3G & 4G: Mobile Internet Solutions Overview

Introduction

The 3G and 4G mobile network platforms provide a way of providing high-speed internet access to mobile devices like smart phones or dedicated 3G/4G products and is a convenient way of accessing the internet where there is no available presence of a broadband line.

WiFi in the garden

The main discernible differences between 3G and 4G (LTE) are the speeds of data transmissions from a device to the network mast (and the resulting reply) and also the way in how 3G and 4G signals are transmitted.

3G is single stream and 4G (LTE) is dual stream which means that two signals are sent out and two signals are expected to be received.

This is what ultimately gives 4G the edge in speed over the data transfer of 3G signals as more data can be sent in a single transmission.

Who and what for…

Quite typically someone will have a smart phone with a SIM card that will allow them to be able to make both calls and access the web, but if a dedicated solution for connecting to the internet is needed then we need to look further and go down the route of using a data-only SIM card with a fixed or unlimited data allowance and an appropriate device to use it with.

It’s also generally the case that somebody who needs a mobile internet solution either has no means of obtaining a broadband connection from a provider because they live far from the local exchange, or that they do indeed have a connection but it is far from satisfactory!
(To find out you can log on to www.speedtest.net and see what speeds you’re getting.)

We commonly find that a solution is needed for monitoring-devices or networks which may be required to send/receive data and even have the need for remote-access in a location where there is no conventional broadband line but a 3G/4G signal is available.
(Fixed IP SIM-card required for remote access).

Then there is the traveling user who may need reliable access to the internet as they are going from location to location and a dependable connection to the web is a must.

Things to consider…

When thinking of using 3G or 4G mobile internet we have to take into account how strong a signal is in our local area and one way we can do this is by checking how good the signal is on our mobile phone - if it’s full bars then it’s safe to say that we’ll be able get a reliable connection with whichever 3G/4G device we want to use for that particular network.

However things aren’t as simple as that and the best way to find out the coverage you are getting in a particular area is by going to a mobile network’s website and using their ‘Coverage Checker’.

Virtually every mobile provider has one on their site and by inputting your postcode into the search will reveal information on a map that allows you to see whether 3G and/or 4G coverage is available where you are.

It may be the case that you’d benefit from using an external antenna to better capture a relatively average or mediocre signal to ensure that you have the best connection possible and they come in two varieties; Omni and Directional.

An Omni antenna will best be used in a scenario where you’re unsure of where the nearest network mast may be and in most cases it is quite hard to tell.

If you have a direct line of sight to the tower Directional antenna will be the better option.

Another thing to consider is how to power your 3G/4G device and depending on what you are looking at it could be potentially powered by mains electric, USB, or even in-vehicle USB so might it be worth looking in the Power Supplies section on our website to see what suits your needs.

Conclusion

Whether it may be holiday makers or business people that travel domestically and abroad, it’s guaranteed that we will have a variety of options to fulfil the desired requirement.

Even if you are already using a 3G/4G solution it may be possible to improve the system you’re using and we’d suggest getting in touch with our technical support team for advice.

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