How fixed wireless compares against fiber optic and coax cable for business internet reliability

June 28, 2023

Fixed Wireless vs Fiber Optic Internet

Internet today has become the lifeblood of modern business, which is the key component of daily operations, whatever it might be. It is never enough to have only the connectivity. When picking the right Internet service for businesses, some companies require faster Internet connectivity, reliability, and top quality to operate more efficiently.

Whenever you pick the ISP or internet service provider, numerous options are available, including fixed wireless, fiber optic, and coax cable. In our post today, we will explore how wireless vs. fiber optic is compared to coax cable for the greater reliability of the Internet.

Fixed Wireless Internet

Fixed wireless Internet is the technology allowing high-speed internet connectivity by using radio signals for transmitting data between the base station and the antenna of the customers or the receiver. Unlike traditional wired connections, fixed wireless does not depend on physical cables to deliver internet access.

It generally operates through the near-line of sight or the line-of-sight connections, where these radio signals of the base stations are beamed directly onto the customer's equipment.

Fixed wireless technology has significantly advanced over the years, offering faster speeds and enhanced reliability. Using advanced radio equipment and good signal processing techniques, fixed wireless can deliver a speed comparable to traditional wired connections.

But, the real performance of the fixed wireless Internet in Metro Detroit varies based on the factors like the distance from the base station, the overall quality of the wireless network infrastructures, and the potential obstructions.

Fiber Optic Internet

The fiber optic internet is considered the gold standard for high-speed internet connectivity, depending on the thinner strands of the glass or plastic fibers for transmitting the data using light pulses.

The fibers can carry massive amounts of details over longer distances without notable degradation of the signals. As an outcome, fiber optic connections offer amazingly faster and more reliable internet speeds.

The primary benefit of the fiber optic internet is its ability to offer symmetrical upload and download speeds. Compared to other technologies where the upload speed is slower than the download one, fiber optic connections offer equal speeds for both directions of data transfer.

Things are perfect for activities needing larger file uploads, video conferencing, and cloud-based services.

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial or coax cable is the kind of electrical cable comprising the central conductor mainly surrounded by the metal shield, a cylindrical insulating layer, and an external insulating layer. They have been mainly used for internet connectivity and television for several decades.

The coax cable can deliver high-speed internet access. However, their performance might vary based on cable quality and distance from the service provider's infrastructure. The coax connections are generally shared among several users in the neighborhood where the available bandwidth gets divided among their subscribers. It would result in reduced speeds in peak usage times when several users actively use the Internet.

Fixed Wireless Versus Cable Broadband Internet
Fixed Wireless Versus Cable Broadband Internet

Although the coax cable offers reliable internet access, it becomes more susceptible to signal loss and interference than fiber optic connections. Factors like the age of the cable, environmental conditions, and the presence of electrical or radio frequency interference would impact the performance and reliability of the coaxial cable connections.

Reliability is the main factor of consideration when picking the internet service with interruptions or downtime that becomes frustrating, impacting productivity. We will now compare the reliability of the fixed wireless, fiber optic, and coax cables based on numerous features.

Infrastructure and Physical Limitations

Fixed Wireless: The reliability of the fixed wireless Internet in the Detroit area mainly depends on the line of sight and the location between the customer's antenna and the base station. The signal reliability and strength affect physical obstructions like trees, buildings, and other structures.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic cables are extremely reliable since they are not susceptible to electromagnetic interference and would transmit data over longer distances without any degradation. But, the maintenance and installation would need specialized expertise.
Coax Cable: Coaxial cable is often prone to signal loss and interference over greater distances. It is even affected by external factors like electrical interference or weather conditions.

Speed and Bandwidth

Fixed Wireless: Fixed wireless technology has significantly evolved with modern systems offering high-speed internet comparable to coax cable and fiber optic connections. But, the available bandwidth would vary based on the capacity of the wireless network and the number of users across a given area.
Fiber Optic: The fiber optic connections offer amazing bandwidth and speed capabilities offering symmetrical and consistent upload and download speeds.
Coax Cable: Coax cable offers high-speed Internet, but the available bandwidth is generally shared among numerous users across the neighborhood, reducing peak usage times.

Redundancy and Backup Options

Fixed Wireless: Business internet in Metro Detroit offers reliable backup options in primary internet connection failure cases. Using multiple alternative routing or wireless links makes it possible to maintain internet connectivity even if one of the links goes down.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic connections offer redundancy options but require additional cost and infrastructure.
Coax Cable: The coax cable connections might have limited backup options, and it is complex to establish redundant connections.

Scalability and Future-proofing

Fixed Wireless: Fixed wireless networks are quickly expanded and deployed, making them flexible solutions in areas with limited wired infrastructure. But, the overall scalability is limited by the available spectrum and the different number of base stations.
Fiber Optic: The fiber optic infrastructure offers virtually unlimited scalability and can handle greater bandwidth demands in the future. 
Coax Cable: Coaxial cable networks have been around for a long time and might need distinctive upgrades to meet future bandwidth requirements.

Distance and Latency

Fixed Wireless: Fixed wireless networks would experience latency and signal degradation over longer distances. The distance between the customer and the base station increases with the performance and reliability of the connections that might be affected.
Fiber Optic: The fiber optic connections are not significantly affected by the distance, ensuring low latency and consistent speed irrespective of the distance between the user and the service provider's infrastructure.

Fixed Wireless Versus Coax Internet

Coax Cable: Coaxial cable connections often experience signal loss with greater latency over the longer cable runs, mainly when the quality could be better.

Weather Conditions

Fixed Wireless: Adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, storms, or thick fog could affect the reliability of fixed wireless connections. The existence of the physical obstacles combined with the serious weather would lead to signal interference or temporary outages.
Fiber Optic: The fiber optic cables are not susceptible to weather conditions offering better stability and a reliable connection during inclement weather.
Coax Cable: When comparing Coax cable versus fixed wireless Internet, the coaxial cable connections might be affected by weather conditions, mainly when the external cable infrastructure is exposed or damaged to environmental elements.

Service Provider Quality and Network Infrastructure

Fixed Wireless: The reliability of the fixed wireless mainly depends on the service provider's network infrastructure and the equipment quality. Reputable and established providers with stronger infrastructure offer reliable connections.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic versus fixed wireless Internet is highly reliable whenever reputable service providers deploy them with a streamlined infrastructure.
Coax Cable: The reliability of the coaxial cable networks varies greatly based on the maintenance of the service provider practices and the quality of the cable infrastructure.

Cost and Affordability

Fixed Wireless: Fixed wireless is the most affordable option in areas where laying down the fiber optic, or coaxial cables is challenging or expensive. But, the initial cost for installation and the monthly fees varies based on the provider and their location.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic connections are more expensive to install and maintain than coax cable or fixed wireless. But, the long-term reliability and the high-speed capabilities might justify the higher costs for a few specific users.
Coax Cable: Coaxial cable connections are typically more cost-effective than fiber optic, making them an alluring option for users on the right budget. But, the performance and reliability must be par with the fiber optic connections.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Fixed Wireless: A few fixed wireless providers offer service-level agreements guaranteeing a specific level of uptime and reliability. These agreements outline the compensation or remedies in cases of service disruptions offering their customers added assurance.
Fiber Optic: The fiber versus wireless internet connections arrive with strong service level agreements that ensure minimal downtime and higher reliability. The service providers often prioritize maintaining uptime and addressing the arising issues.
Coax Cable: The coaxial cable connections might have service-level agreements. However, they are generally less extensive compared to fiber optic connections. The service restoration times and the outage compensations vary.

Customer Density and Network Congestion

Wireless Business Internet vs Fiber Internet
Wireless Business Internet vs Fiber Internet

Fixed Wireless: Fixed wireless networks often experience reduced reliability and congestion across densely populated areas with more users. Whenever customers share similar base stations, bandwidth availability gets divided, impacting performance.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic connections resist network congestion due to their higher bandwidth capabilities. They would handle a larger number of users simultaneously without degrading their reliability.
Coax Cable: Coaxial cable networks often experience reduced reliability and congestion during peak use times, mainly across neighborhoods with greater customer density. Sharing the bandwidth among several users will decrease reliability and slow speeds.

Maintenance and Repair Time

Fixed Wireless: The fixed wireless systems might need onsite reconfiguration and maintenance in equipment failure or signal issues. The time taken for the repairs varies based on the response time and availability of the provider for the technical resources.
Fiber Optic: Fiber optic connections typically need less maintenance than coaxial cable or fixed wireless. But, whenever repairs are required, they might involve specialized technicians or the equipment leading to greater repair times.
Coax Cable: The coaxial cable connections often require occasional repairs and maintenance, mainly when the cable infrastructure ages or damages. The repair times vary based on the service provider's availability and the issues' challenges.

Local Infrastructure and Availability

Fixed Wireless: Knowing about Comcast versus wireless Internet throws facts on the fixed wireless is the most alluring option across remote or rural areas where laying fiber optic or coaxial cables is impossible. It offers an opportunity for reliable internet connectivity across areas with limited access to different forms of connections.
Fiber Optic: The availability of fiber optic infrastructure mainly varies based on the region. It is mainly available across urban areas with limited coverage across a few specific remote or rural locations.
Coax Cable: Coax cable connections are used across numerous suburban and urban areas. But, in rural or remote areas, the availability of coaxial cable infrastructure is limited.

Get fixed wireless Internet for your business.

Fixed wireless vs. fiber optic and coaxial cables are the three unique technologies mainly used for internet connectivity. Fixed wireless is the wireless technology that would extend internet access to the underserved areas while the fiber optic providers blazing-fast speeds and symmetrical upload and download abilities. Coax cable is the conventional option for delivering reliable Internet however might come with several limitations related to the shared bandwidth and potential interference of the signals.

It is always challenging to locate an internet option that is reliable and fast enough for your business. The fixed wireless Internet is ideal for people without appropriate wired internet coverage and those searching for a reliable primary or wireless failover option.

So, do you need help finding the ideal internet service provider for your requirements? Contact us today for expert advice with personalized recommendations based on the requirements and locations. Stay connected with the high-speed and reliable internet connection from Metro Wireless!

Tyler Hoffman