Looking for answers about 4G LTE technology? Explore our FAQs page.



Q. What is 4G LTE?


A. 4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology, LTE is a standard for high-speed wireless communication that is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies.



Q. Where is 4G LTE for business available?

A. 4G LTE is available throughout the U.S. In any location where individuals can make a clear and reliable cell phone call, 4G LTE can be deployed.



Q. Can 4G LTE be cost-effective for businesses?


A. With business data plans, enterprises are benefiting from the ability to pool and share data across all 4G LTE connections. Additionally, carriers are beginning to trial flat-rate business data plans that work like a cable subscription; the enterprise selects its bandwidth and receives a flat rate every month. Some enterprises are choosing an SD-WAN solution that makes traffic steering decisions between wired and wireless links based on data plan consumption.



Q. Is 4G LTE as reliable as wired Internet?


A. Cellular providers are constantly upgrading and "densifying" their networks to deliver more speed and reliability. Compared to wired connectivity, many enterprises report better reliability and performance with 4G LTE. Unlike wired lines, 4G LTE it is unaffected by backhoes and resilient in poor weather conditions.



Q. How does 4G LTE throughput compare to a wired connection?


A. LTE-Advanced Pro Cat 12 modems can provide up to 600 Mbps downlink speed and 150 Mbps uplink speed. However, real-world speed always vary by location and use case—similar to wired connections. Variables that affect cellular throughput include placement of router, local congestion and time of day, carrier, tower placement and technology, and proximity to devices that emit electromagnetic radiation such as air conditioners, microwaves, etc.



Q. How can organizations easily track data usage at distributed locations?


A. Cloud-delivered client and traffic analytics give organizations real-time visibility into cellular data usage throughout their widely distributed networks. With a cloud management platform such as Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager, all of this data is available remotely through a single-pane-of-glass platform.



Q. How can organizations minimize their 4G LTE data costs?


A. There are several cellular carriers, each of which offers a wide variety of data plans for different types of needs. Cloud management platforms enable IT teams to monitor and manage data usage, and to remotely switch to secondary SIM cards.



Q. How can organizations remotely monitor and manage their networks without using a lot of cellular data?


A. Many organizations use Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager to remotely manage their wired and wireless WANs all over the world. Benefits of NetCloud Manager include zero-touch deployment, simplified management and orchestration, and instant analytics and insights.

Cradlepoint Stream Protocol is what allows organizations to remotely manage their networks from a single, central location in real time without using very much data. Most legacy management platforms manage wired routers by using SNMP, which can consume at least 100 MB of data per month. In contrast, Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager with Stream Protocol utilizes an average of only 6-8 MB of data per month. When leveraged over an entire network, Stream Protocol saves organizations significant time, data, and money. Read more in our Stream Protocol blog post.



Q. Can 4G LTE be included in an SD-WAN configuration?


A. Many enterprises are using SD-WAN technologies and strategies at small to mid-sized branch sites that require cost-effective, Day-1 connectivity at scale and without on-site IT support. A cloud-managed all-in-one branch or mobile router can help ensure constant network uptime and reliability, especially of the most mission-critical applications. With pooled and even unlimited data plans, distributed organizations that use cloud management platforms can minimize overage charges by leveraging remote visibility and control of their LTE connections. The organization can set and manipulate automated business policies and data thresholds and limits.



Q. How secure is 4G LTE, especially for PCI Compliance?


A. PCI Compliance requires multifaceted vigilance, but cellular carriers do have a role in PCI-complaint networking that protects credit-card data. Service providers utilize private virtual networks over 4G LTE, called Access Point Names (APNs). An APN uses a private address space to isolate traffic across the network and provides an authentication layer to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, an APN can provide IP-layer encryption and can be securely connected to a data center via a dedicated gateway.

Additionally, enterprises that deploy 4G LTE through cloud-managed, all-in-one routers with built-in firewalls make it easier to monitor and manage data security. PCI DSS Standards call for frequent review of public IP addresses on the network, which is much less complex and less prone to error when leveraging a cloud management platform.



Q. How does the total cost of ownership of 4G LTE solutions compare to wired-only solutions?


A. Cloud-managed 4G LTE network solutions can greatly reduce total cost of ownership, especially regarding ISP costs and network management. Wired connectivity vendors are regional, making it necessary for organizations that have many widely dispersed locations and devices to manage dozens or even hundreds of ISP vendors. Organizations that switch to wireless connectivity instantly reduce their number of vendors, because major cellular carriers span the entire U.S. instead of region-by-region.


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