When and Why to Consider 4G LTE?
As cloud computing becomes the norm and more work continues to get done outside of the office, 4G LTE is quickly becoming the network solutions of choice for connecting people, places, and ‘things.’ That’s because most companies today have outgrown their traditional WAN networks, and they require much greater bandwidth capacity. Conventional WAN networks – where traffic from branch locations is sent to the centralized ‘corporate’ data center via MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) – are proving to be too rigid and costly for today’s cloud-based, digital enterprises. With 4G LTE-enabled routers, instead of relying solely on higher-cost MPLS circuits, companies can adopt a hybrid WAN infrastructure that can incorporate several connectivity sources, such as 4G LTE, cable, DSL, Ethernet, and MPLS. Further, as more traffic shifts from private networks to the public Internet, 4G LTE delivers reliable performance, simplified deployment, and management.
Next-generation software-defined WANs are attractive because they give organizations greater visibility into their networks as well as enhanced network intelligence. SD-WAN allows organizations to set up granular traffic policies that prioritize connectivity to critical enterprise apps, as well as options to make routing decisions in real-time. In addition to delivering more bandwidth and greater WAN flexibility and control, let’s review when and why companies are looking seriously at 4G LTE services.
• “I’ve got multiple WAN connections to think about’ – As discussed, today most enterprises depend heavily on cloud-based, internet-derived solutions, including everything from Software-as-a-Service applications (i.e., Office 365, Salesforce.com, etc.) to Unified Communications (UC) platforms. This shift is driving more network traffic to the WAN edge. As more applications and workloads are delivered from the cloud, and organizations turn to a hybrid-cloud model, a broader mix of wired and wireless broadband links are vital because they can greatly improve network speeds, performance, and network availability. By adding path diversity and augmenting more expensive MPLS links with 4G LTE and others like cable and Ethernet, companies can support an ‘always-on’ network that will help to improve competitiveness- all at a much lower price point.
• “I need to support mission-critical applications”- Long gone are the days when wireless internet connectivity was prone to frequent performance and availability issues. Today’s, 4G LTE can deliver speeds of 1Gbps or more. Not only that, 4G LTE broadband connections rely on a cellular signal that’s highly reliable and not subject to frequent physical disruptions that can knock out traditional wired connections. Higher reliability and faster speeds mean that 4G LTE can now support mission-critical applications like video, voice, UC, email or Point of Sale (PoS) solutions that require high-speed data transfers and real-time data sharing. These features make 4G LTE solutions perfect for remote applications like construction sites, remoting monitoring stations using the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices, or for mobile connectivity like the police or public safety vehicles. Enterprises also rely on today’s 4G LTE connections as primary or failover solutions for branch or remote locations that don’t have access to reliable broadband or MPLS services.
• “My network managers can’t be everywhere at once”- As the number of WAN endpoint connections continue to explode, 4G LTE, as well as 5G capabilities, are helping corporate IT leaders ‘see the light’ and move toward a more cost-effective, and path-diverse set of internet connections that require less manual, hands-on management. In many cases, 4G LTE routers allow for ‘zero-touch’ deployment and configuration, and they offer cloud-based management capabilities. Because the management is software-defined,, virtually everything can be managed through a single-pane-of-glass, cloud-based console. This provides better visibility and control across wired and wireless broadband links, giving IT managers peace of mind and more control. Deploying 4G LTE in SD-WAN environments has become even easier recently with new router software that actually ‘steers’ wireless traffic to minimize latency issues, with the ability to optimize data consumption. Solutions that consolidate management functions and offer automation around configuration, deployment, administration, policy controls, and asset tracking, can cut costs dramatically and help to free up network managers and IT teams to focus on other critical tasks.
Organizations are turning to 4G LTE services to play an essential role in supporting advanced software-defined WAN strategies that will continue to support the digital enterprise for years to come. 4G LTE has gone from ‘new kid on the block’ to a proven network solution for enterprises looking for pervasive and highly reliable primary connectivity for temporary and fixed branch sites, IoT devices, and for WAN resiliency at mission-critical branch sites.