How wireless internet keeps us connected during COVID-19

Meredith Attwell Baker, President and CEO of CTIA, helps us better understand what we have been experiencing on the wireless networks in the last few months through the COVID-19 pandemic. The CTIA says our wireless networks kept American’s connected through the coronavirus in new and exciting ways.

I have talked with quite a few users nationwide. Some have great stories about how the wireless and wireline networks have been handling the increased load for voice and wireless data. They were very happy to be able to continue to work from home and that, at the very least make their work through this pandemic possible.

Three areas where users have trouble with high-speed Internet

However, as good as this is for so many American’s, others have struggled. The key problems I have found fall into three categories. One, the difference in quality, reliability and speed from different carriers. Two, the different areas or cities they operate in have different results. Three, many home networks are old and antiquated and need an update.

Wireless has an advantage here because users connect directly to the wireless network and not through a router or server and wi-fi which may or may not work well.

However, as we all know, when at home or in any place with a wi-fi connection, it’s often better to take your traffic to the wire line networks to avoid congestion on the wireless networks.

Users who seem to be doing the best often have top wireless and wire line networks like AT&T, AT&T Mobility, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, CenturyLink, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Altice, Cox and other companies who are at the top of the provider list.

Those who struggled more often come from smaller providers of wireless and wire line services.

While we know the names of the big players, there are also so many smaller players all over America and their track record is not as stellar. Some smaller players offer great service while others struggle.

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, CenturyLink, Xfinity, Spectrum, Altice, Cox

Even though so much of the quality, reliability and speed comes from the big players, there are also plenty of smaller markets who still use older technology in certain areas which cannot live up to the speed and reliability expectations.

Comparing telephone and wireless to cable TV Internet, I have learned telephone company and wireless users tell me they are pleased with their services.

Cable TV company users are also generally happy when their services work. It’s just that they seem to have more issues. Times where the service does not work as well as it should.

Cable TV internet gets bogged down with heavy usage

It seems at times the  able TV internet services work great, but at other times the responsiveness and speed slow down. It is suspected these are the times when there are more users online at the same time.

Apparently, the cable TV internet problem is when too many users are online in an area at the same time. This does not seem to be a problem with telephone company Internet users or wireless Internet users.

This old problem seemed to have died down in recent years with increased speed, but with the influx of home users during the day, it seems to be making a comeback. Some cable TV providers are better than others depending on the area and the company.

Which company offers most reliable internet?

So, when we think about having a solid, fast and reliable Internet connection, users have three choices. Wireless, telephone company and cable television company.

Of these, wireless and telephone company internet services seem to be most reliable. Wireless seems to be simpler, but wire line has faster speeds. That’s until 5G ultimately becomes a reality to all users.

While cable TV internet services are faster than ever, they still seem to slow down under the pressure of too many users online in an area at the same time.

As good as wireless internet is, it is important to have a strong wireless connection. No connection, no service. Weak connection, weak service. If you have a full-strength service, you have the best chance to get great service.

Companies do not offer the same quality in every location

That being said, not all companies are created equal. Some wireless, telephone and cable TV companies are more advanced, more reliable, better quality and faster than others.

If your home is closer to the wireless tower or the land line hub, your speeds will be faster and more reliable. Yet, this is not something the average user can control as easily.

Sometimes the difference is in the company itself. Other times the difference is in the area of the network. You see, many companies have acquired other companies and networks to become nationwide players over time. That means there are different levels of network around the USA.

Not all networks are the same at every point. There is constant upgrading going on all the time. This means there can be a big difference in user quality in different places on the same network. Even within the same city.

Plus, the way the Internet is delivered to the home can often be negatively impacted with older or substandard in-house wiring. Something we don’t have to worry about if we get wireless Internet from the wireless network. This is also a direct connection from your device to the network. No router.

Many homes have not upgraded their wiring for a long time. This can have a serious and negative impact. You can suffer with a lousy connection and speed, but when you call the provider to re-wire your home, you may find a much better connection.

So, in this case the problem is not with the carrier, but with your own in-house network.

Getting ultra-fast internet all depends

That means getting a great Internet connection all depends on getting all these stars to line up in your direction. First, you must choose the best provider. Sometimes it is a wireless carrier, sometimes a telephone company and other times a cable TV company.

Then you have to hope you are in a good area of your city. An area that has been upgraded and offers the kind of speed you want and need.

Then you have to make sure your home environment is modernized and up-to-speed. That’s the only way you can get an excellent online experience.

With all that said, things don’t last forever. Your router may develop a problem and have to be replaced from time to time. This can have serious implications on the quality, reliability and speed of your Internet connection.

Wireless internet offers great quality during COVID-19 pandemic

When 5G wireless eventually comes to you, this may be a good option. However, most will still find the unlimited capacity from a wire line service makes more sense when we think of all the data that we are increasingly using like Pay TV over the Internet or IPTV and more.

So, while I agree with the CTIA and I do applaud the nations wireless carrier’s excellent performance during this coronavirus event, I also like to pull back the camera and look at the larger picture.

Pull the camera back and look at larger picture

I like to take a look at the entire industry which means both wire line and wireless, from all the providers. Even though the speeds are faster and better than ever before, many users don’t get it for some of these problems that can often be corrected.

The CTIA looks ahead and sees 5G wireless as a key provider of Internet services. I agree, but as I pull the camera back, there is a larger universe of high-speed Internet providers that can all work together.

5G and Wi-Fi 6 will work together for faster internet

Looking ahead, 5G will empower homes and offices with a new and wireless Internet connection. Also think of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 as the next level of secure and fast Internet for the masses.

This will either be directly connected to your devices like they are today with 4G, or it will connect to a router or server in your home which then broadcasts a wi-fi connection to log onto.

5G and Wi-Fi 6 will provide a new and exciting version of home-Internet service that is coming sooner rather than later. And that’s great news as we all struggle through the new Covid-19 reality today.

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