Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

Sean Jackson
October 15, 2020

Topics covered on this page:

What is Fixed Wireless Internet? Top Fixed Wireless Internet Providers Fixed Wireless Internet Providers Who Uses Fixed Wireless Internet? How Does Fixed Wireless Internet Compare to Other Internet Types? Fixed Wireless Internet Frequently Asked Questions Fixed Wireless Expansion

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Fixed wireless internet uses radio waves to establish an internet connection instead of cable or phone lines. Fixed wireless internet is mainly used by those in more rural areas because the infrastructure for DSL, cable and fiber internet services are often not available. 

Fixed wireless internet requires your internet provider to install a small receiver somewhere on the exterior of your home, similar to satellite internet. The outdoor receiver collects the signal sent from the company’s closest land-based wireless internet tower.

The technician will wire your home with a cable that runs from the outdoor receiver to your home’s router to carry the signal inside. Unlike satellite internet, which has to travel through the atmosphere, a fixed wireless signal only has to travel to the nearest tower making it less susceptible to weather conditions.

Top Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

Here are some of the top fixed wireless internet companies available:

Fixed Wireless Internet Providers

Your eligibility for fixed wireless internet depends in large part due to how close you are to a cellular tower. The closer you are to a tower, the stronger and more reliable of a signal you’ll be able to receive. With this in mind, here are some of the top providers available and how they compare to each other:

ProviderDataInstallationFeatures
AT&T
Download speeds up to 25 Mbps, 250 GB data allowance

AT&T installs outdoor antenna and indoor gateway

Can bundle service with DIRECTV
FrontierDownload speeds of up to 25 Mbps with no data capsFrontier provides you with equipment for a monthly rental feeCan bundle with cable and home phone service
GHz WirelessDownload speeds up to 50 Mbps with no data caps

Free wireless equipment

N/A
Rise BroadbandDownload speeds up to 50 Mbps with data caps ranging between 150 to 500 GB
Free equipment installed professionally on your roof

Can bundle it with home phone service
Etheric NetworksDownload speeds range from 15 to 100 Mbps with no data capsProfessional installation of equipment on your roof, fee depends upon promotional periodN/A
King Street WirelessDownload speeds up to 10 Mbps withN/AN/A
Verizon LTEDownload speeds between 25 to 50 MbpsVerizon provides self-install kit for freeCan bundle with cellular service for a discount

Who Uses Fixed Wireless Internet?

Residents who live in rural or remote areas often use fixed wireless internet because there aren’t many other options such as DSL or cable internet. Internet providers may find it too expensive to install a DSL or fiber-optic cable infrastructure for a small number of homes. Fixed wireless internet is easier to offer because all that’s needed is the installation of a receiver outside the home that captures the company’s broadband waves.

Your eligibility for fixed wireless internet depends in large part due to how close you are to a cellular tower. The closer you are to a tower, the stronger and more reliable of a signal you’ll be able to receive. With this in mind, here are some of the top providers available and how they compare to each other:

How Does Fixed Wireless Internet Compare to Other Internet Types?

Rural homeowners have limited options when it comes to internet service. Besides fixed wireless, the main alternative is satellite internet service. Here’s how the two compare:

Fixed wireless internet vs. satellite internet

Satellite internet and fixed wireless internet both require a dish that needs to be installed on your rooftop with a clear sightline to the closest tower for fixed wireless, or to the sky for satellite. Both types of internet are affected by bad weather, although satellite internet is affected more frequently. 

Fixed wireless internet has better latency (the time it takes for data to be sent from the provider to your devices) than satellite internet because of the distance the broadband needs to travel. Wireless towers may be just a few miles away compared to a satellite. The lower the latency, the faster and more reliable the connection is for streaming and online video games. 

Fixed Wireless Expansion

Expanding fixed wireless internet service is vital in granting access to rural communities. This allows people who live in these communities to work from home, improve communications and much more. On this front, Nextlink will be a new provider on the scene soon. They recently announced a partnership with Nokia and Google to provide fixed wireless internet service to 14 million people in rural communities

In addition, providers who currently offer fixed wireless service are looking to expand more into rural communities. AT&T is adding more services to rural areas while GHz Wireless is working to cover under-served communities in Florida and California. Overall, this is a positive trend as more ISPs understand the importance of providing reliable service in rural areas.

Pros and cons of Fixed Wireless internet

Pros

  • Availability: Fixed wireless internet provides access to rural areas where you wouldn’t be able to receive a reliable internet connection without it. Many providers won’t have service for cable or fiber internet if you live far away from more populated areas.
  • No phone line needed: Fixed wireless internet is transmitted to your home in radio waves captured by a receiver installed in your home. You won’t need a telephone connection for internet service.
  • Affordability: Compared to the alternative of satellite internet, fixed wireless internet is often less expensive with some packages starting as low as $28/mo.
  • Low latency and service interruptions: Your internet speeds should be fairly stable and have low latency (delays in internet response time) due to the relatively short distances between your internet provider’s wireless towers and your home’s receiver.

Cons

  • Cost: Fixed wireless internet service is sometimes more expensive than other options such as cable and DSL. As a comparison, some fixed internet plans can be as much as $50 per month whereas cable internet plans offering the same or better download speeds can start as low as $35 per month (Xfinity.)
  • Equipment: Your internet provider will need to install a small dish onto your home to receive the wireless signal. Normally, they install equipment on your home’s roof that way it can receive a clear signal for the strongest performance.
  • Weather interruptions: Just like satellite internet and TV, bad weather due to fog, rain or snow could affect your internet connection, though it’s less likely due to using land-based towers instead of orbiting satellites.

Fixed Wireless Internet Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment and installation is needed for fixed wireless internet?

A technician will need to install a dish-like receiver outside of your home with a clear sightline to the nearest wireless tower. The dish is usually mounted on the rooftop away from trees and other obstructions. The technician will also wire your receiver into your home and connect a router to deliver wireless internet to all users in the home.

Does fixed wireless internet use a phone line?

Fixed wireless internet service is delivered wirelessly. No cables are required, nor is a telephone line necessary.

How much does fixed wireless internet cost?

Depending on the provider and speed, fixed wireless internet can range in cost between $27.99 and $50.00/mo.

How fast is fixed wireless internet?

Fixed wireless speeds run between 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps on average. The connection is usually stable with low latency because the signal doesn’t have to travel too far to reach your home in most cases.