Technological innovations are rapidly reshaping the landscape of various industries, and none more so than the introduction of 5G. 5G will be faster and able to handle more connected devices than the existing 4G LTE network, with improvements that will enable a wave of new kinds of tech products. And amongst them, fixed wired access (FWA) is lined up for a major improvement thanks to the advent of 5G.
The evolution of 5G is projected to take fixed wireless access to a new level using a wide range of radio spectrum. This is expected to enable consumers to achieve major capacity gains and low-latency connectivity. Thus, 5G fixed wireless access is anticipated to enhance the performance capabilities of networks and offer high-speed network coverage better than existing connectivity networks.
According to The Business Research Company, the 5G Fixed Wireless Access Market was valued at $503 million in 2020 but is expected to grow at a whopping CAGR of 135.9 percent from now to 2026. These estimates put the predicted 2026 market value at $86 billion by 2026.
The massive, predicted growth can be attributed to the fact that the past decade has witnessed several improvements in network connectivity and related services.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that aim to have full control over their connectivity and provide multi-carrier support to their customers simultaneously require fast networks capable of carrying out high-speed data transmissions.
5G network technology can offer sufficient bandwidth to support increasing data traffic associated with the innovative devices and applications now available for businesses, especially in the industrial sector. 5G offers 10 to 100 times more capacity and high-speed data services than those provided by 3G and 4G networks.
“The coexistence of fixed and wireless networking has always been critical to ensuring real time applications are optimized,” said David Walsh, Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, and investor who designed and commercialized the world’s first global financial extranet back in the 1990s, before IP networking overtook traditional networking for voice and data applications. “We will always need fiber, we will always need switching, we will always need interconnection to meet the growing demands for faster, more reliable, and resilient capacity.”
Walsh went on to say, “One of the most exciting aspects of 5G coming online is the continuation of this natural evolution that is being driven by increasingly low latency applications including automated systems that require connectivity on the go. The orchestration of physical, terrestrial, and undersea cables and wireless infrastructure has never been so valuable globally. The orchestration of the edge where more compute is happening locally in support of ultra-low-latency solutions is equally valuable, and this is where Fixed Wireless Access comes into play. The companies who will win are those who understand how to ‘make things work’ from edge to cloud and that requires next level thinking about what the last mile – really the last millimeter and millisecond mean.”
The services segment is projected to account for major market share of the 5G fixed wireless access market in terms of value, according to many experts. “Increased spectrum efficiency and low cost per bit are expected to strengthen the business cases of fixed wireless access and support its evolution toward 5G services,” Walsh said. “The economics are getting more interesting every day, including those associated with the unleashing of CBRS in the United States – free frequencies that disrupters are leveraging to bring services like private enterprise 5G networking into the market with pricing below what the incumbents wish to charge, made possible by mid-band spectrum being made available by the FCC. We are seeing another land grab and given innovations like simplified operating systems like the Hypercore Pente Networks has implemented, enterprises can manage their own fixed wireless networking as easily as they have been able to spin up virtual machines in various clouds.”
Because of these benefits, 5G fixed wireless access services are expected to witness an increased demand in the coming years. Such services include 5G B2B private lines, which generate high average revenue per user (ARPU) and face little competition in the market at present. Despite their high service-level agreement (SLA) requirements, 5G fixed wireless access services are an attractive new market with good potential. They also eliminate the requirement of complex solution integrations and are already commercially available.
“Industrial innovation in sectors including energy, transportation, construction, automotive, government, military, supply chain, and more is bound to skyrocket,” Walsh said. “While consumer subscribers will benefit from being able to continue a voice call or video collaboration session in high definition when they leave their office, get on a train, get into their car, and walk into their home and pick up the meeting on their big screen TV, it is the industrial giants who have the most to gain. Why? Because they operated in what has largely been a physical world that can be completely transformed with real time digital innovations. Even with the most minimal instrumentation bridging physical and digital through what we used to call ‘Machine to Machine’ and is now called ‘Industrial IoT,’ manufacturers have made huge gains in quality, yield, and profitability. With Fixed Wireless Access and 5G speed and security gains, more sophisticated autonomous systems are rapidly evolving, supporting everything from Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, to construction site safety improvements through computer vision and notifications and alerts that protect physical assets and workers’ health.”
While 5G fixed wireless access is expected to boom around the globe, North America is estimated to account for the largest market share. North America is one of the leading markets for 5G in the world in terms of research and development, network design/deployment, and the presence of the key players.
“5G is accelerating the deployment of FWA by utilizing existing spectrum capacity, introducing new, higher bandwidth frequencies previously unavailable in previous generations, and bringing efficient and secure access to homes, commercial properties, public spaces, manufacturing facilities, farms, the energy grid and so much more,” Walsh said. “We experienced an incredible transformation of our world and society as the Internet moved from the academic to public the popular realm. Now, with speeds, performance and economics that were unthinkable back in the 1990s, we can expect to see next level innovation and value creation, when physical and digital infrastructure – fixed and wireless – fuel the ‘metasphere’ – including the ‘industrial metasphere.’”