Evolving Food & Beverage Industry Looks to 4G LTE

Food & Beverage

Convergence of Wired and Wireless Connectivity Saves Restaurants Time, Money

In the year 2016, restaurants are much more complex than tables, chairs, and a cash register. From customer WiFi and digital signage to Point-of-Sale (POS) machines that require PCI Compliance, the food and beverage industry cannot function without reliable network connectivity.

A restaurant chain’s network architecture must handle all business operations intelligently, efficiently, and securely — from the dining room to the administrative office. Even an hour of downtime can bring an entire distributed enterprise to a screeching halt, and just one security breach can cost a company millions of dollars.

With so much productivity, money, and public perception at stake, the food and beverage industry is taking a hard look at how their immediate and long-term mission-critical services match up with the network solutions at their disposal.

What Restaurants and Their Customers Need in 2016

Today’s restaurants are a frenzy of activity. New technologies give customers a better, more interactive experience than ever before. They benefit from:

  • Free public WiFi access
  • Full-motion digital signage
  • Digital soda fountains
  • Self-order kiosks
  • Ordering, guest feedback, and interactive games via table tablet

These customer-focused services require significant bandwidth. In addition, food and beverage IT managers need to ensure reliable connectivity for POS, inventory, ordering, employee scheduling and training, and many more administrative tasks — especially with the lack of on-site IT professionals at chain locations.

All of these factors are considered as food and beverage businesses decide what’s best for their distributed enterprise: wired lines only, a combination of wired and 4G LTE networking, or a completely wireless approach.

Wired Connectivity Only — Primary Connect

Some distributed enterprises in the food and beverage industry rely on wired network solutions for both their primary and failover connection. With in-store technology and applications at an all-time high, some companies that use wired solutions upgrade from Ethernet, DSL or cable to T1 lines for better bandwidth and reliability.

To bolster uptime, some restaurants add wired redundancy, which presents challenges. Usually all lines are laid in the same trench, leaving the network susceptible to extended downtime if those lines sustain physical damage. Also, installation of wired lines for primary and backup connections can prove too expensive for large-scale distributed deployment.

Installing wires also can take months to complete, putting food and beverage chains behind schedule for restaurant openings.

Wired and Wireless Connectivity Come Together — WAN Diversity

Distributed enterprises that utilize wired connectivity but also want to integrate 4G LTE for business continuity are turning to WAN Diversity, which is the convergence of wired and wireless networks — a process that bolsters network simplicity and flexibility, improves security, and reduces PCI scope.

For a fraction of the cost of wired lines, 4G LTE failover can boost uptime to “four-nines.” When a wired line is accidently severed by a backhoe or even a squirrel, the network immediately switches to 4G LTE for seamless uptime.

Also, Cradlepoint’s Advanced Edge Routing (AER) platforms enable Ultimate WAN Diversity through a single router. One key benefit of AER solutions is that IT managers can have zero-touch deployment with NetCloud Manager (NCM) to monitor, configure, and upgrade networks at hundreds or thousands of distributed locations — all from one central spot. It’s a proven way to minimize the need for truck rolls and contracted IT support.

With support of cloud-based security applications such as content filtering and Intrusion Prevention and Detection (IPS/IDS), NCM also enables Unified Treat Management.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a rapidly growing quick-service restaurant chain based in Louisiana with locations in more than 15 states, was seeking rock-solid PCI compliant network solution with future-proof WAN capabilities, business continuity, and remote cloud management. The company’s IT leaders discovered that WAN Diversity could meet all its needs.

Completely Wireless — ‘Cut-the-Wire’

One of the benefits of WAN Diversity is the ability to “Cut-the-Wire” altogether. For instance, a restaurant chain using Cradlepoint devices with dual modems can automatically failover from one cellular carrier to another — making wired lines unnecessary.

From completely wired to a convergence of wired and wireless, many distributed enterprises in the food and beverage industry are selecting 4G LTE solutions to satisfy their networking needs — both now and for the future.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about WAN Diversity in the food and beverage industry, click here.