Cradlepoint develops wide area network (WAN) solutions based on 3G, 4G, and LTE networks. “We were the first company to introduce an LTE-based routing solution – for Verizon,” said Cradlepoint CEO George Mulhern.
The company’s branch routers can handle broadband and MPLS connections. But most of Cradlepoint’s sales include some kind of LTE connectivity. And the company boosted its technology that’s evolved into software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) through its acquisition of Pertino in late 2015. All of its SD-WAN software is cloud managed.
Its wireless chops allow Cradlepoint to carve a unique niche for itself among SD-WAN providers.
“If you look at a network with 5,000 branches… there will be a diversity of modems and channels you need to support,” said Todd Krautkremer, SVP of strategy and corporate development at Cradlepoint. “The LTE infrastructure at Verizon is different than AT&T and T-Mobile.”
Cradlepoint’s technology does intelligent LTE traffic steering using a similar overlay SD-WAN concept that other vendors use for optimizing traffic over wired connections.
“We interrogate the towers and chipsets, determine the LTE quality of service, and choose the best LTE connection among multiple carriers,” said Krautkremer. “It’s LTE-specific traffic steering.”
In some cases, enterprise customers have chosen Cradlepoint’s SD-WAN technology for their wireless traffic steering, while using another SD-WAN vendor for their wired connection. For example, The Gap stores use both Cradlepoint and Viptela.
Many of the other SD-WAN vendors in the marketplace include wireless connectivity within their technologies. But Mulhern claimed, “Most of the SD-WAN players offer that wireless connectivity by using a USB modem plugged in to the back of their unit. That is not sufficient.”
With its Series C funds, the company plans to expand its product initiatives in SD-WAN, 4G, and 5G wireless connectivity. It’s also staking a claim in the burgeoning enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) market.
“By 2020, the number of people, vehicles, and things connected to the enterprise network will start to dwarf fixed branch sites,” stated Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research. “This dramatic shift in the volume and variety of connections will force the enterprise WAN to become more cloud-orchestrated, software-defined, and wirelessly connected.”