Highlight launches Cellular Clarity for its service assurance platform, delivering insights into the performance of static cellular connections. Managed Service Providers using 4G/5G to supplement fixed line networks for backup or better performance can now deliver a true managed service based on the technology.
Cellular Clarity has been developed with significant input from Highlight’s service provider partners including Maintel. It builds on the success of Highlight’s Broadband Clarity service which gives both providers and their customer visibility and control over broadband connections.
Cellular technology is evolving, getting faster and more reliable. It is proving particularly useful for today’s changeable working patterns where it is used as backup connectivity for offices, homes, and retail settings as well as the primary network for semi-permanent locations such as construction sites, pop-up shops and vaccine centres.
Highlight Cellular Clarity is designed specifically for these static locations and addresses the key problems associated with cellular, namely unpredictable service quality, and unexpected usage leading to bill shock.
Martin Saunders, Product Director at Highlight says, “4G/5G connections are incredibly easy to roll out, and there is a danger MSPs and business users will assume that ongoing management of those connections is similarly straightforward. It isn’t! MSPs may not consider the potential challenges, and more importantly, they may not mitigate against them. Cellular Clarity covers this.
“MSPs with large cellular estates can use Cellular Clarity to deliver a reliable cellular service, confident in the knowledge that they have a handle on signal quality, and that any unexpected usage can be identified and managed quickly and effectively.”
Rob Smith, Product Manager for Security and Networking at Maintel says, “The launch of Cellular Clarity is perfectly timed with an increase of interest in Cellular services for remote workers. Cellular connections are a quick to install and affordable alternative to a remote workers home broadband, and now these connections can be shown in Highlight, alongside the customers SD-WAN estate and underlay network, the customer has a complete view of the service they’re taking from Maintel.”
Service reliability can be a major issue for cellular. Whilst fast and easy to install, cellular requires good signal strength to work effectively. Providers need to know the signal strength for every location is suitable and identify if fluctuations are making the network unusable – a real challenge across large estates.
Bill shock is another major problem. MSPs with many thousands of SIMs as backup devices risk huge costs associated with unexpected usage. If a customer’s primary network fails and cellular automatically picks up the traffic, providers need to know when this happens and be certain that the traffic returns to the primary network as soon as it is restored. Providers also need to spot if backup cellular networks are being deliberately used by the users on site, perhaps because the cellular is faster than their primary fixed line, leading to overuse of expensive cellular connections.
Highlight collects signal strength data from the network, creates easy to understand visualisations and alerts if signal strength drops below an agreed level anywhere in the network, or when a backup connection that should be dormant suddenly springs into life. MSPs with large estates can group connections to identify if a particular cellular provider is the source of a major outage. Having full visibility of these connections is critical in order to ensure business continuity and mitigate against unnecessary extra costs.
Highlight Cellular Clarity can be benefit various roles within a business:
• An MSP’s operations manager gains visibility and alerting on cellular services in order to offer a valued managed service.
• Sales account managers can now review their estate of cellular connections and look for upsell opportunities.
• Service managers have a more complete view of a customer’s entire network, proactively pulling reports, and discussing potential issues.
• Finance can view the usage of cellular services and check that bills are correct.
• And finally, enterprise users have full transparency about how the services they are paying for are performing and be confident that the cellular services will work when needed, thus improving trust in their provider.”
Highlight Cellular Clarity collects data from cellular networks built from Cisco equipment, with support for other vendors planned, based on partner demand.
About Highlight http://www.highlight.net