Combining Fibre and FWA extension tech to bridge the digital divide

27th February 2024
Sheryl Miles

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Extension over in-building coax networks is transforming the broadband landscape, addressing the pressing need to bridge the digital divide in the US.

While the spotlight has been on fibre, the reality is that fibre alone cannot address the monumental challenge of connecting all Americans. A combination of fibre and FWA networks is essential to serve urban and rural areas effectively.

The development of FWA technology has been monumental in recent years, paving the way for high-performance multigigabit broadband connectivity services. However, extending these services to individual apartments within Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) presents a unique challenge. Traditional phoneline networks have performance limitations and deploying new Ethernet cabling is costly and intrusive to residents. Experiences in fibre deployments are also similar. The last mile challenge has resulted in many brownfield MDUs being passed and missing out on high-speed connectivity, particularly due to the time, labour, and cost-intensive nature of fibre deployments.

Government-funded programmes such as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Programme, administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), are injecting substantial funds into the broadband industry. While fibre deployments have been the primary focus, the benefits of alternative solutions to address the middle mile and the last mile challenge cannot be overlooked, especially given the limitations of available funds.

Performance requirements of broadband deployments are increasing, which older FWA equipment often fails to meet. This poses a threat to small to medium-sized operators which need to make investments to upgrade any old equipment, not to risk being replaced by other vendor or technology.

InCoax's MoCA Access 2.5 technology repurposes existing in-building coax networks in brownfield MDUs to solve the last mile challenge, reducing CAPEX and accelerating the return on investment with fast network deployments. The result is a multigigabit broadband network enabling FWA and fibre operators and Communication Service Providers (CSP) to offer gigabit or multigigabit services. To protect businesses, a challenge process has been set up under the BEAD umbrella, meaning old FWA deployments can be upgraded with InCoax’s technology as part of a BEAD Challenge Process.

For the past four years, InCoax has delivered FWA Extension to thousands of MDUs in the US. Since the US coaxial network primarily is designed as Point-to-Point (Home Run), converting cable customers to FWA services is easy. Service speeds typically reach symmetrical 1Gbps, with an increasing number of deployments offering MultiGigabit speeds of 2Gbps. With speeds of up to 2.5Gbps achievable today and the potential for 10Gbps in the near future, MoCA Access technology cost-effectively offers unparalleled performance in coax-based broadband solutions.

InCoax's FWA concept includes a central Control unit and NTE modems in each apartment, facilitating efficient management and provisioning. By leveraging existing coaxial networks, InCoax is playing a pivotal role in enabling FWA and fibre operators to deliver gigabit or multigigabit services to underserved communities nationwide. With its scalable Element Management system and Zero Touch Provisioning capabilities, InCoax is revolutionising MDU broadband distribution and bridging the digital divide one connection at a time.

You can visit InCoax Networks at booth 517 at WISPAmerica 2024, Oklahoma City Convention Centre on March 4–7.

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