There is a greater demand for fixed wireless access (FWA) than ever before, as the new coronavirus epidemic has led to an increase in the need for teleworking and home-based learning in regions and districts where the wired back-end infrastructure serving these is not properly built or may be outdated. According to Ericsson's Mobility Report published last week, the number of FWA connections could multiply in the coming years in response to the epidemic, while preparing for further waves.
Thus, the number of FWA connections is expected to reach 160 million by the end of 2025, and they will account for 25 percent of global mobile network traffic. At the end of 2019, FWA data traffic was estimated to be about 15 percent of total global data traffic. According to current forecasts, this will increase almost eightfold and reach 53 exabytes by 2025.
Ericsson defines FWA access as any Internet access that relies on a 4G or 5G mobile network infrastructure, and the connection is accordingly a terminal (modem or modem-integrated router) integral to the home or office network, or provided by an external antenna that may be connected to it depending on the reception conditions. FWA can also provide a foundation for future 5G infrastructure development and deployment in regions where fixed-line networking is difficult or unaffordable.
FWA achievements could also trigger decades of fixed-line technologies such as copper pair based xDSL. The company estimates that about 300 million xDSL endpoints could be replaced by fixed wireless access globally, allowing subscribers to access higher-bandwidth Internet connections without having to bother changing wires and related equipment, either for them or for service providers.
Magyar Telekom's “accelerator option” for xDSL connections was considered a kind of hybrid fixed-mobile solution, but this construction is no longer included in the service provider's network. The classic FWA access offered by DIGI is the DIGI compact package, which can still be subscribed to today, and has been available in 27 Hungarian settlements (mostly small settlements) in the same form and coverage since last year.
Gellert is Technology Editor at Counting News Media and contributor at other major tech publications. Her interests includes testing new gadgets and reading.