Internet connectivity is a necessity for businesses and is a critical element for sustainability in an Internet dominated business environment. It is curial that business owners and managers understand the outlaying expenses and what the long-term financial benefits include. Specifically, more information will allow an informed choice between business fibre and LTE in determining the best Internet connectivity solution for your business
Business fibre or LTE?
A fibre optic cable comprises a highly transparent strand of glass as thin as a human hair through which light travels by a principle called total internal reflection. The cladding of the fibre optic cable does not absorb any light from the core, and thus, the light wave travels great distances at the speed of light.
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a wireless broadband solution somewhere between 3G and 4G offering increased Internet speeds via mobile devices. It is also known as 4G LTE but is in fact slower than ‘true’ 4G, but significantly faster than 3G.
Fibre to the business (FTTB)
FTTB is the transmission of a signal through fibre optic cables from an operator’s switching equipment to a business premise as an alternative to copper cable infrastructure such as telephone wires. It is relatively new but fast-growing method of providing higher and more reliable bandwidth to consumers. It enables more robust data transfer and voice, and video services demanded by customers by offering businesses dedicated fibres for unlimited Internet bandwidth.
Is fibre better than copper?
Fibre is greener and more durable compared to copper wires because the raw materials to produce them are abundantly available whereas copper supplies are dwindling. Fibre produces clearer voice signals and does not lose signal as light signals do interfere with other fibres in the same cable. Optic cables are also not electrical conductors and is not susceptible to lightning strikes or electrical interference, hence increased availability. Fibre has no ‘street value’ like copper cables therefor it is not susceptible to theft.
Benefits of fibre
Optic fibre cables are almost impossible to hack making it much more secure transference method for sensitive data. Because fibre cables are thinner, lighter, and more durable than the previous ADSL lines, data can travel at light speed – up to 1000+ times faster than ADSL. Fibre offers high bandwidth for businesses which means conferencing, streaming, file sharing and cloud applications are significantly improved. The enhanced speed and reliability make fibre a much more cost-effective solution for businesses in the long-run.
Benefits of LTE
LTE is a viable option for businesses located where fibre is not yet installed as it is readily available to most South African users. Because of its mobility, LTE is susceptible to external factors such as weather and distance, but its connectivity speeds of up to 50Mbps compensates for these interfering environmental factors. It is flexible in terms of location because of its mobility and requires no installation. This is a benefit for businesses renting space with property-owners opposing the installation of fibre optic cables.
Business locations are important considerations with LTE since the Internet speed will depend on how the premises are from the nearest broadcasting tower as well as the weather conditions. LTE speed may also be unpredictable as there is no way the number of people using a tower at any given time can be controlled.
Which is better for businesses?
Fibre is the fastest, most reliable Internet connection for business, but LTE is more readily available across the country. LTE is the better short-term solution while waiting for fibre installation. It also works well for businesses without a fixed location, or for those businesses that don’t necessarily need high-speed internet constantly.
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