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4G LTE Architecture: A Flexible, Secure & Agile Alternative to Legacy WANs

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Businesses are also changing. Case in point: The average retail location can consist of a point-of- sale (POS) system, guest Wi-Fi, video surveillance software, and enterprise applications, each requiring constant connectivity and unparalleled reliability. At the same time, distributed enterprises, which manage hundreds or thousands of locations, demand flexible networks that can grow with an organization while maintaining performance and security. Unfortunately, legacy enterprise wide-area networks (WANs) can't keep up with today's rising demand for unfettered speed and capacity. Part of the problem is that yesteryear's "networks were built in a way that didn't anticipate how much data and bandwidth are actually needed to run web-based applications," says Ken Hosac, vice president of IoT strategy and business development at Cradlepoint. As a result, he adds, "many networks are struggling to keep up with the bandwidth requirements of all these emerging applications." In response, forward-looking organizations are shifting from wired, hardware-defined, resource-intensive infrastructure to a powerful combination of Long-Term Evolution (LTE), software-defined technologies, and cloud- managed wired and wireless WANs. WHY IT IS IMPERATIVE TO ACT NOW More than simply a powerful alternative to clunky and costly T1 lines and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) solutions, LTE offers a unique combination of technology and business benefits. Chief of these is its support of IoT devices. These days, organizations, from manufacturers to hospitals, are connecting thousands of devices to the Internet so that employees can access real-time granular data about everything from inventory systems to consumer behavior. With LTE, an IoT environment can be deployed quickly and thousands of remote devices can be configured and monitored from a single, central location. For organizations with mobile teams, LTE enables employees to access mission-critical applications from anywhere, at any time. Data continuously flows to the cloud from on-board telemetry, sensors, surveillance cameras, and other devices, enabling first responders, utility crews, and transportation departments to operate seamlessly from the road. Whether tracking consumer buying patterns or responding to a fire, LTE also offers greater redundancy, keeping an organization's applications online and accessible with no performance loss. In addition to technology gains, LTE delivers plenty of business benefits, including significantly faster speed of deployment than wired-line installations. "Customers today are looking to get up and running quickly," says Marc Bresniker, vice president of product management at Cradlepoint. "That's where LTE can come into play." Unlike legacy WAN systems, which can take as long as 20 weeks to install, LTE can provide same-day connectivity—a significant advantage for fast-expanding quick-serve restaurants and retailers with pop-up shops. Simpler and more cost-effective vendor management is another upside of LTE. Many multi- location organizations work with a wide variety of local broadband providers—a complex arrangement that "can be pretty burdensome," warns Bresniker. However, he says, LTE enables organizations to work with one or two carriers to achieve "bill consolidation, which makes it easier and less expensive than having to manage 100 different contracts with different broadband vendors." FOUR APPROACHES TO EMBRACING LTE Although the time is now to find new configurations for distributed networks, there's no such thing as a cookie-cutter approach to LTE. In fact, many organizations with a terrestrial link still want to diversify with multiple carriers and WAN technologies. An LTE IoT environment can be deployed quickly, and thousands of remote devices configured and monitored from a single, central location. 2

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