With over half of the planet using the internet today, it’s clear that access to the World Wide Web is becoming less of a “nice to have” and more of a necessity. Fortunately, getting internet in most areas across the United States is simple.
The exception to that is when you’re living in rural areas.
Rural areas lack the infrastructure required to enjoy internet transmission through cable technologies. That creates conditions where customers in these communities need to consider less conventional access means like rural wireless.
Rural wireless internet is a term that’s used to describe a relatively new type of point-to-point wireless connection. This connection is given off by antennas to dishes fixed on houses. In this post, we weigh the technology’s pros and cons to help you determine if its use is justified.
The Pros of Rural Wireless
Rural wireless is skyrocketing in popularity in desolate communities. Why the uptick in use?
Because point-to-point internet carries several advantages customers are starting to appreciate it. A few of this technology’s key advantages include:
Being a Fresh Face in a World of Old Technology
Sometimes, all you need to do to be the best is to have no competition. In the case of rural wireless internet, that scenario is relevant.
As a rural internet customer, you’ve likely had dial-up and satellite internet as options for the last couple of decades. Rural wireless adds a third, viable solution to connectivity concerns. That newness has piqued the interest of customers eager to explore fresh options.
Rural Wireless Tends to Best Satellite Connections
Most customers in rural areas had already forgone slow dial-up connections in favor of satellite. By most people’s accounts, point-to-point wireless internet improves on satellite’s value proposition.
Satellite signals have to travel further than point-to-point connections do. Bad weather can also destroy satellite internet’s ability to function completely. That could make it impossible to rely on in rural communities that experience seasonally adverse weather.
Point-to-point connections transmit from within your community. They also operate underneath weather patterns and can, consequently, deliver reliable, high-speed service.
Investments Are Making the Technology Better
Companies and governments are taking notice of rural wireless internet’s importance. That notice has resulted in investments in point-to-point wireless technologies.
For example, companies like T-Mobile have been bullish on buying up operations from smaller companies like Shentel. These companies usually have wireless footholds in desolate communities. Governments have also aided operations dedicated to bringing these technologies to neglected communities. Reduced red tape and grants are just a couple of ways support has been offered.
All of this attention has helped make point-to-point wireless connections better and cheaper every year.
Regulation Amendments are Empowering Consumers
Rural wireless internet is becoming more of a necessity. Consequently, groups are making sure that citizens are not prevented from leveraging the technology because of their rent/lease/HOA agreements.
The FCC has been overhauling its OTARD rules to allow the use of antennas and satellite devices on homes and in windows. Traditionally, the placement of these devices may have been restricted to support the aesthetics.
The Cons of Rural Wireless
You’ve discovered why investing in rural wireless internet is a good idea. Now, let’s explore roadblocks with this technology which could deter your adoption of it. Below are the key disadvantages to consider:
Rural wireless costs more or less what you’d pay for a hard-wired connection in a major city. That cost, however, brings much less value to consumers. This is due to the wireless internet being slower and less reliable than wired services.
What makes matters worse is that competition amongst providers in rural areas is scarce. This severely limits your ability to shop around in an effort to circumvent high prices.
The Importance of Sightlines
Rural wireless point-to-point internet connections have one major kryptonite – sightlines. Much like your home’s wireless router, to get a good connection, you want there to be as few barriers as possible between your devices and your internet source.
That can complicate things if you live on the first floor of an apartment building. Your connection could also struggle if hills or trees separate you from your local transmission tower.
That’s not to say, of course, that an obstruction makes it so you can’t enjoy rural wireless connections. Obstructions can limit the value you pull from your connection though. Consider that before locking in a wireless plan with a provider.
Your Home’s Aesthetic
As is the case with satellite internet, you’ll need to set up a dish on your home to pick up rural wireless connections. Depending on your tastes, that could mean an eyesore you’ll have to look at every day.
A dish being on display may be a non-issue though simply because there’s no avoiding using dishes in rural areas. The exception would be if you chose to stick with slow dial-up connections.
Is Rural Wireless Worth It?
The pros and cons are in, all of which enable us to form a supported opinion on whether or not rural wireless is worth it. Opinions vary on this question. To us though, if your options are dial-up, satellite, or point-to-point connections, point-to-point wireless is well worth the investment.
It’s fast. It’s reliable. It’s a technology that has undergone dramatic improvements in comparison to its competitors.
We hope our write-up has helped you form a fuller view on rural wireless internet. If you need additional insight, browse more of our content in our digital publication.