Fixed Wireless Subscriber Insights

 

The Fixed Wireless Internet Industry, primarily driven by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) is growing and attracting much-deserved attention. Majorly because of its contribution in bridging the global digital divide. As more and more operators look at incorporating fixed wireless technologies in their network, it may be interesting to see how typical fixed wireless subscribers behave vs subscribers on traditional technologies like cable, DSL or satellite. For instance, US cable Internet customers are using an average of 268.7GB per month. Similarly, a 2018 report cited average home’s broadband usage at 190 GB per month.

So, what’s up with fixed wireless internet subscribers? We’re talking about questions like –

  • What’s the average monthly data usage of a fixed wireless customer?
  • What’s the typical download speed (peak time vs average) or
  • How much latency is experienced by fixed wireless or WISP customers

With talks of a 5G revolution and growing per capita data consumption on account of streaming video, we thought that many operators would be interested to look at such subscriber-level statistics. For existing operators or WISPs, it may be interesting to compare their own network statistics with the industry averages as well.

Interestingly, we at Preseem are in a unique position to accumulate and analyze tons of data from real-world WISP networks and answer some of these questions. In fact, Preseem ingests billions of metrics daily across tens of thousands of subscribers and thousands of access points from its customer base. In 2018, we launched a unique Fixed Wireless Network Report at Wispapalooza with similar insights and much more. It was an instant hit – featured by industry blogs and media outlets. We recently launched a spring update 2019Q1 as well and a free copy can be downloaded here.

Without further ado, let’s uncover some fixed wireless subscriber insights.

 

Fixed Wireless Subscriber Download Throughput Data

 

Download throughput is what most internet users are concerned with unless uploading an important file or document. Download throughput is the rate/speed at which users receive data from the internet. One important factor we considered while collecting this data is the difference between peak usage time as compared to off-peak times. There’s little value in collecting subscriber statistics at times when there are not enough customers using the network (say at 2 am).

The figure below compares the download throughput achieved by fixed wireless subscribers during the busiest (peak) and other times of the day – 

fixed wireless subscriber network report chart 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what did we find?

  • Average fixed wireless internet subscriber uses a little over 3 Mb/ s of data (during peak times)
  • Considering the 95th percentile (as averages can be misleading), we can see that subscriber download throughput during peak times is 10.4 Mbps vs 10.9 Mbps during other times.

The difference between peak and off-peak is surprisingly small. This indicates that on the whole, subscriber throughput does not degrade significantly during the busier times. This implies that WISP networks are not heavily oversubscribed. Additionally, this implies that WISP networks are able to handle congested times with relatively low degradation in subscriber’s QoE. 

 

Fixed Wireless Subscriber Latency Data

 

Latency is one of the most important metrics when it comes to a subscriber’s quality of experience. Imagine those irritating Skype calls with lags/ call drops or your online gaming session being not fast or responsive enough. Such problems are primarily caused by network latency.

It’s important to understand how network latency is measured. Preseem measures round trip time (RTT) latency by tracking the round trip time for individual TCP segments to obtain a detailed view of the latency in the access network. This is fundamentally different than ICMP ping-based latency measurement because it measures true end-to-end latency including the latency in the subscriber’s home.

fixed wireless subscriber data latency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When looking at the 80th percentile latency, we can see that peak-time latency hovers around 70ms. For all times, that number drops back into the 65ms range. These are within the ‘acceptable’ latency values according to most operators. Somewhat surprisingly, the latency difference between peak and off-peak times is relatively small which provides further evidence that WISP networks are not heavily oversubscribed.

Note that these metrics are collected from networks where Preseem is deployed to optimize latency and subscriber experience. Therefore it is quite likely that the latency in networks without such optimization is significantly higher

 

Fixed Wireless Subscriber Usage Data

 

As per our latest Fixed wireless network report, the average fixed wireless or WISP subscriber uses 6.7 GB of data per day.

This amounts to over 201 GB monthly. As usual, the average hides significant variation between subscribers.

fixed wireless subscriber usage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we see that 33% of subscribers use less than 1GB of download usage per day. Interestingly, almost 12% use more than 16 GB per day. The disparity between low data users and high data users is fairly significant. This means that it’s important that different data plans are available from WISPs worldwide.

While the most ardent data consumers in the fixed wireless world use around 500 GB+ monthly, 4.1 percent of US cable internet households are known to use at least 1 Terabyte of data!

Are you curious how we collected this data (peak vs off-peak, percentiles) or hungry for more insights?

Preseem’s fixed wireless network report contains more insights on fixed wireless networks, including

  • Real-world market share of access point manufacturers
  • Real-world comparison of popular AP models on throughput & latency
  • WISPs & RF channel width and much more

You can download a free copy here.

 

Preseem is a one-of-a-kind Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring and optimization platform for fixed wireless networks. For more information on Preseem or a free 30-day trial, visit Preseem.com.

 

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