Wireless FAQs

Nextera Wireless Technology

+ What is fixed Wireless Broadband Internet Access?

"Fixed Wireless" simply refers to wireless communication between fixed locations. "Broadband" is a term defined by the FCC as providing Internet Bandwidth access in excess of 200 Kbps download and upload.

+ I've heard that wireless technology is not reliable because it is so new. What is the truth?

It is interesting that most of what you hear about the reliability and "newness" of wireless technology comes from the very sources that helped develop and deploy this technology over the past 60 years. The truth is, prior to the introduction of fiber channel, all telecommunication companies that maintained nationwide networks deployed wireless technology.

+ Doesn't the weather impact reliability?

Weather conditions have no practical effect on the wireless link. The attentuation of the radio signal due to rain or snow is insignificant. Much of the reliability "scuttle" comes from generalizing ALL wireless technologies into one group. Older "wireless" microwave radios did suffer from extreme signal fade because of weather conditions. The technology deployed by Nextera does not have these characteristics.

+ Is Wireless Broadband Internet Access secure? Isn't this just like Wi-Fi?

The Nextera wireless network is very robust and secure. Because the network does not stricly adhere to the EEE 802.11b (Wi-Fi) standard, there are number of inherent security features built in. The first is AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) data encryption, the highest level of security available and approved by the federal government. A second method deployed within the Nextera network is FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum). FHSS utilizes a greater number of frequencies (79) and "hops" between a predetermined and controllable sequence of frequencies, whereas in a true Wi-Fi deployment the channel is defined (1 of 14) and operates in a fixed frequency, making it much easier to "tune in" the signal. To "tune in" a FHSS signal would require knowing the number of frequencies, the actual frequencies and the hopping sequence.

+ How does wireless compare to DSL and cable?

Wireless technology can provide greater bandwidths (much faster speeds), better availability in rural areas and can provide large savings for customers who require high speeds in the T-1 and greater bandwidths. DSL has distance and speed limitations based on the location of the telephone companies CO (Central Office) and is not currently available in many of the rural areas. Cable systems are also not as widely available and may become congested with users sharing the same cable all vying for bandwidth. Nextera bandwidth speeds are also symmetrical, i.e. download and upload speeds are equivalent. Another benefit of a wireless connection is management. The Nextera network allows for scalability; as your bandwidth needs grow, an upgrade to higher capacity is a simple phone call to Nextera.

+ What about line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight? Don't buildings and obstructions cause problems?

Nextera utilizes both LOS (line-of-sight) and NLOS (near or non-line-of-sight) technologies within our network. Line-of-sight applications require that the subscriber's antenna be able to "see" the tower antenna. Nextera has deployed more than 60 towers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area as well as in Western Wisconsin to enhance our coverage area. Many of the Nextera towers employ OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology. There are several advantages to OFDM, one of which being the ability to operate in a NLOS manner. In the event a building or other obstruction is blocking a direct signal to the tower, OFDM allows the signal to "bounce" off other buildings or obstructions to reach the antenna.

+ How close to a tower do I need to be?

Distance varies depending on the tower and equipment deployed. In most cases Nextera assumes a 10 mile line-of-sight limit, although it is possible to extend the distance through relays. We currently have customers operating at distances slightly over 10 miles.

+ Why does Nextera have so many towers and relay points?

Nextera places its towers and relays for optimum coverage. Simply stated, in order to ensure maximum coverage in a given area overlap is often required. Even though a tower can transmit and receive at distances of 10 miles, there are many obstructions that may result in a non-serviceable location. Hills, trees, valleys, buildings, etc., can all cause issues. With overlap, Nextera has created a network of locations allowing more access and availability for broadband services. Even with our deployed OFDM towers, coverage is not absolute.

+ How big are the antennas and what do they look like?

Our current antennas range in size from 2" x 3" indoor antenna to an 11" x 11" x 1" flat panel directional antenna. These antennas are very lightweight and are no more difficult to install than a satellite TV dish. The cables used to connect the antenna to the subscriber unit are 1/4" and 3/8" in diameter, with the connectors being slightly larger.

+ Will this signal interfere or be interfered with by any other wireless system?

Most references to the interference issues are the result of poor network deployment, improper placement of antennas, and frequency channel selection. The subscriber units put out a very low power signal and as such are not likely to interfere with other devices. Wireless system providers are also required by the FCC not to cause interference with other wireless providers.

+ How do I find out if I can receive Nextera Broadband Service?

Call us! We would be happy to verify our coverage capability of your address.


Did You Know?

Business class VoIP calls are carried over a private, managed network that ensures Quality of Service (QoS) for both voice and data traffic. Private networks connect to the internet and to the PSTN to ensure that voice and data traffic can reach users who are not part of the private network.