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State of Wireless WAN Report

A newly published report –‘State of Wireless WAN’ - has found that 78% of companies use or plan to use LTE to provide WAN or internet connectivity, while 82% said that they believe 5G will deliver increased WAN speeds over the coming 12 months.

The research, carried out by Cradlepoint, a supplier of cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions, suggests that the era of Wireless WAN has arrived and will play a critical role in the world’s communications infrastructure as well as in driving innovation.

Crucially, the survey suggested that there was growing confidence and excitement for 5G, pointing to increasing adoption in 2021.

“Having a secure, flexible, and reliable WAN edge is critical to business success,” said Donna Johnson, Vice President of Product and Solution Marketing at Cradlepoint.

Looking beyond the hyperbole, while traditional wired WANs are complex, slow to adapt, and applicable to only fixed locations, the adoption of Wireless WAN technology is seen as helping to connect people, places, and things anywhere and is seen as having a critical role to play as the global economy emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic and companies look to adapt to a significantly different way of conducting business.

Among the key findings of the research were that in light of the economic and health crisis of the past few months both the imperative of business transformation and the growing number of connected devices were among the top reasons businesses are now turning to Wireless WAN solutions. Another significant factor in the increased use of Wireless WAN was bandwidth. 57% of respondents said bandwidth was a reason for adopting broadband, and 49% said it was a reason for choosing LTE.

Businesses are looking to create new services and find new ways to engage with customers, and they said that the flexibility of WAN was deemed essential. 51% cited the flexibility of LTE to enable new services as a top reason for turning to Wireless WAN solutions.

The research found that 78% of the companies surveyed either use or plan to use LTE to provide WAN or internet connectivity to at least some locations, but the use of LTE is also expanding beyond just the branch. 53% of companies are using it to connect in-vehicle networks, and 77% are connecting IoT devices.

Additionally, 40% of respondents are using LTE to connect fixed locations, vehicles, and IoT. This metric helps explain why 62% of enterprises plan to increase their use of LTE in the next three years.

Finally, the research found that among IT decision-makers 67% were either confident or very confident that 5G will deliver business benefits within the next year. 82% believe 5G will deliver increased WAN speeds within the next year, and 66% think it will provide improved reliability.

According to Johnson, “It’s no secret that the on-going pandemic has forced businesses to be more innovative and creative than ever, and Wireless WAN has proven to be a critical enabler.”

Johnson concluded that with the emergence of 5G the ascension of Wireless WAN as critical infrastructure was “inevitable.”

Neil Tyler

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