Cellular Intelligence brings troubleshooting, tracking data usage, and obtaining vital networking information together in a single management tool
As demand for LTE and 5G Wireless WAN (WWAN) continues to increase, providing visibility into that cellular environment becomes paramount for networking IT teams. In a world where data is knowledge and knowledge is power, having relevant insights into the WWAN network can help enhance performance, facilitate troubleshooting, and even help control costs.
Today, many networking IT teams must rely on multiple different tools to gain the various necessary cellular insights they need to ensure a successful WWAN deployment. These tools often include:
- Vendor-specific management platforms for visibility and complete lifecycle management of the enterprise cellular routers and adapters.
- Connectivity management portals (or calls into carrier 1-800 numbers) for visibility and management of the SIMs and authorized data plans.
- Web-based cell tower mapping platforms, such as cellmapper.net, to gain insights on the locations, as well as the supported carrier, service, and band of cell towers.
Cradlepoint’s innovative Cellular Intelligence capabilities bring extended visibility of the cellular environment to networking IT teams. NetCloud Manager, Cradlepoint’s cloud-based management and orchestration tool for WWANs, offers a consolidated view of SIMs, data plans, routers, and connected cell towers – eliminating the requirement to stitch together information across various tools portals. This not only provides the comprehensive view required to effectively manage distributed WWAN networks at scale, it also increases operational efficiency for already stretched networking/IT teams.
This extended visibility started with integrated SIM management services, which provided both visibility and control over SIMs and data plans. Enabled by integrations with both Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator as well as other SIM management aggregation platforms, it allows network/IT teams to perform SIM management functions (activations, deactivations, data plan adjustments, and more) in seconds directly from NetCloud, as opposed to using a separate connectivity management portal.
Cradlepoint’s Cellular Intelligence capabilities now extend NetCloud visibility even further to include connected cell towers. This new functionality, enabled in NetCloud’s GeoView, allows IT teams to visualize where their cell tower is located in proximity to their Cradlepoint cellular modem on a map, enabling optimal placement of the modem. Network IT teams also gain valuable cell tower insights at their fingertips, including the supported service provider, service type, and active band(s) to help troubleshoot connectivity issues. Additionally, for routers and modems that are not GPS-enabled, or not able to acquire a GPS signal, the location of the connected cell tower can be used to provide the approximate location of any Cradlepoint router or modem.
How NetCloud’s extended visibility benefits your business
Specific benefits of having this extended visibility across routers, SIMs, data plans, and connected cell towers include:
- Simplified deployments – Through NetCloud, networking IT teams now have ability to confirm their SIM is activated, the correct data plan has been applied to the SIM, the cellular modem/router has the right configuration and that it is in direct line of sight to the cell tower (by being able to visualize both the cell tower and the modem on a map) — all through a single tool. This all leads to a more successful deployment and enhanced cellular performance.
- More efficient troubleshooting – In addition to visualizing the cell tower and its proximity to the modem, insights about that cell tower — including the carrier, service, and supported bands — are all available at the network administrator’s fingertips, enabling faster resolution to any connectivity issues that might be occurring. In addition to the insights on the cell tower and its connectivity with the modem, being able to look at the inserted SIMs and the data plans to ensure proper activation and authorization of the correct plan, ensures that no stone is left unturned when troubleshooting connectivity issues.
- Better cost controls – NetCloud can monitor data plan usage across pooled data plans, as well as, across individual routers and adapters. Powerful AI/ML capabilities forecast best- and worst-case scenarios for data plan consumption, so administrators can see how their consumption is tracking to their data plan. Also available is the ability to drill down into which clients and applications are consuming large quantities of data so that corrective actions can be taken. These actions can be applying policies that can control unauthorized application usage, or that steer traffic away for certain carriers or links that are approaching their data plan limits. With integrated SIM management, network administrators also now have the option to adjust their data plans as another mechanism to proactively avoid data overages.
- Enhanced asset tracking – Historically customers and partners have not had an easy way to determine an accurate location of their indoor routers and adapters. This limits the ability of the networking IT team to monitor and troubleshoot their WWAN. Even for devices that are located outdoors, for location services to work, GPS must be enabled for the device, the GPS antenna must be installed correctly, and the device must have line of site to a GPS satellite.
Now, with the added visibility of connected cell towers, the cell tower’s location coordinates can be used to provide an approximate location of the cellular modem. This ability to view the location of all cellular routers, regardless of where they are deployed and whether they are GPS-enabled, allows for better asset tracking, especially in large, highly distributed IoT deployments where keeping track of the location of the IoT devices can sometimes be a challenge.
In addition to providing extended visibility through NetCloud, Cradlepoint Cellular Intelligence for 5G also includes features within software-driven modems, SD-WAN traffic prioritization capabilities, and cellular-optimized management protocol, which eliminates the trade-offs between the frequent collection of telemetry data from all the routers and adapters and data plan usage.