As businesses and organizations expand into new locations, move applications to the cloud and implement disaster recovery safeguards, they need greater network reliability. Fixed wireless broadband is fast becoming one of the primary ways to achieve that goal.
Fixed wireless broadband works the same as DSL or T1 access except that the connection is transmitted over spectrum some licensed, some license-exempt and uses base stations to extend connectivity. That means customers must meet a providers line of sight” requirements; if theres a tree or building in the way, for example, service wont work well, if at all. Despite that, the advantages of fixed wireless broadband are plentiful:
- Its fast speeds range from 1MBps to 1000MBps (1GBps), depending on the provider.
- It reaches places that wired options cant, such as remote areas and buildings lacking fast terrestrial connectivity.
- Its easier to scale than most wired services because adding bandwidth means opening the pipes, rather than installing more equipment.
- Its quick to provision days, not weeks because competitive services providers bypass the ILECs local loop and use their own base stations instead.
And while almost any customer can benefit from fixed wireless broadband, certain end-users will get the most out of the service:
- SMBs that want one scalable connection for voice and data. This gives SMBs the flexibility they need to optimize their capital,” said Josh Schlensker, director of channel sales for Airband Communications.
- Enterprises that need LAN extensions within office campuses or that need high-bandwidth last-mile access to connect to a metro fiber ring.
- Organizations using fixed wireless broadband as their primary connections and wired circuits for their backups, or vice versa. This approach provides true path diversity because if theres a problem such as a major cable cut, a company still has Internet access. We have many customers that build their business continuity solution with a 3MBps-6MBps fixed wireless as their primary connection and a T1 for failover,” said Schlensker.
- Companies with changing bandwidth requirements. Hotels are perfect examples,” Schlensker said. During conventions and conferences, bandwidth demands increase significantly. With fixed-wireless service, bandwidth can be turned up very quickly to meet the demands without a change in network infrastructure.”
- Businesses implementing cloud services. IT directors want bandwidth that can easily scale based on an applications needs.
- Facilities in remote areas, malls or airports any business that has had stability questions or issues with DSL,” said Jonathan Forest, vice president of business development for Accel Networks. There is a best-in-class wireless option rather than going to a T1.”
With those deployment scenarios in mind, channel partners comfortable offering Internet access should have little or no problems adding fixed wireless broadband to their portfolios. At the same time, there are considerations unique to fixed wireless broadband, and those offer helpful selling points.
Availability. First, make sure a customer can take advantage of fixed wireless broadband. Is there a provider serving that location? If so, is there line of sight that meets the operators specifications?
Capacity. Next, help customers determine how much bandwidth they need, so they dont pay for more speed than theyll use. The best part is, with fixed wireless, if a client does want more bandwidth, the provider can beef it up within a few hours.
Coverage. Not every communications provider has the same footprint, and the same goes for fixed wireless broadband carriers. Some, like TelePacific Communications, focus solely on certain markets. Others, like Accel, take advantage of wholesale access through the large wireless operators to offer nationwide reach. Thus, one size cannot fit all.
SLAs. Figure out whether a client requires quality-of-service assurance the cloud is making such guarantees even more important, Schlensker said. As our customers move more of their applications to the cloud, the reliability of the network is crucial to their day-to-day operations,” he said. To that point, recommend providers with acceptable service level agreements. Some details to look for: specific performance metrics for latency, packet loss and jitter.
Time. Consider the length of time for which a customer needs broadband Internet access. In some cases, its only temporary. In such a situation, TelePacific and Accel both offer fixed wireless broadband for short-term projects such as on-location movie shoots or hard-to-reach sporting events. Fixed wireless is the only practical solution for businesses that need service turned up as soon as possible or for temporary installations,” said Ken Bisnoff, senior vice president of strategic opportunities for TelePacific.
Failover/Recovery. Help the client figure out how important automatic failover/disaster recovery is to the company. Fixed wireless broadband provides a circuit to which you can automatically redirect traffic if another connection fails.