AT&T Business launches managed wireless WAN

Telco unveils wireless wide area network designed to allow enterprises to untether locations, assets and people with a solution managed and monitored by network experts

With wireless connectivity now essential for enabling agile and secure connectivity of people, places and things, beyond the reach and limitations of traditional wired network connections, AT&T has introduced a new managed wireless wide area network (WAN) offer.

The US communications technology provider said that as businesses look for new ways to engage their customers, streamline operations and generate revenue, many are turning to wireless WAN technology.

It added that the emergence of 5G – with its faster speeds, lower latencies and enhanced network capabilities – is a catalyst for accelerating wireless WAN adoption as businesses seek to make their WANs cellular simple and fibre fast for true wireless flexibility.

AT&T believes its new solution can provide businesses with the necessary secure and flexible wireless cellular connectivity to any number of fixed sites, all managed by AT&T network experts, therefore helping organisations save time and money and removing the burden of ongoing management or upfront infrastructure costs.

Moreover, the company said that customers will receive a plug-and-play, managed solution that enables rapid deployment of wireless connectivity when wired connections are unavailable, lack sufficient reliability, are too costly or require long lead times.

AT&T said that it can sometimes take weeks or even months for a network provider to install a traditional wired line and is only applicable to fixed locations. Businesses want to move quickly and have more flexibility to meet today’s digital demand, and a hotspot is not enough. Instead, they need an agile network solution that is quick to deploy, highly scalable and secure, and supports a broad set of WAN use cases, the company added.

AT&T Managed Wireless WAN is designed to connect thousands of endpoints while providing end-users with fast and secure access to the cloud and datacentre applications, as well as the internet. This can give businesses the ability to provide employees with secure and reliable access they need to be productive from anywhere and without relying on a network provider to deliver a circuit.

The AT&T Managed Wireless WAN solution is enabled through the telco’s wireless WAN technology partner Cradlepoint. AT&T Business supplies customers with the Cradlepoint NetCloud service and wireless edge device that is deployed and managed end-to-end by AT&T, with everything delivered as a monthly service. The company said it will work with users to understand their requirements and will then undertake technical legwork to implement and operate the Wireless WAN Managed service.

Purpose-built Cradlepoint 4G LTE and 5G wireless edge devices provide connectivity, and plans for future additions to the service include support for in-vehicle and internet of things (IoT) use cases, as well as the addition of enhanced routing and security features.

Examples of particular use cases include: a temporary connection at a branch site, pop-up store or construction trailer; expanding to new locations; or using a permanent cellular connection as a failover or primary WAN link for an SD-WAN deployment.

“The workforce is continuing to evolve, and having the right tools is essential to a business – no matter where the business is getting done,” said Will Eborall, assistant vice-president of product marketing management at AT&T. “AT&T Managed Wireless [can help] transform how organisations can generate revenue, streamline operations and serve customers.”

Ghassan Abdo, research vice-president of worldwide telecommunications at research firm IDC, added: “With this announcement, AT&T is extending the reach of the enterprise to remote locations, supporting hybrid workforce, and enabling innovative use cases.”

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