What is Microwave Internet?
Microwave Internet is an internet connection delivered over the ‘last mile’ by a high capacity microwave radio link, it is also known as radio shot, wimax , wifi link, wireless internet or our very own product IVM (internet via microwave). It has the advantage of not requiring any infrastructure (other than power) at the client end, no cables, ducts or phone lines.
How does Microwave Internet work?
Microwave Internet always starts with a fibre connection at a point of presence (PoP) which is connected to the national fibre network and therefore the internet. This is connected into the interface of the radio which transmits the internet access over the air and is converted back into a cable at the customer end by way of a router. It uses high frequency radio waves (undetectable by WiFi devices) to transmit an encrypted signal which is decrypted and converted back to a copper or fibre connection at either end of the radio link.
Some radio signals are impacted by adverse weather, however this can nearly always be mitigated by ensuring a backup radio to the primary link is deployed using frequencies not impacted by bad weather e.g a 70Ghz 1Gbps link with a 5Ghz 300Mbps backup. Other common techniques include adaptive modulation, this means the speed of a microwave radio link will automatically reduce to ensure reliability and then increase again once the bad weather has passed. In practice this means we may deploy a link with a capacity of 300Mbps to achieve a service speed of 100Mbps 99.99% of the time regardless of weather conditions, in fair weather the spare capacity is unused but when bad weather occurs the link would not drop below the service the client is paying for – 100Mbps.
Yes, all Microwave internet links are configured to conform to EU and UK standards and all hardware used will be CE marked. The manufactures of the hardware all have different guidelines about how close you should get to the antenna but as a rule as long as you don’t put yourself directly in the path of the radio (so the direction its facing) then you are safe to be within a meter or so of the radio. Being on the other side of a brick or clad wall to the radio is perfectly safe because the wall acts as an attenuator.
Exceptionally low, usually within a few milliseconds, VoIP, video conferencing, web browsing, office 365 and any other specialist software will work absolutely fine, in fact this solution is often lower latency than a fibre cable owing to the fact it doesn’t have to pass through an exchange, its directly into the national fibre network. Don’t confuse this solution with a satellite broadband connection which can be very high latency and adversely impacted by bad weather.
APC’s Microwave internet or IVM is always a dedicated link just for one client only, its not shared with anyone else and it comes with a service level agreement much the same as a fibre leased line, uncontended internet access is by its nature more expensive than shared broadband type services. Microwave Internet solutions are competitively priced in line with a fibre leased line or other Ethernet circuits but more expensive than a home or shared business FTTC broadband circuit.
A Microwave Internet link is a fantastic backup solution to a fibre because if a fault occurred with a fibre whether that be a general ISP fault or fibre break in a duct or maybe a fault back at the exchange, the microwave internet solution will almost certainly not be suffering with the same failure, it allows business continuity and resilience planning to not be reliant on just one technology. Alternatives like 4G are simply not reliable enough to guarantee service and speeds in the event of a business grade fibre failure. One technique of installing two fibre cables ran into different parts of a building have found to be inadequate because they have at some point joined or crossed either in a duct or over a bridge much further back within the operators network