3 min

How 5G WAN Provides Flexibility and Reliability

A cellular WAN can meet organizations’ networking needs for a variety of use cases.

Networks have never been more important. Digital transformation efforts and hybrid work environments rely on networks that transport data effectively, reliably and securely. But as the stakes increase for digital initiatives, many organizations are finding that their wide area networks (WANs) aren’t meeting all their needs. 

In some cases, IT leaders find that managing contracts for multiple internet service providers can be a challenge, especially when different vendors use different equipment and management portals. These challenges may also place greater demands on in-house IT staff, leading to higher costs. 

Some organizations are addressing these challenges by deploying WAN solutions based on 5G cellular networks. Adoption of 5G is expected to increase rapidly over the next few years, from 236 million global subscriptions currently to more than 3 billion by 2025. IT leaders must understand the opportunities 5G can present if they are to make the best use of it.

Why Organizations Are Switching to 5G WAN

Flexibility is a key driver of 5G WAN adoption. We are seeing more organizations deploying 5G wireless WAN as they wait for traditional wired network deployments. However, once the 5G WAN is up and running, organizations often cancel wired services. As these organizations grow comfortable with the ease of deployment and reliability of 5G WAN, it becomes their primary internet connection instead of their backup.

This occurs for several reasons. For one, a 5G WAN cam improve reliability by providing options such as dual sim card failover for carrier diversity and options for dual router failover. It also makes businesses more agile by supporting easy provisioning for pop-up sites as well seasonal and temporary sites. In some cases, a 5G WAN is more cost-effective than a traditional, wired network and can even offer higher throughput. 

How Organizations Are Using 5G WAN

As I work with organizations on implementing WANs that meet their needs, I see many adopting 5G for deployments where they need to think outside the box. Organizations are looking to use 5G WAN to do business in different ways. For example, the marketing department of a large bank I work with wanted to put digital signage in branch locations. However, after months of study, the bank learned that its internal network wouldn’t be able to support this use case. Instead, the bank’s IT team set up a network within a network using 5G cellular devices to run the digital signage.

We also see organizations that operate fleets of vehicles, such as first responders, taking advantage of 5G WAN to support in-vehicle networks for their fleets. This delivers the speed, capacity and reliability that police, firefighters and others need to get their jobs done. The flexibility of 5G WAN also makes it a good fit for industries such as retail and food service, where networks may need to be set up quickly. A 5G WAN can also support healthcare use cases, such as remote care.

As 5G cellular networks become more entrenched, I expect we’ll see even more widespread adoption of WANs that rely on this bandwidth, and even more innovative use cases.

Story by Regina Pepper

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Regina Pepper

CDW Expert
CDW Expert