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5 ways cloud-managed 4G LTE can reduce total cost of ownership

Mauricio Steffen

Factors including hardware costs, ISP tracking & remote network management help make wireless cost-effective for enterprises

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is one of the most important factors when choosing a network solution, but it’s not as simple as one neat and tidy statistic. TCO is, as Gartner states, “a comprehensive assessment of information technology (IT) or other costs across enterprise boundaries over time.”

When organizations choose their next generation of network solutions, many are discovering how cloud-managed 4G LTE can reduce TCO on a variety of levels, including hardware costs and stack size, Internet service provider management, network management, support, and staff training.

Hardware Costs & Stack Size

Organizations that want to streamline their network stack often choose an all-in-one SD-WAN networking solution with a built-in 4G LTE modem — some even include a slot to accommodate a second, modular modem. As new cellular technologies such as Gigabit LTE emerge, an enterprise can easily upgrade the second modem without having to replace the router or access the motherboard.   

When this type of cloud-managed router also includes a built-in firewall and GPS capabilities, it minimizes the amount of hardware needed at each edge location.

Internet Service Provider Management

Managing wired connectivity vendors can be incredibly labor intensive and expensive because these ISPs are regional. Organizations that have many widely dispersed locations and devices often have to manage dozens or even hundreds of vendors.

Switching to wireless connectivity through cellular carriers instantly reduces an organization’s quantity of vendors because major cellular carriers span the entire U.S. instead of region by region.

For even deeper savings, a good cloud management platform will enable IT professionals to remotely track and compare uptime and data usage between their various service level agreements (SLAs) and ISPs. This type of actionable data leads to informed decision-making that boosts ROI at each location.

Network Management

Leveraging a cloud management platform is one of the most effective ways for organizations with multiple people, places, and IoT devices at the network’s edge to save significant time and money.

The ability to remotely monitor and manage connectivity and security from headquarters — or really anywhere — drives down the often exorbitant cost of accumulated site visits and third-party truck rolls for software updates, security patches, and troubleshooting. The ability to instantly push updates to all routers erases the need to touch every device individually. 

Leveraging a cloud management platform is one of the most effective ways for organizations with multiple people, places, and IoT devices at the network’s edge to save significant time and money.

IT professionals also can save money by using remote management tools to immediately recognize and respond to trends in signal strength, signal quality, and other metrics. In addition, organizations that use a cloud-managed and LTE-enabled branch continuity solution for failover also can do Out-of-Band Management for all locations and devices through a single pane of glass. With cloud access to the primary router’s command-line interface (CLI), IT professionals can identify and remediate router problems without stepping foot on-site. This best practice renders slow, expensive, and unreliable Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines unnecessary.

Taking TCO a step further, some cloud management platforms even enable remote monitoring and management of devices on the LAN — everything from access points and switches to POS systems and digital signs. Rather than setting up complex routing rules and port forwarding, or purchasing third-party software for each device, IT teams can securely manage LAN-connected third-party devices through a single cloud platform.

Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager uses its proprietary Stream Protocol instead of the very “chatty” SNMP. Management platforms using SNMP often use upwards of 100 MB of data each month — for router management alone. In contrast, NetCloud Manager utilizes an average of only 6-8 MB of data per month. Scaled across many distributed devices, Cradlepoint Stream Protocol saves enterprises time, data, and money every month.

Support Model

Many network technology vendors use an old-school, tier-scripted model for their support services. The first person you call or electronically chat with notes the details of your issue, then transfers you to you to someone who is not an engineer. This person follows a detailed support script, which often does not lead to the answers you need for your unique situation.

Some all-inclusive network solution packages include 24×7 support that is driven by experienced and multi-certified engineers who can address challenges far beyond a prewritten script. This type of system is much more likely to solve your problem during the first phone call — turning days without connectivity into hours. This can save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Staff Training

Some network solutions can only be managed by experts who have lots of acronyms after their name and who undergo very expensive specialized training. Often it requires at least one full-time IT employee to manage just one specific part of a company’s network infrastructure. Once that person leaves, the organization faces the challenging task of quickly finding a similarly experienced specialist to fill the void.

Companies can save money on staffing expenditures by selecting a wireless network solution that is easily monitored and manipulated from a single-pane-of-glass cloud platform, with point-and-click functionality. This eliminates the need for high-cost specialists to manage widely dispersed devices.

Learn About 4G LTE & the Pathway to 5G

More organizations than ever before are using 4G LTE as an essential WAN source to address challenges such as speed-to-deployment, cost, and performance limitations.