Do you think that the Cost of 4G/5G Private Networks is higher than WIFI? If yes, you need to read the below Real-Life Example👇

  • My friend: Hi Ibrahim, I have a question for you.

    • Me: Please, go ahead.
  • My friend: I was discussing with one customer regarding their private network plan, and they don’t want to go for 4G/5G private network as they thought that its cost is higher than WIFI, is that true?

    • Me: Let me say that this is a common misunderstanding in the market as the cost will depend on how large the private network is? So, for example if you have a small company with very few offices, so WIFI will be the best choice for them. While if there is a large company with many buildings and a lot of outdoor space, then 4G/5G will be a good decision here, at least to guarantee mobility unlike WIFI. Of course, we can have a mix of both, so WIFI for indoor coverage and 4G/5G for outdoor coverage. So, you need to evaluate the cost in each time to see which solution is better and also matching the customer requirements and use cases.
  • My friend: But what I know is that generally the cost of 4G/5G HW& SW will be higher than the switches, routers, access points, and cables used for WIFI, isn’t it?

    • Me: It depends on how much coverage can be provided by both systems as maybe one 4G/5G node can cover the same area as 4 or 5 WIFI nodes. So, I brought to you here one interesting example that is done to build a private network in a warehouse with a comparison between using WIFI and 4G, so we’ll know what equipment is needed in both cases? Also, we’ll understand the cost of each solution and see which one is cheaper assuming both solutions will provide similar coverage and customer requirements. This warehouse is a rectangular building 250,000 ft2 (0.023 km2) with a single floor, no significant walls or other signal obstructions. So, let’s see this nice comparison.
  • My friend: This is interesting, please show it to me.

    • Me: Here is our example (please check the below figure). The warehouse has 1000 connected devices (average throughput 80 Mbps) and low numbers of users. High bandwidth/low latency use case based on connecting robots in a pick/pack logics warehouse. And to cover it using WIFI, we need 160 Wi-Fi APs (Access Points), 10 PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches, also router, installation, cabling, racks, etc., while if we used 4G, then we’ll need 40 small cells, vEPC which is the LTE core, router, installation, cabling, racks, etc. And the final result is showing us that the “Wi-Fi is 22% higher in total cost per square foot than 4G” with more CAPEX for 4G compared with WIFI, but 4G has less OPEX. So, this use case is clear evidence that 4G/5G private networks can be cheaper than WIFI, but again we should evaluate both solutions in every situation.
  • My friend: Thank you very much, you made it very clear.

    • Me: You are most welcome.

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