Numerex’s Answer to the Panic Over the 2G Shutdown

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We’re learning through experience that a lot of enterprise users and companies may not know they have active 2G devices until the unit ‘goes dark’. It’s hard to imagine that years ago anyone deployed a device using 2G with the sunset of that network in mind. Nonetheless, the end of 2G is upon us. Among the wireless carriers with plans to retire its 2G networks, AT&T will complete its shut down by the end of 2016. Despite 2G sunset warnings as early as 2012, many organizations have failed to act, and now risk their 2G devices ‘going dark’.

 

Companies that have active devices on AT&T’s 2G network need to begin upgrading or migrating their units immediately. Otherwise, these devices will lose network connectivity on or before January 1, 2017. Watch the short video below to learn how the impending 2G shutdown will affect you.

 

 

In our work, helping organizations migrate and upgrade 2G devices, we’ve identified several different reasons why the procrastination of 2G migration has created a market panic. But there’s essentially three different categories these customers fall within.

 

1.  Unaware

2.  Aware, But not Acting

3.  Aware and Acting

 

Unaware

The wireless carriers shutting down their 2G networks have been diligent when it comes to fulfilling their legal obligation of notifying existing base customers. Still, despite the blanket coverage of print letters, bill inserts, and online content, there are still some companies that are largely unware of the impending shutdown.

 

Aware, But Not Acting

We can chalk up a large percentage of today’s market procrastination to organizations aware of the 2G shutdown that have failed to act. Taken in a positive light, we can assume many organizations, and the enterprise users that they employ, don’t know what 2G is and how it affects their organization’s M2M/IoT operations.

 

2G networks, also known as circuit switched data, transport data differently than today’s 3G and 4G networks, which use packet switched data. The former requires a dedicated connection between two end points for the transport of data, which is why many 2G devices still use modems and voice-line connections. Packet switched data, on the other hand, breaks the message into smaller parts/packets that can be transported over a wireless data network together, separately, and/or across many different channels.

 

Consider the age of these 2G wireless networks, and relative deployments, which may be influential on the current market’s procrastination. The employee(s) responsible for implementing the 2G solution, for example, may no longer be with the company, taking their 2G knowledge and experience with them. While the new team can account for its active 2G devices, and is aware of the impending shutdown, naivety thwarts the urgency of action.

 

In other cases, procrastination may be attributed to miscommunication within the organization. For example, the employee receiving the 2G shutdown notice may not always be the individual in charge of deploying or managing the active 2G devices. These recipients may be uncertain about what to do, who to engage, and the urgent nature of the notice.

 

Waiting for a sweet deal may be another reason behind why organizations are procrastinating the migration or upgrade of their 2G devices. And while there may be a valid reason for postponing action, such as budget, the risk of devices ‘going dark’ could have terrible consequences on the organization. That’s why Numerex and T-Mobile have come together to offer a 2G migration path that will allow organizations to keep their 2G devices active through 2020!

 

Aware and Acting

Finding a practical migration or upgrade strategy that suits your organization isn’t as difficult as one may seem. Organizations face a complex variation of three approaches.

 

1.  Retire

2.  Migrate

3.  Upgrade

 

The first approach is to retire 2G devices and take them offline. Rather than keeping the devices active, organizations may choose to end its IoT operations or replace these devices with different technology or manual processes.

 

The second option is to migrate active 2G devices to Numerex’s 2G solution, which will keep them online through 2020 via T-Mobile’s network. The advantage to this strategy is that it provides the organization time to partner with Numerex on a long-term IoT 4G/LTE solution while keeping operations running smoothly.

 

The final alternative is to upgrade existing 2G devices to 3G or even 4G/LTE wireless service. Each option varies in cost, scale, viability, and speed of deployment. What’s important to keep in mind is that 2G devices are typically low-use, low-bandwidth. An immediate move to 3G or 4G may not result in a significant performance loss or gain but will at the least offer a way to future proof their devices for some time.

 

Having an effective IoT implementation strategy can be a time, resource, and labor intensive investment. Considering the impending AT&T 2G shutdown, futureproofing your IoT solution should be top of mind. But you also want to know that your IoT service provider will be there for you throughout the life of your agreement. IoT is what Numerex does best. We’ve been at the vanguard of our industry for over 24 years, providing organizations and institutions with M2M/IoT solutions that are designed to evolve with their operations.

 

To expand the sphere of your IoT operations, you need a solution that is flexible, scalable, reliable, and secure. Watch this video to hear Marc Zionts, CEO Numerex, discuss how our company pushes the boundaries of cutting-edge IoT innovation.

 

To learn more about how Numerex and T-Mobile can help support your 2G devices through 2020, as well as our limited time promotional offer for free connectivity, visit our website www.numerex.com/2GPromo.

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