The Good, the Bad and the Ugly for Fixed Wireless ISPs
"Disruptive" technology? Absolutely not.
Traditional sectors are disruptive, but horn antennas play nice. It's why Kent and Dustin placed horns where their networks border each other's. Dustin remarked, "They’re easy to bring up a tower, you can pop them up real quick and just eyeball them." "One time," he added, "I had three customers interfering with each other and they were on a 90-degree sector. I swapped it for a 30-degree horn and immediately saw a 10dB improvement. Horns improve the signal no matter where you put them."
Horn antennas are a departure from the early days of fixed wireless, when providers aimed for maximum transmit power and antenna gain, deploying wider sectors than necessary. But RF elements cautions about the correlation between power and noise. Raising one increases the other. And so they advise reigning in power and gain, and using precise horns to deliver signal just where it's needed. It's a message that's hard for some WISPs to accept, because it seems counterintuitive. But don't doubt, believe!
Effective spectrum management is a good neighbor policy that helps everyone, and it's the only way to grow a WISP and maximize value. A major challenge however, is the lack of uniform standards, and so while most WISPs do amazing work, others run amok with little care for quality, reliability and support.
It’s a real concern, because poor performance can tarnish the industry, diminish the value of unlicensed spectrum and invite encroachment by big carriers. Let's not let that happen.
I'm an unabashed fan of RF elements. WISPs love them and they're bringing real innovation to facilitate growth and recover enormous amounts of wasted spectrum. If you're a WISP, give them a try, but don't keep your success a secret. If your competition uses horns you'll see your own network improve, so share your before and after stats with us and let's encourage everyone to follow your lead.
And thanks for reading! Likes, shares and comments are much appreciated, so please let me know what you think.
DISCLAIMER: This is a repost of a blog written by David Theodore and originally published here. Many thanks to David for letting us share his article.