4G WAN is a simple concept but it can be complex to set up and run for high performance and reliability. If this is not your area of expertise then it can help to use a Managed Service Provider to do that for you. There are a number of MSPs who offer 4G services, varying widely in their offers and capabilities. To make sure you avoid the pitfalls and get the service you need, here are the thirty questions you should ask when selecting one.
Many 4G WAN services are simple, single-SIM solutions, so it is important to check what you’re being offered. Here are some questions to ask one:
Service flexibility and Customer Experience
- Can they connect your 4G circuit into your Corporate WAN?
- Do they offer bonded multi-SIM, multi-carrier solutions for reliable, high-speed connectivity?
- Can they demonstrate experience and provide customer references?
- How quickly do they promise to deploy? When do they count this time from?
- Can they offer seamless migration to a permanent fixed circuit once that is in place?
- Can they support SIMs from multiple mobile carriers, to improve throughput and resilience?
- Do they support multiple aerial types, such as directional, high gain, magnetic mount?
- Will they provide full installation, including on-site cabling and WiFi?
Connecting to your corporate network (if available)
- What is the lead-time to connect into your corporate network
- Is there any extra cost for the interconnect circuit required for connection to your network?
- Is there any limit put on the bandwidth available on the interconnect circuit?
- Can they offer ultra-high-speed deployment for backup and disaster recovery scenarios?
- Do they offer High Availability hubs?
- Do they support out of band management (where your primary router can be managed over your 4G WAN circuit in the event of problems)?
Choosing the right hardware is the easy part of 4G WAN. Just like with a WAN, it’s important to be supported by a good management service. Here are some questions to ask.
- Do they offer Technical design to specify and tune for your environment?
- Do they offer Pre-deployment surveys?
- Do they provide a project-managed installation service?
- Do they provide 24x7 monitoring?
- Do they provide real-time reporting?
- Do they provide an integrated portal for all 4G and any other circuits and devices you want managed?
- Do they provide hardware maintenance?
SIM Management and Commercials
It can be helpful to have an MSP who can manage the SIMs used in your 4G installation, because using multiple suppliers – each managing their own element of your solution – can be complex and time-consuming. Here are some questions to ask
- Can they provide SIMs from every carrier?
- Can they provide SIMs through a single aggregator when you want to keep data off the internet?
- Do they select the right SIMs for each site?
- Do they install and test SIMs into the router for you?
- Do they handle SIM fault reporting and monitoring?
- Do they provide SIM asset management to track SIMs as they are deployed and re-deployed?
- Do they help with usage reporting and management?
- Can they set usage alerts and allow you to limit traffic once thresholds are set?
- Do they offer a single bill?