Working the Wireless WAN

As a telecom agent, you’d have to have been doing business under a rock to not recognize that wireless presents a vast opportunity. But wireless, particularly when it comes to mobile broadband data and WiMAX, may seem like strange territory for channel partners used to selling more tangible connectivity.

Monday’s panel aims to take some of the mystery out of the equation. Moderator Tara Seals, senior editor at PHONE+, is joined by panelist John Muscarella, director of enterprise sales for XOHM WiMAX from Sprint-Nextel Corp., and others to cover the technologies, the customer targets and the opportunity in the wireless data world.

Agents and VARs can in fact leverage a lot of the expertise they’ve gathered from selling wired circuits and apply it to delivering wireless WAN to enterprises. It simply opens up new opportunities for revenue. For instance, wireless LANs for SMBs and enterprises are getting supercharged thanks to 802.11n, a new version of Wi-Fi that bolsters the available throughput three to five times what existing 802.11g-based WLANs can provide.

And then there’s the outdoor opportunity, in point-to-point solutions as well as mesh networking. Channel partners have plenty of options to sell outdoor networking gear to markets that vary from service providers to small-medium enterprises (read: big accounts, new skill sets, new revenue streams). Channel partners are also now finding traction in mobile mesh with local government customers, deploying networks to support a range of municipal applications from surveillance to meter reading.

The panel will also talk about the opportunities for selling WiMAX service and layering applications for enterprises. “Enterprises are in the can’t-wait-for-WiMAX mode,” explained Barry West, president of the new Clearwire Corp., which is the result of Sprint spinning off its XOHM mobile WiMAX division to the old Clearwire. “Because unlike Wi-Fi-cellular dual-mode schemes, once you leave the office environment WiMAX can have the same facilities out on the public network as you have on the office LAN. The part that’s underserved in the business market is really the SOHOs, which just can’t afford the same connectivity as an enterprise. A T1 is a heavy commitment to a small company. Now, they’re getting better than T1 speeds by simply signing up for WiMAX.”

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