A Family Affair: Successful 5G Fixed Wireless Access Rollout

FWA requires competitive network operators to collaborate.

Translucent earth over a city with cables running through it.

Fixed wireless access (FWA) is a form of broadband access that uses a wireless connection to attach a customer’s premises to the broader internet. FWA is closer in form to a mini cell tower. Due to subscriber growth, 2022 saw a 20 percent increase over 2021 in demand for deploying FWA technology, followed by a 90 percent increase since 2022.  

FWA plays a key role in new broadband rollouts for interconnecting technologies both in rural areas and in cities by managing problems with network interference and connectivity in support of service quality and end-through-end traffic monitoring. For example, the expansion of smart city technologies will require more FWA.

FWA: Why Emerging Partnerships?

As NETSCOUT Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Bruce Kelley emphasized in a recent Forbes article, due to the complexity of FWA infrastructure and the need for 5G connections to be closer together because wavelengths cannot penetrate walls, collaboration among competitive mobile network operators with regards to connectivity, speed, and edge cloud initiatives is inevitable.

For FWA to work effectively, units will need line-of-sight connectivity to each other’s mobile network or the tower. Even though there is competition between mobile operators, FWA deployments are driving the need for technology partners to collaborate on various aspects for successful deployment and connectivity, and the following potential barriers must be considered:

  • High-speed transmission: Many FWA connections cannot match the speed of fiber and cable and are susceptible to interference, especially with 5G. High-speed transmission will need the expertise of cable and fiber optics companies.
  • Connectivity across mobile networks: The rising number of access points could lead to a decision to camouflage hardware, and FWA units need line-of-sight connectivity to each other’s mobile network or the tower.
  • Edge cloud: Building edge cloud connectivity infrastructure requires partnership with hyper-scalers who excel with all things cloud.

The next generation of networks, 5G and beyond, is compelling partnerships and collaboration among technology partners, making it a family affair, to assure end-through-end connectivity, traffic monitoring, and service quality for mobile networks. But make no mistake, it is still and always will be a competitive environment.


NETSCOUT’s best-in-class software-based end-through-end monitoring solution provides the extensive network visibility needed to observe traffic levels and analyze applications for key performance indicators (KPIs) related to responsiveness, errors, conversations, and service dependencies by market—all the way down to the subscriber level. With these insights in hand, technology partners can better manage the complexity of networks that include 5G FWA, enabling teams to ensure the security, performance, and quality of service.

Learn more about NETSCOUT 5G offerings.