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.
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.
Microwave Internet provides the exact same upload & download speeds you get from a traditional fibre leased line – 10Mbps to 10Gbps, depending on your business’s requirements.
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.
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.
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
Microwave links are capable of delivering an ultrafast connection over several 10’s of kilometres. The furthest connection we have installed to date spans 70 kilometres, delivering a high speed connection with 99.99% uptimes.
Both connections are ultra-low latency but microwave is faster than fiber optics as it’s capable of less than 1ms end-to-end latency, whereas fiber optics has a latency of just under 1.6ms.
- More Reliable Than a Leased Line
Because the connection is made wirelessly via microwaves, your connection doesn’t rely on miles of physical cables that can get damaged during floods, fires, road works or other things outside of your control.
- Fast Installation
Because there are no major construction works that need to take place, microwave internet can often be installed and fully functioning in just 2 weeks.
- Uptimes Exceeding 99.99%
Which is greater than you get on most leased lines.
- 100% Dedicated Connection
Meaning you are the sole user of the connection. There are no other users accessing it and slowing it down during peak hours, instead it works consistently fast at all times.
- Ultra-low Latency
Making it perfect for: video conferencing, VoIP calls, web browsing, CCTV, pro gaming, Office 365 and more.
- Lightning-fast Speeds
Symmetrical upload and download speeds of 100Mbps to 10Gbps, depending on the business’s requirements.
Other Benefits Include:
- Short contract lengths
- Unlimited data allowance
- 1 – 100+ users
- Diversity as standard
- Weather resistant
- Fully managed options
- Public static IP
- MPLS option
- Needs Line Of Sight
Because the connection is delivered over the air, line-of-sight is needed between both points. This can make installation more difficult in certain locations.
- Limited Availability
Similar to the previous points, certain locations throughout the UK do not have microwave internet coverage. To find out if it’s available for your business click here and enter your business’s postcode