Wireless Network vs Cable Services: Which One Is Better for You?
Over 300 million people are active users of the internet in the US.
Internet connectivity has become a fundamental part of our everyday business and personal lives.
However, internet connections are not all the same. The type of connection you choose determines your internet speed, how much you pay for it and a host of other things.
If you want to be connected, you will have two options; a wireless network or a cable connection.
In this article, we shall put the focus on wireless network vs. cable internet.
What Exactly Is Cable Internet?
Cable internet is a form of broadband internet connection.
It uses the same type of infrastructure as cable television. This connection requires the end user to be connected to the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) at the operator’s facility via a cable modem.
This is where the name cable internet comes from.
Unlike television signals, cable internet requires a two-way data transmission system. The user's modem decodes incoming signals. The service providers CMTS handles outgoing data.
Fixed Wireless Access
Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a type of wireless broadband data communication that is performed between two fixed locations.
Usually, the broadcasting equipment is mounted on the rooftops of both sites as the equipment must be within a line of sight to ensure transmission is not obstructed.
A transmitter radio at the Point of Presence (PoP) sends microwave signals to a consumer's receiver radio. The two FWA devices must be configured to be in a line of sight for the signal to be strong.
Generally, FWA is set on one-to-one locations, but it can also be used for point-to-multipoint and even multipoint-to-multipoint transmission setups.
Choosing Between the Two
Now that you are familiar with how the two internet connection modes work, let us take a look at some of the things to consider when making a choice.
1. Setup and Maintenance
Provided you have cable TV, all you will need is to add a modem to your living room set up to access cable internet. For FWA, your internet service provider (ISP) will have to install a receiver dish on your property.
Afterward, they will configure their transmission radio to send signals to your receiver dish to get the connection up and running.
The installation process for both is relatively straightforward.
With either connection, you can scale up your bandwidth. This will help you to cater to your increasing internet use. For cable, an upgrade will need a new fixed-term agreement.
2. The Internet Speeds You Require
You can get speeds of up to 1 Gbps with a fixed wireless connection.
They also provide synchronous bandwidth speeds that enable better circuit configurations. This allows you to configure circuits so that upload and download speeds match.
This is an important feature especially for businesses that require cloud-based applications.
Many cable internet companies claim to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbps. However, it is questionable whether the technology can realistically support such speeds, especially when serving many users.
This is because when using cable internet, the bandwidth is shared among many users. So, the speed you get at any given point is affected by the total number of active users and their usage at that moment.
Speed is king when it comes to the internet. Your connection must be fast enough to cater for all your transmission needs.
If your company requires sending big chunks of data back and forth or storing information in the cloud, you will need a high-speed and stable connection.
Otherwise, there won't be much difference between you and a person that's not connected.
3. Reliability and Access
Cable internet is generally regarded as a reliable internet solution. This is because signals are sent via a wire which is subject to minimize interference.
However, its greatest limitation is shared bandwidth. When too many users are online which can result in lower speeds.
For fixed wireless connections, the speed you get is constant. As the name implies, it is fixed to what you agreed upon during connection. With FWA your signal is sent directly to your receiver.
As such, there is no interference with other users.
Due to its reliance on cable TV infrastructure, cable internet is mainly accessible in residential areas. Businesses and office blocks that lack the infrastructure may not have access to it.
This is one factor that has fanned the growth of wireless internet connections.
The wireless factor has established fixed wireless internet as a more viable option in rural areas. Fixed wireless ISPs can operate in a wide area.
However, transmission stations are the only stumbling block. Users must be within a 10-mile radius of the nearest transmission station to get a strong connection.
Wireless Network vs. Cable Costs
Cable internet costs range from $30 to $100 per month. The rate varies due to reasons such as corporate discounts or bundles. Those figures are however not inclusive of installation costs.
You can avoid the installation fee if you feel comfortable enough to do the installation yourself.
Low internet prices sound appealing. However, before you subscribe, you should first assess your internet needs and compare it with what you will get from a subscription.
If you subscribe during a promotion, make sure you get the price once the promotional period ends in writing.
Fixed wireless internet is generally more expensive than cable internet. Similarly, prices also vary depending on bandwidth speed. As with all connections, cost increases with speed.
The good thing is that when more people subscribe to a network your ISP can transfer the reduced equipment costs to the end user.
What Will Serve You Best?
So what’s your verdict on the issue of network vs. cable internet? Cable internet is more commonly available and cheaper than Fixed Wireless Access.
On the other hand, FWA is slightly more expensive but offers a dedicated connection. It is also capable of delivering fixed high and synchronous speeds.