Opinion: 4G LTE and its benefits to enterprise networks

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/BlackJack3D)

Network connectivity is paramount for all kind of businesses:  small, medium and big enterprises. No business can flourish if its network is slow, intermittent and outage prone. How many of us like standing in queues in malls, if the vendor’s credit card swipe machine is taking too long to process, hardly any of us.

Importance of robust network connectivity & motivation for new network connectivity options

The impact of a network outage on a company’s brand can be significant. When customers are unable to complete an intended purchase (online or otherwise) or have to wait a long time, customer perception of the brand is adversely affected. In this age of social media, customers may also share their frustrations with larger audiences, causing the consequences of a store outage to extend past the storefront itself.

Enterprises must have always-on network connectivity and should also consider having a failover network option, if possible. There is enough motivation to look out for a more robust, fast to setup, fail proof network for small and medium enterprises. Some of them are listed below:

  • No wired connection can deliver 100% uptime.
  • Billions of dollars are lost each year in network downtime.
  • 60% of these downtimes or network outages are due to human errors.
  • Gartner pegs the cost of downtime for computer networks at $5,600 per minute.
  • Gartner has calculated that downtime can reach 87 hours a year.
  • Most of the ISP’s provide 99.5% uptime which means ~4 hours downtime in a month.

4G LTE as network connectivity enabler

4G LTE is the fastest developing system in the history of mobile communications. In its first year, LTE usage soared from zero to 150 million people, and today about 1.3 billion people benefit from this technology. LTE not only provides super-fast connectivity to millions of users but can also act as enterprise network connectivity enabler.

Presently, small and medium enterprises use a variety of network connectivity solutions. Predominantly, small and medium enterprises use leased lines, various varieties of DSL (VDSL, ADSL and ADSL2+ etc.) and broadband as their preferred mode of connectivity. Each of these connectivity modes have their pros and cons in terms of speed, cost, time to setup etc.

4G LTE has some inherent advantages over previous generation (3G) of mobile communications which makes it suitable for connectivity for enterprises.      

  • Higher bandwidth (data speeds), 4G LTE provides true broadband speeds in comparison to 3G.
  • Low latency, lower idle-to-active times (improved network responsiveness)
  • High spectrum efficiency means higher network capacity, improved cost efficiency
  • Backwards compatibility and future-proofing
  • All IP network means easier integration, improved cost efficiency
  • Enhancements to security and Quality of Service differentiation

How 4G LTE can help businesses?

Let’s take a look at few business benefits/use cases using 4G LTE:

  • Fast time to setup: If a shoe retailer plans to open its showrooms across the city, it would take many weeks to setup wired connectivity for Point-of-Sale (POS) machines, connectivity to central office inventory, telephony etc. In comparison, LTE based connectivity can be provided within few hours without hassles of wiring, installation. It provides entire connectivity for credit card machines, VoIP phones, and Inventory mgmt. This will save lot of time and resources for hundreds of such stores across the city for a big chain of stores.
  • Healthcare: Mobile connectivity has already proved to be a major beneficiary for health care system. Patients can remotely send the reports to doctor, consult them via video conferencing, ambulances are also now connected to hospitals while en-route and provide necessary treatment to patients. Apart from this, through wellness and health products (e.g. armband) patients can directly provide the vital information to the physician 24×7.
  • Connected automobiles: Connected car is another paradigm that has taken automobile industry by storm. BMW was the first car manufacturer which introduced 4G LTE for in car connectivity. Since then many automobile companies had introduced hotspots in cars (using LTE) for infotainment, Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers, geo navigation etc. In addition, transportation systems have been improved in many countries using 4G LTE.
  • Temporary business setup: Getting a wired network at a makeshift or temporary office (for few weeks/months) e.g. construction site, civil and mechanical site would be difficult and hard to maintain. On the other hand, setting up a LTE based network would be easy to setup and maintain. Construction sites needs to transfer large files, graphic images/maps, 3D CAD images etc. to central office for fast work flow. Having fast network connectivity with low failure rate saves a lot of money for such businesses.
  • Time to repair: In case of failure for a wired network connection, it could take few days to repair the same depending on the fault location, type of fault etc. Network connectivity based on LTE will be available within few hours even if it fails (Mobile networks have a good reputation for running for years without facing an outage).
  • Backup solution: Enterprises can also have 4G LTE as their backup network connection in case their primary wired connection fails.

LTE will continue to grow as a medium of connectivity for enterprises in future as well. In fact, there are already plenty of companies selling LTE based solutions in the market for small and medium enterprises. As world continues to be more connected, this certainly looks to be a big market!

Can you think of any other benefits of LTE to enterprise networks? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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