Archive for Cradlepoint

In Depth: Cradlepoint

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 27, 2017 by itnerd

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.





Cradlepoint Delivers New 4G LTE-Optimized SD-WAN Router Capabilities in NetCloud OS Release 6.3

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 20, 2017 by itnerd

Cradlepoint has introduced Release 6.3 of its NetCloud OS router software, part of the Cradlepoint NetCloud platform, with extended SD-WAN functionality for 4G LTE-dependent networks. The company also announced that its SDN-enabled network solutions have been recognized by Gartner in their 2017 WAN Edge Infrastructure Guide, which was published in March. The new router software functionality and recent Gartner recognition bolsters Cradlepoint’s leadership in software-defined 4G LTE network solutions for Connected Enterprises.

Cradlepoint’s strength in integrating wireless services into SD-WAN topologies, including 3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi-as-WAN, played a factor in the company’s inclusion in Gartner’s newly released WAN Edge Infrastructure Guide: “Cradlepoint is representative of an established cellular router vendor that is evolving its offering to address emerging requirements, including SD-WAN and OTT delivery of services”.

Today, Cradlepoint’s routers have a wealth of policy-based traffic prioritization, filtering, shaping and steering capabilities built into the NetCloud Traffic Control function. NetCloud OS Release 6.3 extends these critical SD-WAN router capabilities with several new 4G LTE-optimized functions:

  • Client-Side Visibility: Network administrators can see and analyze LAN-attached devices on both Ethernet and Wi-Fi. This new feature provides enhanced visibility, secure and control of on-site PCs, servers and IoT devices and aids in determining 4G LTE failover policies and remote troubleshooting from NetCloud.
  • Adaptive Quality of Service:  In a hybrid WAN environment where individual wired and wireless links may have widely differing speeds, it can be difficult to effectively control quality of service (QoS) in all scenarios, especially for latency-sensitive applications. Cradlepoint’s new Auto-QoS feature implements an advanced traffic queuing algorithm that automatically adapts to differing WAN speeds of primary and failover links to ensure latency-sensitive traffic, such as voice over IP and PoS applications, always performs optimally.
  • Smart WAN Selection (SWANS):  A new traffic steering mechanism optimized for wireless connections. For most SD-WAN solutions, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi-as-WAN connections are essentially a black box, offering little in the way of data needed for efficient traffic steering decisions. Worse yet, using synthetic transactions over 4G LTE to deduce link performance can consume multiple gigabytes of a customer’s monthly data plan. SWANS operates at the Connection Manager level (layer 2) and uses statistics captured directly from the modem and other interfaces combined with lightweight “pings” to measure latency and jitter and data plan consumption to precisely control traffic steering behavior across 4G LTE links without excessive overhead.

In the age of Digital Transformation, the definition of a wide-area network (WAN) is changing within both enterprise and government organizations. WANs are extending beyond private datacenters and fixed branches to connect cloud services and mobile sites — such as vehicles, pop-up stores, smart city infrastructures and mobile command centers — as well as remote sensors, surveillance cameras, digital signage and kiosks. The need to securely connect people, places and things everywhere is driving the convergence of SDN and cellular technology today, which sets the stage for realizing the benefits of 5G in the future.

Emerging 5G services promise up to a 10X increase in WAN throughput over today’s average 4G connection while delivering one millisecond latency and ten year battery life for IoT devices. Cradlepoint’s new Business Intelligence Report — “The State of 5G in 2017”  — details this leap in cellular technology, which will enable many new and unimaginable use cases, including gigabit-per-second wired WAN replacement, augmented reality, remote-controlled robotics and revolutionary advanced healthcare.

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