LTE Wireless FAQ
Rock Island recently activated a wireless Internet service in San Juan County to deliver quality broadband to the home an office. Our new wireless LTE system is designed to provide Internet download speeds around 10mbps. If you have been squeaking by with DSL, and are tired of being limited by your current connection, this might be a good time to switch.
What is LTE Fixed Wireless?
Long Term Evolution (LTE) Fixed wireless is a technology for getting fast and reliable broadband to locations within the county too expensive to deliver Fiber to the premise. LTE Fixed wireless broadband utilizes the speed and coverage of 4G (LTE) network using our 700Mhz spectrum to deliver broadband connectivity. As the name suggests, fixed wireless technologies utilize 4G gateway that are situated in a fixed location, such as an office or home. It is the same technology as your cell phone.
However, unlike your 4G phone that will roam and pick up service from the nearest antenna, fixed wireless service is setup to communicate with a fixed number of devices within the “Antenna Sector” for broadband service. So the device we place in your home along with up to 14 other neighbors are the only folks who can receive data and voice service with a given sector point your way.
This is done to insure we can deliver the speed necessary to meet the service offering. However, all wireless technology, similar to copper, and unlike fiber, will have some congestion point. Too many simultaneous users on one sector could bottleneck the performance. However, the capacity within our LTE Fixed Wireless is far greater compared to the current state of the copper infrastructure as long as we don’t add to many users to any given sector.
What is 700Mhz Spectrum?
U.S. government regulates radio communication via the Federal Communications Commission, for the purposes of reducing interference between a massive amount of different entities using the busiest parts of the spectrum. The FCC regulates the spectrum between the frequencies of 9KHz and 275GHz.
In particular, the frequencies between 700MHz and 3GHz are highly sought-after for their utility in providing mobile broadband data and voice services. The FCC has a informative spectrum dashboard, that offers a lot of information and knowledge of different blocks and exclusive use.
Below is a map displaying the area for which OPALCO owns Band 12 in San Juan County.
Will the 700Mhz be used for Public Safety?
YES, absolutely. The primary reason OPALCO purchased the 700Mhz spectrum was to deploy a modern scalable network for the electric crew to better communicate with each other and home base, especially in times of emergency. This capability will also be openly available for the SJC Sheriff’s Department and each Fire and Emergency District. Rock Island is in early but active conversations with members of the first responder community as we start to test and deploy this capability. Throughout 2015 we will be ramping up this effort so we have the most comprehensive communication network for emergency services.
One very early step is our offering to the county free access to our network for multiple redundant network paths to the mainland for 911 communication in the event of another line failure to the mainland.
Can I use a landline if I received service via Fixed Wireless?
Yes, voice (VoIP) services are available via both Fiber and Fixed Wireless.
What speed can I get via Fixed Wireless?
With Rock Island’s LTE Fixed Wireless the goal is to deliver a minimum of 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. The challenge is as with every wireless solution is the challenge of delivering consistent service to every location we hope to serve. Wireless service is not an exact science. Think of those times you have perfect cell reception and you go around one bend or to a different part of a home and bang! the reception is gone…. We will face the exact same situations with this technology. It is an ongoing refinement to achieve the level of service we wish to provide.