According to Angela Singhal-Whiteford, solutions manager, service provider mobility, at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), if an app requires prioritization, it requires 4G. For example, first responders need to ensure that their often life-or-death messages are given precedence over other network traffic.
Other situations that require heavy bandwidth and low latency, such as video surveillance in a police cruiser, real-time video monitoring, and secure banking where an upsell might occur at the point-of-sale, are well suited for 4G, she says.
“If it’s a pretty dumb cheap device like a smart meter, it’s all about cost. There’s no way they’re looking at a 4G link. It depends on the device and the criticalness [sic] of information.”
Certain apps, like surveillance, might also include the option to upgrade the video stream to HD, adds Cisco solutions manager Brian Walsh. HD may be required by law in order for evidence to be admissible in court, for example, or the technology may be combined with face-recognition software. In this case, 4G -- or multiple network access -- would be in order.
Another interesting example of a 2.5G app that may need 3G or 4G capabilities is digital signage. For feeding video downstream, 2G is sufficient, but if a user shows interest, companies are interested in switching to a video conferencing link to connect the user with a sales person. The upstream speeds here can’t be supported over 2G.
In this case, chipsets that support 2.5G and 3G or 4G might make sense, but Heavy Reading research analyst Tim Kridel says they are significantly more expensive and complex.
“You could build whatever you needed into a wireless chipset,” Kridel says. “If you needed everything from GSM to LTE with some WiMax thrown in, and you’re willing to pay for someone to build it if it’s not available off the shelf, you can have that. It will be a significant cost for the chip and the airtime.”
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile