Arvig continues wiring Wadena

A few miles of fiber remains to be laid in the city in 2022.

Arvig's coverage map in Wadena.
The Arvig fiber builtout area in Wadena includes much of the city.
Contributed photo
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WADENA – Arvig laid 26 of the 29 miles of fiber optic cable in the Wadena project area in 2021 and continues to splice wires through this deep Minnesota winter.

The project was stopped short of completion this winter thanks to the inevitable freezing ground and heavy snowfalls that make this kind of work near impossible.

Arvig’s senior manager of plant operations Brett Christiansen said at its peak, some 30 crew members were out and about installing the fiber in the ground to offer connections to much of the city of Wadena and outlying areas. A much smaller crew continues to have a presence in town, where they are splicing fibers that were already laid in place.

Christiansen said once spring returns, they’ll relaunch the crews to complete the fiber install.

“We’re planning to come back as soon as we can come,” Christiansen said. Much of the remaining work includes a portion of southwest Wadena. This project should be ready for service this summer, perhaps July.


Once completed, affected area businesses and residents will be able to select internet speeds up to 1Gb; and speeds up to 10Gb symmetrical are available.

This project was expected to cost about $2.6 million, an investment Arvig has taken on without federal or state grants. It can cost in the neighborhood of $35,000 per mile to install fiber. These fibers are placed 3-4 feet underground. And if left alone, they should stay viable beyond our lifetimes.

Arvig has been maintaining and expanding their footprint with projects throughout the state.

Arvig delivers internet, TV, home security and phone services to customers throughout Minnesota, including 76 communities.

WiFi upgrade

While the fiber has not yet been completed in Wadena. WiFi devices are continuing to improve the user experience. Arvig recently announced the launch of WiFi 6 equipment to be compatible with the latest generation of mobile connectivity. This provides speeds up to 1 GBps with compatible devices. According to Shaun Carlson, director of R&D and continuous innovation at Arvig, in general, this technology provides 40% more throughput than WiFi 5. The WiFI 6 hardware provides more speed in more places with even the most basic packages.

Additionally, the standard allows for as much as a four-fold increase in wireless performance in dense environments—settings such as apartment buildings, airports and stadiums. WiFi 6 is expected to offer improvements in not only signal range and reliability, but also increase network efficiency and extended battery life for supported IoT devices.

“This is a very important upgrade to the Arvig network for many reasons,” says Shaun Carlson, Director of Research & Development and Continuous Innovation at Arvig. “Our network now carries new and improved wireless technology that will offer a much better user experience from end to end. As the demand on WiFi increases, this upgrade ensures that our wireless network can offer better speeds, greater range and improved reliability.”

Each new generation of WiFi has brought improvements in speed, throughput and reliability, but WiFi 6 takes upgrades a step further, as it introduces a locally controlled and optimized WiFi network with real-time optimization supported by cloud-based machine learning algorithms to provide the best WiFi performance for the user.

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