Technology, in particular broadband internet service, is an important tool to build stronger and more vibrant communities. Tarana Wireless is partnering with tribal communities to rapidly bring new services and opportunities to tribes through next-generation fixed wireless access (also known as ngFWA).
What is Broadband?
Broadband is a general term that refers to any technology capable of providing internet access that connects devices like laptops to the internet. Examples of broadband technologies include wireless (often referred to as fixed wireless because it provides internet access to a fixed location as opposed to the mobile wireless used by cell phones), cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), and fiber. A broadband network is owned and operated by an internet service provider (ISP).
Broadband comes in many speeds. A speed is a measure of how quickly information is transferred through the network. This is typically measured in megabits (Mbps) and gigabits (Gbps). A gigabit is 1,000 Mbps. The speed of a broadband connection determines what kind of activities that connection can support.
Watching a high-definition movie from a popular video streaming service, for example, requires about 3 Mbps. 4k video requires about 10 Mbps. Generally speaking, the average household uses around 5-10 Mbps at any given time although businesses, libraries, schools, video systems, and so on can use more. Recent broadband initiatives by US government agencies have focused on 100 Mbps service as a good goal to future-proof household broadband speeds.
Why is Broadband Important?
Broadband connectivity enables new tribal services such as:
- Telemedicine (see a doctor more quickly and conveniently from a computer rather than long drives for in-person visits).
- Distance learning (primary, secondary, and college students can study and do homework remotely from school).
- Video surveillance and security control from anywhere with broadband access.
- Economic development for small businesses with new markets via online sales and marketing.
- Computerized monitoring and management of control systems such as utilities (waste/water).
- Enhanced public safety with integration of services such as police and fire.
Developing these services can put tribal communities on equal footing with the most modern cities and communities.
Different Technologies Serve Different Purposes
There are many different ways to physically deliver broadband and each has its benefits. Selecting a technology will have significant implications for how long it takes to deploy, how easy it is to deploy in challenging terrain, cost of installation, operation, and maintenance, and so on.
New networks typically use fiber, wireless, or a combination of both. Fiber is often seen as a preferred technology due to its faster speeds, however it can be quite expensive and time-consuming to deploy. This is particularly true in difficult terrain (mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers) or where extensive right of way permitting is required (railroad tracks, public lands, sacred sites).
Wireless offers speedy deployments due to the fact that it does not require trenching to bury fiber in the ground. This also makes it easier to overcome difficult terrain and requires less permitting. A wireless radio tower can immediately begin servicing locations for many miles around it once it is installed where fiber can only service locations one at a time as the fiber is brought to each location. When locations are miles apart this can take a long time.
Next-Generation Wireless for Stronger Communities
Tarana is the performance leader in next-generation wireless access, powered by a number of industry firsts and well-proven breakthroughs that allow tribal communities to build networks that would not have been possible with previous legacy wireless systems. We do this by taking a fresh, clean sheet approach that re-imagines the architecture of high-performance wireless communications.
Our Gigabit 1 (G1) platform comprises base node (BN) radios that are mounted on towers or other assets similar to cellular networks which then communicate with remote nodes (RNs) mounted on the sides or rooftops of the home, school, community center, or business. All hardware is managed via a cloud-based management system called Tarana Cloud Suite (TCS).
At Tarana, we believe broadband is key to building stronger communities. Wireless represents a cost-effective way to deliver last mile gigabit speeds over a large area of land quickly and help tribes develop and thrive.
For more information on how ngFWA can assist tribal communities to meet their broadband goals, download the complete white paper on the benefits of next-generation fixed wireless access.