We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Fiber vs Wireless for a MAN connection

My company was recently acquired by a third party which is now in the process of reviewing our infrastructure.

One of the things they are covering is our existing MAN, so I'd like to get some unbiased input regarding MAN technologies.

Sites A and B are half a mile apart.
Site C is about 10 miles from both A and B.
Site D is about 20 (?) miles from site C and 15 miles from sites A and B.

At an absolute minimum, sites A, B, and D all need to connect to site C. I'd like to keep them all in a mesh like we do now.
We're currently using a 100 megabit fiber optic product from ATT, and it's working fine. During a normal day, the lines hover around 5 - 10 megabits utilization, but when the backups run (or I reimage a system over the network) we can easily hit 80 megabits per second.
We're using VoIP at all of these locations.

Our auditors are suggesting that we use some kind of point to point wireless technology between these sites instead of the fiber optic lines we're currently using.
What are the pros and cons between these technologies?
Watch Question

Well, there are alot of things to consider... Line of sight for one at 20-15 miles range you will start having to deal with the curvature of the earth, so antenna elevation is a must. But it is do able, you are looking at dropping probable 20-30 grand for each site. Also, some radio require lic fee from the FCC depending on the frq range they operate on.

Here is a link to a site to give you a better Idea.

Now for real world exp, I had a location the had a 10/10 mbps wireless link with hughs equipment over a distance of 2 miles. Worked great and we provided internet to a VoIP developer and they had no issues with latency and such. I have never personally used a link over 2 miles. But I know it can be done, and after the initail setup costs it should be cheaper the the transport cost of att fiber between all the sites.
I would strongly suggest you stick to the fibre optic, rather than going for wireless. Some of the reasons are as follows:
- Wireless transmission is much more susceptible to environmental interferences as compared to fibre optic.
- Provided you have modular switches, al you need to do is replace the mB speed FO modules with gB speed ones to get better utilisation of your link. Setting up the wireless connection with comparable speeds and security would cost a lot more.
- About the auditors who suggested you go for Wi-Fi instead of Fibre, are these internal auditors or external auditors authorised by a reputed body? Have they given any reasons for suggesting Wi-Fi PP over FO?

Hope this helps.


The auditors are from RSM McGladrey. I don't know auditors well enough to know if that's a large company or not. It's apparently a subsidary of H&R Block, so they're reputable.

The only reason that I'm aware of for suggesting wireless is simply the monthly cost savings.

Thanks for your help guys. I'll send these responses off to the relevant parties and post back if I have any additional questions.

Explore More ContentExplore courses, solutions, and other research materials related to this topic.