Fixed Wireless Access

What is it?

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) covers a broad spectrum of technologies and services. For the purposes of this page, we will cover the more popular technologies and services available to allow internet access.

Where is it available?

A number of providers have rolled out services. These are predominantly in Dublin and Cork. Please check here for details.

How does it work?

These technologies are usually looked upon as alternatives to fixed wire services like DSL and Cable. As the wiring to peoples homes is almost always in the control of one vendor and access to this infrastructure can be both costly and difficult, FWA operators use radio spectrum (both licensed and unlicensed) to offer service to residential and business customers.

A base station is located in an area where potential customers exist. The provider connects the base station to its own network and the internet. This can be done using wired or wireless technologies also.

All the current services on offer in Ireland are line of sight. This requires the receiver antenna on the customer's premises to have an unobstructed view of a base station antenna. A line of sight (LOS) test is necessary to ensure a reliable connection can be achieved. (One provider is currently trialling non line of sight (NLOS) technology) A customer signs up for the service and after a LOS test is carried out successfully, installation technicians will come to install the equipment. An antenna is placed usually at the highest point on the building and receiving equipment is placed at the other end of a cable linking the two. The indoor equipment is usually placed close to a PC or network connection and may have either a USB or Ethernet connection to the PC or network.

These services are typically symmetrical, that is, the same speed for upload and download.

What does it cost?

One time costs:

There is typically a signup fee which includes installation of the equipment on the premises. It tends to be similarly priced to DSL.

Ongoing costs:

The services offered are somewhat different to competing offerings including DSL as contention ratios are typically lower and the connection is symmetrical. For similar services, prices are at least competitive with wired alternatives.

Advantages and Disadvantages:


  • 1. It doesn't depend on monopoly controlled copper infrastructure.
  • 2. It is relatively fast and can offer higher bandwidth than most others.
  • 3. It is symmetrical.
  • 4. There are typically a broad range of services available and upgrading is easy.
  • 5. Installation doesn't interfere with existing wired services like voice and fax lines.
  • Disadvantages:

  • 1. Coverage in Ireland still isn't widespread.
  • 2. Installation can be disruptive, depending on the premises as wiring has to be run.
  • 3. Quoted installation includes for a maximum amount of time and materials. If the premises or situation deviates from this, a higher cost may be incurred.
  • 4. In rented or leased premises, permission needs to be sought to allow the equipment to be installed.

    Main Dial-Up Fixed Wireless Hotspots Satellite xDSL
    Community Networks What is Broadband? Future Site Enhancements
    Why Broadband What can I do? Pricing and Information Acronyms Hotspot Locator Contact

    Notice to Reader: The information provided is a summary of research and industry experience up to the time of writing and is not meant to purport to be a complete or all-inclusive collection of information on the topic. It is only meant to give the reader a basis of information to understand the topic. To the best of our knowledge, it was accurate at time of posting but may have changed, not contain all material available or since released and no longer be accurate or valid. Readers are cautioned not to make decisions based solely on this material and are urged to verify information and perform their own current research. Opinions expressed by the author(s) are their own and not necessarily those of the company.