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Fast data offload: how to get vehicles back on the road quickly


Client driver mode for vehicle fleets minimizes downtime, expedites offloading of large files

At Cradlepoint, we get excited when our customers see a clear, bottom-line impact from our product features. For transportation fleets, Fast Data Offload is one of those features.

Fast Data Offload is available on our IBR1100 platform — the favored solution for many transportation applications. It has the potential to save a lot of time and headache for IT teams that manage vehicle fleets, from police cars to mass transit.

Fast Data Offload enables you to:

  • Enjoy minimized fleet downtime and faster offloading of big files such as surveillance video.
  • Improve stability, connectivity, and hand-off between access points.

The Basics: Understanding WiFi Driver Modes

First, it’s important to first be familiar with the two basic WiFi driver modes.

  • AP mode: In this mode, the router acts as a traditional access point and provides WiFi to other devices.
  • Client mode: In client mode, the router in question connects to another access point, and can’t be used by other computers or mobile devices to access the Internet. In this mode, the router acts as a bridge to what is sometimes called an “upstream” connection.

So, why would you use a router to connect to another access point, instead of just connecting to the Internet via your wireless in-vehicle router?

Say you have a video surveillance system on your vehicle. To get that data to your data center, you could use your cellular connection, which may be slower and certainly could consume a lot of data. However, at your headquarters, you have a wired-line connection with no data cap that you’d rather use. How can you take advantage of the fixed-line connection with a mobile wireless router?

Traditional Solution: WiFi as WAN

One common option in a situation like this is to utilize WiFi as WAN. With this feature, a router acts as both an access point that devices can connect to and a gateway to the “upstream” connection — the WiFi that another access point is providing, coming from a wired source.

WiFi as WAN is an important tool to have, but it’s not right for every situation. That’s because with WiFi as WAN, you can only use a slice of your total available throughput for that offload activity.

The majority of your throughput remains dedicated to serving other devices, whether or not you need it. It’s still preferred instead of using your cellular connection to offload video, but there’s an even better way.

Enhanced Solution: Client Driver Mode

The Cradlepoint IBR1100 utilizes dual radios. One operates at 2.4 GHz, while the other broadcasts at 5GHz. When you need data to travel quickly over a short distance, 5GHz is the way to go.

When the Cradlepoint router is configured in Client driver mode, the 5 GHz radio is 100% dedicated to acting as a bridge to some other access point Instead, it’s using that fast, short-distance 5GHz radio wave to quickly get data off in-vehicle devices such as cameras. The data travels to the “upstream” access point, where it will then be sent to your data center via a wired connection.

The bottom-line benefit? You can get your buses or cars back on the road sooner.

Additional Features

When the 5 GHz radio is dedicated solely to data offload, you can:

  • Dedicate more throughput to data offloading
  • Make certain configuration optimizations that wouldn’t be available otherwise

Explore More

If you’d like to learn exactly how to configure WiFi as WAN or Client Driver Mode on your routing devices, read our KnowledgeBase Article.