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As our businesses become more dependent on data and cloud-based file sharing, having an adequate connection with corporate resources is crucial for customers and employees alike. This connection has become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which employees are being asked to work from home. Recently, broadband technology has made significant breakthroughs in incorporating 5G broadband speeds. 5G speeds approach cable- and fiber-based performance in downlink and uplink speed and help software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) transform corporate networking operations at branches, offices and work sites.

The Role of SD-WAN and Corporate Networking over the Next Few Years

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A company’s corporate network comprises all the connected computers, mobile devices, servers and hardware that receive and transmit critical data between users within a secure framework. The more information a business shares, the higher the broadband capacity, availability and dependability are needed to respond and enable data storage and transmission safely.

Imagine the network necessary to control everything from asset tracking and supply chain management to utilities and surveillance from an Android or iPhone without compromising speed, data or signal strength. According to Statista, in the coming years, expect more remote monitoring business solutions, as an estimated 36.5 billion devices will connect through Internet of Things (IoT) technology by 2025 and 50 billion by 2030.

Though it is a daunting challenge, IoT frameworks operating on robust SD-WAN networks will be more capable of making reliable connections and enabling speeds necessary for more efficient and intelligent business operations based on data.

Why SD-WAN for Corporate Networking?

Technology grows fast, and it’s crucial to understand networking so that corporations can adapt to the coming changes. 5G is now a reality. The more equipped a network is to transfer large data sets at a breakneck 5+ gigabits per second (Gbps) speeds, the better.

Competing multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks can struggle to scale up bandwidth and resilience to meet popular high-bandwidth office applications’ demands. More businesses than ever rely on an SD-WAN network to relay spreadsheets and customer data and stream video, messaging and social media information in their daily operations.

Cellular-based SD-WAN benefits include:

  • Instant availability for new branches or pop-up sites
  • Enhanced visibility, scalability, performance and control
  • More connectivity options across geographic boundaries than underground networks
  • No bandwidth penalties
  • No necessary changes to network infrastructure
  • Upgradability through the nearly instant aggregation of additional cellular links
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Easier portability to move with the branch to a new location compared to wired connections
  • Enhanced security and network-wide encryption

With 5.5 Gbps download and 1.6 Gbps upload speeds available over each 5G network connection right now, it is entirely possible to envision SD-WAN solutions based on a blend of cellular data products replacing or being added to MPLS across corporate data centers, branch offices, store branches and other corporate sites. 4G offers 1.2 Gbps download speeds; however, upload speeds are limited to 150 Mbps. The higher speeds of 5G, especially the higher upload speeds, are the key enabler for true cellular SD-WAN becoming a mainstream option for enterprises.

The 5G Path to a Faster Future

Recent innovations in network transport technology have made it possible to reach speeds over 5 Gbps. 5G technology works with existing SD-WAN frameworks and helps users in a myriad of ways. Imagine streaming a high-definition video presentation in real time, securely uploading a decade’s worth of financial data in minutes to a new client or monitor and controlling smart grid solutions for several worksites at once. The speed is here. Expect competition to focus on faster solutions for bolstering productivity.

5G also enhances employee experience during video and audio teleconferencing. With higher speeds supporting more realistic video resolutions and frame rates, 5G networks bring ever-improving latency times. As 5G networks mature with the conclusion of core upgrades, latency performance will drop into the single-digit millisecond (ms) mark. Human conversational interaction requires less than 6 ms to feel natural and present — and that is entirely within the realm of upcoming specs for these networks delivered to the branches and offices leveraging SD-WAN over 5G.

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Modules, such as Telit’s FN980m 5G sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) data card delivering data rates up to 5.5 Gbps, are designed for easy integration and installation within existing SD-WAN corporate networks. This technology will be critical in helping businesses extend their 5G capabilities and stay competitive while keeping deployment costs to a minimum.

Contact us to learn how Telit’s IoT-enabled solutions can help expand your network’s speed and security. Discover which data cards, modules and platforms are right for your business and accelerate your digital transformation today.

Editor’s Note: This post was first published on 19 July 2018 and has since been updated.