Embrace the flexibility of #WirelessWAN and #5G to move your business forward.

November 15, 2021

5 Min Read

By Eric Purcell


Eric Purcell

For resellers and their customers, the world around them is quickly changing. As the pandemic has further accelerated the need to connect people, places and things, the traditional network of rigid wires and limited performance is giving way to a wireless-enabled future and a transforming edge network overall.

This means resellers find themselves at a critical moment, one that presents a new opportunity to grow revenue and their businesses – but only if done in the right way.

To better serve their customers, resellers and managed service providers (MSPs) need to recognize the importance of a rapidly growing market – that of wireless wide area networks (wireless WAN) – and understand where this idea fits into growing a customer’s business. They also must understand the opportunities ahead in the era of 5G, whether it’s with public 5G networks, private 5G or a combination of the two.

Recognizing the Importance of Wireless WAN

What exactly is wireless WAN? It’s the next wave of network transformation, enabling connectivity with greater simplicity, agility and security. As cloud applications, mobility and Internet of Things (IoT) devices continue to proliferate, the wireless WAN enables a flexible and unified approach to connecting people, places and things anywhere.

Digital transformation was already a strategic goal for enterprises, but the pandemic has caused enterprises to take a step further, including the re-examination of how they run operations and deliver new innovations to the market and customers. For this, wireless is key.

And businesses are catching on. In fact, 78% of IT decision makers are using or considering using LTE or 5G as the only WAN link in their branch locations. Additionally, IDC’s Future of Connectedness Survey found that 40% of enterprises want to improve their competitive position through speed and flexibility with 5G, SD-WAN and Wi-Fi 6 over the next 12-24 months, while nearly 35% have the goal of investing in technology that helps connect people, things, processes, and applications.

This means that for channel companies, there’s a prime opportunity to take advantage of this wireless age.

Understanding the Pathway to Grow a Customer’s Business

Not every customer’s wireless pathway will be the same, and certainly, most won’t go all-in on wireless overnight. Seeing, in many cases, is believing for customers, and resellers must keep this in mind throughout the process.

For example, most organizations will start their journey with a failover use case for their branch, or pop-up solutions for temporary job sites like seasonal stores or medical testing centers. As they gain more confidence in wireless WAN, they will naturally take another step.

The second step is often employing wireless broadband as an active link to continue to use for failover but also supplement their wired bandwidth. There are many benefits of wireless broadband as an active link, including greater mobility, flexibility and consolidated nationwide billing, not to mention the …

… natural reduction in commitments to wireline contracts that come with the transition. They can also use wireless broadband as an air-gapped network for certain applications where security risks are high.

Next, when an organization gains confidence in wireless broadband as an active link, they will naturally consider wireless broadband as a primary WAN link not only for mobile applications but for fixed sites as well.

The Pathway to 5G

On the wireless WAN pathway, the ultimate stop is, of course, 5G. Like how the evolution of today’s app economy and innovative consumer-focused solutions such as ride-sharing were made possible by the rise of LTE, the rapid rollout of 5G has positioned businesses on the brink of an even greater transformation.

With 5G, businesses can improve the customer experience, set the foundation for fueling innovative applications, and can have an important edge in a time when business models are shifting to streamline operations and respond to evolving customer demands post-pandemic across a number of verticals.

This includes the retail industry, where Valvoline Instant Oil Change franchise group Henley Enterprises is leveraging 5G to improve the performance of high-definition video cameras in their stores to create a safer working environment for its staff and more efficient customer service. It also includes GoDog Sports, which leverages 5G solutions to give friends and family a new level of remote viewing experiences for youth sports broadcasts across the country.

As these 5G stories show, the time to invest in this 5G-connected future is now, but channel companies must again understand the larger pathway and how they can support their customers throughout it.

For example, Gigabit-Class LTE is rolling out faster than 5G, providing an increase in performance over 4G LTE with excellent propagation characteristics. For this reason, Gigabit-Class LTE will be the first step on the pathway to 5G for most organizations. As 5G continues to roll out in areas where organizations have locations, customers can upgrade from Gigabit to 5G.

The Time Is Now

For companies across numerous verticals, there is a huge opportunity to embrace wireless and fuel new agility and flexibility to boost the bottom line.

For channel companies, the same opportunity is available. Now is the moment to build a holistic wireless WAN practice and become a trusted adviser for your customers. Public and private organizations of all sizes are looking for experts to help them develop and implement their long-term wireless WAN strategy.

Wireless WAN opens the door for thousands of new endpoints, all equating to new reoccurring revenue streams. The partners who embrace and learn what is possible with public and private 5G solutions and develop a clear strategy will lead in the wireless WAN era and benefit for decades to come while moving the industry – and their businesses – forward.

Eric Purcell is senior vice president of global partner sales at Cradlepoint. He has more than 20 years of experience crafting strategies, developing partner relationships and accelerating sales for hardware and software companies, including at Cisco and Box. He also held sales and leadership roles with wireless network companies including AT&T Wireless and NYNEX Mobile (now Verizon). You may follow Eric on LinkedIn and @cradlepoint on Twitter.

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