Improving With Technology 

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As digital technology evolves, internet service providers must maintain a balance between implementing the latest innovations to maximize service capabilities and preserving affordability for the consumer. Amongst the contemporary internet delivery technologies are fiber optic and advanced wireless systems. Older wireless systems and cable internet delivery make up the industry’s outgoing but still commonplace systems.

VTX1, a South Texas-based telecommunications company, is dedicated to ensuring the technological evolution of the region’s internet capabilities through the improvement of delivery systems. In 2023, the company began the deployment of Tarana ngFWA (next-generation fixed wireless access), an advancement in wireless communication technology that provides faster and more reliable internet service.

The need for this technology emerged with the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased strain on internet provider service as world functions shifted online.

“As the demand for broadband grew and the pandemic put the internet on high gear, we began to see its limits being pushed. Two things needed improvement. The bandwidth or speed needed a dramatic increase,” said Sebastian Ivanisky, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at VTX1.

The new Tarana technology is revolutionary for its ability to operate in areas with signal interference and impediment. Traditional wireless-based internet service is troubled by its inability to function in the presence of obstructions. This means that the transmitting tower and the receiver that receives the tower’s signal must have a direct, unblocked path between each other.

“If your home or business was surrounded by trees, then your chances of getting reliable services went down,” said Ivanisky.

However, with Tarana’s wireless system, scattered and distorted signals can be reassembled, providing high-speed wireless internet of up to 400 Mbps (megabits per second) in places where reliable internet service was once unavailable due to obstructions.

“Tarana equipment is able to sound the environment and cancel out bad signals from good signals. Even signals that are bouncing on objects like billboards or buildings. It is able to reconstruct all these pieces of signal from different sources and put it back together.

We have begun to use it as our standard wireless deployment and we have yet to find an area where we can say it is not needed,” said Ivanisky.

Despite its investments in technology, VTX1 strives to create accessible, priced internet services. The company does so by determining which internet delivery method is the most appropriate for an area.

“We primarily focus on fiber optic and fixed wireless service. The choice to make one technology available over the other comes down to feasibility. The most common factor affecting the decision is customer density. Most typical deployment involves running fiber along the main areas of a community, like downtown. Followed by locating fixed wireless equipment on a tall structure or tower nearby in order to serve the more rural areas or residences outside the city limits.”

Since fiber is typically the most capable but expensive technology to install, its use is most justifiable in populous, concentrated urban areas with a large consumer base that makes the price of the service affordable. However, in broad areas with a scattered population, fixed wireless technology that can easily reach a vast number of consumers becomes the most appropriate, maintaining affordability.

“We believe in using the right tool for the right job. There is a strong push for fiber-only networks in today’s market. Mainly driven by the availability of government funding. It is easy to operate an expensive network when someone else is footing the bill. That’s not to say we would not take advantage of funding, especially when this allows us to pass the savings on to our customers. But fiber in low-density areas is too expensive, and we don’t believe it is the best use of tax dollars.”

In the years to come, VTX1 aspires to continue using technological innovations to best serve South Texas and provide competitive internet coverage.

“VTX1 is committed to stay on the cutting edge of technology. We were one of the firsts in the country to roll out Tarana, and we plan to continue ahead of the curve,” said Ivanisky.