News & Blog

Is 4G a Viable Route for Office Connectivity?

8th January 2015

4G has been around for some time now. It is the latest generation of mobile internet technology. With coverage improving around the UK, we’re beginning to see mobile providers offering packages specifically targeted at replacing traditional fixed line connections. But is it really viable option for business and what are the pitfalls?

Here is what you need to consider:

  • Location – masts in major towns and cities are being upgraded to 4G first. If you’re a bit further out 4G may not be an option at all.
  • Bandwidth – In theory 4G will deliver 300Mbps download. In reality even with full signal you’ll rarely see more than 80 Mbps. There are no guarantees. The bandwidth you’ll get depends entirely on your distance from the nearest mast and on the level of environmental interference. 
  • Contention – Ever been to a football stadium, had full 4G signal but still had a painfully slow internet experience?  This is because 30,000 people are trying to use a fixed amount of capacity. 4G network providers do not publish their “contention ratios” or their capacity, so you’ll have no guarantees as to what will happen when the network gets busy.
  • Data Transfer – 4G packages have a very low data transfer limit and if you use it all up they slow down your connection considerably for the rest of the payment period or raise heavy over quote usage charges.
  • Fixed Public IP – If your business needs to do anything more technical than basic email and web browsing a fixed public IP address is usually essential. With the vast majority of 4G providers this is simply not an option, and they will issue your connection a dynamic IP address that changes all the time. No good if you’re looking to remote desktop to the office from home or check your IP CCTV cameras etc…
  • Hardware – To use 4G on your office network you’ll need a device that converts 4G in to a WiFi or wired Cat5 connection. 4G mobile providers typically force you to use their supplied equipment which limits the number of internal devices you can connect. In addition, you’ll really struggle to setup more advanced local network features that you might be used to.
  • Upload Bandwidth – Bear in mind that 4G won’t deliver a synchronous connection. This means the upload speed will be much lower than the download speed. Certainly a consideration if your business sends large files such as images, CAD drawings and project files.
  • Backup – If you’re using the supplied hardware from the mobile provider there is no backup option for you when their network has planned or unplanned downtime.
  • Support – If you have a problem or things aren’t going to plan, you’ll benefit from the same level of support that you’re used to from your mobile phone provider.

In conclusion there are circumstances where 4G is a viable option for business connectivity, however we feel all of the above items need to be carefully considered.  There are many other technologies that will deliver similar speeds at similar cost without the downsides.

Odyssey Systems have a team of experts in the North East with experience built over 28 years of trading. Call Matt on 01642 661808 to discuss the many options available for you such as:

  • ADSL
  • FTTC
  • Bonded ADSL
  • EFM
  • Microwave
  • Ethernet Leased Line