4G vs. Wifi - is it too early to declare a winner?
I'm a highly mobile worker. When away from my home office, which has fibre broadband and ubiquitous wifi coverage, or one of our office locations with wifi and LAN, I use public wifi and hotel LAN services through our Business Everywhere Smart offer.
However, I find that most of the time my HSDPA+ connection is fast enough (when doing email, light web browsing etc.). Now that I have an effective 'all you can eat' data plan when in my home country I find myself using public wifi less, usually only when connecting to my virtual desktop or for video and other real time communications.
Now that 4G covers most of the locations I visit in the UK and most of the other cities around the world (at least for EE users in the UK) I can see that the main reason for keeping wifi is cost control when roaming rather than for the user experience.
I'm interested in the opinions of the readers of this blog, will 4G replace wifi?
- for a good 4G coverage map, take a look at http://www.worldtimezone.com/4g.html
- for market coverage predictions, see http://www.ericsson.com/ericsson-mobility-report
image © ArmanZhenikeyev Fotolia.com
November 14, 2013Andy SeanThat's best describes how connectivity matters.
March 27, 2013Thank you for the comments. Yes, reality is always more complex than a simple blog post!My main point is about the impact of the rapid roll-out of 4G around the world on public wifi. Actual adoption will be driven more by relative cost vs. convenience than technical issues. Interestingly, we within Orange are encouraged to turn off international data roaming and use wifi except in emergency situations so it shows that roaming costs affect the carriers' employees too...
March 26, 2013Andrew D CrossAs with many things, there is no single correct answer to this one. Inevitably, for the time being at least, its horses for courses and thus a false dichotomy. It strategists need to segment and profile their user populations using a variety of axes including; job role, domestic and international travel patterns, security and compliance requirements, form factor needs (per useage scenario), cost vs. value etc. Connectivity, coverage and bandwidth needs are clearly an important consideration too. For example, one segment might be christened something evocative, such as say...'Camping Collaborators'. In a financial services firm this segment might include auditors or business consultants. These people typically travel to a customer site each day for a period of a few days, weeks or months before moving on to another customer site. They probably don't need super high speed access on their commute but could perhaps share a 4G-enabled MiFi unit to share the bandwidth between several of them for the duration of the project. Similarly, whilst there there are likely to need the processing power and flexibility of a laptop once there, so tablets are not a priority for them from a business perspective. Another group, would could call them 'road warriors' might be sub-segmented into domestic and international profiles. Whereas the domestic travelling group might spend much of their time zooming between terrestrial destinations by car, the international segment might tend to spend a lot of time in the major transport hubs, hotels and convention centres. Thus the former has a need for broad coverage - but possibly not high bandwidth - whlst the latter may need high bandwidth 'on the pause'. Then there are the 'corridor surfers' who rarely work anywhere but on campus and yet need high speed wireless access in meeting rooms, foyers etc.. For these a well plannd and managed campus WiFi services is all they need for their bandwidth hungry iPad and mobile video-conferencing habits. Eventually, the world will be covered with multi-gigabit wireless EtherNet with neglible access rates, but in the meantime, there are many parts of the developed world that still don't have good quality 3G access. Indeed, I write this whilst connected to the excellent WiFi service of Virgin Trains after giving up on tethered 3G for my personal Macbook with the virtual instance of the corpoarte PC running on it. Luckilly, I am using the Business Everywhere Smart service which connected me instantly with a persistent conection, no fuss and a good bandwidth. So although 4G (or perhaps 5G?) will eventually prevail, the roll-out and cost/price curve means that public and private WiFi will continue to co-exist with cellular for some time to come. Now I must dash as I have a video conference scheduled with a colleague who is currently on the Thalys train to Brussels and a team of consultants working at a power station in Scotland....
February 27, 2013Kris4g is a solution but wifi you can do great things with it. It all about how the 4g antenne is connect to the internet fiber or slow wired . This is the same with wifi its connected on a fiber it kan be mush faster and great experiens
February 21, 2013KateHi Peter, I got to test 4G during a recent Orlando trip and boy was it fast! I couldn't even type the word "youtube" in googlesearch; it automatically started searching at "you" each time. The regular 4G users I spoke with said they'd never go back. Best,