Put simply, a repeater site is a secondary broadcast station that expands the reach of a fixed wireless internet tower.
They help bring affordable, high-speed internet to more homes and businesses by redirecting the signal given off from a local tower. This provides a way to bounce the internet signal to customers that might be blocked from connecting to the local tower.
How Do Repeater Sites Work?
To fully understand how repeater sites work, we have to briefly explain how fixed wireless internet works.
With fixed wireless internet, an access point, typically atop a tall tower, broadcasts broadband internet wirelessly through radio waves. To tap into this high-speed internet, customers will have a receiver or antenna installed.
However, to be able to access that wireless internet connection, a direct line of sight from the tower to the receiver is needed. Things like trees, hills, and buildings can block the signal, making it impossible to access the wireless network.
To serve more people, fixed wireless providers are creating repeater sites. These repeater sites are in the direct line of sight of the transmitting tower. They then take the signal they receive and redirect it in a different direction to bring the fixed wireless internet signal to areas that can’t access the signal due to obstructions between them and the tower.
Where Do Repeater Sites Go?
When it comes to fixed wireless access points, providers are somewhat confined to their location. They’ll either need to access an existing cell tower or build a new one, which can be expensive and time-consuming. However, repeater sites’ locations are more flexible in location and cost.
There are a few things fixed wireless broadband providers will look for when finding sites for a repeater. These include a community in need of a better internet option and a suitable physical location.
A Community in Need
Many fixed wireless internet companies focus their efforts on bringing a high-speed internet option to areas that do not have one. In many remote or rural areas, the infrastructure needed to access traditional high-speed internet just isn’t there. That means many are stuck with slow DSL internet or satellite internet, which has high latency and can fluctuate with weather conditions.
But because the infrastructure needed to transmit fixed wireless internet is much less resource-intensive, they can more quickly and efficiently bring a better internet solution to more people.
That said, because a direct line of sight from the tower to the wireless antenna receiver is needed, these towers alone can’t reach everyone. But if there’s a significant amount of homes and businesses in an area that are in need of a better option, it may be a great area to install a repeater.
A Space to Install It
In addition to the need for fixed wireless in the area, there will also have to be a location for the repeater to be installed.
The equipment required to install a repeater is relatively simple. The main component is a relatively small box-like dish or antenna. However, it will need to be installed in an area that has a direct line of sight to the main tower and a direct line of sight to the area it will serve.
As most physical obstructions are lower to the ground, like trees and buildings, the location of the repeater site will have to be relatively high to maximize its reach. Farmer’s silos, tall buildings, and utility poles are common locations for a repeater site, as they allow the equipment to stretch above typical obstructions, increasing the number of homes and businesses it can reach.
Will I Have a Weaker Signal With a Repeater Site?
If you’ve ever played whisper down the lane, you’ve probably learned that as information goes from person to person, it loses more and more of its original message. Or, when you’re redirecting light with multiple mirrors, the light gets weaker and weaker with each mirror.
Does the same apply when using a repeater to bounce the fixed wireless internet from a cell tower to your home or business?
While it’s true a repeater may cause a very slight decrease in the potency of the signal; it will not be a big enough decrease to impact download speeds or the reliability of the service.
In other words, if a repeater is your only way to access fast, reliable internet, concerns about the strength of the signal shouldn’t stop you. Before you become a paying customer, your service provider should come out and test the signal strength to ensure you’ll get a connection you’re happy with.
Is Fixed Wireless Internet Available in My Area?
Fixed wireless internet is an excellent option for many looking for an alternative option. Fast speeds, no data caps, and customer-focused service and conditions are erasing many frustrations homeowners and businesses have with their current internet providers.
As more towers go online and more repeaters are installed, we can reach more and more customers. Check out our service area map to see if we’re able to reach your home or business, and give us a call if you have a good location in mind for a repeater site.