Wireless internet helps businesses stay connected when there isn’t a wired connection or their ISP is down. Now, with 5G around the corner, will wireless become the de facto standard – replacing fixed-lined connections completely?
Imagine this: you’re a well-known jewellery retailer with tens of thousands of stores across the world. You’re used to opening stores – it’s an everyday event for you – and you’re due to open a new flagship store any day now, right in time for Christmas. But there’s an unexpected strike by your Internet Service Provider.
Without an internet connection, the new store will not be able to process credit card payments. You sell a high-end product; realistically, who’s going to shop cash-only at your store? You see no option but to push back the opening date by at least three weeks, meaning you’ll miss part of the lucrative holiday shopping season. That’s tens of thousands of dollars of revenue, all potentially flushing down the drain, because your ISP can’t get its act together.
Enough to send shivers down your spine?
Believe it or not, this is actually a true story. It happened to the jewellery giant Pandora who luckily managed to find a way to get their new store open on time. By teaming up with Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-delivered wireless network solutions, the retailer was able to use its 4G wi-fi as the sole internet source to handle all its card transactions until the ISP was back up and running.
For Pandora, the Cradlepoint solution still functions as a backup, seamlessly taking over and allowing their stores to stay operational even when the wired internet isn’t. It’s a lifesaving solution for anyone who needs constant and secure connectivity without interruption. Which, let’s face it, is pretty much everyone.
And now that 5G is a’coming, wireless solutions like these are about to get commonplace. They could even signal the end of wired internet forever.
Internet, internet everywhere!
4G has been a big deal for business. It lets you run mobile phone applications as fast as desktops, which is monumental. But on its own, 4G is not perfect. That’s because most businesses operate in the cloud, and those applications need a lot of bandwidth. You need a network that can support the necessary speeds, and handsets that can download information at a high-enough speed, and have access to enough data per handset, to get the coverage and bandwidth you need. If there’s no WiFi to be found, you’ve got a problem.
That’s why most businesses stick to wired internet; historically, it has been more reliable.
Around 10 years ago, this new technology emerged – wireless WAN. Without getting technical, wireless WANs let you use your mobile connection as a backup to wired internet. It works by putting all your “wired” and “wireless” through a single router, meaning you can connect all your branches, retail outlets, vehicle fleets, mobile devices – all the places wires can’t go and all the places they can – on one network.
Crucially, data is shared and managed across all those places in the WAN. So if the fixed internet goes down, the router will switch over to the wireless WAN connection automatically, making sure that the most important business services stay operational all the time. You can remotely re-allocate the bandwidth to wherever it’s needed, without waiting for an engineer to get busy with the spanners at the local network level.
Back to Cradlepoint.
These guys are the world leaders in the wireless WAN space, and we’ve teamed up with them to provide a huge range of routing platforms for our customers. If you need connectivity urgently, you can have it – you don’t have to wait for a fixed internet connection. For situations like the one Pandora found itself in, where network outages can result in massive revenue loss and brand reputation damage, having this kind of backup is a no brainer. Even one minute of downtime can cost you money!
The Path to 5G
Having a reliable backup for times when your wired connection fails or is in high demand just makes sense. But so far, these solutions have really just existed as a failsafe for when the wired internet goes down.
Our prediction: it’s going to be 5G that truly cuts the cord on wired internet.
Across the country, 5G is being rolled out to promises of high bandwidth and low latency or lag times. Meaning data will travel from source to destination in milliseconds – we’re talking 100 times faster than 4G – with tons more capacity so you won’t be buffering every time you try to send a huge packet of information while on a mobile Zoom call.
With speeds to rival fiber, 5G will also be a catalyst for the internet of things. This is where thousands of systems all connect up and talk to each other. These days, everything – and we mean everything – needs connectivity, from in-store music systems to CCTV; guest wi-fi to back-office administration; kiosks to digital security sensors and signage. With wireless WAN, you can connect up all these things anywhere, without managing thousands of connections and ISPs. All at one predictable monthly charge. It’s so much simpler – and it’s going to get a whole lot faster with 5G.
In fact, with mobile connectivity this fast, reliable and scalable, you really don’t need to rely on a wired network. Businesses that use 4G wireless to backup their most critical operations can now use 5G wireless to backup everything, or even use it as their active primary link for all those lovely IoT devices.
Now, 5G is less of an ‘event’ than a ‘program’, meaning it’s going to be rolled out in increments over time. Luckily for us, Cradlepoint is already ahead of the curve on 5G. Choose wireless WAN today, and the solutions you get will seamlessly upgrade to 5G in the future. In the meantime, you can use 4G wireless as your connectivity failsafe, and turn on the extra 5G capacity as and when it’s available in your area.
That’s a nice business tool for now, and a genuine taste of the future!
If you’re ready to set up a secure, wireless network at your business, we can help. All businesses, all budgets, all sizes – our technicians have a solution that works for you. Give us a call today!