With Cellular operators pushing the reach of 5G mmWave, we could see the application of 5G even in rural areas as opposed to urban areas only. Due to its propagation characteristics, mmWave has been known for short signal reach hence only suitable for urban areas.
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However, UScellular on its latest results has shown distances of about 6 miles with LOS is possible and speeds of over 700Mbps on the downlink achievable. This will increase 5G coverage for FWA even in rural areas. The carrier achieved these with macro tower setup and a high gain CPE.

There are a couple of 5G CPE’s already in the market that can benefit 5G deployments. With the recent program by FCC, the ECF eligible parties can also take advantage to get 5G connectivity with 4G backward compatibility.

Indoor end-user devices or mobile hotspots can also be used to get 5G connectivity (of course with 4G backward compatibility). Should one be facing poor reception on 5G sub-6GHz frequencies, which can work with NLOS unlike mmWave, it is possible to increase reception strength and quality using external antennas or signal boosters (typically for 4G signals) depending on the router or mobile hotspot.

With private LTE gaining traction, CBRS is also being used to improve coverage with small cells and microcells to take advantage of the 3.5 GHz spectrum. TVWS is also a good candidate for FWA deployments in rural and suburban areas due to its far reach capability. This reduces the cost of deployments as only a few base stations may be required. Both CBRS and TVWS can provide internet connectivity and can benefit from the FCC ECF program. Check out some of the CBRS and TVWS devices in the market today.

Contact an Rfwel wireless specialist on your next greenfield Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) project. You may also reach us at +1.480.218.1877 Option 2.