Tips for Choosing the Right Device for Mobile Wireless Connection

Need help choosing the correct device for mobile connectivity?

The mobile work force relies heavily on cellular connectivity to provide internet access anywhere in the field. It is especially important that these workers are connected at all times. Police officers are in their vehicles for a majority of their shift and being connected to dispatch and other programs is mission critical. So how do you chose the best device to maintain a strong connection: MifI or Modem?

The first consideration is, what is the environment of your mobile workers?

Trunk modems are semi-rugged devices that can withstand the harsh environmental conditions of a vehicle, such as vibration, temperature and humidity.  Mifi’s will fail under these types of conditions.  When it gets too hot it will shut down and must cool off before it will come back online.  Also, if the MiFi gets too hot the battery in it will explode.

After considering the environment in which these devices will be used, what is the coverage your mobile worker needs to efficiently do their job?

Truck modems have a better signal and throughput speeds.  The internal antenna in a MiFi is smaller than a trunk modem, limiting its capability. Even though both can be connected to external antenna and booster for a stronger signal, a MiFi will still be limited on the range surrounding the vehicle.

Both modems and MiFi’s will give you the connection you need, but how much access to these devices do you want your mobile workers to have?

Trunk modems are more difficult to tamper with.  A MiFi can be easily turned off and not utilized when the user chooses versus a truck modem that is hard-wired into the vehicle which turns on when the vehicle is started.  Best practices are to track the vehicle, not the MiFi for the safety of your mobile workers.

The last thing you want your mobile workers to worry about is if their devices are connected to the internet or not, which would hinder them from receiving important data. Which device is more user friendly?

Trunk modems are worry free to the end user, they are hardwired to the vehicle and receive a charge from the battery of the car. The status lights on the modem allow the user to easily see if there is a connectivity issue. MiFi’s are very easy to use, simply turn on and connect. However, they typically need a power source after a few hours of use and are not hardwired into the vehicle.

The end users (or mobile workers) are not the only individuals to consider when purchasing either modems or Mifis. The maintenance for the administrative staff should also be simple to use.

Trunk modems have the ability to push critical updates to the end users computer and manager all modems from a central location. You can be notified when a modem is down and troubleshoot it from the comfort of your office in most cases.  Mifi’s don’t have this ability so when you need to send an update out to your fleet you must bring the computer in which translates into longer down times and decreased productivity.


For more information on modem technology check out our modem solutions.

Needing more help to determine the right direction to take? Contact us and a Brite representative will assist!

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