Cellular broadband solutions have changed OOBM and other IT troubleshooting practices
Organizations of all types and sizes are discovering the many benefits of Out-of-Band Management (OOBM) enabled by cellular networking technologies. A wide range of issues can interrupt network traffic, disrupting business activity and frustrating users. If the response team needs physical access to affected devices to restore service, the delay can significantly impact revenue, brand reputation, and operating costs.
OOBM addresses these problems, providing secure access to devices in all types of remote locations. From branch offices to pop-up locations, construction sites, and industrial facilities, 4G LTE and 5G edge networking solutions deliver high-bandwidth links to mission-critical equipment when the primary network is down. Organizations using these tools report that they have significantly less downtime, and that cellular in-band and Out-of-Band Management is helping them advance their business in three important ways:
- Reducing operational costs
- Enhancing access security
- Expanding device coverage
Reducing operational costs
The remote management capabilities of Cradlepoint’s wireless edge solutions reduce operational costs by easily enabling a smaller team to manage a much larger set of devices and locations. Staff can quickly connect to the affected systems, troubleshoot them from anywhere, and get the business back online faster. Cloud-based tools let them provision, monitor, analyze, and control equipment via IP and Ethernet connections, or via the native USB or serial console port if those are not available. There are no additional costs of travel, long delays waiting for truck rolls, or frustrating experiences tying to talk a remote worker through the diagnostic process.
According to research firm Nemertes, participating network teams reduced their troubleshooting times by more than 50 percent and could shift almost 20 percent of their resources to other activities. These groups also found that less-experienced staff could often identify and resolve the problems, enabling the more experienced staff to focus on strategic or business-critical projects.
For example, a utility company found that traffic accidents were a significant contributor to support delays and even loss of personnel. By switching to remote access for their facilities, they substantially reduced the average time to repair and improved the health and well-being of their staff.
Enhancing access security
Another important benefit of cellular Out-of-Band Management is the enhanced security enabled by advanced cellular networking routers and adapters. Often there is a significant gap between the remote troubleshooting needs of engineering and networking staff and the organization’s stringent security requirements and processes. Cradlepoint routers and adapters support multi-layered security features to satisfy both groups. User authentication and authorizations must go through a comprehensive set of hierarchies, groups, and permissions to ensure that the right people have access to the right devices.
These can be independently configured, or federated, through existing databases, such as Microsoft Active Directory or Security Assurance Markup Language (SAML) servers. Permissions can also be granted temporarily, making them suitable for the increasing use of third-party support and managed service providers. Security logs keep detailed records of who, when, and what was accessed, and can trigger local or remote alerts to comply with process controls and regulations.
For example, a financial services firm uses a managed service provider for connecting fixed and temporary locations. By connecting LTE or 5G adapters to the console ports of the routers and switches, they could temporarily enable remote management that complied with their security policies and processes.
Expanding device coverage
Finally, Cradlepoint enables cellular in-band and Out-of-Band Management for all types of devices, not just its own endpoints. Cellular adapters provide in-band management through a direct connection to the console port even if IP and Ethernet connections are unavailable. Port splitters make it possible to support up to eight devices from one adapter, further broadening remote management and troubleshooting coverage.
Cellular routers also enable Out-of-Band Management in a single device by its dual connections to wired and cellular links. Combined with Cradlepoint’s multi-layer security features, organizations can quickly and securely enable remote management to virtually anything with IP, Ethernet, USB, or serial connections, from the largest data centers to Point-of-Sale terminals, industrial machinery, and intelligent controllers.
For example, a manufacturing and warehousing company linked air conditioning units and other HVAC machinery on a cellular air-gapped network to separate these IoT devices from the company’s production network. The company’s IT staff provided secure third-party access to the HVAC supplier to monitor the equipment and address potential outages before they experienced any critical stages. They were able to offer these capabilities through Cradlepoint secure authentication in NetCloud Manager so that the HVAC network could be monitored and maintained through in-band management.
Keeping network issues from getting out of hand
With increasing skill shortages, it's important to consider cellular in-band vs. Out-of-Band Management, as they are essential tools to minimize the cost and time of traveling support staff and keep organizations online and operational. Additionally, many organizations are discovering that wireless edge solutions using LTE and 5G can create segregated network segments for remote locations, which are valuable for network failover, testing new equipment, and supporting ad hoc applications, among many other uses.
Network and device uptime is an important component of business continuity. Cellular networking routers and adapters enable Wireless WANs that solve the OOBM problem for business networks and lay the foundation for further transformation and innovation.