Fixed wireless internet is becoming a great alternative for businesses which cannot be reached by DSL or Cable internet services, and do not have the budget for T1 internet. Fixed wireless can reach approximately 95% of all homes and businesses, whereas, DSL and cable internet can only reach approximately 60% of the homes and businesses in the US. The preferred choice for most wireless users is 3G wireless. 3G wireless provides the option of receiving the strongest signal of four of the largest wireless services in the country. This is important because each location is unique in which wireless provider provides the strongest signal. With 3G service, the customer location is tested for which provider offers the strongest signal, then the signal is locked in to the tower of the provider with the strongest signal. Signal strength for fixed wireless averages about 500 kilobits per second (kbps) upload, and more than 1000 kbps download. Fixed wireless can be used several different ways. For small companies, or home businesses, it can be used as the primary bandwidth source. Because it provides a completely redundant source of bandwidth, for larger companies, fixed wireless is used as an excellent backup bandwidth source. The reason fixed wireless is favored for backup bandwidth is that it is not received through copper phone lines unlike DSL or T1. If the phone lines to a building go down, this will not affect the wireless signal. Another advantage of fixed wireless is that it is provisioned (activated) in an average of three days. For customers who must have T1 or higher bandwidth, but cannot wait the average 45 work days that it takes to provision T1, fixed wireless serves as an excellent alternative during the interim. Fixed wireless is priced differently for emergency (month to month), backup bandwidth, or as a primary bandwidth source (one year contract minimum). For companies which need higher bandwidth than is provided by wireless, T1, bonded T1, or ethernet might be preferred options.
3G wireless service should not be compared with satellite service. With satellite service, a customer is usually limited to the amount of bandwidth that they can use each month. Once this limit is reached, service is either shut off, or limited to the point where it is no longer functional. 3G fixed wireless does not have a monthly cap so the customer can maximize bandwidth 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and not be shut off or penalized. Even though satellite service may appear to be less expensive, to obtain the equivalent bandwidth provided by fixed wireless, satellite usually costs more. Also, for satellite, the equipment and installation charges are usually several hundred dollars higher than with fixed wireless Another important issue is that because the signal for satellite signal must travel thousands of miles each way for upload and download, the distance makes the signal vulnerable to atmospheric conditions like interference (noise). Because of this, and because a fixed wireless circuit only must travel through the air a few miles to get to the nearest cell tower, a fixed wireless circuit only has a fraction of the latency and packet loss that are common to a satellite circuit.