Microwaves: a viable NBN alternative
NBN Alternatives are making inroads into the market, providing affordable, fast and reliable internet access and business telephony systems.
In our last post, we looked at some of the limitations of the NBN for businesses needing reliable, high bandwidth communications and rapid restoration in the event of failure.
We explained that dedicated optical fibre connections from other providers were widely available and, for many businesses, could provide a superior service.
However, they are certainly not ubiquitous, and in many areas in Sydney, there is another alternative to NBN: fixed wireless. These services use microwaves and can deliver bandwidths comparable with or greater than the NBN. They are not equivalent to NBN's fixed wireless service. They use different technology and provide much higher bandwidths.
The technology is not new: before the development of optical fibre communications, a network of long-distance microwave links carried most of the communications traffic around Australia, and around most other countries.
While optical fibre has replaced most of these long-haul links the technology of microwave communications, like almost every other branch of electronics, has become much smaller, cheaper, more powerful, and more reliable.
So a technology that was once viable only for telecommunications carriers and very large corporates with high communications demands is now a practical solution for the much more modest communications requirements of small and medium businesses in and around Sydney.
Today there are many companies in Australia operating microwave networks as an alternative to the NBN to provide reliable high bandwidth communications to businesses large and small – and even to some residential customers frustrated by their inability to access an adequate NBN service. If optical fibre is not available in your area then fixed wireless is a great option for your business with greater reliability then the NBN
These wireless communications providers typically install a central microwave transmitter/receiver in an area where they want to offer services and backhaul this into the Internet over a dedicated fibre connection.
When a business orders a service they will install a directional microwave antenna, generally on the roof of the customer's premises and cable this down into the building.
Installation takes only a matter of hours and if a business needs to relocate the service can be relocated just as fast.
Fixed wireless also has a few other advantages over fibre. Buried optical fibre cables are often damaged by contractors carrying out excavation work, and the damage can take days to repair. Microwave links are immune from such damage and because the equipment is easily accessible equipment failures can be rapidly dealt with.