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Important considerations when selecting a IT Support Services company to transform your wireless network

By : Steven Strickland

March 01, 2017 08:00 AM

Choosing the right wireless network configuration is more complex than ever before. Decision makers must consider capacity planning for subscriber device growth and connected machines (think Internet of Things- IoT), integrating signals from multiple carriers, supporting a multitude of radio frequencies (RF) and provisioning real estate for public safety.  These variables multiply when managing multinational real estate assets.

 

Business owners are often challenged with finding ways to keep employees, patrons and machines connected 100 percent of the time, greater speed to the edge for smart devices, enhancing user experience, and securing critical data. However, planning for a secure, connected user experience can be difficult when this must be implemented at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than the current environment.  Point of sale systems, kiosks, digital signage, sensors, beacons and mobile shopper platforms all require secure connections. Your consultant should be able to advise your company on wireless network architectures that will overcome your unique set of challenges. 

 

It is important to create a business case that minimizes TCO based on long-range mobile planning, while also factoring in benefits not commonly considered by the IT department, such as improved staff productivity, digital marketing and greater insight in to customer behavior through analytics. It is critical to choose a consultancy with a broad wireless specialization to assist in the evaluation process. Key variables to consider include:

 

  • Understand that the line between licensed and unlicensed technologies will continue to blur.  The release of LWIP (LTE Wireless LAN Integration) allows for WiFi to assist in optimizing LTE network performance through load balancing.  Cellular and WiFi networks are also beginning to take shape over one common enterprise network and cabling infrastructure.
  • Wireless service providers are investing in C-RAN (Cloud RAN) architectures to reduce operating costs through centralization and virtualization, plus offload from the macro network to better manage high rates of mobile data traffic growth.  This is key to enterprises looking to fund their own small cell and distributed antenna system (DAS) networks in order to improve indoor coverage.  New solutions can function in an enterprise networking (LAN/WAN) environment and will speed the adoption of an “all IP” model for indoor cellular coverage.
  • Solving for IoT connectivity presents many integrated and standalone choices such as LTE-M, Small Cell, 802.11, LoRaWAN, Sigfox and RPMA to name a few.  As innovation in LTE service offerings continues to push the cost per unit down, growth is widely expected to accelerate. It is important to evaluate the technologies on a global scale, as external factors may impact availability by country, standardization and the stickiness of your choice.  A wireless consultant can advise on the pros and cons between multiple options.
  • Bandwidth bottlenecks, network vulnerabilities and drivers of dissatisfaction will continue to emerge given recent reports that mobile data generated by smartphones will grow at a 48 percent CAGR through 2021, while mobile operators continue to offload cellular traffic to WiFi networks. Enterprises must address density, security and bandwidth limitations of legacy WiFi networks.  Your consult should advise on the cost impact (more APs and cabling) of a denser network, long-term implications of emerging 802.11 standards, use cases for 60 GHz, and best practices in integrating Small Cells over the WLAN infrastructure.  
  • Public safety systems are often an afterthought, but upfront planning into new construction activities is critical to ensure a successful integration.  Proper RF planning and evaluation between a standalone public safety system or one integrated with DAS has a major impact to upfront costs.

 

Once you have a plan, then it is time to create a proper wireless design.

 

When selecting a IT Support Services company to assess your environment, recommend a solution and generate a sound design package prior to deployment, the associated people, process and tools are critical to a successful outcome. You should consider the following:         

 


 

Rather than basing decisions solely on an average cost per square foot, risks can be significantly reduced by producing a sound design and weighing the costs of installation, equipment and signal source.)  Many of today’s emerging indoor wireless networks deliver improved efficiency through (common cabling lower power consumption and minimized rack space.  However, propagation varies between Cellular and WiFi networks and detailed RF planning is required to validate commonalities

 

Interested in learning about NCR’s global professional services organization and how we can assist in the transformation of your wireless network? Click here to learn more.

 

 

Steven Strickland

Solution Management & Marketing - Wireless

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With over 15 years of combined experience in telecommunications and enterprise software solutions, Steven blends industry knowledge with his passion for sales and service excellence. Steven’s work experience includes functional roles in sales, marketing, alliances, product management, engineering, project management and supply chain. A graduate from both Oglethorpe University and Georgia Tech, and certified as a PMP and RTPM, Steven continues his pursuit for education at the UGA School of Law and through involvement in Industry associations. Steven enjoys staying active with his local community, coaching his children's sports teams and college football Saturdays. Based in NCR's corporate headquarters in Duluth, GA, Steven currently leads NCR's wireless portfolio within the Solution Management and Marketing group. Steven focuses on a range of in-building wireless technologies, offer strategy for IoT and innovating global service delivery.