Adtran Inc. today announced a new managed Wi-Fi support service for its ProCloud managed wireless service and Bluesocket virtual wireless LAN product. The ProCare Help Desk service provides 24/7 support for end users of ProCloud or Bluesocket vWLAN, such as restaurant or hotel guests. Adtran said the service offloads Wi-Fi-related administrative and troubleshooting tasks for businesses and the managed service providers that deliver managed wireless services to their customers.
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Managed service providers (MSPs) that offer managed wireless services to their business customers are typically called upon to provide help desk support in addition to providing the wireless service itself. For instance, in a managed service scenario, if a restaurant guest has trouble connecting to the restaurant's Wi-Fi network, someone needs to respond to the guest's request for help. With the ProCare Help Desk managed Wi-Fi support service, those requests are funneled directly to Adtran, bypassing the restaurant staff, as well as the MSP that provides the wireless service.
Michelle Southerland, product manager for Adtran ProServices, explained the problem faced by businesses -- such as those in the hospitality, education, retail and SMB segments -- that provide Wi-Fi services to their customers: "There's this growing demand by the users of wireless technology that extends beyond the employees of that company. They need for it to be reliable and always on. Coupled with that is the fact that there's still limited IT resources [at the business] to maintain this wireless network, much less address all the connectivity and [bring-your-own-device] issues that come up. There's a true market for delivering a help desk service that integrates well with that wireless solution itself."
"It's not enough [for MSPs] to have a wireless solution," Southerland said. "It has to be an excellent experience around that wireless solution."
In terms of specific functionality, the ProCare Help Desk service can be used to help users configure mobile devices for wireless connectivity; handle password resets; and solve connectivity problems by determining the root cause of problems within the LAN or WAN, escalating ones not connected to Adtran equipment or service to technical points of contact, and interfacing with the wireless user until the connectivity issue is resolved. Users communicate with ProCare Help Desk staff via a toll-free phone number.
According to Adtran, ProCare Help Desk enables MSPs to capture new business related to Adtran's Bluesocket vWLAN product or ProCloud service, get to market faster since the ProCare Help Desk is a turnkey service, and improve margins and customer satisfaction by offloading help desk support to Adtran.
Managed service providers can either resell the Adtran-branded ProCare Help Desk service or sell a white-label version of the service, which can be branded by the MSP as its own. Southerland said that adoption of the service by MSPs so far has been about equally split between the Adtran-branded version and the white-label version.
Adtran requires Bluesocket or ProCare customers to have a minimum of five access points, although Southerland said that Adtran will waive that minimum number for a period of time following the ProCare Help Desk rollout.
There are two pricing models for Adtran's managed Wi-Fi support service: Hospitality pricing, which applies to hotels, is listed at $20 per room per year; nonhospitality pricing is listed at $75 per year per access point.