5G mmWave Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Extension technology is paving the way for less complicated and cheaper delivery of gigabit or multi-gigabit connectivity to apartment complexes. Homes previously passed but not connected can now be revalued and proven profitable, allowing network operators to target a large market of untapped customers residing in brownfield MDUs. This is being spearheaded by InCoax’s MoCA Access™ based system solution that leverages existing in-building coaxial cabling according to Helge Tiainen, Head of Business Development, Marketing & Sales at InCoax Networks.
Authorities have struggled to close the gap between homes passed and homes connected for several years. A study by the RVA/Fiber Broadband Association from earlier this year show that less than 45% of all homes passed in the US are being connected, and despite efforts made, the gap continues to grow. One strongly contributing factor is difficulties in cost-effectively accessing the apartments with new cables. Deployment costs have been too high and installations too invasive for the building owners and tenants to accept, resulting in the current low take-up rate ratio.
The FWA technology is an alternative that provides operators with shortened deployment times and faster time to revenue of services. In combination with MoCA Access™, the conditions are even better. MoCA Access is a technology for fiber or FWA extension that is specified for 2.5 Gbps of symmetrical data rates over the existing in-building coaxial network. This enables operators to make significant cost-savings on deployments without sacrificing performance, especially in comparison with fiber. MDUs that have previously been passed but not connected, due to high deployment costs and low estimated take up rates by subscribers, can now be revalued from a new business case perspective. The technology allows operators to connect more subscribers to high performance services that will lessen the digital divide.
“A considerable obstacle for network operator roll-out plans has been the effective delivery of reliable gigabit or multigigabit speeds for brownfield MDUs,” Tiainen continued. “This is driving the growth of fiber access and 5G mmWave FWA technologies, particularly when it is deemed that laying fiber to the home or Ethernet cabling from the rooftop is not cost-effective. We need multiple technologies to reach the ambitious global targets laid out for digital inclusion. By relying on just one technology, such as fiber, we will slow down rollouts and even risk leaving a large portion of the population behind.”
Tiainen has helped launch, and called for others to contribute to, the Broadband Forum’s “Fixed Wireless Access Extension” project that will help connect Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) with 5G FWA. The project is primarily focused on reaching apartments and flats within MDUs by repurposing existing property infrastructure, such as coaxial cabling, to extend the FWA connectivity to all apartments.
Coverage is uncertain between the base station and the apartments due to wall attenuation of the 5G signal, as the higher frequency mmWave signals often struggle to penetrate through multiple walls, typical of an MDU.
“That is why 5G FWA Extension technology that leverages existing property infrastructure should be a no brainer for network operators,” stated Tiainen. “They will have a faster return on investment as DSL customers can be turned to 5G FWA subscribers, and additional costs for re-cabling property infrastructure is prevented thanks to InCoax’s technology.”
InCoax Networks will be attending this year’s WISPAPALOOZA at booth 701 on October 9-12 at the Paris / Horseshoe, Las Vegas, Nevada.