In the Wireless WAN debate, some think of it as “Starlink vs. 5G.” But why ask that question when you can use both? Whether you choose LEO satellite as the primary link or backup link, pairing Starlink and Cradlepoint solutions together maximizes the potential for high-performance, incredibly reliable, and exceptionally secure WAN access.
It really isn’t rocket science. The Starlink device connects via Ethernet and IP passthrough to the Cradlepoint primary router and, voila! Multi-WAN functionality for excellent network flexibility. Using Cradlepoint NetCloud Exchange SD-WAN allows organizations to intelligently steer traffic, on a per-application basis, across satellite, cellular, and wired links. It’s a new level of wireless-optimized SD-WAN.
It’s important to know and lean into your strengths. LEO satellite service through Starlink is available almost everywhere — so valuable for many use cases — with better download and upload speeds and lower latency than high Earth orbit (HEO) satellite. Cellular brings a better combination of bandwidth and latency, along with more capacity and ability to handle congestion. Plus, it’s inherently secure. Together, LEO satellite and cellular provide secure performance with reliability anywhere.
In most cases, satellite is best suited as a failover mechanism for cellular, wired, or both in fixed locations — with key exceptions in remote areas, where cellular and wired performance might only be good enough to provide emergency backup behind Starlink, to support basic applications such as email. In vehicles, a satellite + failover configuration can become even more reliable with the use of multiple modems, and thus multiple carriers — providing fully wireless, fully automatic failover between three different providers.
Starlink provides a simple solution, but not the robust, wide-ranging network security features necessary today for preventing breaches. Connecting a satellite gateway to a Cradlepoint router adds not only the inherent network security of cellular WAN, but also the ability to easily add zero trust tunnels and remote access and SASE features — all controlled through one management platform.
When healthcare or the ability to process payments hang in the balance, relying on just one type of WAN link isn’t sufficient. A highly manageable solution that supports and intelligently orchestrates cellular, satellite, and wired connectivity is the best way to stay flexible, no matter where the site is and what the applications are.
In remote areas where wired connectivity isn’t available, organizations rely on cohesiveness between cellular and satellite to keep critical communications and applications running at all times. Using a router that supports failover from cellular to satellite connectivity usually is the best option.
Which applications require which levels of network reliability and performance? With Cradlepoint’s cloud-managed hybrid WAN routers, you decide. Whether with traditional configurations or a cellular-optimized SD-WAN solution, IT teams can make evidence-based decisions that keep all applications running smoothly.
Organizations can’t afford for the most important applications in fleet vehicles such as police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances to stop connecting at any point in the day — but traveling in and out of diverse coverage areas at high speeds is plenty challenging. 5G links spread between two different carriers, with satellite as a third mobile connection option, provide the reliability and resiliency that IoT-heavy vehicles have come to require.
During emergencies, agencies need to pop up connectivity anywhere — and very quickly. Using compact, ruggedized cases is an efficient way to get hybrid WAN routers, switches, and antennas to and from the field. Bringing a Starlink device to hook up for backup connectivity provides another layer of reliability in scenarios where even just a few minutes of downtime would be disastrous.