Mobile network operators view fixed wireless access (FWA) as the first application for 5G in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. Fixed wireless access describes a wireless 5G connection between a centralized base-station and numerous fixed or nomadic user locations.
With regulatory rules defined, large amounts of spectrum already in the operators’ hands, and enough power output to deliver Gbps over several city blocks, the industry is ready to start building base stations.
Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers are aggressively trialing FWA, with the goal of full commercialization in 2019. Market-research firm SNS Telecom predicts that FWA will take off rapidly, generating $1 billion during 2019 alone.
There remains a challenge: building power-efficient and cost-effective base stations and customer premises equipment capable of supporting the high power and bandwidth.