For organisations that deploy truly mission-critical communications networks across diverse geographical areas, LTE may not yet offer the coverage they need to guarantee top levels of uptime. After all, even 3G is not yet a ubiquitous standard. It may be appropriate in certain urban areas, but not in remote rural ones, for example.
Other challenges include:
- Cost implications - Organisations can choose whether to use public LTE networks, which come with the availability issues outlined above, or to build their own private LTE networks, which will offer greater coverage but come at a far higher cost.
- Untested technology - LTE is still a new standard, with relatively few users and no mature ones.
- Expandability – as outlined above, LTE may not be able to cover all the areas that an organisation needs.
- The risk of being locked into proprietary technology with a single supplier.
This means that organisations wishing to transition towards LTE need to weave it into their existing communications networks and integrate it with the technology they are already deploying in order to achieve adequate reliability and coverage. However, this integration must enable the organisation to transition over to a more LTE-dominated network in the future. It’s a delicate balancing act.