Connectivity Solutions for Wireless Sites

imageBy Roy Rasmussen

The connected home market is estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.07 percent to reach$121.73 billion by 2022. By 2020,50 percent of North American householdswith broadband access are expected to be connected. As connectivity becomes standard, construction teams are enjoying the benefits of being connected as well. Being connected on-site improves communications, efficiency and safety. But there are many connectivity options and choosing one can be challenging. Here’s a look at today’s construction connectivity options to help you choose the right solution for your project.

 

Wi-Fi Connections

If your construction location is located near a Wi-Fi hotspot or if you have a portable wireless router, you can tap into the Wi-Fi connection. A Wi-Fi connection lets you communicate with your team over the internet or by usingWi-Fi calling. Wi-Fi is an excellent option when you are in a location where there’s a weak cellular or satellite signal. Wi-Fi capability is built in to most mobile devices. You can extend the range of a Wi-Fi signal by using a Wi-Fi extender. One potential disadvantage is that they can be susceptible to hacking if you don’t take security measures. If security is a concern, make sure you set up a VPN network with encryption.

Cellular Connections

If you’re in an area within your cell phone provider’s coverage, you can use a cellular connection. While Wi-Fi connection relies on a local network and has a short range, a cellular connection picks up signals from a national network of land-based towers, giving it a longer range. The main limit to a cellular connection is the range of your network provider. Make sure your provider offers coverage in the area where you need a connection.

Dongles

Another way to connect is by tapping into a Wi-Fi or cellular connection using a network dongle that fits into a USB port. Dongles have the advantage of being universally compatible with any provider, portable and secure. However, they can only support one device and have very slow connection speeds. Additionally, they are subject to the Faraday effect, preventing them from communicating with devices that are encased in metal.

Satellite Connections

Satellite connections rely on satellites orbiting the earth, giving them a potentiallywider range of coveragethan Wi-Fi or cellular connections. A satellite connection requires you to set up a satellite dish to receive signals on your site. This allows you to receive a signal anywhere on earth, but there are some disadvantages. Your dish must be precisely-aimed, and any change in position, as well as weather, can interfere with your signal. Bandwidth allowances are typically low, which can result in a slower signal if many people are using your network and use costs can be high. Most satellite carriers only promise set-up within a 90-day period, meaning you may have to wait three months in order to get your site connected. You will usually be locked into a long-term contract for up to 24 months.

Fixed Line Connections

Another option is a fixed-line connection such as a DSL line that taps into a phone cable. A fixed line has the advantages of being dedicated, fast and secure, with unlimited data. The main disadvantages, as with satellite, are that installation can take up to 90 days, you will be locked into a contract for up to 24 months and service repairs may be delayed. In addition, availability may be limited in some areas.

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of "Publishing for Publicity," is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing and career planning.

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