Fixed Internet Providers, 4G Wireless, and the Future of the Internet
A lot of people pit 4G wireless broadband against fixed internet services. Some say that the former is where the future of the Internet lies, while others believe that the latter will continue to be the type of service that the majority of users will use when accessing the World Wide Web. But what people need to understand is that both services are different and make use of different technologies. As such, each has its own corresponding advantages and disadvantages.
What is Fixed Internet?
Fixed wireless broadband is basically one of the types of high-speed Internet access where the connections being sent to the internet providers make use of DSL cables, copper, or fibre technology. For areas where there are no DSL or cable television lines and where fibre has not yet been laid down, an alternative fixed internet service is available where the connections make use of radio signals instead of these cables. The speeds that users can expect from such connections are much slower and generally range from 1 to 10 Mbps.
What is 4G Wireless Broadband?
4G wireless broadband is the fourth and latest generation of wireless service available in the industry. It is the successor of 3G and is a widespread, high-speed wireless service. The limitation to 4G is that its availability is still very much limited to certain areas and regions. While many service providers and operators are providing 4G services, the underlying technology that they’re using might vary, such as WiMAX technology and Long Term Evolution or LTE technology.
Fixed Internet versus 4G Wireless Broadband
The major difference between the two is, obviously, the manner with which it allows users to access the Internet. Fixed Internet requires a physical connection via wires between the PC or laptop and the modem. This limits access to the web only in a fixed area—at your computer table, at your workstation, or in your cubicle at the office. While this may be limiting, the direct connection to the modem also gives users access to broadband speeds that are superfast. Fixed Internet networks are usually large and are more reliable because of this.
On the other hand, one may consider 4G wireless broadband as “on-the-go” Internet that users can access, anytime and anywhere they want to, as long as there’s a strong signal from the mobile carrier they’re subscribed to. 4G is also able to transfer data at faster speeds. It does so by splitting the data to be transmitted over various radio frequencies so that a larger amount of data can be transferred per second.
Reliability, Cost, and Users’ General Preferences
While there are many considerations that can be made when looking at both technologies, three stand out: service reliability, cost, and user preference. For the first point, fixed broadband emerges as the more reliable option because the connection is not dependent on the strength of the operator’s signal in the area. The computer is connected directly to the modem, so there’s no need to worry if the area or region that you might be traveling to has poor coverage. The costs of each service depend highly on the type of plan or contract that you’ve taken out with your provider or carrier. It’s notable that many users experience bill shock when it comes to 4G mobile broadband as they are usually unaware of the amount of data they have used via their devices until their bill arrives. However, the cost is not much of an issue if the user is well aware of the limits and keeps track of his or her mobile data usage.
Perhaps the future of the Internet—and the type of technology that may predominate—lies mainly with the users and their preference. Fixed broadband and 4G wireless each have their own pros and cons and corresponding strengths and weaknesses. One emerges on top as being constant and reliable, while the other provides the convenience of portability and accessibility. However, the broadband industry is constantly evolving and perhaps improvements and developments in one type or the other will reveal which technology is more fitting for the future of the Internet.