Managed Wireless WAN takes the pressure off IT teams
It should come as no surprise that not every business has the IT resources needed to effectively monitor and manage its wireless network. It takes considerable resources, time, and expertise for an IT team to install, configure, and monitor an enterprise’s Wireless WAN (WWAN) infrastructure. Of course, as the business expands, so does the management challenge. No business should have to sacrifice top-of-the-line network reliability or security when IT resources are stretched thin. That’s why many businesses are turning to managed network services or more specifically managed Wireless WAN as a cost-effective and scalable way to address their network infrastructure.
What is a managed Wireless WAN?
Let’s start with defining Wireless WAN. Simply put, a Wireless WAN, or WWAN, deploys cellular broadband – including 4G, Gigabit-Class LTE, and 5G technology – as an essential part of WAN infrastructure, connecting locations, vehicles, and/or IoT devices at the network edge.
A Wireless WAN offers some key advantages over traditional wired networking:
- Highly reliable: Wireless broadband is an over-the-air connection that’s protected from terrestrial challenges, such as a backhoe accidentally cutting a fiber line.
- Flexible: LTE and 5G can be deployed immediately, instead of waiting weeks for a vendor to install a wired line. Wireless also is easy to relocate to another site, vehicle, or spot.
- Scalable: Cellular networks are designed to support millions of endpoints across a nationwide footprint. The ability to deal with just one or two nationwide cellular operators, instead of many regionally based wired ISPs, increases predictability and simplified administration.
Now let's take it a step further; a managed Wireless WAN is a managed network service that combines the management of cellular routers or adapters, cloud -capabilities, and remote monitoring via a third-party provider, all delivered for a set monthly cost. Depending on the provider, the monthly service may include the cellular data connectivity or may require that a wireless data plan be added. Since the hardware, software, and responsibility for management are all provided on a subscription basis, the solution is often viewed as “network-as-a-service”.
Building out a network can be capital- and resource-intensive. A managed Wireless WAN can serve as an intelligent and cost-effective alternative for businesses requiring maximum flexibility and agility without the upfront investment.
How does a managed Wireless WAN service benefit business?
The obvious benefit of any managed IT service is the ability to leverage domain experts, scaling up or down as needed, to keep operations running smoothly, and freeing up existing personnel to focus on more strategic or transformational initiatives. Shifting from a CapEx- to OpEx- focused model in particularly attractive to resource challenged small to medium sized businesses, enabling them to more efficiently compete with larger-scale enterprises.
With a managed Wireless WAN, a third-party service provider can guarantee business customers qualified and certified network experts available 24x7 to address:
- Installation and upkeep of all network equipment – including replacing or repairing hardware as needed
- Fast and simple new site deployment for rapidly growing businesses or where wirelines are prohibitive, such as temporary or pop-up locations
- Configuration of routers to help businesses guard against security threats and take quick action if there is a breach
- Monitoring, troubleshooting, and fixing connectivity issues as they arise
- Fine tuning for performance and dynamic routing
- Seamless and ongoing software license management
- Accommodating rapid adoption of new connected technologies and applications
Network operators positioned to lead the way with managed Wireless WAN
For network operators, the opportunity around Wireless WAN, also known as fixed wireless access (FWA), is large and growing. According to the 5G Fixed Wireless Access Global Market Report 2021 from research firm Research and Markets, the global fixed wireless access market opportunity is estimated to be in excess of $23B by 2025. Not surprisingly, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report (Oct. 2021), over 75% of network operators globally now offer fixed wireless access solutions. Moreover, network operators’ adoption of Wireless WAN offerings has more than doubled in the last three years.
As network operators continue to build out their solution portfolios, they are uniquely positioned to deliver the benefits of managed services – including end-to-end monitoring and management. Managed Wireless WAN enables them to differentiate themselves in this rapidly growing market and leverage their existing infrastructure investments to extend additional value to their business customers.
Recently announced managed network services:
- In March 2022, AT&T launched its managed Wireless WAN service, leveraging Cradlepoint 5G wideband adapters and NetCloud Service. AT&T Managed Wireless WAN is a fully managed wireless networking solution for businesses that provides fast, reliable, and flexible cellular connectivity, including hardware installation and management alongside access to a cloud-based portal enabling customers to view their entire network with detailed reporting. The AT&T solution is available in the U.S. as well as internationally.
- In May 2022, T-Mobile announced the forthcoming availability of a managed Wireless WAN service for businesses with a custom-designed Cradlepoint 5G router including cloud-delivered managed services for configuration, monitoring, and analytics.
For businesses looking to take advantage of the reliability, flexibility, and scalability of Wireless WAN solutions while operating with a lean IT staff, a managed Wireless WAN might be the ideal solution.