"Higher levels of security"
The perception is that wired networks’ are intrinsically superior when it comes to security as one needs a physical cable connection to access them. But those wired networks are still connected to the internet and often local WIFI, defeating the argument. And even wired devices from within the LAN can be infected and used for hacking.
Therefore, most enterprises are moving to a ‘zero-trust’ environment, whereby any connection (whether wired or wireless) is untrusted, and VPNs and application security are deployed on top of those connections to provide security for business use.
That said, LTE/5G implements ‘Secure by Design’ principles, which affords comparable protection to wired solutions (which wasn’t the case with previous generations such as 3G).
"Delivery up to the last mile"
Wired internet has been an excellent candidate for delivering high capacity bandwidth across densely populated. However, when looking at branches or extended business areas, from ports to construction environments, wired connectivity is rare, and in some cases, even physically impossible to deploy.
On the other hand, with the widespread rollout of LTE/5G and new antenna technologies, wireless networks can provide coverage almost anywhere, connecting fixed and mobile sites up to 50 kilometers away from the nearest cell tower. For branch locations where wires are not available or cost-prohibitive, last-mile LTE/5G is by far the most reliable and cost-effective option.
Plus, wires have their limitations
While wired connections have many positives, they also have key limitations that are not experienced with LTE/5G. These include:
Lack of mobility
It goes without saying that wired networks are inherently inflexible and immobile. They are fixed at specific locations and cannot easily be moved, which may or may not be inconvenient depending on the mobility needs of your business or staff.
Wireless networks, on the other hand, are highly mobile. Routers can easily be moved around and deployed anywhere. All you need is electricity, and even that can be provided using batteries and solar.
Exposed to physical failures
While both wired and wireless networks have their own complexities and require dedicated teams to maintain them, the absence of cables in a wireless system eliminates the possibility of physical damage – whether accidental or intentional – and degradation over time. This is particularly important in locations such as mining, engineering, or construction sites, but line cuts are a regular occurrence even for regular metro locations.
Wireless networks also have the additional benefit of being served by multiple cell towers, which means no single point of failure. So, if a cell tower goes down, networks will remain up and running. Therefore the uptime for wireless services is generally higher than for wired connections. Think about it – when was the last time your phone was ‘down’?
Where wireless shines
Although wired connections will continue to be the solution of choice for enterprise users in cities and other urban environments for quite some time, wireless LTE/5G options are already paying dividends to businesses operating in edge case environments.
Maritime and nearshore connectivity are great examples of this. It’s physically impossible to set up a wired connection to ships sailing at sea, yet they still require Internet connectivity for their operations. Satellite has historically been the only way to deliver this which, while workable, it’s becoming costly with new data requirements caused by new applications. In contrast, a cloud-controlled LTE/5G connection solves this problem by enabling flexible, ultra-fast, and reliable connectivity in nearshore environments.
It’s a similar story in the construction field, where connectivity barriers, including no wired access and the risk of drilling through LAN cabling, prevent high-speed and reliable connectivity. Again, because LTE/5G utilises a cellular network, it’s possible to connect construction sites to the internet without the need for cabling or the risk of mishaps cutting the cord.
Connecting remote enterprise operations such as ships and construction sites are not the only use cases for LTE/5G connectivity, though. In-vehicle connectivity, the implementation of flexible IoT, store-in-stores, or temporary sites are all use cases where wireless (and businesses taking advantage of it) thrives as the faster, better, cheaper, and all-around more practical alternative to wired connections.