Introducing a New Cradlepoint R&D Blog

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Cradlepoint's Evolution with Software-as-a-Service

Cradlepoint started as a router company. Over time we evolved to be a router company and cloud solutions company. Today Cradlepoint has a Research & Development (R&D) organization split between these two functions: one group dedicated to extending the capabilities in our routing platforms, the other group dedicated to building highly reliable, exceedingly scalable, secure cloud applications.

Today I will focus on our cloud platform, delivered as Software-as-a-Service (abbreviated in the industry as “SaaS”).

Cradlepoint’s first SaaS offering was WiPipe Central (WPC). The product served its purpose, but it was also a learning experience. Our team learned the challenges of building an application that could scale to manage tens of thousands of routers. We also learned that our customers wanted realtime status updates and immediate configuration changes something not possible with the WPC architecture. This was our first attempt at building a scalable web architecture, and we needed to do much more to support our future customer and partner requirements.

NetCloud Manager (NCM) is the culmination of several years of cloud business and development experience. NCM was created to replace WPC. NCM was built from the ground up to support the much needed realtime connections to our managed routers a technology we call “stream protocol”. NCM was architected to scale to the growing demands of our business, including a nearly exponential router attach rate.

As our company continues to grow, we are building new SaaS services to meet customer and partner needs. We are teaming up with industryleading security and networking companies to augment our solutions portfolio. We built Cradlepoint Connect a partner and customer portal to simplify product management. We built Cradlepoint University to train and certify our partners and sales teams. We are currently building an advanced entitlements system to simplify the purchasing, selling, and billing of Cradlepoint services. We are architecting for our future embracing the latest technologies and industry best practices to continue to deliver leading solutions.

Our R&D organization has learned a lot building our products. We’ve reached a point in our journey where we want to share our learnings with the broader development community. We rely heavily on open source projects, technical blogs, and knowledge sharing with other companies and now we would like to give back.

This is the first in a series of Cradlepoint technical blogs written by engineers, architects, and managers in our R&D organization. We plan to use this technical blog to spread our engineering knowledge. We’ll be sharing the things that have worked for us as well as some of our challenges. Future topics may include:

  • Choice of web and UI frameworks
  • Building a scalable web architecture using microservices
  • Dealing with big data
  • The future of the NCM API
  • Building a continuous integration pipeline using Docker
  • Implementing a Single Sign On solution across multiple disparate services
  • Evolution of devops tools and best practices
  • Router and modem firmware topics

Sometimes our customers wonder why a Cradlepoint product acts a certain way. Often there are technical reasons driving such behavior. We look forward to using this blog to explain such things. This is an opportunity for you to hear directly from our developers. We’ll share logic behind past decisions, what we are thinking now, and where we are heading in the future. We’ll give you insight into what it takes to configure, manage, and maintain our systems.

If you are a software developer, we hope you learn something. If you are a customer or partner, we hope you develop a sense of how much we care about the quality of the products we deliver. Most of all, we hope you enjoy reading our posts!