Global Column | 5G will give wings to wireless WANs

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the positive impact 5G could have on both individual users and businesses’ Internet access. However, enterprise network engineers should keep in mind that 5G is not the only cellular option for enterprise WANs. Because 4G already offers a number of benefits.
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Market research firm Nemertes conducted a survey of enterprises that have adopted 4G-based wireless communications over their WANs across the enterprise and investigated four common use cases by enterprises. The following examples are expected to improve in various ways as 5G availability becomes widespread in the future.

Fast Internet distribution in new workplaces

New deployments of MPLS still take a long time, more than three months, and it takes several weeks to get an internet connection up and running. In this situation, wireless WAN (WWAN) is the fastest way to achieve productivity. To borrow the words of a network service provider, the moment you get a chair and desk for a new office, you can provide connectivity to the corporate WAN through an IPsec tunnel between sites across the 4G network.

The benefit of providing instant connectivity is that employees who have moved offices can resume work immediately. As soon as the computers are turned on in the new office, the WWAN router can bring the relocated workgroup back online.

Wireless Backup for Wired Connections

Perhaps the best-known and most widely adopted strategy for using WWANs is for ‘wireless backup’. Suburban businesses typically lack connectivity options, so they adopt WWANs as backups for their wired connections. If the wired connection is lost, it is immediately replaced by a wireless connection.

Tunneling over WAN is a common model, but recently, as cloud adoption increases, many direct Internet connection methods are being introduced. In fact, it was found that more than half of the work data of general companies is operated in the cloud rather than in their own data center. However, a national organization participating in the Nematys study started operating with direct Internet connections, but is considering switching its primary connection method to WWAN. This is because using WWAN is faster and more reliable.

capacity bursting

Additional capacity should be provided as a backup as well as emergency bandwidth. Companies that provide cellular services do not use cellular except when absolutely necessary. In this case, ‘when it is absolutely necessary’ means a case in which the performance of the main connection means is lowered or the capacity is exceeded as traffic continues to rise. A retailer surveyed uses WWANs for failover and capacity expansion, as well as for bursting capacity during specific periods of peak traffic.

WWAN as the primary means of connection

Another option is to use WWAN as the only means of connection, completely replacing the traditional wired connection. Companies that have successfully applied this model have used it to replace aging copper plants (DSL lines, T1, partial T1, pair T1, etc.). They were also often used in suburban or suburban areas where wired connections were rare or expensive to connect.

Advantages and disadvantages of WWAN

For enterprises pursuing one or more of the four WWAN use cases discussed earlier, the advantages and disadvantages of WWANs were clear and consistent.


  • Availability of 4G LTE everywhere
  • instant access
  • Higher bandwidth than older and lower-end wired connections
  • Reliability comparable to or better than the service area


  • Limited availability of wireline pricing model (fixed monthly cost at a set rate, regardless of bit of transmission)
  • Higher cost than a wired connection (lower price per megabit per second in most cases, but higher absolute cost)
  • Antenna placement issues due to junction box structure and location in some locations
  • Avoid usage limits and speed limits

In particular, the companies Nematis interviewed pointed to pay-as-you-go as the most common drawback of WWANs.

Advantages of 5G-based WWAN

The WWAN usage environment is expected to improve as 5G gradually spreads. In addition to increasing speed and reliability, telecommunications companies can use network slicing technology to manage the capacity each user consumes from a shared base station. Carriers can guarantee capacity to enterprise users and have the means to provide guaranteed capacity.

With network slicing, a so-called fair-share method of equitably distributing capacity can be implemented, so that one user overusing capacity causes inconvenience to other users sharing an AP (Access Point). work disappears In addition, fixed wireless access capacity can be allocated to enterprise customers independently of the capacity provided to general users.

5G can realize the improvement of ‘high speed, availability, and meaningful capacity guarantee’ in the aforementioned four WWAN use cases. In addition, network slicing will enable carriers to implement the desired level of traffic engineering skills to provide WWAN at a price similar to that of wireline.

Given that 5G WWANs have similar prices to wired and 4G-like geographic coverage, they will be a near-standard choice for most businesses considering wired connectivity. [email protected]

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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