Article | 23 June 2022

FOMO: The fear of missing out on LTE/5G

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Tim
Written by
Tim Patrick, Pre-Sales & Product Manager The Netherlands

Why FOMO also means missing competitive advantage for your business.

For obvious reasons, we’re fans of bandwidth here at Blue Wireless. And we’ve written previously on the best way to understand how wireless broadband works. (tl;dr: the higher the frequency is on the electromagnetic spectrum, the more data you can send whooshing down it).

But beyond “my Netflix will be smoother,” many people outside the IT room have trouble understanding what better bandwidth enables—and wonder if there’s something they’re missing. Besides hurling data faster, what does LTE/5G actually do?

The answer is multi-layered—but as you’ll see, there’s a business advantage at every level. From connecting more people at once to working efficiently in ultra-busy environments, LTE/5G technologies offer a business case for all sorts of challenges facing today’s ambitious organisation.

So let’s leave FOMO to the Instagrammers and Influencers, and take a guided tour of the use cases high-bandwidth wireless opens up.

1. Wireless means, well, less wire

You’d think this went without saying, but it’s astonishing just how much of an advantage comes merely from not needing to install cables.

Yes, your office building downtown probably enjoys multiple fibre and copper connections; your home may have optical fibre bringing the world to your living room. But what if you needed to do business in a place where you had to start from scratch?

With LTE/5G, wireless can match, and even outperform, wired connections —which makes a huge difference in places where there’s no pre-existing fibre in the ground. (Or even old copper telephony wires.) Imagine the speed of rolling out connectivity when you don’t have to dig ditches or string pylons between buildings. That’s the first advantage you’ll miss out on if you ignore wireless: the sheer convenience of deployment.

Blue Wireless works with sites far from urban infrastructure, like remote mines, desert energy stations, and even a fish farm in the straits between Singapore and Malaysia. Plus others where there’s not even the option of wired connections, like shipping. (Yes, you can have LTE/5G on your superyacht.)

It might sound obvious, but don’t forget: wireless means wire-less. And that means easier installs and lower deployment costs.

2. Out-of-coverage doesn’t mean out of options

When we say it’s possible to connect to public 5G even if you’re a long way from a covered area, some people start scratching their heads. How on Earth do we do it? After all, the higher frequencies of 5G connections, which allow higher bandwidth, also pay a price: shorter range.

The solution is simple in theory. With the right equipment—like the Cradlepoint routers and high-gain Poynting antennas we use at Blue Wireless—a public 5G network can still be reachable, enabling high speeds even if normal phone coverage ends 50km from your remote rural site.

Of course, it takes knowledge and expertise—which is why installations usually starts with a site survey. So that’s our second FOMO solved: just because your phone says “no signal,” it doesn’t mean your business has to miss out on wireless connectivity.

3. More things can use the same connectivity …

Older 3G and 4G networks were prone to dropping connections when you most needed them—in situations like crowds leaving a concert or at a crowded train station with everyone trying to use their phone at the same time. That’s because older wireless networks weren’t simply slower—their limits on user density (number of connections the nearest cell tower could handle) were lower, too.

4G tops out at around 2000 devices per square kilometre. Not much when you think a football stadium packs in around 60,000 fans on match day. But 5G allows for far, far more: one million devices per square km.

That’s important. Because while you might not be hiring 1m employees at your remote factory, you may have hundreds of thousands of connected devices—everything from sensors for your AC to autonomous vehicles trundling around your lights-off warehouse. With LTE/5G, a huge proportion of those connections can safely be wireless (and most likely will need to be), allowing a single installation to connect countless moving parts. With LTE/5G linking all your capital assets, no machine misses out on connectivity.

4. ...without interfering with each other

Of course, capacity is more than a single number. A factory isn’t a restful haven of tranquillity, where every connection has a clean line-of-sight, and there are no walls, boxes, or people to get in the way. Most sites are crowded, chaotic, and in constant motion. That’s the nature of business.

So how does LTE/5G get around the obstacle of, well, getting around obstacles?

LTE is a broad set of standards, and one of its key features is that it lets older 4G networks interoperate with 5G to provide bandwidth to the customer. In fact, it’s likely many “5G” networks you’ve used were in fact a mix of 4G and 5G. 4G signals can also see through walls, meaning you get the best of both worlds: 5G speeds, 4G propagation.

(Time for another technical term: this ability to get through obstacles is called “propagation”, and is distinct from “range”, which is an idealised line-of-sight number.)

If you deal with difficult environments—as with mining, oil exploration, or resource extraction—you’ll know how the distance between buildings can vary even across one site. LTE/5G lets you offer the right bandwidth to all. Physical obstacles won’t make you miss out on 5G, either.

5. And response times are lower, too!

If you have teenage gamers in your household, you’ve probably heard about latency: not bandwidth, but the time it takes for their clicks on a virtual battlefield to take effect, commonly called “ping time”. A high ping means instant death online.

5G technology offers somewhat lower latency than 4G—and future iterations will make this even better. And that’s good for vast factory operators as well as bedroom gamers. Because the faster each thing on your network responds to a connection request, the faster it can act on its instructions.

A difference of 10’s or 100’s of milliseconds might seem academic, but multiplied out over millions of data exchanges per day among thousands of devices … it adds up to masses of time saved, and productivity gained. That’s our last miss avoided: with LTE/5G, you don’t have to miss out on fast response times.

So, are you going to miss out on wireless?

That’s LTE/5G from Blue Wireless. All the advantages of the latest high-bandwidth 5G technology—without any of the disadvantages of needing to be in the network coverage of a wired operator or dealing with patchy service and blind spots. All in all, it’s a way of foiling your FOMO, and making wireless a productive part of your business infrastructure—however remote or how difficult your sites are.

Ready to talk to Blue Wireless about your business? We’d love to have a chat.

Talk to
Tim

Tim Patrick, Pre-Sales & Product Manager

Let's get your wireless journey started. I am happy to walk you through the best wireless solutions for your business, whichever the use case.

Tim

Tim Patrick, Pre-Sales Manager