The different types of wireless broadband
As the name suggests, wireless broadband is a term covering various methods of providing business or home broadband without relying on wires, cables or phone lines.
It includes mobile broadband (both 4G and 5G), fixed wireless access broadband and satellite broadband. And the good news is that at least two of these options are available pretty much anywhere in the UK.
4G broadband – sometimes called mobile broadband – uses the mobile networks to deliver a fast and reliable primary broadband connection via 4G to homes and businesses.
Although it’s not the fastest broadband technology available, providing average speeds around the 25 Mbps mark, it has two huge advantages. It’s available almost anywhere in the UK and it is deployable almost immediately – and that’s including locations where mobile phones show 4G signals as being weak or flaky.
This makes 4G broadband the ideal solution for the hundreds of thousands of typically more rural UK homes and businesses still suffering with very slow landline broadband.
So if you have slow internet, get in touch and discover how our parent company National Broadband can radically improve your broadband with 4G. Learn more about its fast 4G broadband services here.
5G broadband is also a form of mobile broadband. It’s the latest generation of communication technology being rolled out by the UK’s mobile network operators. But actually, 5G will encompass two different services, namely the ultrafast city-based 5G that’s being advertised heavily now and starting from 2022, a superfast 5G service that will gradually cover much more of the UK. Read on for more details.
Ultrafast urban 5G
The 5G broadband that is available today covers cities and other major urban locations. It delivers an average performance that comfortably exceeds ultrafast (which means it offers speeds easily in excess of 100 Mbps).
So if you live or work in an urban location and you’re looking for an improvement in your broadband speeds to that sort of level, our parent company National Broandband can again help out. Discover more about its ultrafast 5G broadband services here.
Superfast low-band 5G
Starting in 2022, the UK’s mobile network operators will begin to roll out a second version of 5G. This will be transmitted at a much lower frequency than the ultrafast urban 5G mentioned above, hence the name “low-band”.
This means it won’t be as fast as urban 5G (with its estimated performance averaging around 50 to 60 Mbps). However, the major upside is that each mast transmitting low-band 5G will cover a much greater area – simply because the lower the frequency used, the further the signal travels.
It will take a year or two for low-band 5G to be rolled out to cover most of the UK, but we expect this to be the next available significant broadband improvement for the majority of homes and businesses outside major towns and cities.
If you’d like to be kept informed of the schedule for availability of superfast low-band 5G broadband in your area, or would like more detail on this upcoming service, just click below.
Fixed wireless access broadband
Like 4G and 5G mobile broadband services, fixed wireless access broadband (also known as FWA) delivers its connectivity via radio transmissions.
Wireless internet service providers (or WISPs) take a good quality broadband feed, then slowly build their own radio networks out from that point, looking to provide a radio-fed broadband solution for properties falling within their coverage. This means that WISP networks inevitably tend to be very local and so most properties won’t be covered.
Maximum broadband speeds can be similar to those offered by 4G, but monthly pricing tends to be more expensive, especially if you want a faster service.
Unlike mobile and FWA broadband, satellite-delivered broadband is transmitted direct to properties from satellites orbiting the earth. A special dish is needed to pick these signals up and communicate with the satellites in space. Nowadays there are two distinct types of satellite broadband:
Geostationary satellite broadband
This is what most people who’ve heard of satellite broadband will think of. It’s provided by companies like Konnect. A broadband connection is supplied to a property from a single satellite sitting above the equator at a height of around 35,000 km. That’s a long way up.
Although performance can reach around the 50 Mbps level, the relatively expensive monthly plans offered by this type of satellite broadband tend to have their speeds throttled sharply back after only a very small amount of data has been used, so that the connection being beamed down can be fairly shared among all users.
And because the satellite is so far away, the service is more subject to interruption by bad weather. Also, users will experience inevitable delays in their internet connection responding to requests they make (e.g. waiting for a web page to load), because of something called latency.
Low earth orbit satellite broadband
Very recently, companies such as Starlink have launched quantities of smaller satellites that orbit the earth at a much lower altitude. Large numbers of these satellites are needed in order to provide a consistent broadband connection.
The good thing is that, because these satellites orbit much lower, the speeds that can be offered are faster (up to around 75 Mbps), the service is more reliable and the delay (or latency) is much reduced.
However, the downside is that the initial cost of the equipment needed to receive such a service is still significantly expensive. As is the monthly charge for this type of satellite broadband, typically being over double the pricing of 4G or 5G broadband.