A guide to fixed wireless broadband in Urban areas

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What is fixed wireless broadband?

Home wireless broadband, also known as fixed wireless internet, offers a super-fast broadband connection through New Zealand’s 3G, 4G or 5G mobile networks.

It allows homes and businesses to access the internet through New Zealand’s cell phone network, without needing to rely on a physical connection. This means that you don’t need a phone, cable or fibre line to connect to the internet, and can be a great option if you live in urban or rural areas.

Fixed wireless vs fixed-line broadband

Fixed wireless broadband uses the radio waves transmitted by cellphone towers to connect you to the internet. Depending on where you live, this can be the same 3G, 4G or 5G network that your cell phone uses.

This is different from Fibre, ADSL or VDSL broadband which uses phone or fibre cables to connect your home to the internet.

The connection is “fixed” because you are connected through a wireless broadband modem that stays in a fixed spot, rather than the roaming 3G or 4G connection you have through your cell phone.

A key benefit of fixed wireless internet is that it doesn’t require a physical cable connection. Instead, it uses an antenna built into the Wireless Broadband Modem. The antenna picks up the radio signals from the closest cell tower.

Is fixed wireless broadband right for me?

A fixed wireless broadband connection might be a good option for you if:

  • You live in a remote area where traditional broadband isn’t available
  • You live in a property where it is physically challenging to install broadband cables
  • You live in a rental property or apartment where your landlord doesn’t consent to installing fibre broadband of VDSL, so Wireless Broadband is the best option.

Is fixed wireless broadband reliable?

If you live in an area with good 3G or 4G reception, then wireless broadband will provide high speeds and a reliable connection. You can expect a connection that allows you to check emails, use social media and stream music and videos through your wireless connection..

Wireless broadband is worth considering in areas where ADSL or VDSL broadband aren’t performing optimally. The performance of traditional ADSL or VDSL broadband declines the further away from the exchange that you live. So, you may be surprised to learn that wireless broadband can outperform traditional broadband connections.

Pros and cons of fixed wireless broadband

Is wireless broadband right for you? The quality of your connection will depend on where you live and how good the reception is in your area. Here are some pros and cons to help you make an informed choice about wireless broadband.

Advantages of wireless broadband

  • Wireless internet is often easier to set up than traditional broadband because there are no cables involved.  It’s usually as simple as plugging in a Wireless Broadband modem and connecting.
  • Because there are no physical cables, there is no chance of wires getting cut and disrupting connectivity
  • Unlike internet connection on your mobile phone, wireless broadband plans usually have much more generous data caps

Disadvantages of wireless broadband

  • The receiver and transmitter require line of sight in order to communication. This means the best place for a strong connection is near a window. Trees, hills or large buildings can affect the quality of your connection, or make it impossible in some areas.
  • Pricing for wireless broadband is becoming more competitive, but it may cost a little more than traditional connections like VDSL or Fibre. But, depending on where you live, wireless may offer much better connection speeds than other options.
  • Wireless connections can be affected by weather conditions like rain or fog. However, weather is a factor more often for satellite internet users.
  • If you have a monitored home alarm or medical alarm, you will need to check with your alarm provider to find out if it’s compatible with Wireless Broadband.

Is fixed wireless internet better than satellite?

This question depends on where you live. If you live in an area with good 3G and 4G reception then wireless broadband is likely to offer the best speed and connection. Plus, getting started is often as simple plugging in a Wireless Broadband modem.

Satellite internet relies on a physical dish mounted to your roof to connect you to the internet via satellite signals, so there is more set up involved. Satellite broadband plans have traditionally been more expensive wireless broadband. But it is much more widely available – pretty much anywhere you can see the sky.

If you live in rural parts of New Zealand Fixed Wireless from the major mobile providers may not be the best solution for you.  An organisation known as WISPA is here to help.  This is a collection of NZ WISPs – or Wireless Internet Service Providers – and they are key to broadband in rural New Zealand.  They provide Internet connectivity by fixed wireless, mostly in regional or rural areas where mainstream telecommunications companies don’t bother going. WISPs connect to a fibre optic link at a central point (this is known as “backhaul”), install a series of fixed wireless receivers and transmitters on hilltops or high buildings, and bounce the wireless signal across a series of these sites to a cluster of end users in a rural area.  Their site offers more details here.


Top Fixed-Wireless Broadband Plans for Urban Areas


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