What Is a Wireless WAN?
A wireless wide area network enables enterprises to get internet broadband connectivity by relying on public cellular networks.
The term wireless WAN can be used to describe many different types of networks. For instance, 5G, 4G LTE networks are all considered wireless WANs because they enable internet broadband connectivity on a nationwide or global scale.
Wireless WANs allow users to work more flexibly by making company resources available from outside the confines of the office, primarily at branch locations or within remote home offices. Enterprises use wireless WANs to enable IoT orchestration, enhance remote work sites, and scale to many branch offices more effectively.
Businesses both large and small use wireless WANs also as a form of failover for internet broadband connectivity. For example, if a site experiences an outage on its fiber connection, the firewall or router can initiate a cellular failover to kick in immediately.
In the past, WANs required physical connections to different sites. This was expensive, especially for any business that wanted to only operate on its own infrastructure.
As public cellular services become more widely available, enterprises are choosing to use private cellular technology to improve their scalability, increase their internet WAN availability, and avoid hefty infrastructure costs.
WAN vs. LAN: What’s the Difference?
A local area network describes a network that is private and secured from the outside world. Think of a school, bank, or even your home network. Devices are usually all within the same building in a LAN setting. LANs can be either hard wired or wireless, but they aren’t accessible to the public by default.
A WAN connects several LANs in order to share information. If you’re using the internet from home, you’re using the worldwide WAN to access different web pages. Enterprises use WANs to make their network resources available across different sites.
For instance, if a company has data at its main office, but wants to share it with five of its other sites, it can use a WAN to access the networks of each office. This can be accomplished by using the internet, a commercial carrier, or designing a private network.
How Does a Wireless WAN Work?
In most cases, smaller businesses rely on commercial cellular networks to act as their WAN gateway. Mobile network operators charge a fee for businesses to access their wireless infrastructure and use their 4G or 5G services.
Enterprise companies often opt for wireless WAN services to support their remote work sites, sensors, and IoT devices. These wireless networks can span a vast distance and allow companies to centrally manage their devices no matter where they are located.
For example, administrators can set specific service levels for farming equipment and make global policy changes across the wireless WAN that impact all agricultural sites at once. Policy changes are made from a centralized location and then pushed out across the wireless WAN. This methodology allows enterprises to predictably scale, unify service levels across locations, and simplify security policies like patch management.
Evolved Packet Core
At the heart of it all is the EPC, which controls many vital functions of the network. Inside the EPC are numerous services that work to direct and authenticate traffic, prioritize communications, and provide access to LAN/WAN resources.
The EPC allows the wireless WAN to take on a flat architecture, meaning it doesn’t have to convert different protocols to function. This dramatically improves data handling, network efficiency, and enables support to a wide range of devices and platforms.
WWANs can use a combination of both indoor and outdoor hardware to meet their coverage requirements. Indoor environments typically use small cells and indoor access points to provide the best performance inside the building.
Outdoor access points fill in the gaps between buildings to help achieve 100% coverage. Outdoor hardware is weatherproofed and hardened to endure the elements. Lastly, roof-mounted antennas can help create a campus-wide network and bridge the gap between satellite offices.
Celona’s 5G LAN Solution
Celona enables organizations to deploy their own 5G LANs as a seamless turnkey solution, within their own facility for private communication and critical use cases within the enterprise. Such enterprises can again use cellular wireless - but across a public mobile network - to bring internet broadband connectivity to that site.
Same cellular wireless technology utilized for separate use cases within the enterprise - one for LAN and one for WAN.
Celona’s plug-and-play cellular access point infrastructure can be quickly deployed throughout the facility, while proactive monitoring ensures network service level objectives, such as throughput and latency requirements, are consistently being met.
Celona uses cloud networking principles to make implementing 5G LANs an out-of-box experience. Onboarding can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations.
If you’re trying to find the perfect match for your new generation of digital applications that depend on enterprise wireless connectivity, Celona can help. Check out our network planner to estimate the size of your 5G LAN on private cellular spectrum, or test-drive Celona’s unique solution for yourself with a free trial.
See a Celona 5G LAN in action and learn the basics