Now that 5G is with us we will have some formidable wireless connection speeds at our fingertips. And whilst most of the emphasis has been on private usage the opportunities that it presents for business are almost limitless, especially perhaps in the field of home working.
To take advantage of this new technology you will of course need a 5G router, but how will you decide which model or version is best suited to your needs? Here are a few questions that you will need to be asking, and some answers to help you decide:
What functions are you looking for in a 5G router?
What you need a 5G router for and what you intend to do with it will inform your approach when it comes to selecting the right piece of apparatus. Primarily, you need to be mindful of whether you wish to use it as a business tool or simply for everyday personal use.
There is of course some degree of overlap, but the essential difference lies in the capability that some routers have for employing multiple SIMs, which speed up connections and ensure industry standard performance on a level which may not be required for leisure use.
This is not to say that some of the simpler, single-SIM versions are not capable of delivering sufficient speed and functionality for some business applications. For straight forward home working or simply keeping in touch with the central operation this may well be all that is required. On the other hand if you are managing a network or running multiple applications then multi-SIM capability may well be what you need.
How important are the applications that you run?
Traffic prioritisation is vital to many businesses. Some data are more critical to your operation than others, and you may need a system which is configured to recognise your priorities.
Sometimes this is a thing that you can manage yourself, by attributing different connections to different applications having first load-balanced them. But this potentially can present problems as you are entrusting all your very most important data to one connection rather than to a more secure bonded set.
A cheap or basic router is unlikely to offer traffic prioritisation, and so if this is an issue it is likely to mean looking amongst the pricier options available. However, when you consider the problems that can be caused by repeated instances of downtime it really is worth paying a little more to ensure a consistent and reliable service.
What kind of SIM functionality does your business require?
Many routers allow for more than one SIM to be used, however simply having a slot which allows for SIM failover is not the same thing as genuine multi-SIM functionality.
For speed, reliability and connectivity, a multi-SIM operation allowing for more than one active internet connection running in parallel is absolutely essential. The alternative is nothing more than a basic back-up to your primary SIM in the event that it should fail. As such any benefits that it might offer are strictly limited.
Multi-SIM routers generally carry between two and eight SIMs which can work in tandem, and it is their combined operation which determines their connection speed. As such they can comfortably match the speed and efficiency of a fibre landline connection. Needless to say they are rather more costly, but to opt for a cheap and irregular service when you have a dynamic business operation to run will usually prove to be a false economy.
It is helpful to begin by first assessing your needs and requirements, and then investing according to them. Purchase a router with the capability to operate the number of SIMs that you need, and always opt for multi-SIM technology unless you are clear that SIM failover will be adequate.
How do you intend to manage your connections?
Broadly speaking there are two methods of connection involved when employing multi-SIM technology. The first of these is known as “bonding”. This brings together those from different SIMs to create a singular, high-speed connection which may be made up of SIMs from separate providers. The advantage of this is that should a connection with one provider fail there will be no loss of operation.
The other type is often referred to as “load balancing”. This keeps each SIM working independently and in control of its own connection. This can be the preferred option if you need to provide individual users with their own separate means of communication. Running this method is a reliable way of preventing one individual’s connection from interfering with another.
There are positives to both methods, and with option you choose is largely dependent upon the type of operation that you envisage running.
Will you need data that can be analysed?
Depending upon your business model and the type of operation that it is, you may wish to interrogate data from time to time to establish patterns of behaviour and of usage. This can be particularly helpful when bonding SIMs from different providers, or running independent connections for different users.
Processing and assessing data can be especially useful for cost analysis, and for keeping a general eye on the efficiency and motion of your business. Information can be used to identify weaknesses, inefficiencies and any wastage that may exist within your organisation, and to pinpoint weak spots.
Once again this may entail purchasing a 5G router which embraces these functions, in other words a quality product which may cost a little more to acquire. But also once again, having the capacity to analyse and if needs be to streamline your operation is a benefit that is likely to save you time and money in the longer term.
Decide what you need
It is always a good idea to conduct an appraisal of the functions that you need in a 5G router before deciding upon which to buy, and then making your purchase accordingly. Don’t be tempted to sell yourself short, as diminished capabilities will limit your options.