Presented by Nashua

The wireless vs fibre showdown – A look at which is better for business in South Africa

Fibre-to-the-Business (FTTB) is gaining traction in South Africa, with over 150,000km of Fibre Internet network infrastructure laid out nationally, and expanding daily.

The current market for Wireless, Point-to-Multipoint, and Point-to-Point Broadband Wireless Business Services is over 200,000 customers and growing annually.

It is important not to confuse technologies when comparing how last mile connectivity is delivered: either by Wireless Microwave or by Fibre.

This article does not comment on Wi-Fi, but rather the last mile connectivity from the network to the building or office.

Total Office Provider Nashua evaluates the pros and cons of whether Fibre or Enterprise Wireless Microwave connectivity is more suited for South African businesses.


Fibre is becoming increasingly popular as its roll-out expands in the Metros and outlying larger towns in South Africa. It is a natural replacement for high-theft copper, and as a fixed-line service, it is stable, robust, and has a very high data carrying capacity.

Because Fibre is underground, the reliability of its throughput is not affected by the elements which can affect entry-level wireless solutions. The Fibre cables can be accidentally dug up, however, resulting in connectivity downtime.

Fibre services to a business can be up-scaled to higher-speeds easily, and due to the increase of rollouts across South Africa, affordability and turnaround times to installation in most Metro areas is steadily improving.


Wireless Microwave, can be deployed far quicker than Fibre in many areas, even within a Metro and certainly outside of the current national Fibre footprint.

Reputable Wireless Microwave Service providers deploying Country Wide, Carrier Grade Voice and Data Networks, with a combination of Fibre and high capacity Wireless Microwave back-hauls for redundancy can certainly compete with Fibre.  Such network operators will deploy Point-to-Point or Point-to-Multipoint Solutions for last mile connectivity with guaranteed uptimes.

These types of Carrier Grade Wireless Microwave solutions may, in some cases, be more cost-effective than Fibre, quicker to deploy, and with the added advantage of deployment within Metro’s and any outlying areas, provided there is coverage.  This can certainly provide any business with a permanent solution, even if Fibre is available in the area.

Wireless Microwave connections can be affected by weather, but by deploying Enterprise Carrier Grade Technology in the correct way, these adverse weather conditions can be mitigated, ensuring the delivery of stable Enterprise Carrier Grade connectivity. Furthermore, throughputs and quality of service are dependent on the capacity of the provider’s local and national network, as well as its backhaul mediums and routes.

Best Effort Wireless Microwave services may degrade due to the distance of the last mile connectivity, an increased amount of concurrent users from a tower, network technology deployed for last mile connections, and the quality of equipment and technologies deployed to service the local or national part of the network.

However, proper local and national network planning and deployment of Carrier Grade Wireless equipment will ensure adequate capacities and guaranteed reliability resulting in a stable Carrier Grade National Network, and guaranteed service delivery to the customer via the optimum delivery method.


Comparing Fibre to Wireless Technology – availability, coverage, reliability, uptime guarantees, capacity, service delivery and price are all key elements to consider.

As for Fibre capacity vs Wireless capacity, the gap continues to shrink due to the nature of technology evolving on a daily basis.

Outside of the high-density areas in both small and large towns where fibre is years away, Carrier Grade Wireless Microwave Technology is readily available to meet all customer requirements.

Both options are scalable, to ensure that as your needs grow, so can your connectivity. Fibre and Carrier Grade Wireless Microwave capacities can be expanded by a change in configuration and if required, a change in equipment, both of which can be easily managed by the service provider.

Ultimately, both Fibre and Wireless Microwave technologies are purely the Connectivity (Layer-2) method, for the delivery of the service/s to be provided.

The Internet (Layer-3) to be delivered via the Connectivity (Layer-2) method is also a determining factor to be taken into account when making a decision on one’s business connectivity requirements.

Get free installation

Nashua is offering businesses free installation on any business fibre or wireless connection until the end of July.

The wireless and fibre products are reliable, dedicated, uncapped, unshaped, and fast.

Nashua’s connectivity solutions are the next step to future-proofing your business.

For more information, visit the Nashua website.

This article was published in partnership with Nashua.

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The wireless vs fibre showdown – A look at which is better for business in South Africa