Wireless Broadband Delivery
The discussion as to whether wireless broadband is the best delivery for the future needs of rural communities is one that will only be answered in the fullness of time. It is generally recognised that broadband delivery using wireless technology is the most appropriate solution for many rural communities in the short to medium term, and especially up to the point when communities or individual premises are connected by either fibre or cable. This could be ten years or more for some rural locations.
As wireless delivery is likely to be the most common form of delivering the broadband backhaul and local loop for rural communities it is worth understanding in more detail the component parts and more importantly what visual impact these parts will have on the rural environment.
Wireless Backhaul and Local Loop Equipment
The backhaul links from the suppliers core network to the community require Community Access Points (CAP’s) to be installed with the number required determined by the size of the community and the geographic layout. Typically there needs to be between 1 and 8 to meed the needs of a small hamlet through to a medium size village of less than 1,500 homes and businesses. Technology improvements have led to the size and cost of CAP equipment falling and visually the CAP receiver/transmitter is less obtrusive than the standard TV aerial that is located below the CAP aerials as shown in photograph opposite.
In some cases there may be a need to install a single high gain aerial as part of the main CAP installation within the community. Where this is required the aerial will point towards the suppliers core network which may be up to 20Km from the community. The aerial used will be slightly larger but are roof mounted and measure approximately 220mm by 300mm.
The CAP requires power which is usually fitted with battery backup and a typical installation consisting of all the necessary parts would be mounted on a convenient outsidewall of the building.
Typically a weather proof rectangular box of approximately 300mm by 450mm would provide sufficient space to house the associated equipment.
Wireless Premises Connections
The delivery of broadband to the home or office makes use of a small aperture aerial suitably mounted to provide a line of site from the aerial to the nearest CAP. Naturally line of sight means that other buildings and trees may have an impact on the sighting of the aerial.
The photo opposite shows a typical segment aerial suitable for a home or small business premises.
The aerial is connected to the point where the broadband service is required which can be a PC or laptop. A suitable wireless router can be used to terminate the aerial connection which will provide flexibility and the opportunity to connect multiple PC’s to the broadband service.
A cable (not ADSL) type wireless router is needed to terminate the link from the aerial. The aerial derives its electrical requirements from the PC, laptop of router and generally no additional mains supply is needed. The network supplier will normally provide guidance regarding suitable router types.