Local Access (that is, how businesses connect their offices and branches to the WAN) has been an area of immense cost and frustration for as long as enterprise networking has been around.
While the technology- and networks have changed, from dedicated copper lines to fibre broadband, 30 years on, businesses are still often face the same challenges as in the early days: long lead times, high charges, multi-year contracts, and outages which occur way too often.
While home broadband has reached the masses with high speeds and often unbelievable (unsustainable?) low pricing, the reality for enterprises is much more bleak, as they try connect locations which are often not in metro areas, have fast changing requirements and deal with much more complexity and process.
While 3G technology was not mature enough for WAN applications and limited to machine-to-machine (M2M) type applications, LTE (known commonly as 4G) is the game-changer that will replace traditional wired lines, starting with the smaller branches and - remote locations. With speeds comfortably above 10Mbps in remote locations and up to 300Mbps in metros like Singapore, it's sufficient for most business applications.
But the enabling technology that will truly propel the adoption of LTE Access in business is SD-WAN technology. By intelligently controlling the WAN from the cloud - rather from expensive routers maintained by network managers - it allows for plug and play access to the WAN and drastic reduction of equipment- and management cost.
So with the access available "on the airwaves" and intelligence "in the cloud", there is no more waiting or wiring or expensive installation engineers required anymore. Simply plug and play and the moment the access router connects to the 4G/LTE network, it will receive its instructions from the WAN in the cloud.
While high-speed dedicated fibre lines are still the connection of choice for large (datacenter) locations and metro offices, for remote locations and small branches, 4G/LTE should be on the list of any network manager, as a flexible access option with more functionality and lower TCO as the traditional wired lines.
See below for a comparison of how Blue Wireless LTE access stacks up dedicated lines and against broadband access when used in enterprise WANs:
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