Is Cellular Really Better than WiFi for Premises and Asset Security?

Norman Miglietta

When we think of connected security systems, whether for an office building, a factory, or a home, the connectivity option that immediately jumps to mind is most likely WiFi. It makes sense. The application is, by rule, fixed to a specific place, and the projected data load is at the high end of the spectrum since there is generally some variety of a built-in video surveillance component.

With LTE becoming the new cellular backbone, however, the scales may be beginning to shift to an all-cellular model. For both commercial and consumer applications, security via cellular IoT connectivity is growing in popularity, thanks to LTE’s ability to support high-bandwidth video streams (which are likewise decreasing in size, down to 10kbps). Moreover, IoT via LTE presents a “total control” option to track the goings-on at properties; not only can management view the video from a centralized location, but cameras outfitted with IoT sensors can also be set up for remote control of pan, tilt and zoom settings from afar.

But the big differentiator between cellular and WiFi comes down to peace of mind, which hinges on two key factors:

  • If power goes out, will connectivity remain?
  • Can intruders cut the connection?

WiFi and fixed line connections allow these variables to come into play; cellular has them covered. It is virtually impossible to “cut” a cellular line, and cellular devices remain active even in the absence of an external power source.

Beyond fixed premises security, there are a number connectivity factors to consider when securing dispersed assets, as well. Equipment that is connected via cellular will always be tracked geographically, by rule. Particularly in cases where assets find themselves in very remote locations, or unsafe neighborhoods, the home office will always know where they are, and can set up for instant alerts if the asset moves to a location that is “out of scope.” Conversely, assets equipped with devices that do not connect via cellular have no way to send an immediate alert; they need to be within range of a Wi-Fi network to do so.

In the end, cellular connected devices are much easier to track and recover in the event of theft. 

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