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How does Blackfoot design wireless for business?

Key Takeaways: Definition of Wireless Connectivity, Engineering PTP-RF, Wireless vs. Fiber
business fixed wireless

Definition of Wireless Connectivity

Fixed wireless internet uses radio frequency (RF) or microwave signals to broadcast an internet connection between two fixed points. This differs from fiber or copper networks that utilize physical lines in the ground. In addition, wireless technology takes advantage of systems that are already in place, thereby reducing the initial capital investment. In rural areas in particular where fiber optic cable doesn’t already exist, the cost of internet is considerably reduced by using wireless.

wireless infographicWireless offers speeds and reliability equivalent to fiber and Blackfoot utilizes multiple wireless options, including licensed and unlicensed Point-to-Point (PTP) RF, and Point-to-Multi-Point (MPRF). Our approach to engineering isn't one-size-fits-all. Rather, we design the ideal solution based on the client's needs.

Licensed and unlicensed PTP radios all have very high physical capacities. During the engineering process, every link is designed to 99.999% reliability with room to support bandwidth growth. We typically double the up-time and fade margin calculations requested by the customer so future upgrades can be performed with minimal disruption. Check out our infographic for details on our wireless connectivity options or download it here as a PDF.

Engineering PTP-RF

Blackfoot's wireless network is designed as an enterprise-class solution. We engineer every link to 99.999% reliability or greater, exceeding industry standards.

Our wireless services are designed to operate in all climates and seasons. Wireless systems work on shared radio frequencies, which means interference like weather can impact bandwidth. Therefore, we specifically design for all weather conditions. Signal loss due to weather is calculated off of the Crane rain rate model, which lists Montana as 19 mm/hr. However, the Crane model often does not account for cloud bursts, rain events and heavy spring/fall snows. We work and live in Montana, which means we have a better understanding of the climate. So, when factoring in the weather we design our links at a higher model rate of 37 mm/hr.

Blackfoot engineers all of our wireless PTP links utilizing wireless propagation software to ensure both link performance and reliability. Generally, links are designed with a >25 dB fade margin to ensure operation even during signal fade. In addition, each path is verified against topological data, weather models and any physical obstructions identified during the Line of Sight (LOS).

We perform a pre-sale LOS for every wireless link. Blackfoot technicians collect all of the necessary information about the link and site, including:

  • Physically verifying the LOS to the tower site.
  • Identifying the required mounting location and mount type.
  • Identifying the cable path and cable entry point at the customer premise.
  • Verifying indoor equipment mounting, power and grounding.
  • Physically verifying the LOS to the tower site.
  • Identifying the required mounting location and mount type.
  • Identifying the cable path and cable entry point at the customer premise.
  • Verifying indoor equipment mounting, power and grounding.

What connectivity is right for your business?

Contact our business team to explore the options to achieve optimal network performance.

Wireless vs. Fiber

Licensed PTP-RF offers internet speeds and reliability equivalent to fiber. In addition, wireless has the ability to provide last-mile connectivity that may not possible over fiber. In rural areas, in particular, where fiber optic cable doesn’t already exist, the cost of internet is considerably reduced by using wireless.

Both wireless and fiber offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with 99.999% uptime guarantees. They both also deliver low latency of 1-2ms, though licensed PTP-RF can sometimes deliver even lower latency.

In addition, wireless provides two more benefits. First, it's licensed with the FCC so radios can operate in all licensed frequencies in the United States. Second, fiber optic networks rely on underground cables that could be damaged by outside work and wireless networks don't have this problem. Check out our infographic to learn more or download it here as a PDF.

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