The critical puzzle-piece for fixed 5G: self-install technology
- Australia still battle-scarred from expensive and time-consuming NBN rollout
- Unsurprising that an Aussie company developed self-install solutions
- Products launched today
The decisive step forward with xDSL broadband service delivery was the arrival of self-install - both for the provider (in the UK often an ISP unbundling the incumbent’s copper) and the customer. Instead of the hassle and drilling sounds which always previously accompanied any sort of network service installation - cable, ISDN, fixed radio - the DSL splitter and modem could arrive in the mail with terse instructions and the user was up and running.
Self-install was critical since it kept the costs of broadband customer acquisition low. Without it, the take up of first generation broadband would have been far slower and more expensive.
So lessons learnt, it’s unlikely that many fixed broadband 5G deployers will hand-tool their installations with ‘truck rolls’ if they can avoid it, except at the very early stages of their roll-outs when procedures are being refined and suppliers are being chosen. Mass rollout will simply need a high proportion of self-install if it’s to be viable.
Australia-based NetComm has today launched its 5G Fixed Wireless self-installation technology which it claims will enable network operators to slash the time and cost of connecting customers to ultra-fast broadband. Without a self-install solution NetComm claims the 5G Fixed Wireless market could be stalled by making services unprofitable when deploying at large scale.
It’s not quite the plug and play, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy process we enjoy when installing DSL, however. NetComm uses a smartphone app that connects the user modem to the 5G network and guides the end-user to the best position for the modem inside the premises. NetComm says it’s developed its devices so they can support both sub 6GHz bands as well as mmWave. Some are very plug-and-play while another option is for self-install on an outside wall. There is a also a unit which requires an engineer.
There are the following options. :
- Indoor desk mount: Can be installed anywhere in the home and is most suitable in locations close to the base station for homes that already have a decent signal strength
- Indoor window mount: Can be installed on the window to improve the signal quality and therefore the connection
- Outdoor wall mount: These devices also use directional antennae to allow for a longer reach and location further away from the base station. NetComm offers both a self-install outdoor wall mount as well one which requires engineer installation.
- Outdoor roof mount: Installed on the roof and use high quality directional antennas to allow for an extra reach from the base station with good connectivity.
According to Els Baert, Director of Marketing & Communications at NetComm the solutions are “great for end-users as they (often) don’t have to stay home waiting for a technician to turn up – they can get online in minutes once they have plugged in their hardware.”
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