Construction site broadband: 4G vs fibre broadbandPosted on 8 February 2021 by Beaming Support
When you’re setting up a construction site, making sure you have a reliable broadband connection will be one priority.
With reliable connectivity in place your teams can make use of project management software, make sure health & safety regulations are met, monitor security and make sales, without any concern about being able to connect to the necessary systems or that the connection will drop out at an inconvenient moment.
There are a few options for connecting your site to the internet, two of the most popular being 4G and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) superfast broadband. Here we’ll compare these two technologies for providing broadband to a construction site.
4G vs fibre to the cabinet broadband
How do the speeds available using 4G and fibre broadband measure up?
4G: Theoretical speeds for 4G+ connectivity are very high –with potential download speeds of up to 450Mbps – but this is under perfect laboratory conditions. In reality, the speed you’ll get is determined by your site’s distance from the nearest network mast(s) and, for a fixed location download speed is likely to be between 50-100Mbps. Upload speeds will usually be in the range of 5-30Mbps. These speeds should be fine for carrying out the activities you need to. One thing to bear in mind is that the number of users on the network at any given time will have an effect on speed (the more users, the lower the speed). When your site is in a rural location this is unlikely to be a problem but for urban developments where 4G networks are very heavily used, this can cause drops in performance.
FTTC: The download speed you’ll get with fibre to the cabinet broadband is also affected by distance – in this case the length of cabling required to cover the distance between the nearest green roadside cabinet and your site. You can expect download speeds of around 30-76Mbs and uploads at 7-20Mbps. Again, these speeds will be plenty for using cloud-based applications, communicating through video calls, using VoIP and any other site office activities.
Super speed is great, but 4G and fixed broadband both offer internet speeds sufficient for your work in the site office. So, how do they stack up in terms of reliability?
4G: 4G connectivity has high latency, which means that even though data may travel very quickly, there’s a (comparatively) long delay in it being sent. In real terms, this results in things like lag during video and VoIP calls.
Your 4G provider can experience an outage in the same way that providers of any other service can, so choose a provider that commits to service levels and will work to get you back online as quickly as possible if there is a problem.
FTTC: Fibre broadband has much lower latency compared to 4G, so you’re less likely to suffer from lag.
As above, outages should be rare but can happen. Look for a provider that has backup network options to help keep you online and will get your service working again as quickly as possible if an unavoidable fault should take you offline.
What are the different cost considerations for 4G vs fibre broadband?
Set up costs: No cost to install infrastructure.
Equipment: Requires special 4G router.
Monthly charges: Are based on your chosen data use bundle, you’ll usually pay more per month than you would for fibre broadband.
Set up costs: Vary depending on location.
Equipment: Business grade router recommended.
Monthly charges: Fixed – data limits are rare on business broadband connections.
Depending on the time-scale of your project, the extra monthly cost of a 4G connection may exceed the installation cost of a temporary fibre broadband line.
How long does it take to get connected to a 4G or fibre broadband service?
4G: Connecting to the 4G network requires only a special router, so it’s possible to have a service up and running within 28 hours.
FTTC: If the site has an existing FTTC connection then setting up with a new ISP can take as little as 48 hours, but for a completely new connection allow time for site surveys and infrastructure installation.
Whether you choose to use 4G or fixed line FTTC broadband for your construction site, look for a provider that specialises in connectivity for businesses and takes the time to understand the particular challenges of your industry.