Broadband Forum Takes on MDU Fixed Wireless Access Challenges

The Broadband Forum has launched a project aimed at making deployment of 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) easier and more affordable for use in multiple dwelling units (MDUs) by utilizing infrastructure that has already been installed.

The project, to be known as the Fixed Wireless Access Extension Project, will be run within the forum’s Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) Work Area. The goal is to confront several challenges to deploying FWA in MDUs.

MDU Fixed Wireless

Gigabit and multi-gigabit services require the use of mmWave in the 24 GHz – 100 GHz spectrum, the Broadband Forum said. Those wavelengths attenuate as much as 45 dB as they pass through each wall. This makes the use of 5G mmWave indoors difficult or impossible.

That is not the only challenge. Bringing Ethernet from roofs to apartments is costly.

A third issue is that roofs can run out of space if a dedicated FWA modem is installed for each residence. And challenges can be exacerbated by co-site interference and the need for appropriate RF separation.

The project is exploring is the use of existing infrastructure, including twisted pair and coaxial cable to work around these issues. This approach can potentially increase scalability, reduce deployment time, generate revenue more quickly and reduce opex and capex, Broadband Forum said.

“Mobile operators are investing heavily to acquire spectrum space and base station infrastructure,” Helge Tiainen, of InCoax Networks’ Founder and a Broadband Forum member said in a press release. “They then seek a fast return on investment by turning DSL customers into 5G FWA subscribers. By using the cabling already available in the building, it will save operators’ time and money, and give consumers a better broadband experience.”


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