LTE is a rapidly growing technology, with bandwidth speeds that are rising every year. Your results will depend on signal strength, but LTE modems are designed with POE to allow you to locate them wherever you need to, to obtain the best signal strength. External antennas are also easily installed in locations that require them and they are recommended, since bandwidth capacity is based on signal strength. You cannot assume that you will have low latency and jitter without the proper signal strength. Assuming good signal strength, maximum download speeds are:
- LTE Cat 3: 100-Mbps
- LTE Cat 4: 150-Mbps
- LTE Cat 5: 300-Mbps (scheduled for late 2016)
- LTE Cat 6 (also called LTE+): 450-Mbps (scheduled for late 2017)
What does LTE cost?
One reason you often will consider LTE as part of an SD-WAN is because the average monthly LTE cost is only $25/month with a 300M included. Since LTE would be used only in the event of a local network failure, you must judge what the cost of a network failure would be versus the recurring cost of this insurance. When there is a failure, the LTE bandwidth cost is approximately $10/GB with a $25/mo plan, but other plans are available if a location is more failure prone, ranging from $60/mo for 5GB usage to $100/month for unlimited plans. Most enterprises opt for the minimum plan and pay for bandwidth when it is needed. You can also have pooled plans to diversify the cost among many locations
Should I have an antenna?
In a word, probably. It all depends on your signal strength and building materials. Brick and steel block RF. Since signal strength dictates the performance (lower db levels = stronger signals), use an external antenna is the signal strength is weaker than -90db (weaker numbers: -92db, -95db, -100db, etc.) . Curious of the theory behind the relationship between signal strength, noise levels and bandwidth, read the Shannon-Hartley Theorem.
How will I manage these LTE routers?
It’s simple, if you do it right, a single web interface can manage all your LTE routers worldwide. Some SD-WAN platforms also allow you to manage your LTE access If any one of them loses connectivity, you will know it.