By Nathan Kallen firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s hyperconnected business environment, internet connectivity is one of the primary tools that companies use in tandem with their technology rental requirements. When you do not have access to an existing wireless network, or a facility is charging ridiculous amounts of money for access, you need to use a cellular network. Here are some considerations when it comes to cellular connectivity:
1. The Network – This is the carrier that you will get your cellular data from. A key to finding the right carrier is to carefully look at their coverage areas. Most carriers offer access to network engineers who can help you understand the coverage viability in the location of your meeting. For example, if you have a meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska will the carrier you select be able to provide you with adequate coverage? The two most commonly used networks are Verizon and AT&T.
2. Contract vs. No Contract – Cellular companies will often offer plans where you purchase the device directly from them at a discounted price. This may be an attractive option when it comes to your initial cellular investments. However these contracts typically run for two years and you must make monthly payments even if the device is not used at all. The other option is No Contract, Pay As You Go. For this option, you pay full price (higher up front charge) and then pay only for the data that you are using. The data charge is typically more expensive when you use this option but you are not locked in to a long term contract and do not have to make monthly payments.
3. Quantities of connections – If you are doing an event where you only need a small number of connections it may be best to check with the venue to see about the costs for internet access. Or you may want to consider renting a few devices that have cellular data connections built in. If you are working at a mid sized event a different option might be to employ the use of several cellular hot spots strategically placed throughout the facility. This option lets you connect multiple devices in different areas and gives you a preset amount of data that can be shared by each device. Finally, if you are doing an event with hundreds or even thousands of users you will need to use a cellular array. This solution requires specialized gear and trained engineers.
4. Data Management – One of the issues to be aware of when you are using cellular data is the amount of data that each user is consuming. Typically each provider will give you access to a dashboard feature which will let you closely monitor and regulate the data by user. It will even allow you to block access if a user is risking overage charges.
There are several member companies in the ITRA who provide cellular options. Please contact any of those members if you have questions.