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Fixed Wireless Access: Versatile and Flexible Service Solutions

Ultra high speed broadband services, deployment versatility and flexibility, and optimized ROI are all key expectations of network operators when offering Broadband services, whether residential or enterprise. In addition, the delivery of internet services should optimize customer SLAs and reduce end-user churn.

A technology that meets each of these requirements is Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), a mobility architecture offering many of the capabilities provided by fixed-line services but at reduced costs. FWA technologies will provide network operators with the ability to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband in both suburban markets and rural areas for home and business applications at lower costs and more quickly than fiber.


Add the evolution of 4G LTE to current 5G NR solutions: today’s FWA equipment is based on standardized 3GPP architectures and common mobile components, removing the limitations of older proprietary solutions while including options such as WiFi 6 and LAN ports. In addition, standard TR-069 management platforms also support today’s FWA CPE technologies, requiring minimal training or transition along with no reinvestment if the current ACS is interoperable with the chosen CPE.

And like fixed wireline, FWA supports networking functionalities and features including routing, VLAN, Security, QoS, and as noted previously WiFi.

How does FWA support multiple markets, such as suburban or rural? Three general options are available including Mid-Band Indoor Units (IDUs), Outdoor Units (ODU), and mmWave ODUs.

  • Mid-Band Indoor Units (IDU)
    • Optimized for either residential or SMB customers, IDUs are a low-cost, easily installed device that is deployed in dense urban and suburban markets due to more readily available base stations (gNodeB). Using mid-band 5G standard spectrum of 1GHz to 6GHz, customers will experience excellent networking speeds which can deliver streaming video, high-quality voice, or large file transfers.  
    • Another benefit of IDUs? Using omnidirectional antennas, flexible placement is available in a home or business with reasonable placement in relation to the 5G network. (For example, placing an IDU in the corner of a basement away from the base station will result in less-than-optimal performance.)
  • Mid-Band Outdoor Units (ODU)  
    • 5G ODUs are an alternate option for any operator offering fixed wireless services. Utilizing directional antennas for better performance, 5G ODUs can be installed by the customer or operator with relative ease, based on the location of the base station to the home. Unlike IDUs, ODUs are powered by Power Over Ethernet (POE) Injectors, a standard/legacy device that transports the customer’s traffic to or from the ODU to a router in the house which then provides WiFi and/or LAN connectivity.
    • One key benefit of a Mid-Band ODU is better distance vs. an IDU because the installation is outside and can be better aligned with the 5G signal, ensuring improved signal qualities and speeds. This makes the Mid-Band ODU a better choice in rural along with some suburban markets.
  • mmWave Outdoor Units (ODU)
    • For customers requiring peak speeds and performance, mmWave is unmatched of the three FWA 5G NR options available. 5G NR mmWave utilizes upper bands from 24GHz to 40GHz which can deliver exceptional capacity, but over shorter distances compared to Mid-Band. Because of this, mmWave ODUs will use massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple outputs) antenna designs to expand capacity and extend coverage.
    • Like Mid-Band ODUs, mmWave ODUs are deployed outside but do require a more exact installation to ensure optimized network signal transmission and receipt. And like Mid-Band ODUs, mmWave ODUs utilize a combination of POE Injectors and CPE inside the home or business for service delivery.

Fixed Wireless is a technology quickly proving its value in all markets, including residential and enterprise whether rural or suburban. Delivering ultra-broadband speeds, customers can now enjoy the video, internet, and voice services over a platform that can be easily installed by the end user and managed by the operator like a traditional wireline device. This can provide significant CAPEX and OPEX savings while providing “faster-to-market” options.

For over 15 years, Zyxel has provided high-performance fixed wireless products that have been deployed by Tier 1, 2, and 3 operators throughout the world. Continuing this tradition, Zyxel’s newest 5G NR Indoor and Outdoor products offer operators options for indoor deployments in suburban SMB or residential locations or outdoor deployments in rural and suburban markets. For proven, high-quality, versatile FWA technologies that will meet your customer’s network demands, Zyxel Communications is your supplier of 5G FWA technologies.



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