For WWAN, Cradlepoint Stream Protocol pushes SNMP aside while making cloud network management affordable
These days just about every network administrator and IT team is looking for cloud network management, and finding the right solution for each situation is critical. For example, let’s look at cloud-based router management. For organizations using legacy architecture dependent on strictly wired networks, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is perfectly sufficient. But what about businesses that have transitioned to LTE and 5G wireless edge solutions?
Wireless WAN requires a different approach to cloud network management — an approach that minimizes data usage, is highly intuitive, and treats cellular networks as the No. 1 priority.
Why Wireless WAN requires a unique protocol for lean IT
In the world of wired networks, typically SNMP is used by the management platform to talk to and from the router. This protocol works just fine for wired networks, but its limitations make it a bad option for managing wireless LTE and 5G solutions with lean IT.
Reason #1: The first problem with SNMP is that it’s very chatty. It’s constantly checking in to make sure the router is still there, still on, and still functioning correctly. That’s not a problem on a wired network, where data usage is unlimited. In contrast, on a cellular network, SNMP is constantly using up little bits of data just to check in with the router. Scale that across dozens, hundreds, or thousands of routers on a cellular network, and you’re looking at massive costs just to keep your cloud-managed routers in contact with a management platform.
Reason #2: The second challenge is that a server using SNMP must know the IP address of the router in order to make the connection from the management platform. Again, in the wired world, this isn’t a problem; static IP addresses are standard. That’s not the case on cellular networks, though.
To explore the sophisticated technologies that help make cloud based router management simple and easy, download our Cellular Intelligence infographic.
A router on a cellular network utilizes dynamic and private IP addresses. The cell tower typically has a static public IP address but uses Network Address Translation (NAT) to assign the LTE or 5G router a private IP address behind the tower’s NAT’d public address. That private IP address is one of potentially billions of private IP addresses mapped out behind cellular towers.
Every time the wireless edge router turns on or connects to a different tower, it’s likely to get assigned a different IP address. When the router management platform tries to reach out and connect with the router using SNMP, it won’t be able to reach it because it doesn’t know the IP address and can’t route past the NAT’d cell tower. Think of it like trying to call someone when you don’t know their phone number, or trying to find a street address without a map. Where would you even start?
How Cradlepoint Stream Protocol replaces SNMP for cloud-based router management
Cradlepoint Stream Protocol helps organizations manage their wireless edge routers and adapters from anywhere in real time — without expending a lot of data in the process.
Stream Protocol — part of Cradlepoint Cellular Intelligence — reverses the process described above. The router uses a built-in discovery mechanism to contact Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager (NCM). Once the router establishes a connection with NCM, the router and cloud manager perform a handshake and establish an encrypted TLS connection. This real-time connection works regardless of carrier, network topology, or how frequently the router’s dynamic IP address changes.
Once the router has connected to NCM, the organization’s IT team can easily monitor, manage, and make updates to the router.
The bottom-line benefits of Cradlepoint Stream Protocol
Most legacy management platforms use SNMP to manage wireless routers, but they are inefficient. One major disadvantage is that management platforms using SNMP can easily utilize upwards of 100 MB of data each month — remember, that’s just to manage the router. In contrast, NCM uses an average of only 8-10 MB of data per month.
Scaled over a whole network, Cradlepoint Stream Protocol saves enterprises time, data, and money.
There are a number of bandwidth optimization features that allow Cradlepoint routers and adapters to minimize the amount of data needed to communicate with NCM:
- Adaptive compression — To limit how much data the router and management platform utilize to communicate, Cradlepoint uses adaptive compression. When there’s just a little data being sent to a router, go ahead and send it. If there’s a large sum of data that needs to travel between the router and NCM, Cradlepoint will compress it first. This optimizes data usage in both situations. It’s also advantageous if you’re using a wired connectivity source with the Cradlepoint router, because it still helps free up available bandwidth.
- Bi-directional communication — The router can talk to NCM at the same time that NCM is talking to the router, which additionally contributes to an efficient, real-time connection between the two.
- Real-time event triggers. —When the router is in trouble, or something changes, it will automatically send an event trigger to NCM. This keeps the management platform from being so chatty; it knows that it doesn’t need to check in with the router constantly.
- Efficient data transfer — If your IT team needs to make, say, 10 configuration changes to a router instead of sending each configuration change separately (with a lot of overlapping and redundant data), our protocol sends all the changes together so there’s no redundant data traveling over the encrypted tunnel.
Regardless of the application — failover or primary connectivity, mobile or stationary, fully wireless or wired/wireless — if you’re using LTE or 5G solutions for Wireless WAN connectivity, it’s critical to be able to manage the network efficiently and cost-effectively. NetCloud Manager and Cradlepoint Stream Protocol make it possible.