Organizations now use WWAN solutions in locations, vehicles, and IoT — and for both primary and failover connectivity
In this connection-driven world, the use of cellular broadband for Wireless WAN (WWAN) is no longer looking for a seat at the enterprise networking table. Organizations now are ushering LTE and 5G to the best seat in the house, as it provides the agility, reliability, and connectivity that digital transformation anytime and anywhere requires.
The evolution of how WWAN is used for business
Enterprise networking capabilities have evolved since the days of centralized computing in the 1980s, moving from a solely wired infrastructure with the use of servers and data centers to the transfer of information over wireless networks. Each decade brought new ways of connecting businesses with wireless networks bringing innovation with more agility, reliability, security, and intelligence than wired connections. But only recently have Wireless WAN solutions gained ubiquity in enterprise networking.
The percentage of organizations that use 4G/5G for WWAN has increased from 41% in 2018 to 67% in 2021, according to our 2022 State of the Wireless WAN report. The adoption of LTE and 5G technologies and applications will only quicken as more and more businesses and agencies see new ways to benefit from the reliability, agility, and security of cellular WAN.
WWANs support a broad amount of use cases for locations, vehicles, and IoT — increasing network agility at the wireless edge.
Stores, restaurants, branch offices, and other sites
Whether it is a small or large office, a retail store, or temporary location, wireless connectivity fuels critical business operations for fixed and temporary locations. Traditional wired WAN approaches lack the flexibility and security to adopt evolving technologies and applications with ease.
WWAN can be implemented as either a primary, hybrid, or secondary link — ensuring network availability and seamless failover for businesses. The increasingly common hybrid WAN approach depends on SD-WAN technologies to switch between wired and wireless links and segregate traffic. The benefits of a primary wireless network continue to grow as technologies and applications progress. The recent State of the Wireless WAN 2022 report found that 50% of organizations that utilize cellular connectivity use it as the only WAN link in their locations. Primary wireless networks prompt increased reach and innovation in business including the flexibility of temporary locations.
Businesses will continue to expand beyond fixed locations with LTE and 5G connections — adapting to changing conditions, emerging trends, and unexpected events to serve today’s highly mobile customer. LTE and 5G wireless networks enhance competitiveness by improving the reach of business beyond physical locations without requiring trade-offs between enterprise-class networks, agility, and security.
First responder vehicles, delivery trucks, and other connected fleets
Enterprises don’t only need reliable and secure connectivity for locations but for all modes of transportation. The number of on-board devices and applications that require LTE and 5G connectivity continues to grow — requiring an easily managed and scalable WWAN network.
Vehicles that incorporate WWAN enable fleet managers to observe accurate on-board data in real time – including video surveillance footage, remote diagnostics, and accurate location tracking. The reach of an on-board wireless network can expand further by providing in-vehicle Wi-Fi to workers in a delivery vehicle, passengers in public or private transportation, or students on a school bus.
Surveillance cameras, digital signage, kiosks, and other IoT devices
As the amount of IoT devices across the globe continues to increase, the assumption that they only use a small amount of bandwidth and make little impact on an enterprise’s network isn’t always accurate. The growth of smart technology has created demand for IoT that improves customer experience — generating large amounts of traffic and additional security risks.
Leading-edge IoT including video surveillance, self-serve kiosks, and digital signage require higher bandwidth while various sensors used for remote monitoring need a connection with lower latency. LTE and 5G cellular connectivity enables enterprises to deploy evolving IoT devices and applications at a large scale without sacrificing performance.
Cellular IoT connectivity will continue to serve a crucial part of an enterprise’s digital transformation but creates new risks in the process. A WWAN solution gives an organization the flexibility to manage highly sensitive data using a separate network and segmentation – providing a secure path for the transfer of IoT data
To recap, what is WWAN used for at the enterprise edge? A lot, connecting all of an organization’s locations, vehicles and IoT technologies to create an agile and secure way to communicate information needed for daily business operations.