Market Drivers for Wireless WAN: The Need for Speed…But Make it Secure

Cradlepoint Australia Pty Ltd
By Gavin Wilson, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Cradlepoint
Wednesday, 01 September, 2021

Market Drivers for Wireless WAN: The Need for Speed…But Make it Secure

Today, enterprise networks can no longer be defined by fixed locations. Businesses in almost every industry have had to change over the last year-and-a-half, requiring fast, remote, secure, and agile connectivity to enable continued operations in everything from vehicles to pop-up locations and on IoT applications.

While these use cases existed before the pandemic, a renewed focus on business agility and cybersecurity has made many organisations realise that now is the time to invest in creating a network that brings essential services closer to the customer edge and customised user experiences. What all these applications have in common is their reliance on wireless WAN infrastructure.

Security and flexibility top priorities

In a Cradlepoint Wireless Networks study conducted with Australian organisations by Telsyte last year, cybersecurity and business flexibility were listed as the top two priorities for businesses over the following 12 months.

Why? When we considered business agility or flexibility in the 'old world', we thought about revenue targets, beating the competition for customers, and the race for market domination.

The term 'organisational agility' has taken on a deeper gravity over the last year-and-a-half. Oftentimes, it has been about organisational survival and the ability to retain staff. In the healthcare context, it has been about patient health and a race to control the virus spread.

With the whole world working 'at a distance' without the ability, time, or budget to deploy traditional, wired services everywhere needed, organisations have had to rethink how they effectively connect employees to the data and applications they need to be productive. A more distributed network comes with a larger cyber-attack surface on the security front, highlighting the need for greater security across the expanded network edge.

Multi-location connectivity

Canberra-based Aspen Medical specialises in providing healthcare services, including modular and temporary clinical infrastructure, in remote, challenging, and under-resourced environments, and where fixed connectivity can be a challenge. During the global pandemic, Aspen Medical teams supported the deployment of health services in temporary locations across multiple environments, sometimes with teams of 20-30 per site requiring connectivity simultaneously.

With Cradlepoint wireless edge solutions, the organisation can deliver the security and robustness of a fixed connection for enabling the processing of sensitive patient data, telephony, and printing services to those locations.

As new GP Respiratory Clinics opened and vaccine rollouts continued across Australia, this ability to instantly, securely, and reliably connect remote clinics meant that Aspen Medical could ensure that technology did not delay the standing up of these clinics or vaccine rollouts.

Aspen Medical is now planning to use Cradlepoint wireless edge solutions in various settings in very remote areas of the world to train staff and set up secure networks at facilities, connecting technologies such as medical devices and augmented reality technology.

Improved performance and increased agility

It's not just temporary locations that can benefit from Wireless WANs. WISE Employment, a non-profit employment service provider, chose to ditch its static wired network infrastructure to improve its branch offices' performance and increase agility. By deploying the Cradlepoint NetCloud Service and the company's LTE-enabled all-in-one routers, the company was able to provide Internet and application connectivity to over 160 offices across Australia with more than 1,000 employees while removing the wired network issues that were impacting productivity and blowing out costs.

This Wireless WAN deployment resulted in reduced downtime, improved performance, and newfound IT agility, putting the organisation in a better position to introduce new technologies, such as 5G. Last year, that agility was put to the test. When the events of 2020 took hold, WISE was prepared. In the early days of the pandemic, when the company's competitors were scrambling, WISE Employment simply picked up their kits and moved to new locations.

Last year, several Australian retailers had to quickly pivot their shopfront locations and stand-up new premises to create additional distribution centres to meet increased demand for online shopping during the country's lockdowns. With pressure from consumers mounting and restrictions tightening, waiting months for wired connectivity at these locations was not an option. Cradlepoint worked with some of those retailers to provide instant, secure, and reliable cellular connectivity at the pop-up distribution centres.

Embrace the cloud

Organisations that have traditionally operated in wired environments often have concerns around how secure the "cloud" can be, and these concerns are valid. When moving applications to the cloud, Cradlepoint offers LTE and 5G cellular technology's inherent security advantages that integrate with enterprise security tools like Zscaler Internet Security and Palo Alto Prisma for SASE. This approach enables enterprises to embrace cloud applications and mobility while delivering a trusted security posture and superior user experience.

While for many organisations, the importance of business agility and enhanced security has come to the fore because of the pandemic, business requirements for these capabilities will not disappear in a post-pandemic world. In many ways, the challenges of recent times have forced many organisations to realise what is possible with the help of Wireless WAN technology, which will inspire more innovative, employee and customer-friendly, and efficient business operations long after we are through the pandemic.

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