There are cables, and then there are wireless connections.
Although broadband speeds are ideally achieved through fiber cables, their installation is often a nightmare. Analysts debate the convenience of wireless broadband versus the undeniably superior speeds that cables provide. Google Fiber cables provide speeds of one gigabit per second; current wireless speeds of 250 Mbps are barely competitive. In non-nerd terms, that’s a four-to-one speed ratio.
Fiber cables may be replaced in the not-so-distant future by a faster transmission medium. Therefore, it may not be worthwhile to invest billions of dollars updating New York City’s infrastructure. It is entirely possible that by the time the system is updated it will be outdated.
Glen Carolo, executive vice president of Montgomery Technologies, maintains that landlords need not worry.
“We will win the day,” said Mr. Carolo. “It’s going to be here for the next 30 years. Nothing is faster than light.”
In the wireless-versus-cable debate, it is important to understand what the world of “wireless” encompasses.
One way to make a broadband connection wireless is to install a router, which wirelessly transmits the connection (100 to 150 feet on average). Another method uses radio towers, which can provide Internet access in the same way that they provide voice service to your mobile phone. These towers are responsible for the 3G and 4G speeds on smartphones.
The obvious advantage of wireless connectivity is mobility. A wireless connection allows users to connect their mobile devices anywhere the signal reaches. Another, less understood utility is construction savings. Relying on wire-line connectivity requires access to the street and the building, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
However, in order for a wireless connection to be a productive business tool, it must transmit data at competitive speeds and with low levels of latency. Located in Kansas City, Mo., Computers & Tele-Comm Inc. claims that it can provide speeds of one gigabit per second wirelessly. Still in its infancy, this technology may prove to be serious competition for broadband providers in years to come.