 for information on fiber optic and wireless networks.