4G - Futureproof your M2M Communications
With the fast moving pace of technology in the mobile communications area, Australian carriers seem to be very keen to keep their infrastructure updated. As each generation of mobile technology is introduced, carriers tend to phase out older generations to keep the operation costs down and also to reuse the existing licenced spectrum for newer technologies.
Telstra recently switched off their 2G network with Optus and Vodafone to follow this year. It’s more than 10 years now since the first 3G network was launched in Australia. With the fast growing 4G coverage across the country and the upcoming 5G technology already in the horizon, Telstra has announced plans to phase out 3G by 2020.
Although telephony subscribers still form the majority of mobile network users, the number of M2M subscriptions is also rapidly growing. We all have heard of the famous forecast of 50 billion connected devices by 2020. As the industry is heavily investing in M2M devices, it’s very important to select the right technology that survives for a reasonable number of years.
When the first 4G network was launched in Australia back in 2011, higher download speeds and smaller latencies were the main differentiators that attracted customers. Ethernet 4G modems/routers were available in the Australian market shortly after as such devices are normally used in throughput demanding applications. Low cost 4G serial modem market on the other hand, didn’t really pick up because of the low speed nature of serial devices as well as the significantly higher cost of 4G cellular modules compared to the 3G devices.
As the cost of 4G devices continues to decline and the possibility of 3G shut down in the next few years gets more real, many industries now prefer to use 4G devices instead of 3G even if 3G satisfies their current requirements.