5G fixed wireless access means big change for home internet connection

Leena Elias 27 Aug 2020

With 5G FWA allowing larger bandwidth and low latency, high-speed internet can be more accessible across cities and rural areas alike.

The move to 5G now appears to be inevitable, as phone manufacturers ensure all models have 5G connective capabilities and telecom companies begin to install widespread networks. With 5G, faster and more accessible fixed wireless access (FWA) can be possible.

FWA is an alternative to fixed-line routers, and in a 5G world, acts as a 5G router to allow for internet access. In technical terms, 5G FWA is a medium of network access using New Radio (NR) in the millimeter wavelength, delivering high-speed broadband services comparable to or even better than current fixed-line DSL, cable, or fiber connections. While this technology may be most useful in emerging countries where fixed broadband is not yet prevalent, the speed and capacity of FWA will make it a competitor in developed markets as well. Both enterprises and residential communities are expected to benefit from FWA, especially in suburban and rural areas where fiber is expensive to lay and maintain. With a wide spread 5G FWA network, everyone can have access to high-speed wireless connection regardless of location.

What do people expect from 5G?

As 5G begins to replace 4G, consumers hold high expectations. Overall, people want more reliability and faster data speeds from their connection, and are hoping 5G will provide these improvements. According to PwC’s Promise of 5G survey, consumers are willing to pay up to $5.06 more on average for 5G compared to their current internet service if it can meet their needs.

On 4G FWA, residents and businesses in suburban and rural areas may find it difficult to use the network due to the low bandwidth and slow latency. However, the immensely improved 5G FWA is expected to bring high-speed internet to these communities, allowing them to use more devices and access a better internet experience. Latency could be as low as 1ms on 5G, avoiding the significant lag in response time seen with 4G. 5G FWA bandwidth is also much higher, letting more data-heavy devices join the network without impacting data speeds. Boasting a reliability rating of 99.99%, 5G is expected to immensely improve the limitations of 4G and make FWA on par with if not better than fixed-line services. For consumers, this could mean the opportunity to use more connected devices from computers to phones to smart home IoT. 

The future of mobile networks operators and ISPs

5G is mainly accessible through the mobile network and FWA. Currently, FWA is provided by smaller companies operating within local communities at limited coverage. With the heightened capabilities of 5G FWA around the corner, internet service providers are not the only ones with motivation to ramp up their FWA offerings. 

FWA could be an additional service provided by mobile network operators in conjunction with their 5G mobile network. At the moment, MNOs are able to bring 5G to devices on the go, but there are every present problems with mobile networks such as data capacities and inconsistent speed depending on the network coverage at the location of the user. FWA can be presented as a static 5G solution for fast speeds and reliable service at home without worrying about data limits. A 5G home network would also allow users to connect IoT devices to 5G, further benefiting from the speedy data streams. Here, we can see a possible clash between internet providers and mobile network operators as MNOs spread into ISP territory to present options for 5G in the home as well as on the go. 

Opportunities for network-wide security

Whether you are accessing the network through mobile or FWA, there comes the need for network edge protection. While FWA still has physical components, security on the edge will allow home connected and on the go devices to be protected through a single solution. Instead, the responsibility of cybersecurity shifts from the shoulders of users, to those of ISPs and MNOs, who must partner with digital security firms to implement virtual network functions (VNFs) for protection at the edge of the network. With both 5G mobile and 5G FWA, all data traffic will pass through the 5G edge, keeping the security point limited to a single point. This will catch some attacks before they reach the consumer, keeping them and the network providers safe.

There is still a long way to go until we reach the full capabilities of 5G and are able to always rely on fully secured networks. As we transition from 4G to 5G, converged security solutions across the network edge, routers, and endpoint devices are necessary to accommodate devices both at home and on the go. The growing amount of connected devices requires these measures of security for full digital protection until a 5G solution is implemented and widely available.

Avast and 5G

As one of the largest cybersecurity providers in the world, Avast prevents 1.5 billion attacks every month using its unique cloud-based machine learning engine. Serving businesses for over a decade, Avast has protected millions of users through service provider partnerships and updated features to keep up with technological changes. 

We are evolving our solutions to meet the security needs of a 5G world. For consumers, we are building up our smart home security to ensure digital security in a 5G connected household. We are taking security straight to the edge by developing solution prototypes for the larger 5G network, protecting all connected devices whether they are at home or on the go. We have seized the opportunity to work with a prominent North American mobile network operator to work our prototype into their system and keep their users safe. 

Find out more about our 5G network edge solutions and implementing our prototypes through partnering with Avast.

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