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Is Mobile Broadband Better than Landline Broadband

Rinky Dink Inc

Broadband is a telecommunication term in which a wide band of frequencies are used in transmitting information. The wide band of frequencies allows multi perplexed information to be simultaneously transmitted on different channels in a given amount of time but within the same band. There are two common types of broadband; Mobile Broadband and Landline Broadband. Mobile Broadband is connected to a mobile network using a SIM card on a computer or tablet or smartphone. It can also be connected using a dongle or a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Fixed line broadband, just as the name suggests, refers to an immobile internet connection used at homes and linked through phone lines or network of cables. It connects to a router from which other devices can be connected via Wi-Fi or ethernet cables.

Benefits of Landline

Landline broadband is more common to find in homes, offices and other places as compared to mobile broadband since they are provided by multiple companies such as Sky Broadband or Plusnet. They are also more reliable since they have much lower latency. In areas where fibre optic connections have been installed, landline broadband is usually faster than 4G. Landline broadband also offers the cheapest home packages as compared to mobile broadband services of a similar package. Some landline broadband internet providers offer a collective package in which one can bundle up their electronics such as TVs, Cell phones, and the broadband at a convenient price; rather than arrange for services from different providers. This gives them an extra advantage.

Landline broadband internet speeds are also commendable. Depending on one's geographical location, internet speeds under this broadband can reach 300mbps. This speed makes it convenient for game players and movie watchers. For heavy data users, landline broadband providers also offer unlimited usage packages allowing them to download large files and documents with little or no limits, again, depending on the type of package and the provider. This, therefore, makes this type broadband service more preferable to several home internet users as compared to mobile broadband services.

Mobile broadband services, however, beats landline broadband services due to the following benefits:

1. Portability

Unlike the former broadband, it is entirely possible to move mobile broadband. You can simply and conveniently carry your mobile phone, Wi-Fi hotspot or dongle to any location of your choice and continue to enjoy undisrupted services unlike with landline broadband. This makes them more convenient in areas where lines (e.g. optic cables) cannot access such as in cars or rural areas. Mobile modems are for instance small enough to even carry in one's pocket and used when anytime a need arises. This portability feature gives mobile broadband a competitive advantage.

2. Easy installation

Setting up a mobile broadband is quite easy unlike in landline broadband which requires the installation of cables, routers, etc. Mobile broadband, one only needs their mobile phone, a modem or a hotspot to start enjoying internet connection. This helps avoid unnecessary expenses such as line rental and therefore, mobile network providers issue a monthly rolling contract or one time prepay services. Also, you need not await any installation periods since services are immediately available upon payment. No maintenance costs are incurred when using mobile broadband unlike landline broadbands which need constant maintenance and repair of cables, routers and any other equipment involves in network transmission.

3. Speedy

Compared to landline broadband, mobile broadband offers up to 4G services, which on most occasions, will have higher speeds. In the U.K, the average speed of 4G internet is 15.1 Mbps which is faster than the average speed of landline broadband internet found in some areas of the country.

4. Ease of switching providers

A mobile broadband user is allowed to access services from several providers and interchange between them quickly. You can for instance use several mobile network providers when travelling simply by allowing data roaming on your phone or dongle. This is because it is cheaper to do so unlike with a landline broadband network in which one requires the installation of new equipment e.g. cables and routers from a new service provider. Also, no time is wasted in switching between providers in the case of mobile broadband.

5. Room for development

Unlike in landline broadband, mobile broadband networks are dynamic and keep changing and improving in relation to speed, accessibility, etc. One of the most current developments was the unveiling of 4G internet which, though inaccessible in certain areas, is faster than 3G internet services. Network providers are in the race to create an even faster network which will give birth to 5G. This shall, however, be discussed later on in the article. It is, therefore, safe to say that as compared to landline broadband, mobile broadband is more promising and is the future of telecommunications.

Mobile broadband services, however, bear the following limitations:

1. Costly

They are more expensive in the long run as compared to the landline broadband. Since most landline broadband services are usually based on long-term contracts that require payment for a substantial period, the average price is usually low. This is due to the economies of scale associated with the purchase of large amounts of data. Mobile broadband, however, involves shorter terms of payment hence making them more expensive in the long run due to purchasing of a small bit of data. For people who use mobile broadband occasionally or primarily for basic tasks such as checking for e-mails or browsing the internet, lower monthly data limit will do the trick, but for heavy downloaders, one should sort packages that correspond to their lower tabs hence avoid extra costs.

2. Usage limitations

Mobile broadband services usually have limits on the amount of data that one can use for any period, for example, usage during a month. Usage above such limits translates to extra charges or loss of network services. This, however, is not the case with landline broadband services which will only transfer one to a slower service instead of cutting off one's access to services. Although most service providers have their own reasons for restricting usage limits, such as system maintenance, this usually discourages heavy data users who eventually opt for a landline connection.

3. Limited access

Mobile network signals usually alternate in strength depending on one's location. In some areas, the network coverage is completely inaccessible. This renders mobile broadband networks unreliable. Therefore in case one can access both services; i.e. mobile and landline broadband, it is wise to compare their signals and select the best and reliable one. It would, however, be advisable to combine both services so as to counter the shortcomings of each in case one needs quality output regarding service provision.

Mobile broadband use 3G or 4G services. The connections use two complementary technologies. These two technologies are high-speed download packet access (HSDPA) for 3G and High-speed upload packet access (HSUPA) for 4G. These technologies theoretically allow 3G users to gain access to upload speeds of up to 1.76Mbps and download speeds of up to 21Mbps. However, such rates are only accessible to certain areas of UK such as cities and UK airports.

This also applies for 4G since it is delivered by the same means as 3G, and so its speed is also reliable on one's location. Several cities in the U.K have already been engaged in a series of tests that aim at improving the performance of 3G and 4G internet. Ofcom found that 3G mobile broadband gave an average speed of up to 6Mb while 4G delivered an average speed of 17Mb.

This leads us to the question, which is better between 3G and 4G? Well, although 4G mobile broadband services were availed in the UK at the end of 2013. Any typical person and seeming to look for access to a very fast mobile broadband will definitely opt for 4G. This is because, in some locations, some 4G services offer max speeds of up to 80Mb. It is, therefore, logical to say that, in future years, 4G mobile broadband services is set to pose a big challenge to ADSL and cable (fibre-optic) broadband. Once mobile network services have become cheaper, more accessible, and more mobile, they will definitely gain complete superiority over landline broadband services.

3G broadband services should however not be ignored too because; it sometimes is the cheapest of the two and also more widespread. To counter the 4G competitions, providers have been trying to introduce superfast 3G by using a technology called DC-HSDPA. This is known as ultra-fast 3G, and one can get speeds of up to 20Mb using this 3G version. Sadly, ultrafast 3G has not yet been unveiled in every area, and providers have given shallow information of areas where it can be found. This gives 4G an upper hand for now as it is accessible in most towns and cities.

Mobile broadband service providers are trying to bridge the gaps by kerbing downloading restrictions. This shall be handled by reducing costs involved in reducing data transfer across mobile broadband networks. The providers also aim at kerbing another problem that led to their restriction on downloads, that is, system overhaul. Most providers fear that the system might become overwhelmed if users were granted unlimited downloading privileges, hence the restrictions on mobile broadband downloads. This is, therefore, a crucial aspect when it comes to kerbing the restrictions.

In the year 2015, the UK was named the best mobile broadband provider in the world after it was found that it offered 3G and 4G speeds of more than twice that of its closest rival. Reports from Akamai indicate that Brits enjoy an average mobile internet connection speed of 20.4Mbps, which is a 27% increase from the previous quarter and slightly higher than the 15Mbps figure that was recently given by Ofcom.

5G Internet

If the trend of equipping internet users with super-fast mobile network speeds in the future, it will inevitably lead to the development of 5G internet connection. That explains why networks providers, suppliers, and governments all over the world are working towards developing next-generation mobile internet services. In their reports, IHS Markit analysts estimate that 5G will have generated $12 trillion USD value worth all over the world.

No developers or providers have however been able to explain how fast 5G internet will be. Despite this, companies have started testing 5G delivery techniques one such company is China’s Huawei. It claims to have managed speeds of 3.6Gbps Samsung also claims it has been able to achieve 7.5Gbps, and Nokia claims it has achieved an impressive 10Gbps. It is worth noting that one’s device must also be able to support such speeds. Each and every smartphone has an inbuilt modem. If the modem doesn't handle such fast speeds, then one cannot upgrade to 5G.

5G internet is however expected to have even lower latency (lag). This is the time taken for a download to commence. Low latency Plus high download speeds can be of benefit e.g. it means that one's offline downloads will come quicker. Forecasts on the availing of the 5G point to around 2022. In February 2017, the International Telecommunications Union revealed crucial information about what’s likely to be the final features of 5G, including how fast will be. The report touched on 13 specifications that networks will have to adhere to call themselves 5G, these features are:

20Gbps peak on download rates.

10Gbps peak for upload rates.

30bps/Hz on peak spectral efficiency for downlink.

15bps/Hz on peak spectral efficiency for uplink.

100Mbps for user experienced download rate.

50Mbps for user experienced upload rate.

The biggest challenge of 5G will be standardisation. 5G will affect everyone in different areas from education, healthcare, transportation, and banking. Although 5G technology will make industries move forward technically, network operators shall be tasked to make the technology commercially viable. That means ensuring the cost of using the 5G mobile network enables instead of inhibiting the use-case. Operators will, therefore, need to manage new commercial deals and pricing structures.

It is worth noting that the risks that come with unveiling the 5G networks will still be the same as that countering previous service. More so because network level signalling is similar with 5G as it is with 3G and 4G in relation to diameter signalling. Operators should, therefore, take care of network signalling level of security. This is important in the case of IoT use cases, e.g. whereby an intruder into a smart traffic-control or an autonomously driven vehicle might cause a disaster if the attack is not detected and controlled in due time.


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