Communication: Local vs Cellular

A customer came to us recently with a competitor quote asking us to bid the same job. They noticed that on that bid was a cellular data plan for communication. When looking at our bid in comparison, they noticed that we opted to go with a local wireless connection instead and asked us why. After we explained to them the pros and cons of each method, they chose to go with the local connection. So, for those curious customers who might be wondering which is better, let’s go over the comparison.

How Each Method Works

Local Wireless: This connection method works by placing a radio at or near the office computer and another radio at the sign computer. Each radio is synchronized individually with each other. Each computer then communicates to the other through these radios.

Cellular: This connection method works by having the office computer communicate through a wireless device to a VPN network, then from that network to another wireless device connected to the sign computer.

Points of Interruption

First let’s start by going over how many “Interruption Points” each method contains. Cellular plans have three potential interruption points, one at each wireless device and another at the VPN network. Local Wireless only has two potential interruption points, one at each radio. Meaning that cellular has more potential of not being able to communicate to the sign. The extra adder of going through a VPN network just to send a message does not out weight the risk of not being able to send all together.

Transfer Speeds

Some competitors out there may boast that their VPN transfer speeds are super-fast, but this can be a bit misleading. See you have to use your own internet connection to connect to a VPN. This means that if your upload time is only 10mbps and the VPN is 50mbps, then your still only sending at 10mbps. The opposite is true as well, you could have an amazing internet connection, but the VPN might have a lower Mbps (Megabits per second) rate and cause you to send slower.

Local Wireless radios do not use your internet connection to send data. They have a fixed rate that is often insanely higher than any cellular data plan will allow. Furthermore, you are sending the data directly to the computer and not having to go through a 3rd connection point when transmitting.


In the internet there is one universal rule that every security administrator knows and that is “If it is on the internet, it CAN be hacked.” It is for this reason you have to be on guard at all times no matter how safe you think you are. The cellular’s primary method of communication is through a VPN on the internet. This means that should the sign companies VPN network get hacked; your sign and computer are vulnerable as well. VPN networks often do have security, but a quick google search can easily give you guides on how to hack them and list off their vulnerabilities.

Local Wireless connection uses a variety of unique addresses to pair each radio individually so that no hacker can try to gain access to your system remotely.