Tessco Wireless Journal November December 2016 Page 5 TESSCO Wireless Journal November-December 2016

The transition from 2G networks by carriers has been in the works for years, and now that AT&T has committed to a January 1, 2017 shutdown date, users on 2G networks have just weeks to make plans for their switch over to 3G or 4G LTE. With wide- spread assets, far removed from communi- cations, the oil and gas industry is especial- ly impacted by this coming change. The oil and gas industry was an early adopter of 2G technology because there was no way for physical network connec- tivity to reach their remote sites. Cellular provided a solution to their communica- tion needs and when they installed their networks 2G was the newest technology. Now that AT&T is shutting down their 2G this year, and Verizon has announced plans to shut down theirs by the end of 2019, the pressure is on to determine the best alternative. One of the main obstacles to previous upgrades from 2G was the increased power consumption new hardware requires. Early 4G LTE modules required as much as four times the power of 2G compo- nents, meaning an upgrade likely meant a complete overhaul of a site's power structure. However, within just the last six months, new low power 4G LTE solutions have entered the market that use the same power consumption as 2G, eliminating the need for a full update to the power grid. With the importance of communications in the industry for safety and monitoring, and the coming deadline, this new equipment should remove any hesitation companies initially felt about upgrading. While the power consumption challenge has been addressed, the prospect of facing a similar situation with their 3G or 4G LTE network in the near future is still discour- aging for companies. However, the phase out of 3G is likely still as many as 10 years away, with 4G LTE sticking around even longer as the development of 5G continues. The scalability and future capabilities of a 4G LTE upgrade now should eliminate the need for additional upgrades for the fore- seeable future. Upgrading to 4G LTE also delivers immediate, tangible benefits beyond just meeting requirements and avoiding a loss of communication. In the past 2G networks have allowed oil and gas companies to monitor well heads, but haven't allowed for anything beyond that. A 4G LTE network will unlock new possibilities for monitoring and communications thanks to its ability to accommodate more users, more connections, and faster transfer of more data. Live monitoring for security and surveillance, more comprehensive coverage for employees, and faster access to data will improve productivity, efficiency, and safety. Most LTE platforms are also carrier agnostic, so users can change carriers (continued on page 18) The scalability and future capabilities of a 4G LTE upgrade now should eliminate the need for additional upgrades for the foreseeable future. "... users on 2G networks have just weeks to make plans for their switch over to 3G or 4G LTE. " First 2G Network Shutdown Date Looms for Oil & Gas Industry Submitted by TESSCO Technologies

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