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Will 5G fixed wireless become cheaper than fiber-to-home?
25-08-2016

A 5G fixed wireless home router may be great for Indian cities, where digging up for fiber faces big hurdles.


5G fixed wireless, according to vendors like Nokia Networks, will emerge much before 5G mobile. It's well known that wireless does not match the capacity of fiber, when it comes to pumping calls and data to the home. Can 5G fixed wireless change that?

At least in the U.S., Verizon thinks so. It plans a "friendly, pre-commercial launch" of a fixed wireless pilot in 2017, according to its Director of Strategy, Sanyogita Shamsunder, who adds that the 5G specification is "75% to 80% there" at least for a "fixed wireless use case."

What's behind the haste for fixed wireless? Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam said recently that he expected a "significant cost saving" from deploying a 5G home router, compared with the cost of delivering ultra-broadband services over a Fios fiber connection (Verizon's fiber to the home connection).

The operator has been testing 5G on the 28GHz millimeter wave band, with 37GHz and 39GHz bands next in line. Chipset availability is a key concern, and Verizon is working with Intel and Qualcomm on chipsets.

A 5G fixed wireless home router may be great for Indian cities, where digging up for fiber faces big hurdles. But in the emerging "smart cities" being built with "intelligent" optical transmission gear, it will face stiff competition.

And will millimeter waves become available in India any time soon? Perhaps TRAI should engage in this.

Adapted from a LightReading story


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