Broadband in terms of data communication refers to any bandwidth delivery above T1 (1.544 Megabit/sec) or E1 (2 Megabit/sec).
There are many means through which Internet can be delivered in access network like DSL, Cable Internet or Wireless. However, Wireless Broadband Internet is emerging as popular choice for customers.
Technology for Wireless Broadband
There are diverse technologies used by wireless broadband providers across the world.
First technology to offer actual wireless broadband service to customer was, 3G with capability of bandwidth delivery around 10 Mb/sec. This technology was based on WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).
Subsequently WiMax was developed as first 4G technology with download speed of more than 30 Mb/sec. During later half of last decade large scale deployment of WiMax happened across European countries. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the latest 4G technology which is widely getting deployed across North America and many other developed countries across the world.
LTE technology offers download speed up to 100Mb/sec and set to become game changer in Wireless Broadband Internet.
The Different Types of Wireless Broadband
Wireless Broadband Internet can be categorized as:
- Fixed Wireless – This mode of service is normally delivered using wireless point to point connectivity and widely used by Enterprises for last mile connectivity. WiMax technology also supports point to multipoint fixed wireless internet delivery with high download speed.
- Mobile Wireless – This mode of connectivity is mostly used for personal communication, using devices like Smart phones, Tabs or Dongles. Gradually this mode is getting popular for enterprise applications as well. This mode uses 3G, LTE, and WiMAx etc for delivering Broadband Internet.
Major Triggers for Growth of Wireless Broadband Internet
- Development of Large number of new applications hosted on Web.
- Virtualization – World is moving towards cloud based system and for accessing applications in cloud, Internet connection is compulsory.
- Interactive Video and Audio (VoIP) applications. Apart from this many streaming sites like YouTube is consuming huge bandwidth.
- Popular social media sites like Facebook, twitter, Whatsapp etc are driving huge Internet traffic
- Boundaryless office – Today enterprises are encouraging mobile workforce instead of fixed office set-up. This need is driving high demand for wireless broadband Internet
There are several indicators which point towards big growth of Wireless Broadband Internet; few of them are listed below –
- Wireless Broadband Internet is fastest growing segment in telecom with CAGR of 40% per annum since 2007
- In developing countries connection more than doubled since 2011( from 472 million to 1.16 billion)
- By end of Year 2012, 1.5 billion of world population had wireless broadband connection which is expected to reach 6.5 billion by 2018, with CAGR of 50%
- By year 2018 total wireless broadband traffic is expected to become 12 fold from current level of 1300 Petabytes.
Advantages of Wireless Broadband
There are several significant advantages of Wireless Broadband Internet which is driving massive growth of this segment
- Easy access to customer
- Faster rollout
- Wider reach of service to difficult and widespread population
- Less capital expenditure needed compared to fixed broadband access
- Mobility to customer
- Large number of Customized tariff possible for different segment of customer
- Very suitable for enterprise with mobile workforce
- No need of any cabling within premises
- Seamless data roaming possible with various technology like 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi etc giving advantage to both operators and customers.
Limitations of Wireless Broadband
- Wireless Broadband service require scarce frequency spectrum which is very costly and inhibiting growth in many countries
- In dense urban area, providing in-building coverage becomes challenging
- Mostly Wireless broadband services are asymmetric in nature( i.e. Upload speed is much less than download speed)
- For higher bandwidth requirement above 100 Mb/sec Wireless broadband option is not available
- QoS(Quality of Service) parameters of wireless broadband is normally found inferior to fixed broadband
Wireless Broadband penetration is rapidly increasing worldwide due to advent of new technology like WiMax /LTE/ Wi-Fi etc. In comparison, fixed broadband growth is almost stagnant.
I believe very soon we are going to witness a completely networked world connected dominated by wireless Broadband Internet.