Dredge manufacturer utilizes LTE connectivity for distributed network

Originally published August 30, 2017

While pirates and sea-based accidents might not draw much attention from most enterprises, they're occupational hazards for DSC Dredge LLC, a dredging supply company headquartered in Reserve, LA.

With operations in 40 states and more than 40 countries -- including ones where piracy remains a valid threat -- managing DSC Dredge's 3G cellular-based WAN infrastructure used to connect the dredging machines was a constant challenge, said Richard Groce, the company's IT director.

Each machine had its own manually configured IPsec VPN tunnel through which data was passed along to corporate headquarters. That required DSC Dredge to fly technicians to various countries -- a costly proposition -- whenever a network needed to be set up or if troubleshooting was required.

Furthermore, to get the static IPs required for the cellular connections, Groce said his team needed to parse through various cellular companies -- a task made more difficult depending on the location. As a result, the company was forced to use a variety of 3G router brands and models in its distributed network design, further complicating management and configurations.

"We couldn't settle on one technology," he said. "Everything was configured separately for the individual dredge or individual location. We had to work with whatever cellular company was available at that location or in that country."

What DSC Dredge needed was a method to simplify its network connectivity to locations worldwide, while also providing a robust security foundation. To do that, it tapped Cradlepoint Inc. to install a network with 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, featuring software-defined perimeter security, across its fleet of dredges.

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