The Compatibility and Vulnerability Concerns of Older 4G Devices in the Enterprise
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The Compatibility and Vulnerability Concerns of Older 4G Devices in the Enterprise

Headshot of a woman By Jennifer Warren April 18, 2023

Categories: Managed Mobility

As technology continues to evolve, the corporate world is moving towards the next generation of mobile networks – 5G. As newer technologies are introduced into the market, older devices tend to get left behind in terms of updates and support. Having an outdated device can lead to compatibility issues with applications and operating systems, and potential vulnerabilities that leave these devices open to cyber-attacks. While 4G devices are still widely used, it’s important for companies to consider upgrading to 5G for a number of reasons.  

Application Compatibility and Support Issues with 4G Devices

One of the biggest concerns with older 4G devices is application compatibility. Developers tend to focus on the latest operating systems and may not prioritize making their apps compatible with older OS versions. This can leave users of older devices unable to access certain applications or features that they need to do their job effectively and efficiently. This can lead to increased support calls into IT or your managed services partner. 

Faster Speeds and Lower Latency with 5G Networks

Another issue would be speed, 5G networks are faster than 4G networks. According to a report by Ookla, which tracks internet speeds around the world, 5G speeds can be up to 20 times faster than 4G. This means that tasks like downloading large files and streaming videos will be much faster on the 5G network. With 5G networks, there is a much lower latency, which is the amount of time it takes for data to travel between devices. Having low latency is important for applications that require real-time data transfer, it can also reduce overall response times by up to 25%, according to a study by Ericsson.  

Security Concerns with Outdated Hardware and Vulnerabilities

As older hardware becomes increasingly vulnerable, it is important to consider zero-day events such as Meltdown and Spectre. Meltdown and Spectre are hardware vulnerabilities that affect nearly every computer processor in use today. These types of vulnerabilities can leave devices open to attacks and compromise sensitive data. This can result in general compatibility and usability issues that can be frustrating for users. Instead, 5G allows for the enablement of recent technologies that not only better protect your ever-evolving devices, but also enable new tech in Mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), and more.  

From a security and compliance standpoint, older 4G devices can pose significant challenges. For example, let’s say you have an iPhone 8 that cannot update to the latest OS version. All MDM compliance and security measures are dependent on the device being secure and up to date. As new compliance strategies are implemented, older devices may not be able to comply with these new policies, leading to potential security risks. 

Compliance and Policy Changes for Mobile Device Management

Apple and Android policy changes can also have a direct impact on mobile device management (MDM) systems. These policies are consistently evolving to account for changes in device manufacturers and operating systems, which can lead to compatibility issues with older 4G devices.  

While 4G technology is still widely used today, it is important to consider the compatibility and vulnerability concerns associated with older devices. As technology continues to evolve, manufacturers and developers may focus less on providing support for older devices, leaving them increasingly vulnerable in many different aspects.  

Risks Associated with Using Older 4G Devices

It is important to consider the potential risks associated with using older 4G devices in your business. As newer technologies are introduced, compatibility and vulnerability concerns are likely to become more prevalent. If you are concerned about the functionality, experience and security of your mobile devices, it may be worth considering upgrading to newer models with 5G that are better equipped to handle the latest and greatest upcoming technology advancements.  

Taking Action: Contacting Your Wireless Carrier or Managed Services Provider

If you are curious about 4G device usage at your company, the best place to start is contacting your wireless carrier representative. If you have general questions for us or would like to learn more about our Enterprise Managed Mobility Services, please contact us today! We would love to hear from you.  

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