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Why Ethernet over FWA means business

Why Ethernet over FWA means business

Driven by 5G, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is surging. Deloitte1 says 5G FWA connections are growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 88 percent between 2020 and 2026. That’s great for households in remote, underserved areas who can get internet connectivity through a 5G antenna to enjoy fast Wi-Fi access for gaming, TV streaming and other domestic uses.

But what about businesses in remote locations?  

Consider an organization with a city-based HQ and a remote production facility, perhaps in agriculture. At the factory, the company is deploying remote-controlled machinery and a specialized surveillance system. 

FWA enables the remote location to connect to the internet, but does it meet all the company’s needs? Unlikely, because FWA lacks Ethernet connectivity, meaning HQ and the facility have to connect over the open internet.

Putting Ethernet on top

Adding Ethernet to FWA requires an Ethernet Protocol Data Unit, or PDUs, which is the key mechanism that allows 5G networks to establish Ethernet connections between 5G endpoints.

At the remote location, the FWA Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) establishes an Ethernet PDU session with the 5G Cloud Packet Core. This allows the remote office and the headquarters to be connected by an Ethernet VLAN. This is a technically elegant solution because the Cloud Packet Core doesn’t need to assign IP addresses to such devices because they can use their own VLAN IP address range.

For its part, the company gets the advantages of Ethernet connectivity across its locations, including business integration, device transparency and system security. Full integration of internal office systems, including broadcasting and printing, is enabled. Also, extreme services provided by 5G like Ultra Reliable Low Latency Connection (uRLLC) and Slicing become available, meaning that the central office can control and monitor new services that are only enabled by a 5G network.

The possibilities of 5G and the advanced services it can support are familiar to many enterprises. The most important ones being video detection, alerts and surveillance (83 percent awareness); Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB with 78 percent awareness); remote controlled machinery (77 percent awareness); and connected cars (75 percent awareness). Ethernet over FWA is an exciting new capability that is likely to create many new use cases based on such services.

Which is great news for operators because it helps them to monetize their 5G investments, which is one of their most pressing priorities.

1 Fixed wireless access market growth | Deloitte Insights 


Mike Hawley

About Mike Hawley

Mike Hawley is Head of Mobility Management Packet Core R&D at Nokia, and has over 30 years of experience in wireless networks, with leadership roles in product management, pre-sales, systems engineering, and his true love, R&D.  Mike is a passionate and charismatic leader, and he holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame (Bachelors) and the University of California, Berkeley (Masters).  When he’s not enabling brilliant engineers to turn their ideas into products and features in the real world, you can find him designing and building wood furniture or taking pictures of our planet’s beauty.

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