Use cases for cellular (WWAN) in SD WAN: a quick guide
For enterprises using software defined wide area network (SD WAN) solutions, the flexibility to use multiple transport technologies is a top benefit. And while the option to rely on lower-cost DSL or cable options for different use cases is great, there are many situations where consumer-grade connections fall short or simply aren’t ideal. In those cases, a cellular, or wireless wide area network (WWAN), connection may be your best bet—or provide a reliable failover option.
Using wireless connections over SD WAN is not only easy and secure, it can be a good option for both primary and secondary connection scenarios. In many ways, the combination of cellular and SD WAN has transformed networking possibilities. Here are a few common use cases.
Retail store operations and restaurants
In retail and restaurant environments, cellular can provide a secure primary connection for operations and/or point of sale (POS) systems. It also provides an ideal failover option, in both of these cases. For example, if your primary POS connections experience frequent slowdowns or outages, a cellular failover could pick up the slack.
ATMs or kiosks
With standard landline connections, placement of ATMs or kiosks can be a challenge. And relying on a local Wi-Fi connection comes with other permission and security-related hassles. Cellular increases your placement options while enabling quick deployment and secure connections.
Quick deployment scenarios
From branch offices to vending machines to air machines for car tires to ATMs, using cellular with SD WAN can enable very rapid deployment. It eliminates the need to line up an install with a service provider and other logistical considerations, giving you a much higher degree of flexibility.
Failover or backup
Cellular works as an ideal failover backup solution on a couple of levels. The first is as a hot standby for picking up slack for service-degradation on other connection types, such as consumer DSL or cable connections. For banks, credit unions, restaurants, retail store locations and branch offices, cellular also provides an great failover solution in the event a primary cable is cut or the ISP has an outage. For example, it’s not uncommon for construction crews to accidentally cut Internet cables, and when that happens it can take hours or even better part of the day to restore service. With a tested cellular failover solution in place, your users may not even notice if the primary connection goes down. And when you consider the modest costs of adding a cellular modem to branch locations versus business interruption costs, the business case is easy to make.
Seeing the bigger picture
Clearly, there are a lot of possibilities for taking advantage of cellular in SD WAN environments. At the same time, there are some unique considerations around cellular deployment compared to wired connections, including coverage considerations and data rates.