Wi-Fi vs. mobile data – a reality check on indoor wireless coverage
Across nearly every industry, the growth of smart, connected consumer devices has shifted employee and customer expectations towards an ‘always-on’ mentality.
Flexible mobile working is no longer a workplace perk but a necessity, and customers increasingly expect digital service from companies both big and small. Above all, there’s a shared expectation that, wherever we are, our devices must remain connected.
In many scenarios, enabling a strong, consistent Wi-Fi connection indoors is easier said than done. And for IT staff, it’s a common source of grief as they field complaints over intermittent connectivity, complex sign-in processes, and security and capacity concerns.
But, as a companion to traditional Wi-Fi, enhanced indoor mobile coverage can deliver many business and user benefits. Let’s explore three key reasons why mobile data is often the superior indoor coverage solution.
The benefits of indoor mobile coverage
#1: Superior security
As high profile cyberbreaches have shown us – including the 2018 Marriott hotel Wi-Fi breach that affected 500 million guests – it’s alarming just how easy it is for criminals to compromise public Wi-Fi networks.
What’s more, it can be difficult for users to identify whether a hotspot is legitimately safe. Everything may look normal, but “Evil Twin” tactics – also known as “Man in the Middle attacks” – enable hackers to subtly compromise security flaws or create fake duplicate hotspots and collect sensitive user data as it passes through.
Private Wi-Fi networks are also vulnerable to cyberattacks, but what about mobile data?
Yes, mobile data can be compromised, but it is far more difficult for hackers to achieve this than with a traditional Wi-Fi connection. According to Norton, mobile data hacking is still in the proof-of-concept stage and mobile networks are among the safest ways to connect to the internet.
It’s simpler too…
Not only is mobile data usage more secure, but it removes the need to request and remember Wi-Fi passwords or complete time-consuming access registration forms.
#2: Uninterrupted connectivity
Whether you’re on an important business call, hosting a video conference, or just want to check in with friends and family, unstable connectivity can be a major headache.
With traditional Wi-Fi solutions, it can be difficult to provide a reliable connection for voice and video. Issues such as packet loss, jitter, and latency are caused by unmanaged network congestion, resulting in a less than stellar user experience – including echo, delayed audio, and degraded transmission quality.
When using mobile data, Quality of Service (QoS) is typically included in the network provider’s SLAs. Mobile network operators use techniques such as traffic shaping on 4G networks – and network slicing on 5G – to manage connectivity issues and prioritize traffic to ensure seamless, uninterrupted voice and video calls.
#3: Increased capacity
The use of Wi-Fi extenders in blackspots, simultaneous Wi-Fi use in congested areas, and even heavy use by a single device can put a serious strain on network bandwidth.
Wi-Fi is typically designed to deliver a reliable connection in a concentrated area to a limited group of devices. If you overstep these boundaries, service quality will begin to degrade.
By enhancing your indoor mobile signal, you can ensure that everyone has access to their own dedicated bandwidth without sacrificing service quality. And if your building or environment limits Wi-Fi signal strength, indoor mobile coverage can mitigate the often poor distribution of bandwidth provided by consumer Wi-Fi extenders.
What happens next?
With widespread 5G coverage on the horizon, superior network speed and capacity will help usher in a new era of business innovation and digital transformation. Not only will the public benefit from an improved web experience, but employees can enjoy improved productivity and remote working with a secure, regulated, and stable connection.
As discovered in a recent study by Opensignal, 5G download speeds now exceed Wi-Fi in 7 out of 8 countries leading the 5G transition.
At Vilicom, we have the consultancy and network expertise to help you keep your people connected and productive wherever they are – and prepare your organisation to take full advantage of 5G and the boundless opportunities it presents.