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Battle of the Bands… 5G vs. Wi-Fi

Posted by Charles Vanterpool on Mar 27, 2019 12:00:00 PM

In some tech circles, the emergence of 5G and all its promises, has all the signs of a well-executed Wi-Fi coup d’etat. With substantially higher data speeds, ease of connectivity and the inherent security of LTE, many would argue that even the most uninformed can see the dominion of 5G over Wi-Fi. However, given a little more scrutiny, a future defined more by cooperation rather than competition is predicted; a coexistence of collaboration and partnership, opening the door for a huge new market opportunity for those prepared.

And then, there’s the polarity of opinion, from technology’s opposing corner that the displacement of Wi-Fi by 5G reflects zero semblance of common sense, let alone rational thought. With Wi-Fi’s ubiquity and the 100 million-plus Wi-Fi-only devices on the market, it would be nearly impossible to replace Wi-Fi any time soon.

In today’s market, Wi-Fi is the predominant indoor protocol among residential and enterprise users. One main reason for this? Users can isolate the network, and also use its entire bandwidth; as compared to wireless networks where 1GB of 5G speed is shared between a host of users. Then there’s also signal strength: 5G network speed will decrease significantly once in doors. Does this mean Wi-Fi wins the “battle of the bands”? No. It’s really a draw. While Wi-Fi is –and will remain– dominant indoors, 5G reigns supreme outdoors.

As we’re all aware, leave a building with Wi-Fi and you lose its connection. Fortunately, if you have an LTE device, your network operator swoops in to save the day with (hopefully) 4G connectivity. Voila! Your mobile device continues to stream video, browse the Internet or maintain your data connection and basically, carpe diem, through the miracle of connectivity. Now, let’s take that great 4G connectivity and multiply it 10X - this is the power and domain of 5G. But the indoor/outdoor hand off model shows of a picture of what the future holds.

A good Wi-Fi network will provide most users 1GB speeds. Step outdoors and transition to 4G and the speed drops significantly. In a 5G future, 1GB speeds will be constant. This will be a HUGE benefit for anyone taking part in the anywhere, anytime workforce. No longer will workers be doomed to overpriced coffee shop squatting for their Wi-Fi (unless that’s your thing). Workers will have the freedom to roam about as they please and still maintain top of the line data speeds.

As WiMAX and 5G come into maturity, network handoffs will be seamless, accelerating the growing trend of the mobile workforce; driving the huge market opportunity I mentioned earlier. Advances in next generation technology will emerge commensurate with the needs of a mobile workforce and technology sales will follow. Tech Data’s team of mobility solutions experts can help navigate the changes and leverage your resources.

A Comprehensive 5G Offering

The Wi-Fi/5G partnership discussed earlier will be at the nucleus of this new technology movement. Compatibility to the new protocols will require device refreshes, and network upgrades. For our partners, these required upgrades represent a target-rich sales environment; robust opportunities for significantly affecting the bottom line.  Fully exploiting all of 5G’s capabilities will require more than just a 5G capable device. As your customer’s solutions provider, you must be ready to provide them with a complete 5G solution which includes upgrading your customer’s Wi-Fi network.

Whether it’s WiMAX, or 5G LTE failover, customers who want to take advantage of next gen technology will need you to provide them state of the art network solutions and Tech Data’s mobility team can help. Beyond being the leading solutions aggregator representing every top technology vendor, Tech Data offers technical consulting, solutions building, sales presentations, and solution roll outs. We can also help you gain more revenue on technology sales by integrating the needed network activations, MDM, and services into your sales motion. Reach out to us at Mobilitysolutions@techdata.com.

About the Author
Charles Vanterpool is the business development manager of Client and Mobility Solutions for Tech Data in Clearwater, Florida.

Tags: Mobility, 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi, Mobile Networks

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