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What is the Difference Between Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint Fixed Wireless?

Posted by MHO Networks on Oct 30, 2018 11:18:00 AM

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When choosing internet over fixed wireless technology, there are two technical options that typically exist:

-Point-to-point microwave or
Point-to-multipoint microwave

While this is often listed in the technical specs, what is the buyer actually deciding on - what are they gaining or losing when selecting either option?

Point-to-point microwave (PTP) and point-to-multipoint microwave (PTMP) basically describe two different types of microwave radio communication configurations. Each is designed for its own purpose and has benefits for that purpose.

If you are choosing a fixed wireless Internet option for your business, you must consider your needs and location before choosing a point to point or point to multipoint arrangement. Network reliability, low latency, and low packet loss are all top priorities for businesses when searching for Internet solutions. In addition, scalability and ease of installation are generally high on a company’s Internet solution wish list.

Let’s examine the configuration and benefits of PTP and PTMP.

Point-to-Point Microwave (PTP)

A point-to-point (PTP) microwave communication configuration simply connects two communication devices, a transmitter and a receiver. There are no other connections to or from this wireless radio link; therefore, the capacity of the entire link is reserved to transfer data between these two points. Low latency and reliability are key benefits of PTP.

PTP microwave radios depend on line of sight between the two devices, and the distance the data travels between points affects the connection quality, so it must be engineered to account for the distance. Therefore, the shortest, most direct path between the two points is always desirable.

Point-to-point connections work best when they are intended to provide secure, high-speed, uninterrupted communication between two points. Ideally, only one location would provide most data transmission while the other receives. PTP connections like this can be installed and configured relatively easily.

Point to Multipoint Microwave (PTMP)

A point-to-multipoint (PTMP) microwave communication configuration includes a single transmitter sending data to multiple receivers. The receivers are not connected to one another, but only to the single transmitter. This is typically viewed as a simple business-class Internet connection.

This type of configuration, also called a broadcast network, is ideal when sending small amounts of data to multiple locations or users. The capacity of the entire channel is shared between locations. Data is transmitted to every point in the network and is received by every receiver. Each receiver determines if the information is intended for it nor not, and processes it or discards it accordingly.

This is a common configuration for fixed wireless ISPs. From a radio transmitter placed atop a building or tower, they can broadcast to multiple receivers within a clear line of sight.

Point-to-multipoint connections work best when a single transmitter will be sending bursts of data to multiple locations or users. The receiving stations do not have to be close to each other or connected, as long as they are in line of sight with the transmitting station.

Key Differences Between Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint Microwaves

The key differences between PTP and PTMP configurations are simple, but the implications are important for how your business or organization will use an Internet connection over fixed wireless.

Point-to-Point Connection

Point-to-Multipoint Connection

Single Transmitter

Single Transmitter

Single Receiver

Multiple Receivers (not connected to one another)

Single channel uses all network capacity

Multiple channels share network capacity

Transmitter and receiver must be within line of sight

Transmitter must be within line of sight of receivers; receivers do not have to be line of sight with one another

Best for one-way, high-speed transmission of large amounts of data

Best for two-way communications, but ideal for delivering small packets of data to multiple users


MHO's fixed wireless technology can be a solution for your business.
Schedule a time  with our team today to discuss your business Internet needs.

Topics: FCC Licensed, Fixed Wireless, Point-to-Point Fixed Wireless, Internet Connection, Internet Service Provider (ISP), Point-to-Point Microwave