In Depth: Cradlepoint

You’ve likely never heard of Cradlepoint. But you should pay attention to them. They’ve been around for just over 10 years and they started out life inventing what is now known as the mobile hotspot.

Trivia time: The product was in the form of cradle and you placed your data capable phone in this and it became an access point. Thus the name Cradlepoint.

It was intended to be a consumer product. However it never saw the light of day because they moved on to the enterprise space and advanced networks. Originally this was going to use the WIMAX standard, but they quickly switched to LTE which was a good call. Because that allowed them to come out with one of the first LTE routers. That was another good call because that router and its variants are some of the best selling 4G routers of all time. Since then, they’ve moved on to a variety of devices with failover capabilities which work on any carrier and have been used in trucks, buses, and other places.

But the reason why you should really care about Cradlepoint comes from the fact that one of the customers had a need. They needed to manage 20000 of these devices remotely and painlessly. This was the genesis of what is now known as Netcloud. It’s a single pane of glass that allow you to manage thousands of their devices so that you can do everything like push firmware updates, do geofencing, or get status updates. This has led to support for software defined wide area networks with 256 bit encryption. This allows a company to expand their network to everything and everywhere with full redundancy. That allows one to to fight things like DDoS attacks to having disaster recovery protection with ease.

Oh yeah, it can be in cloud so you don’t have to go out and spin up to a server. Win.

Cradlepoint is also on the forefront of 5G networking. As far as they are concerned, its not going to replace 4G networks. It will work over and on top of 4G. It will have low latency in the neighborhood of less than 3 milliseconds which is insanely fast. The problem with that is that no network in existence today can really support that. There’s another factor, 5G networks to get that level of speed have to be able to access bandwidth in the range of 28 – 38 gigahertz. And on top of that, the radio waves won’t go very far and they don’t penetrate buildings at all. To put that in perspective, our wireless networks today are on in the 20 – 40 megahertz range and those can be transmitted for miles. Plus you can get a phone call in your office. And I won’t even get into inter-operability as well as hand off capabilities that we take for granted now which means that those will have to be ironed out. Thus for those reasons 5G cannot replace 4G at this time as it would be a bit of a step back even if you could get gigabit speeds in the right conditions. Now, why should you care about all of that? Well, Cradlepoint is working with carriers who are putting 5G through its paces so that when it does become ready for prime time, they’ll have devices that support 5G right from day one. That’s a huge competitive advantage for them.

One final key reason to pay attention to Cradlepoint is the fact that their software and hardware offering is one that has a use in any vertical for any reason. Transportation, logistics, retail, warehousing, among other verticals could benefit from their products. Quite frankly, I cannot think of a business or a use case that they cannot address. That gives Cradlepoint a leg up on their competition and is likely to drive customers to them. Thus for all those reasons, Cradlepoint is one company to watch as they’re going places in a big hurry.




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