Right-Sized LTE Redundancy With SIM-Based Auto Carrier Selection

Carrier Redundancy

Router Automatically Detects SIM, Loads Firmware & Configuration Settings & Connects to Carrier

For most enterprises that leverage 4G LTE connectivity, carrier redundancy — the ability to switch to a different carrier’s network quickly if an outage happens — is a must-have. While many of those companies use our dual-modem routers for carrier redundancy, in certain situations that is not the most cost-effective option.

That’s where Cradlepoint’s Auto Carrier Selection feature comes in. In this post, I’ll cover:

* Why carrier redundancy matters
* How Auto Carrier Selection works
* Appropriate applications for Auto Carrier Selection
* Where to learn more

Why Is Carrier Redundancy Important?

Cellular 4G LTE provides a reliable and increasingly cost-effective way to connect wirelessly, which is great news when wired connectivity is impossible, too expensive to provision, or too unreliable.

That said, cellular networks can become overloaded during emergencies. Thanks to vandalism and other incidents, there are around 200 major outages on cellular networks in the U.S. each year. Clearly these outages are a fairly rare occurrence, but enterprises need to avoid the risks associated with even these very infrequent incidents.

How Auto Carrier Selection Works

Gone are the days when you had to keep an inventory of different types of modems if you planned to use different carriers. Today, if you purchase a Cradlepoint router and modem with Auto Carrier Selection capability, all you need to do is insert a SIM card, plug in the router, and you’ll quickly be up and running. That’s a big cost savings by itself.

The modem detects which SIM card is installed, loads the correct carrier firmware and configuration settings automatically, and connects to the carrier. No Internet access is required.

(NOTE: This feature is available on select router/modem models and works with the major North American carriers).

Let’s talk about carrier redundancy. In addition to the functionality I already described, enterprises can designate a backup carrier that the modem will fail over to in the event of an outage. Simply plug in a second SIM card; if the primary carrier link fails, the router will load the correct modem profile for the second SIM. Customers can use NetCloud Manager to designate which SIM will be the primary carrier.

The settings for this feature are highly customizable. The router can be configured to fail over to the secondary carrier automatically or this can be a manual process; the same goes for failing back. You’ll also receive real-time alerts through NetCloud Manager so you know exactly what’s happening and where it’s happening — providing visibility, control, and connectivity without a truck roll.

What if there’s a severe outage and both carriers are affected? The router can be configured to periodically fail back and forth from carrier to carrier until it’s able to get back online.

Applications for Automatic Carrier Selection

When you use Automatic Carrier Selection for failover, it takes four to six minutes for the modem to switch from one carrier to the other. Many of our customers can’t wait that long — they need dual modems that will fail over in less than two seconds.

For other applications, a four-minute lapse isn’t the end of the world; the IT team is much more concerned with cost-effectiveness. Often, these are M2M applications: digital signage, kiosks, and ATMs. Enterprises that deploy thousands of M2M endpoints across the world must maximize cost savings on their solutions and minimize expensive truck rolls. Carrier redundancy facilitates that balance, making it possible to get the router back online fairly quickly, continue to manage and troubleshoot the router remotely, and avoid sending someone on site.

Learn More About Auto Carrier Selection With Cradlepoint Platforms

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