Wireless vs Fibre

As a country we have relied on fibre communications as our primary means of wide area network connectivity. Fibre is extremely expensive to provision due to right of way access, permitting, construction, labor, and cost of material.  Meanwhile a lot of other countries have leap frogged Canada by deploying fixed wireless microwave communications. Many countries around the world are deploying wireless bridge microwave backhaul as their primary backbone telecommunications network. The costs of deploying a point to point wireless bridge can have a ROI of less than three months compared to even leasing fibre that is pre-existing.

With advancements in technology and newer regulations from Industry Canada, wireless Ethernet bridge systems can deliver over GigE (more than 1Gbps full duplex) throughput, equivalent to that of fibre. A fixed wireless microwave link can go upwards of 50 miles. If proper wireless system design is done, a fixed wireless Ethernet bridge can provide a predictable reliability of 99.999% uptime. That’s less than 5 minutes of predictable outage a year.

Most people don’t think about the fibre once it leaves their building or know the path it takes. Fibre in urban areas runs inside sewer lines, underground conduits, and aerially on phone and light poles. In rural areas fibre mostly runs aerial along telephone and electric poles. Have you ever driven down a road and seen a bunch of wood telephone poles leaning from side to side? Well that might just be the fibre your network is running on.
Ever question how long it takes for a telecommunications company to do a truck roll to repair a cut fibre? If it’s a clean break fibre can sometimes be fusion spliced back together. In most cases where a fibre pole goes down or gets ripped out by a backhoe, the fibre gets stretched and has to be replaced by cutting it at both ends and fusion splicing it in place.

This can take hours – if not days – to accomplish. What would be the cost to your business if that occurred? 

Microwave communication can take the form of  point to point wireless backhaul, point to multipoint wireless bridge, or a mesh wireless Ethernet bridge. If a microwave radio fails it can be swapped out in a matter of minutes (provided a spare is maintained). After an earthquake or other natural disaster, a wireless system can be realigned immediately, getting communications back up and running.  The biggest concern with wireless backhaul is the potential for wireless interference. Using a licensed microwave link can solve any interference concerns.

If you have any questions about the advantages of wireless over fibre, feel free to contact me using the form below. I look forward to answering any of your questions.

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