Bridging the gap between connectivity and router management platforms
During periods of breakneck growth, businesses often scramble to replace unwieldy tools and processes with modern solutions to keep the wheels of expansion turning. By introducing SIM management services to existing IoT platforms, companies enact a simple, powerful way to manage assets remotely and improve operational efficiencies.
How does a SIM card work?
A SIM card is an integrated circuit that securely stores information used to authenticate subscribers on cellular devices such as phones and routers.
Contained within the silicon walls of each card is a set of unique numbers that identifies the SIM and allows the device to authenticate to the cellular network. These include the phone number, security authentication and ciphering information, temporary information related to the local network, a list of the services the user has access to, and two passwords: a personal identification number (PIN) for ordinary use, and a personal unblocking key (PUK) for PIN unlocking. It also holds temporary information about the local network that can change as you move.
To put it plainly, a SIM card allows your device to securely connect to a network. A SIM management platform allows users to see and organize each of those connections. By understanding the inner workings of a SIM card, you can better understand the benefits of a SIM management platform.
What is SIM management?
SIM management services provide a series of technological levers, buttons, and knobs to control SIM cards on the network. Also known as a Connectivity Management Platform (CMP), these applications allow users to monitor, analyze, provision, and modify their cellular deployment by:
- Ordering SIMs
- Activating or deactivating SIMs
- Pausing or terminating SIMs
- Adjusting data plans
- Assigning and locking a SIM to a device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI)
There are two primary types of CMPs: in-house developed systems and those provided as a service, such as Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator (IoTA) platform. Carriers often use multiple CMPs to manage SIM cards. Many people have used a simplified version of a CMP when managing their personal cellular rate plans online.
Bridging the gap between CMPs and cloud management services
While CMPs provide an invaluable service, a gap exists between SIM and router management solutions. A CMP cannot identify a SIM to an actual router, client, or application. This means a user must go through at least two different systems to properly identify where a SIM is located.
Let’s say a company’s CMP indicates a SIM card is using an excessive amount of data. To determine if that data use is a result of failover, Netflix binging, or even theft, their IT team must obtain the IMEI associated with the SIM from the CMP and then input the IMEI into their cloud management service to locate and dissect the problem. They would then have to go back to the CMP to take appropriate action on the SIM card (i.e., pause, deactivate, or change the rate plan).
Another issue caused by this gap is the inability to effectively tie SIM cards to routers and provide visibility into SIMs that are not online. Without an integrated SIM management platform, users must toggle between their CMP and network management platform to identify routers, determine which routers have SIM cards, and view their status.
The back and forth between platforms may be tolerable when managing a handful of IoT connections, but once those connections swell to hundreds or even thousands, this process creates significant operational friction.
The introduction of SIM management to Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager (NCM) will address these problems. NetCloud SIM Management, in collaboration with Ericsson’s IoTA and a SIM aggregator, allows enterprise customers to monitor, analyze, provision, and modify their Cradlepoint cellular deployments. By linking the SIM cards and Cradlepoint routers and adapters, or endpoints, through NetCloud, customers can utilize the features of a CMP without the need to toggle between platforms, allowing them to:
- Gain simultaneous visibility into the router and SIM status
- Enhance expense control
- Speed up deployments
- Resolve and manage issues more quickly
- Reduce troubleshooting support time
To save additional time, enterprise customers also can order a Cradlepoint solution package with SIM cards preprovisioned in the routers, enabling zero-touch deployment.
Elevating Cellular Intelligence with Cradlepoint SIM Management
A complete Wireless WAN solution requires a combination of leading hardware combined with cellular-intelligent software capabilities. New Cellular Intelligence for 5G software features within NCM give organizations unique insights into the cellular environment so they can provide enhanced quality of experience. It’s a suite of features that sense, orchestrate, and optimize connections, data plans, and traffic of cellular networking deployments.
SIM management is part of that feature suite, incorporating the ability to view and act on identification information and SIM properties, life cycle information, subscription package information, pricing, services and rate plan details, and SIM usage details. This functionality is available for demos now and will be generally available midyear.
By enhancing the planning, deployment, and management tools available in NetCloud Manager, Cradlepoint continues to support the next wave of Wireless WAN and cloud-managed routers.