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How enterprises attain in-vehicle SD-WAN

Stephen Byrum

Multiple modems & intelligent routing open new possibilities for fleet networks

The ability to extend network connectivity to vehicles has significantly improved the way that countless organizations do business — revolutionizing everything from police and fire services to mass transit and trucking.

In-vehicle deployments aren’t without challenges, however. The mobile nature of these networks presents obstacles related to connectivity, network session persistence, Quality-of-Service (QoS), and varying cellular signal strength. A Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution that includes cloud-based management, LTE-based broadband connectivity, in-vehicle routing platforms, and dual-modem docks gives on-the-move networks unprecedented stability and intelligence.

The Need for Dual Modems

The ability to connect to two cellular carriers at the same time is how enterprises provide wireless-to-wireless failover and network redundancy for connected vehicles. When one connection fails, the backup WAN link automatically switches over in mere seconds.

Increasingly, organizations are looking for both seamless failover and intelligently optimized path selection, or SD-WAN, for their in-vehicle deployments. However, until recently there hasn’t been a cost-effective way to integrate metered links such as LTE into SD-WAN configurations.

Advantages of SD-WAN Technologies in Vehicles

Cradlepoint’s SD-WAN solution augments active-passive WAN configurations, providing the benefits of intelligent path selection along with the cost-effectiveness of WAN links that don’t have to be constantly active. The result is an active-dynamic configuration that enables purpose-built routers with dual modems to intelligently route traffic based on signal strength, jitter, and latency — maximizing availability and uptime for every application.

Technologies such as Smart WAN Selection (SWANS) and WAN Verify notify the router that the primary LTE link is deteriorating, then technologies such as policy-based routing and WAN Affinity move specific business-critical traffic to the second LTE connection, allowing the most important data to flow smoothly. Less-important traffic remains on the primary link.

Cradlepoint’s Auto Tunnel technology intelligently moves the VPN tunnel, instead of rebuilding it, from one WAN interface to other, which limits data loss during the transition.

Based on the organization’s need, the network administrator can configure these policies ahead of time. A significant amount of money can be saved when multiple metered WAN links are only utilized during deterioration. This is a different model than traditional SD-WAN, which relies on multiple links always being active.

Applications for In-Vehicle SD-WAN

The benefits of SD-WAN for in-vehicle networks are most pronounced for applications that demand the highest levels of network resiliency and flexibility.

For example, first responder vehicles often utilize WiFi-as-WAN when parked at headquarters to avoid using cellular data for tasks such as video offload to the cloud. When an emergency call comes in, Cradlepoint’s SD-WAN service can allow the router to make a seamless switch to the cellular carrier as the first responders drive away and out of range of the WiFi network.

Similarly, a police officer checking the license plate of a car in traffic can’t afford to have the network fail for several seconds as he or she decides how to proceed.

Additionally, any organization that processes financial transactions aboard vehicles can benefit from the seamless failover and high performance that SD-WAN solutions enable.

Learn More About Next-Generation SD-WAN Solutions

Watch this on-demand webinar about how software-defined technologies are changing the way enterprises approach networking.