As adoption grows and the carriers invest more and more resources into new technology, IoT will continue to expand and be an even larger part of all of our lives. Understanding the need and having a strategic plan in place to upgrade older devices is important to you and your business so that you don’t face service interruptions or downtime.
When it comes to upgrading from 3G to 4G devices, we get a lot of questions. In today’s post, we’ll be answering frequently asked questions about upgrading to give you a better understanding of the process.
Why Do I Need to Upgrade?
- 2G and 3G sunsets are quickly approaching us from each major carrier. The cellular spectrum each of the carriers has for 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks are limited. Each carrier, in order to make room for 5G, needs to sunset older 2G/3G networks very soon in order to use their limited spectrum to meet their demand and serve customers on 4G and 5G. (OpenSignal Article)
How Do I Identify a 3G Device?
- OptConnect has made it simple with our model numbers so that customers can quickly identify what type of equipment they have. All model numbers beginning with 4- are all 4G, and any device that is upgraded by OptConnect also has a 4G LTE sticker denoting that it is a 4G device. Any of our other model numbers beginning with a 2 or 3 will be 2G or 3G.
What is the Difference Between a 3G and a 4G Device?
- Sometimes the devices do look similar, but the key thing to note is that 4G devices will be the only ones to continue working when 3G networks are retired by the carriers in the near future. That is because inside each device, there are different modules, and all devices have been designed to work with a specific network, so it’s important to note which generation of devices you have to see if you’re going to be affected and need to take action now.
What Does the Upgrade Process Entail?
- OptConnect has made 4G upgrades simple, and for our subscription (OpEx) customers, the process is free! To get started, the upgrade process is very similar to our current warranty process. For our subscription customers, OptConnect ships out an upgraded 4G device, one of our new antennas for optimal signal strength, and even included in the packaging is a return label for you to easily send back the old 3G device to us. The only requirement for customers is to tell us how many 3G devices they want to upgrade and where to send the 4G devices. We highly recommend the new antenna be installed as these antennas have been tested and bring better results than some of the antennas used on older generation devices. Lastly, for customers that purchase the devices from OptConnect, there are multiple options available. Interested customers can contact us and create a PO for OptConnect to upgrade their 3G devices to 4G, or they can purchase new devices from us to replace their older ones, or they can take part in our great subscription plan that has sunset protections and no up-front hardware costs if you’re tired of having to reinvest every time the carriers introduce a new generation of cellular connectivity.
How Soon Do I Need to Upgrade?
- Our best advice for all OptConnect customers is to upgrade in the next 6-18 months. It is clear that all the major carriers are sunsetting their 2G/3G networks soon, and if we’ve learned anything from the past, we know that if one carrier moves a certain direction, all the others follow suit to keep things as competitive as possible. To minimize the impact on your business and operations, we recommend starting today. Some customers have already been impacted by carriers repurposing 3G networks in their area so the sooner you get started the better.
Does This Renew my Contract?
- On the OptConnect subscription plan, there is no renewal of the contract. It’s truly a free 4G upgrade.
Is mylo a Good Option for Upgrading?
- OptConnect mylo is a great option to use when developing an upgrade strategy. It’s on the Cat M1 network, which is optimized for machine-to-machine traffic, with multi-carrier redundancy built into the device and has better building penetration and also travels further away from cell towers than other devices on LTE. It’s a device that shows OptConnect’s commitment to excellence in providing the most reliable connectivity available as it automatically shifts to another carrier if one carrier is struggling.
Does Upgrading Help me Make More Money or be Cost-Efficient?
- Upgrading now can seem a hassle for some, but those that are taking time to do it now are seeing great uplift to their operation—especially those that choose to use our OptConnect mylo. Those that upgrade now are certainly less at risk of being affected by any sunset activity by the carriers compared to those that choose to wait. The longer you wait, the more risk you will have of seeing issues with your equipment losing connectivity as the 2G/3G networks get turned off. As stated above, mylo, with its multi-carrier redundancy built-in, is helping operations solve previously troubled connectivity sites and is less problematic for many of our customers. In addition to that, mylo is on a network recognized as being sustainable with 5G, so mylo will still be able to operate in the 4G and 5G environment so it truly can last you well into the future if 4G were to sunset down the road.
We know that the sunset of 3G and older networks pose a challenge for many operators and deployers. Here at OptConnect, we remain committed to helping guide you through your options and helping you select the one that makes the most sense for your business. To learn more about options available for 3G to 4G upgrades, please call one of our connectivity experts at 1.877.678.3343.