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How to choose the right network solution for your branch location


Distributed enterprises consider key questions about their networks

While distributed enterprises differ in a variety of ways — including goals, needs, and budget limitations — they also share a distinct commonality: They all require network connectivity. The proliferation of digital devices and cloud-based applications drives the need for constant Internet uptime.

As you strive to determine the best networking options for your distributed enterprise locations, you’ll likely consider these questions:

How Many Applications Are Running on Your Network(s)?

The sheer number of mission-critical applications used by distributed enterprises is staggering — and exciting. Depending on the industry, the networking needs of a typical branch office can include:

  • Digital signage
  • Tablet computing
  • Mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) checkout
  • Interactive devices providing “shoppable” magazines
  • RFID antennas, readers, and handheld equipment
  • Bluetooth beacons and sensors
  • In-store kiosks
  • Inventory (and broader access to online inventory in remote locations)
  • Store administration
  • Employee training

How Much Flexibility Does Your Business Require?

Many businesses are finding that the best way to complement, extend, or augment their existing network infrastructure is with software-defined 4G LTE solutions and WiFi as WAN. It’s a comprehensive approach to future-proofing your network.

In What Areas Do You Need to Be More Cost-Efficient?

For distributed enterprises with hundreds or even thousands of locations, there are many ways to streamline operations and save money. Deciding which tactics to focus on is the key.

For many, limiting truck rolls for IT support and maintenance is a top priority. Remote cloud management is an increasingly popular way to deploy, upgrade, and troubleshoot devices at many locations from one office.

Another budgetary concern is the time and money spent installing wired lines for connectivity, then paying for the connectivity on a month-to-month basis. IT teams that oversee pop-up locations are finding that software-defined 4G LTE network solutions are less expensive both on the front end and the back end.

To What Extent Would Your Business Benefit From Remote Cloud Management?

Reducing truck rolls is just one of many benefits of cloud management. Being able to monitor extensive analytics from a single pane of glass allows businesses to recognize and address operational inefficiencies, fostering short-term and long-term improvements.

What’s Your Emergency Plan?

Whether a distributed enterprise location is using wired lines or 4G LTE as the primary connection, the threat of Internet downtime is a scary thought. Losing connectivity often leads to lost revenue and productivity, as well as customer experience issues. From retail stores and restaurants to insurance offices, food trucks, and more, ensuring business continuity is atop many IT leaders’ wish lists.

How Secure Does Your Network Need to Be?

The network security risks facing distributed enterprises are constantly evolving. The Network’s Edge is particularly vulnerable to threats, as it is the gateway into corporate WAN.

To protect against malicious attacks, many distributed enterprises are using cloud-based applications to prevent and detect intrusions.

Cradlepoint’s AER Series: Designed for WAN Diversity™

Once you’ve answered the most essential questions about your distributed enterprise’s networking needs, the best available options are much easier to identify. Cradlepoint’s line of Advanced Edge Routing (AER) dual-modem solutions enable WAN Diversity™ — the convergence of 4G LTE, Ethernet (DSL, Cable, T1, MetroE), and WiFi as WAN, all delivered through a single networking solution.

Along with future-proof flexibility, the AER series can be teamed with NetCloud Manager to provide a wide range of 4G analytics for data capping, monitoring signal strength, and more.

Each platform in the AER Series also facilitates best-in-class failover; offers on-box, cloud-deployed Unified Threat Management; enables secure VPN; and has dual modems for wireless-to-wireless failover or burst bandwidth.

For every branch location scenario, Cradlepoint has an AER device that can meet your needs:

AER1600 Series — This small-footprint unit with embedded WiFi antennae is lightweight and compact — perfect for pop-up locations and micro branches.

AER2100 Series — More rugged than the 1600, the 2100 is another excellent dual-modem option for micro branches and temporary locations such as construction sites. The AER2100 features 3×3 MIMO external antennae, compared to 2×2 MIMO internal antennae in the AER1600. The AER2100 also sports metal housing, while its smaller counterpart is plastic. Both come equipped with one WAN port and four LAN ports.

AER3100 — The AER 3100 features 12 LAN ports, Power-over-Ethernet, and more processing power and memory than the other AER Series routers. It’s purpose-built to provide the strength and flexibility necessary for retail stores, convenience stores, financial offices, insurance branches, and the like.

Savings & Security in the Cloud

The AER Series and NetCloud Manager (NCM) work together to improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance the intelligence of your network and business operations.

IT teams use NCM to rapidly deploy and dynamically manage networks at geographically distributed locations — reducing the need for truck rolls, contracted rollout support, and long-term on-site IT staff.

Once your devices are up and running, you can enhance network security with content filtering, intrusion prevention and detection (IPS/IDS), secure VPN, and Parallel Networking. The latter is the practice of physically separating, or “air-gapping,” application-specific networks. It’s a good way to separate POS or other sensitive data from the other applications being used at your location.

With unique goals, needs, budget requirements, and challenges, your distributed enterprise — and IT team — deserves flexible, scalable solutions.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about how the AER series can keep your distributed enterprise branches connected and secure, contact us today.