Thanks to all who joined us for the Cradlepoint webinar: “LTE’s Role as a Primary WAN Link.” During the webinar, Cradlepoint discussed how the combination of wireless connectivity and SD-WAN is ideal for bringing reliability and security to today’s increasingly mobile workforce and ever-expanding network’s edge, and for providing connectivity to applications and data in the cloud. After the webinar, we took questions from the audience but unfortunately ran out of time before we could get to all of the questions. Read the full “LTE’s Role as a Primary WAN Link” Q&A below.
In situations where we don’t have time to wait for wired internet service providers (ISPs), we often use LTE. At the times of day when network usage in our geographical area ramps up, what can we do to ensure steady performance?
A number of our customers are supporting multiple carriers within a single modem, and even multiple modems within a single platform. This allows you to seek the optimal carrier at any time of day. It also allows you to have multiple wireless connections that can be spun up as added capacity is required.
If you’re only using one wireless connection, then you can take advantage of our QoS feature, which allows you to ensure that critical applications have priority during times of higher network usage.
Roughly how much data does it take to manage your LTE solutions through the cloud?
Cradlepoint’s management protocol, Stream Protocol, is highly efficient and streamlines the amount of management data that is sent back and forth between the edge device and the cloud. The overhead is much lower, but you don’t lose the ability to have real-time management. Stream Protocol consumes 10 times less data than simple network management protocol (SNMP).
Why would I use Cradlepoint routers with embedded modems instead of much-cheaper USB modems?
USB modems are designed for volume, so they’re usually quite out of date. Cradlepoint today is at Cat 12 and on our way to Cat 18 Gigabit LTE capabilities within our integrated modems. Also, we use advanced modems that can support advanced spectrums. Additionally, the ability to support multiple modems and SIMs enables load balancing across networks.
What options do you suggest for coverage-challenged locations such as large production plants or basements?
LTE can be used both as a WAN technology and inside buildings as a way to get to an actual server or device without changing media. One way to do this is small cell technology, which already is offered by carriers today. It is basically a single extender that allows you to repeat that public LTE signal deep inside infrastructures. Also, in many industrial sites today, companies are deploying private LTE infrastructures that interface the public LTE long haul. Cradlepoint can be used in both of these infrastructures.
A key concern for me is that 20 to 30 GB per month data volume is nothing for a branch location; throttling down to GPRS [General Packet Radio Service] afterwards is effectively equivalent to loss of connectivity. A fixed ISP charges me by access speed with no limit (or with a very large limit) on volume. It sounds like LTE as a primary WAN is only effective for really small branches.
There are various multi-WAN scenarios to consider. For instance, in the near term, LTE may make sense for smaller branches or locations that don’t require a large amount of data. For example, large retail facilities that don’t use very much data can be served by only LTE connections without having to worry about data limits.
Additionally, many enterprises use LTE as a secondary link that is only used when the primary connection fails. In a larger, more data-intensive location, solutions such as Cradlepoint can intelligently choose which applications can use the wireless links. So while total available bandwidth is reduced, what bandwidth there is can be reserved for more important business applications. This will continue to evolve as the amount of data that wireless networks can support, and that carriers are allowing, within unlimited data plans continues to grow.