Does 4G Internet Make Sense For Providers?


As 4G wireless Internet technology has spread nationwide, IT decision makers have been looking at it for more than just data for their smart phones and tablets.

4G vs Broadband
4G vs Broadband Chart
The Pros

Today’s 4G Internet connections can consistently provide bandwidth download speeds in the 10 Mbps range, with some connections exceeding 20 Mbps. (For reference, Netflix requires 5 Mbps per session.)

This kind of throughput makes 4G a viable backup solution without a wired connection. For organizations that rely on the cloud for their applications, 4G presents an always-on solution that can protect against fiber connection cuts and outages at vendor telecom central offices.

The Cons

While 4G-as-a-service has become attractive as a backup Internet connection, it is not without drawbacks as a business Internet connection.

4G data plans can be quite expensive; a 50 GB plan from Verizon is $225/month. With 4G data being usage driven, clients often choose to have the connection sit idle until needed. This makes for an expensive emergency plan.

Additionally, if an outage occurs to the primary connection, IT support must react fast to restore the connection as the “juice” is running on the 4G connection. Not only can usage be expensive, but a wireless data device is needed to convert the 4G signal to Ethernet for connectivity to a site router or firewall. These devices can run into the thousands and can often be difficult and time consuming to configure.

The Bottom Line

VCPI’s team of network professionals recommends that 4G backups be used only in limited use cases. 4G Internet makes sense in the following situations:

  • Rural locations
  • When there are limited broadband options
  • As a tertiary connection
  • Mobile hotspots for emergencies
  • Out of band access for remote management of network devices

Wired connections are much more cost effective and have no built-in usage cap. A location that uses cloud services can install a dedicated fiber Internet circuit for its primary connection and a broadband connection for backup. Broadband services, such as cable or DSL, have seen huge leaps in available bandwidth while prices have plummeted. It’s not uncommon to see a cable connection with 100 Mbps download for as low as $100/month with no contract or installation costs.

This circuit can also be used to provide guests and residents Internet access without impacting business traffic. With so many applications moving to the cloud, separate Internet circuits are a must to ensure high performance for everyone.


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