Gigabit-Class LTE is the next step towards the promises of 5G networks
Today, it was announced that "Cradlepoint Extends Gigabit-Class LTE Leadership With Verizon-Certified Edge Router Solutions for Branch and Mobile Deployments." This announcement is further evidence of a growing wireless edge market.
As I have spoken with field personnel over the years, their customers seem to have two things in common: First, they are trying to be more competitive, and second, they are looking to new technologies to get them there. They have spent years modifying their core operations for efficiency, and they realize that their next opportunity is at the customer edge. However, they also are realizing their current all-wired networks won’t get them where they want to go.
I have noticed that organizations are starting to view wireless edge networks as a more flexible and simplified alternative to wired edge networks. When Cradlepoint introduced the industry’s first Gigabit-Class LTE edge solution in December 2018, this created a market inflection point. With carriers deploying LTE Advanced Pro networks that deliver wireless speeds similar to wired broadband speeds, customer conversations began to change. Customers have started to get really excited about high-bandwidth mobile services, remote or mobile video streaming, remote digital advertising, private 4G/5G, and agile branches.
Organizations also are very aware of the promises of 5G technology and want to ensure their purchases today will set the right foundation for tomorrow. 5G is unlike any other generational change in wireless. First, 5G is a collection of different types of technologies that will be accessed in very different ways. Second, the rollout will be in stages. This means an organization with multiple sites will have to ensure that they can effectively run a hybrid wireless edge network comprised of 4G LTE, Gigabit-Class LTE, and various types of 5G technologies.
What is Gigabit-Class LTE? It is a foundational element of 5G. Not only does Gigabit-Class LTE use many of the same technologies, but it will also be the fallback technology for 5G.
This is why Cradlepoint’s Gigabit-Class LTE solutions are designed to be 5G Ready for enterprise-class use cases. Fixed 5G, using third-party external modems, will be the first 5G offering in many wireless markets. To ensure that these modems deliver an enterprise-class experience, the edge networking service should have these 5G Ready capabilities.
- Software-defined control
- Wireless high availability
- Multi-carrier and multi-service flexibility
- Wireless management
Organizations that seek the benefits of 5G performance, but understand the nature of early technologies, will require enterprise-grade network quality. With Cradlepoint, software-defined control can provide that service quality.
For instance, if the health of an external 5G modem degrades or fails, traffic can be dynamically steered to the redundant WAN interface. Additionally, policies can steer traffic to different connections based upon application type and data plan usage. This gives organizations the freedom to run the latest combination of Carrier services while ensuring the highest performance and availability possible.
Wireless High Availability
Even though 5G modems generally have built-in 4G LTE fallback in the same device (much like a 4G device has 3G fallback), hardware failures and other issues still can render the modem inoperable. Moreover, since primary wireless access will be the common use case for organizations deploying 5G, wireless edge networking solutions must have the ability to instantly failover to separate Gigabit-Class LTE modems to ensure uptime and continuity of the cellular service.
With Cradlepoint, organizations can take advantage of two integrated Gigabit-Class LTE modems in addition to external modems and feel confidence from running a high-availability architecture.
Multiple Carrier Flexibility
Because every carrier’s 5G services and rollout timeframes are different, enterprises with distributed sites will need to support multiple variations of 4G, Gigabit-Class LTE, and 5G connections. This includes supporting multiple carriers to achieve complete coverage and maintain high availability.
For example, with Cradlepoint, organizations can simultaneously support an external 5G modem with one Carrier, an embedded Gigabit-Class LTE modem with a second Carrier, and an additional Gigabit-Class LTE modem with a third Carrier. Cradlepoint also supports other WAN interfaces such as Satellite and WiFi-as-WAN. This means organizations can maximize availability and build highly distributed wireless edge networks today and leverage 5G solutions whenever, wherever, and however they choose.
Due to the differences between cellular and wired connections, organizations need the right tools and analytics to effectively manage wireless edge network connectivity.
Although the breadth of direct management of third-party 5G modems is unknown right now, the Cradlepoint NetCloud Service offers unique wireless capabilities for its own embedded and modular modems including: modem health management using Cradlepoint-proprietary drivers, predictive cellular billing analytics, policy, alerts, proprietary Stream Protocol for greater management plane efficiency, and dynamic configuration of carrier profiles per radio.
This ensures that lean IT organizations have point-and-click simplicity with sophisticated wireless control across all of their sites in one easy-to-use pane of glass.
Today’s announced partnership between Verizon and Cradlepoint heightens the inflection point for the emergence of wireless edge networks. The future is bright for organizations that act today in preparation for tomorrow.