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What are Line of Sight Considerations for Fixed Wireless?

Posted by MHO Networks on Nov 2, 2020 10:06:00 AM

ILine of Sight Considerations for Fixed Wirelesst has already been established that a properly executed fixed wireless Internet network consistently provides faster and more secure data speeds, and is much easier and less expensive to install, upgrade, and operate. Moreover, their relative independence from fiber and cable networks make their design, planning, and implementation far faster and more efficient than other options. 

One of the major questions that arise when companies are considering a fixed wireless Internet connection concerns line of sight (LOS) considerations. This is likely the major obstacle that fixed wireless providers deal with when developing a network for clients. MHO discusses LOS considerations and explains how line of sight issues are handled with potential clients. 

How Important is Line of Sight to Fixed Wireless Internet? 

Line of sight refers to a direct view of another object. If you can see the object, however far away, it is in your line of sight. This is important for a microwave radio communications system because the signals operate by line of sight. This means that each radio transmitter and receiver must be in a direct line with, and have a direct view of, other stations.  

This is a primary consideration when laying out a proposed fixed wireless network for a potential ISP client. The receiving station must be in a direct line of sight with the transmitting stations and/or base station in order to send and receive signals. Without this effect, the signals can be blocked and the system is basically inoperative. 

What are Some Barriers to Line of Sight for Fixed Wireless Internet? 

Generally, the frequencies at which fixed wireless Internet systems operate require an 80% unobstructed line of sight in order to function properly. Natural or man-made stationary obstacles can interfere with this layout and block the radio signals. This can include: 

  • Mountains
  • Hills 
  • Buildings
  • Bridges 
  • Cities
  • Overgrowth of trees

Another consideration with line of sight is the curvature of the earth. At too great a distance, the curvature of the earth causes the planet itself to become a natural barrier to the line of sight required for operation. This problem is usually minimal, since most fixed wireless connections are preferred at a maximum distance of 30 miles.

How Does MHO Handle LOS Considerations? 

MHO engineers employ satellite imagery when determining the layout for potential clients and a fixed wireless Internet network. Through this accurate and up-to-date imaging, engineers can verify that MHO's infrastructure is within a direct line of sight with a client’s building. This also allows for the consideration of tall trees, hills, buildings, and bridges that could present a problem in the proposed radio pathway. 

Other items that may be overlooked by some companies can include existing equipment on the client’s roof (HVAC units), roof parapets, and the best placement on the roof for MHO’s fixed wireless equipment. A building’s elevation is also a key feature that contributes to line of sight and system positioning. 

When your company seeks to work with MHO on a fixed wireless Internet network, the results from our LOS survey will fall into three basic categories: 

  • Yes - We have clear visibility from our tower site and should be able to provide service to the client.
  • Probable - We might have LOS, but will need to perform a survey at the client’s site. Computer software isn’t always 100% accurate, so if the path shows any possible obstruction, then a site survey is required to be certain.
  • Not at this time - LOS is blocked to all towers that belong to MHO within the area at this time. However, it is always encouraged for clients to reach out again at a later date, as MHO's network is always growing and are adding more tower locations.

In some circumstances where line of sight cannot be directly obtained, MHO may be able to erect a relay. In the event the client requires a fixed wireless service and requests it, MHO can implement this technology to connect the client’s building to the nearest tower. Sometimes this relay can be positioned on another existing building in the area that has a clear line of sight to MHO's tower as well as the client's location. Note that this service requires additional cost and a longer installation timeframe to complete. 

Contact us online or call 877-WANT-MHO to inquire about the availability of fixed wireless Internet and networking in your area.

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Topics: Fixed Wireless, Internet Access, Point-to-Point Fixed Wireless

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