4G WAN opens up a huge range of possibilities and opportunities for your business. From the quick provisioning of new business locations to the ability to put your full business system into a temporary location, the facility to get your full infrastructure into place in days rather than months opens many doors.

The thing is, despite being more flexible than a traditional WAN, a 4G WAN can be complex to create and configure – and as a result, it’s absolutely key to make sure you’ve got a provider on your side who can look after every eventuality. 

So, what should you ask a provider? How can you be certain that their service is going to tick every box you require?

What to ask a managed service provider

Not all 4G WAN providers offer the same level of service. To make sure you are getting a package that’s right for you, it’s important to look through these questions and make sure you’re asking the ones that are relevant.

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4G and WAN

A 4G WAN is often going to be used as part of a wider, traditional WAN infrastructure. As such, you will need to know if your provider can connect your 4G circuit to a wider, corporate WAN – and whether or not they’re going to be able to work with other IT providers to do so.

Multi-SIM?

Optimal connectivity with a 4G WAN system generally involves using a number of different SIMs from different carriers – bonded together to create one robust and high-speed connection. Can you provider do so? 

Customer experience?

Has this provider worked with companies like your before? Even if they haven’t worked with a company your size in your specific industry, it’s useful to gauge whether or not they seem able to support your size of company and display some understanding of your industry needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. 

Delivery time?

When can you expect get your 4G WAN up and running? Be careful here – while some providers will offer an impressive lead time – they might ‘buy’ themselves extra time by counting these days from further down the process than other providers.

Migration management

If you’re migrating from one fixed system to another 4G WAN, will this be done seamlessly? Will they be able to manage this process for you and make sure your systems stay up?

Multi-provider?

To make sure you’re getting the most stable and robust connection, using SIMs from different carriers is a prudent idea. On that basis – can your service provider work with a number of different providers to utilise a range of SIMs?

Aerial types

Depending on your location and specific requirements, different aerial types may be needed. Can your provider work with directional aerials, high-gain antenna, or magnetic mount set ups?

Full installation?

Despite your internet connection being wireless, there’s going to be connections that need putting in place beyond your internet circuit. Can your provider manage and install this cabling and WiFi?

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How long to connect?

If you’re hoping to use your 4G WAN to connect to an existing corporate network, how soon can you hope to be connected and operating?

Additional costs?

If you do need support with your circuits and connections, should you be expecting an additional cost on top of already negotiated prices for establishing the 4G WAN?

Bandwidth limitations?

Sometimes, there’s a bandwidth limitation when you’re connection a 4G WAN to an existing WAN. If this is the case, what will this limit be? And will it be suitable for your business requirements?

Disaster recovery

What happens if you’re utilising 4G WAN to support with a disaster recovery or urgent backup requirement? In situations like these, time is absolutely paramount, so what will the installation schedule look like and can you be certain it’ll be adhered to?

Management and design flexibility 

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to 4G WAN. As such, you should make sure that you’re not getting a generic solution – but instead, you’ve got some flexibility around the design of the WAN and how it’s managed.

Surveys

It’s vital that a pre-deployment survey is carried out to inform the design of the system. Without knowing the metaphorical and physical lay-of-the-land, you’re approaching the project with a suck-it-and-see mentality – which is unlikely to result in a quick service.

Project managed installations

Is your provider going to be able to manage the installation? Or will they be relying on fitting into your existing project manager’s workload? There’s no right or wrong answer as such – but there is going to be a preferred answer for you.

24×7 monitoring and reporting

When your 4G WAN is up, will you be monitoring and reporting on performance and making sure you pick up on any problems before they result in downtime? Again, the right answer depends on your and your current network monitoring provision – but it’s a question that needs to be asked.

Portal access?

If you’re planning to maintain, monitor, and report on your 4G WAN, you’ll need suitable portal access – which your provider will need to create. Again, this is likely to be part of the service – but if you’re monitoring the system yourself and your provider is used to monitoring on a client’s behalf, you’ll need to make sure this is possible. 

SIM matching

As you may already be aware, different SIM providers often offer different levels of service based on your geographical location. This is no different if you’re setting up a 4G WAN, so it’s important to understand whether or not the SIMs your provider will base your 4G WAN around will match your business locations and offer the best fit.

SIM faults

Will your provider support you when there’s a problem with a SIM – or does it become your job to contact the provider and get things back up and running?

One bill

With numerous SIMs from numerous providers, billing can become a task that’s difficult to manage and consolidate. Some providers will issue a single bill that covers all costs – so you should check if this is the case.

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