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Radio links vs. fibre optic cables

Data transport at most datacenters occurs by means of fiber optic connections. Cellnex is no exception. But thanks to the high altitude of the telecom & data towers, at Cellnex you can also opt for radio links* between your offices and the datacenter in the tower.

Do you prefer fiber optic connections or radio links? We have listed the characteristics of both options for you, so you can make an informed and sensible choice.

Reliability

Obviously, you prefer a stable, continuous connection for your data transport. Fiber optic connections are a very suitable option. Radio links are also exceptionally reliable. In the past, rain and snow affected the quality of the connection, but with the current technology, this is no longer the case. We can even go so far as to state that radio links are more reliable than fiber optic connections, due to the vulnerability of fiber optic cables with regard to excavations.

Fiber optic: ++
Radio link: ++

Lead time installation

The installation of a point-to-point dark fiber connection takes 16 to 20 weeks on average. The installation of a radio link takes 2 to 3 weeks on average. NB: The installation of a radio link doesn’t require planning permission, but in some cases, you do need a permit from the Agentschap Telecom.

Fiber optic: +
Radio link: ++

Data speed

Due to the direct line of sight, the data rate of radio links is higher than that of fiber optic connections. A radio link has a lower latency (less delay). In contrast, fiber optic connections may achieve higher bandwidths.

Fiber optic: +
Radio link: ++

Amount of data traffic

The capacity of fiber optic connections exceeds that of radio links, as the amount of data traffic through fiber optic connections fluctuates. The capacity of radio links is capped at 1 gigabit, which, incidentally, is more than sufficient for most businesses.

Fiber optic: ++
Radio link: +

Costs

The installation costs for fiber optic connections and radio links depend on your location and the distance to the datacenter in the telecom & data tower. To determine the one-off connection costs of a radio link, we will need to perform a site survey.

In most cases, the connection costs and returning costs of a radio link are lower than those of a dark fiber connection. We will gladly calculate the connection and monthly costs for you.

Fiber optic: +
Radio link: ++

Uptime

Various fiber optic companies promise an uptime (SLA) of 99.8. With a single radio link, we can realize an uptime of 99.998. Some of our clients opt for both fiber optic and radio links. By using both options, Cellnex can guarantee an uptime of 99.999%. Do you wish to know more about the experiences of other businesses with redundant connections? Please contact our account manager for more information, free of obligation.

Fiber optic: +
Radio link: ++
Redundant: +++

* A radio link, also called ethernet waves, is a fixed connection between two points using radio waves. In addition to an antenna on the Cellnex telecom & data tower, an antenna is attached to your office building (or to a mast close to the building). The antennas are then aligned. Fixed connections are suitable for bridging distances up to dozens of kilometers.