Hi, I'm Andrew Lund, Product Manager for Digi International.
Today, I'm going to discuss the trade-offs involved in using on-premise Wi-Fi versus LTE when you're connecting retail terminals in third-party environments.
Now, in any given retail location, there are likely to be several, if not dozens, of internet-connected applications. So, these range from inventory control, shopper tracking, digital displays, and cold chain management, just to name a few.
Now, all those devices depend on a reliable connection, right? So, devices can either piggyback on the available network or they can connect via their own network in the form of an LTE connection. Now, at first glance it may seem logical to borrow the store's Wi-Fi connection. It's already there, it's free, maybe some guy in IT told you that you could use it, and so, that's the path that you might take sort of right off the bat.
And that's...can work, at least at first, until something goes wrong. So eventually, the store's Wi-Fi will go down, their security credentials will change, the IT security policy will change, whatever it is, and you'll be left in the dark.
So that's why the second option of basically bringing your own network connection in the form of LTE is growing in popularity. You simply install a little LTE terminal tucked...an LTE router tucked into your terminal or beside it and this establishes your own connection right to the LTE network. This reduces your dependence on the store's connection, gives you full control over network security, traffic prioritization, data usage.
Plus if there's Wi-Fi on-site, you can always connect to that Wi-Fi network in Wi-Fi client mode and then fail over to LTE when you need to. And if you're using a Digi router, you're using a device that was designed to be a primary connection and has tools like SureLink to actively monitor and re-establish lost connections, as well as the Digi Remote Manager Cloud for tying into content and payment applications.
So, while piggybacking on a store's connection may seem like a simple solution at first, there's a lot more risk involved long-term, whereas bringing your own network in the form of an LTE router is an easier to install, more reliable, and more secure, and certainly more scalable solution.
If you'd like to learn more, talking to a Digi expert is a great place to start.