In the world of telecom, the technology is moving faster every year. Each new generation of connectivity solutions brings with it a new set of opportunities. For communities and business enterprises, three terms are commonly used as the current option on the market today: 5G, Wi-Fi, and Private LTE. In this article, we explore the differences between these three, and how they each fit into the world of telecommunications.
Of the three, Wi-Fi is probably the most familiar to the average person. It is the most widely used in homes and offices since the mid-1990s. With Wi-Fi, wireless devices connect with a wireless router, and that connects the user to the Internet. For mobile devices, the router can connect with 4G/5G and allow you to connect with the Internet as well.
While an older option, Wi-Fi is cheap to install and easy to maintain. However, it is notoriously hackable – the security is lacking compared to more secure options like CBRS. The range on Wi-Fi is extremely limited, and the reliability when moving indoors to outdoors is often spotty at best.
For industrial needs like manufacturing, mining, ports, private LTE offers many benefits. Even rural communities and Native American reservations leverage the benefits of private LTE systems to connect their residents to reliable wireless Internet access.
LTE networks can use licensed, unlicensed, or shared spectrums – which offers more secure options for connectivity compared to Wi-Fi options. In addition, the range scales much farther without interference. This can be highly effective in large factories, in the oil and gas industry, and for communities in rural areas.
There is a great deal of hype around 5G. 5G is increasing the potential for higher connection speed and capacity for wireless broadband. The long-term implication opens doors for next-gen 10 to 100 times the speed of 4G technology. This responsiveness can improve everything from video conferencing to vital telemedicine – and even the domestication of augmented and virtual reality.
Private 5G improves on private LTE in several areas, including higher bandwidth, mobility, and lower latency, and can support a much greater density of devices. Cutting-edge manufacturing sites, distribution centers and numerous other campus environments can benefit from the deployment of a private 5G infrastructure supporting either 4G or 5G radio access networks. From algorithmic updates to a production processes, predictive maintenance of machinery and real-time interaction with autonomous distribution vehicles, private 5G networks afford numerous advantages for modern enterprises.
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