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What is the difference between Wireless,Fibre and LTE?

Wireless Internet

Wireless

A wireless Internet service provider (WISP) is an Internet service provider (ISP) that allows subscribers to connect to a server at designated hot spots (access points) using a wireless connection such as Wi-Fi. This type of ISP offers broadband service and allows subscriber computers, called stations, to access the Internet and the Web from anywhere within the zone of coverage provided by the server antenna. This is usually a region with a radius of several kilometers.

Pros

  • Quick Installation – Efficient wireless internet service providers (WISPs) can have a customer up and running within days. This is due to the fact that most WISPs already have a built out network in their respective region. Typically, all that needs to be installed is a radio at the customer’s location which can then be configured to communicate with the nearest PoP.
  • Flexible Bandwidth – Bandwidth speeds can be turned up or down based on needs of organization. Users can be added, removed or reshuffled with minimal impact on the cost or existing infrastructure. For this reason, fixed wireless is an excellent internet access option for businesses seeking a future-proof solution.
  • Local Service Providers – Local carriers equal local support.  Handling fewer customers means the local provider can promise more efficient and effective customer service, normally with a regional base.  
  • Reliable – The lack of cables means fixed wireless is not susceptible to issues that affect cable, satellite, DSL and even fiber. There are no cables that could be cut or interfered with. As a result, there is little to no ongoing maintenance required.
  • Secure – Wireless technology has been tagged with the misconception that because signals travel via microwaves, security cannot be guaranteed. However, as the industry has grown, providers have developed impressive security protocols that ensure encryption, data privacy and a requirement for authentication and access control.

 

Cons

 

  • Line of Sight – For the receiver radio and transmitter radio located at the WISP’s PoP, a line of sight is required. Any trees or large buildings blocking the path between the two will make the connection very difficult. Although there are ways around it, for example if the WISP has alternative PoPs to fall back on, a line of sight with the nearest PoP is usually the most desirable option.
  • Cost – Fixed wireless can be more expensive than other internet access solutions such as cable, DSL and satellite. The reason for this is that fixed wireless is a dedicated service whereas cable, DSL and satellite are shared or “best effort” options. To summarize, with fixed wireless customers get the bandwidth and quality of service that they sign up for, whereas with more traditional internet access solutions, this is not always the case. For more information on this, click here.
  • Singular Access Point – Although this is the case for the majority of wireless and wired solutions, it is worth pointing out that fixed wireless has a fixed access point at the customer location. Mobile solutions such as 4G LTE Wireless have the capability to support roaming as they rely on the cellular network to provide a broadband connection.

Fibre Internet

Fibre

Fibre, or Fibre Optics, literally harnesses the speed of light by transferring data through means of glass cabling. This makes it the fastest and most reliable form of internet connectivity currently available.

Pros:

  • This technology offers several benefits, such as clarity and reliability in data transfer. One of the reasons for this is that glass cannot conduct electricity, so electrical storms, for instance, will cause less interference on the lines. 
  • Data can travel up to 50 km to/from an exchange before any form of degradation in speed takes place! So it does not matter how far you are from your exchange.
  • Fibre cabling itself is similar in price to the copper used for ADSL, but much easier to maintain.
  • You do not need a landline to access the internet with Fibre.
  • And the best part about Fibre is that new ways might be found to transmit light data even faster without the infrastructure becoming redundant.
  • There are capped and uncapped options are being rolled out as you read. 

Cons:

The biggest drawback to Fibre at the moment is that it is new on the market and not available in all locations yet! That said, Jalweb can already offer Fibre access in almost 100,000 locations, so it is worth checking whether you are eligible.

LTE Internet

LTE – Mobile Networks

3G used to be the talk of the town until 4G (also known as LTE) made an appearance in the market. Offering better speeds and up time, this solution to the mobile market by storm. Connectivity via mobile is becoming more of a necessity and LTE can also serve as a backup connectivity solution for your business.
Basically it is a rooter/modem with a mobile network sim-card in.

Pros

  • Speed – This is the most obvious advantage. Increased bandwidth means much faster data transfer speeds.
  • Coverage – LTE networks offer more coverage than Wi-Fi in major metropolitan areas.
  • Security – One of the major problems with connectivity solutions such as Wi-Fi is security. LTE networks offer complete privacy which is beneficial for corporates especially.

Cons

  • Limited Coverage – Even though LTE can offer coverage of over 50kms, it is still only in major metropolitan areas in South Africa.
  • New Equipment Required – Although there is cheaper hardware for LTE available today, in order to get LTE speeds in your office you would need to purchase new equipment. It is relatively inexpensive but LTE won’t be able to use your existing infrastructure.
  • Relatively Expensive – In comparison to other internet solutions out there, the cost of data on LTE is much higher. It is best used as a backup solution.

 

What does all those word mean that I see in the adverts for Wireless/ Fibre/ LTE internet?

Uncapped

You are not limited to a set amount of data per month so you can access the Internet 24/7 without worrying about how much data you are using.

This is great for those who have a fixed budget and don’t want to worry about additional data costs at the end of the month. An uncapped package is ideal for high usage and downloading

Capped

You will get a set amount of data for the month; once this has been used you will need to purchase more. The amount of data will be determined by the package you buy.

This is great for low usage users who are sending emails, checking social media and even for some gamers, perfect for home use, where your data usage can be easily monitored.

Throttling

Bandwidth throttling is the intentional slowing or speeding of an internet service by an Internet service provider (ISP). Basically if you are on a Capped package, your line will be throttled to a speed that is really not suitable for internet usage

Shaped

On a shaped account, priority is given to emails, web browsing, internet banking and “normal” downloads via a web browser or FTP program. This means that  any other online activity not included here will receive low priority when the network is busy. This then entails that this option is the best one for most users who do not want to carry out some specialised online activities.

Shaped is not recommended for peer-to-peer, P2P applications and video streaming, like Skype, VOIP, forex trading, international share trading, online gambling and secure work from home options as well as VPNs.

Unshaped

Unshaped treats all protocols the same and offers the optimal internet access for Skype, VOIP, forex trading, international share trading, online gambling and secure work from home options as well as VPNs. Unshaped is particularly important for peer-to-peer, P2P applications and video streaming.

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