MSP Velaspan Launches Innovative Private Cellular As Wi-Fi Complement
‘Our peers aren’t necessarily making the same leaps that we’re making. They’re sort of waiting for something to happen … but our engineers that are jazzed about this because they’ve been designing Wi-Fi networks that never see the light of day,’ Velaspan Partner Dave Bond tells CRN of the firm’s new managed private cellular service.
Velaspan, a solution provider that specializes in wireless network design and consulting services, has introduced one of the first managed private wireless services for the enterprise on the market, according to the firm.
Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Velaspan is part of a very small club of wireless and cellular expert solution providers in the market right now. That’s because early on, the firm saw the opportunity with private cellular in the enterprise as a complement to Wi-Fi. Now, Velaspan has teamed up with private 5G startup Celona to bring private wireless services to its enterprise customers, as well as fellow channel partners.
“We don’t have to throw Wi-Fi under the bus,” Dave Bond, network systems consultant and partner for Velaspan told CRN. “We’re openly admitting when Wi-Fi gets to the edges of its capability or when it’s being asked to do something that it’s either not really good at or is cost prohibitive.”
Meanwhile, the mobility, coverage, and reliability benefit associated with private cellular are filling the coverage gaps associated with traditional wireless infrastructure, Bond said.
Velaspan on Tuesday unveiled its subscription-based private wireless service for the enterprise based on Celona’s technology.
“We have the ability to talk about [private cellular] relative to Wi-Fi, because we have owned that space for 20 years,” Bond said. “So, this gives us credibility. We just want the solution to work.”
Velaspan counts some of the largest brands and Fortune 100 enterprises as its customers. “These are the kinds of companies that absolutely have to have a Wi-Fi network that’s going to work effectively for them,” Bond said.
Velaspan has been helping its customers with the full range of professional services associated with wireless since its inception in 2004, from vendor selection, design and deployment, and ongoing support and change management, Bond said. The vendor-agnostic firm works with the market leaders in the wireless networking space, including Cisco Systems, HPE Aruba and Juniper Networks.
But unlike the wired and wireless networking mainstays, Celona comes to the market with its portfolio of private cellular and 5G offerings that can be integrated into existing IT and wireless infrastructures for more ubiquitous, edge to edge coverage, Bond said.
It’s the coverage complement that many emerging enterprise use cases require, he added. One such example is for powering autonomous vehicles moving throughout a warehouse.
“You run into these situations where those devices don’t roam very well. We know that network is designed to support the iPad, the video calls, or whatever other application enterprise application that it’s been built for, he said.
To remedy that, many customers will ask for an overlay Wi-Fi network that’s designed more simply to support the roaming devices on top of an already dense network that supports the other devices and applications, Bond said.
“We’re having to sort of support that and watch this behavior. But what if that second network wasn’t Wi-Fi or competing with the Wi-Fi so it was actually working alongside it?” he said.
While private wireless presents a big, and largely greenfield opportunity for partners, many solution provider organizations are “waiting for something to happen,” or for one of the leading networking firms to buy a private cellular startup, Bond said.
“Where that all is going to end up? Who knows. But I think in the meantime, we have customers that could be taking advantage of this and getting real business value out of deploying these networks, either alongside, or in place of existing Wi-Fi,” he said. “Our peers aren’t necessarily making the same leaps that we’re making … but our engineers that are jazzed about this because they’ve been designing Wi-Fi networks that never see the light of day.”
Bond says that the company will be focusing on specific large customer subsets with its new managed service in which Wi-Fi has been challenging to deploy, or within spaces that need expanded coverage, including government, pharmaceutical, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and education customers.
Many customers are leery of so-called “bleeding edge” technology, Bond said. But educating customers on this and other technologies has always been the way that Velaspan differentiated itself.
“It’s funny when we talk to customers and we tell them [private cellular] is so far from bleeding edge,” he said. “It’s a bleeding edge application of a technology that’s been around longer than Wi-Fi.”