4G vs 5G: Understanding the Major Differences and Value for Irrigation Control

October 27, 2021 12:00 pm
Curt Ahart

Vice President of Business Development

Rob Moore

Regional Sales Manager

Mobile Internet usage from connected devices like smart irrigation controllers has exploded over the last decade. From 2007-2017, data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network increased more than 360,000 percent. But the upcoming 2G/3G network sunset dates are rapidly approaching in 2022. Implementing a transition plan will be essential for businesses to avoid significant disruption when these critical wireless networks they depend on for operating their smart controllers or other IoT devices the connectivity suddenly goes dark.

Each iteration of wireless network technology has historically replaced the previous generation. But the idea that 5G will be a direct replacement for 4G is false. In fact, they’re complementary and designed to coexist. Furthermore, 4G is expected to last for at least another decade, possibly longer, sharing the available spectrum between 4G LTE and 5G devices because of their integrated dependencies. The first 4G LTE sunset announcements as such aren’t expected until after 2030, which means that companies can safely invest in 4G-based IoT solutions today and for the foreseeable future.

Our guests from Digi International, a leading global provider of IoT connectivity products, services, and solutions, have connected 100 million-plus “things” over the past 30 years.

We’ll talk with them about what the 3G sunset means for business risk management, what will be possible only with 5G, and why most companies will be able to work just as well and at a significantly lower cost with the current 4G LTE technology. In this session, you will learn:

  • Why do carriers shut down networks?
  • Do all carriers have the same 3G sunset date?
  • How will 4G LTE and 5G co-exist?
  • What are the key considerations for choosing 4G LTE or 5G for irrigation applications?
Curt Ahart

Vice President of Business Development

Curt Ahart is the Vice President of Business Development for Minneapolis-based IoT solutions provider Digi International.  He joined Digi in 2003 and has held leadership roles in Product Management, Sales and Business Development.  He has 38 years of experience with a broad range of information technology companies. Prior to joining Digi, Mr. Ahart was a founder and CEO of Wisenets, a provider of Wi-Fi optimization software. Prior to Wisenets, he was the Vice President of Business Development for Gigabit Ethernet services provider Dynamic Bandwidth.

From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Ahart was Executive Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Business Development for Dantis, a provider of managed cloud services. From 1999 to 2001 Mr. Ahart was President of the Eastern and Central Regions for Jato Communications, a broadband communications services provider. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Ahart was Vice President of Sales for Lucent Data Networking Business, serving emerging broadband service providers in North America. Prior to joining Lucent, Mr. Ahart served as Eastern Region Vice President for AT&T’s Internet transport services business. From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Ahart was Assistant Vice President, Strategic Marketing for NCR. Prior NCR, Mr. Ahart held many sales and marketing leadership positions with increasing responsibilities at AT&T Computer Systems and Motorola.

Rob Moore

Regional Sales Manager

Rob Moore joined Digi International in 2005. In his current role as Regional Sales Manager for IoT Products and Services, he has helped customers design a wide range of robust solutions for industrial and agricultural applications using Digi XBee® RF and cellular products, mesh network technology and Digi system-on-modules with embedded Linux. Rob earned his MPA degree from the University of Utah.

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Connor Cunningham

Technical Sales & Project Manager – Jain Monitoring and Control

Born and raised in the Central Valley; Connor completed his Biology degree at Fresno state. He has been working in the Ag tech and research spaces for the past 4 years developing various types of projects for a multitude of growers. These projects applied monitoring and control devices to both permanent and row crops across California. He joined the Jain team back in December of 2019 and is based in the Fresno area.