UPSCALE FLEET PROVIDES WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY TO TECH WORKERS ON THE GO
Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation (Bauer’s IT) operates a nationwide fleet of motor coaches, shuttles, and limo vans to provide commuter, transit, and corporate shuttle services for major tech companies, colleges, and municipalities. In the quarter century of its existence, the company has seen a great many changes.
One of the most striking changes has been the exponential growth in demand for wireless connectivity. By leveraging the strengths of Cradlepoint's routing devices, Bauer’s IT has been able to keep up with its customers’ expanding demand for mobile connectivity.
"We had 4.789 gigabytes used in the last day on just three of our vehicles,” says Bauer’s IT Marketing Manager Chris Rodriguez. “Most of that usage was for cloud-based applications. The people riding these shuttle buses aren’t sitting back and watching movies. They’re working. It’s up to us to give them as much bandwidth as a bus-full of tech workers speeding down the freeway can reasonably expect to have.”
Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation is a leading provider of sustainable luxury ground transportation solutions in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles, California. The company has provided transportation management, corporate commuting, and special event transportation and logistics solutions to many of the most widely known Silicon Valley technology companies. It also provides transit systems, schools, airports, and transportation and special events managers with access to one of the nation’s largest fleets of luxury ground transportation vehicles.
While all of its 200-plus vehicles are equipped with Cradlepoint wireless routers, it is on three of its motor coaches in particular that the company’s ability to provide ample bandwidth is being put to the test. These three buses carry a maximum of 56 passengers each, all of whom work at many of the most widely known Silicon Valley technology companies. When professionals board Bauer’s IT vehicles, whether to go to or from work, they expect to be able to get online as easily as if they were sitting in the office. Bauer’s IT Marketing Manager Chris Rodriguez says it is a continuing challenge to keep up with demand.
"We had used another solution before we started working with Cradlepoint but after a while we started to run into connectivity issues. The first issue was because of taxation on the cellular towers we were using on these routes. The second was just the sheer amount of bandwidth each passenger was using each day. We needed a better solution, something we could scale as demand increased, so we started talking with Cradlepoint.”
The company’s new solution includes a combination of hardware and user rules. First, it installed Cradlepoint's branch router on its vehicles. Then it configured each device to limit access per user.
"We had to strike a balance between what users wanted in a perfect world and what we could reasonably deliver to a mobile environment. The resolution we arrived at was to give each user enough bandwidth to log into a VPN and have a high quality of experience with the tools he or she needed to get work done. This solution has worked for many of our customers.”
For those vehicles with unusually high bandwidth requirements, particularly those shuttling tech workers to and from Silicon Valley companies, Bauer’s IT installed two Cradlepoint routing devices per bus.
Bauer’s IT executives know that demand for wireless access will continue to grow. That’s why it is working closely with Cradlepoint to develop new solutions, including implementation of Cradlepoint’s powerful COR IBR600 devices, that will help Bauer’s IT meet future customer demand.
Flexibility: Bauer Intelligent Transportation offers a variety of solutions to its customer base. By working with Cradlepoint, the company has access to many different kinds of configurations and devices. This allows Bauer IT to carefully tailor its connectivity solutions to meet the unique needs of each market segment it serves.
Ease of Implementation: The Bauer’s IT fleet consists of more than 200 vehicles, including 50 large motor coaches. Installation, configuration, and maintenance of the Cradlepoint devices are so easy that there is no need for special training or in-house IT staff. Installation and configuration are done by a Bauer’s IT electrical technician. The devices are managed by the company’s marketing staff members, who simply use their smart phones to log into the each device’s backend to set parameters.
"If we need to set up access to a client’s VPN or do some other kind of special configuration, we just go to the Cradlepoint website and find all the documentation we need. They’ve done a great job of providing very thorough, easy-to-understand instructions for people without a lot of technical training.”
Traffic-Shaping Control: Given the challenges of providing wireless access to a mobile environment, Bauer’s IT relies on its ability to configure individual Cradlepoint devices to load balance and throttle throughput per user.
"Instead of having one user take up all the bandwidth, we’re able to set limits per user so access can be evenly distributed across the vehicle. That’s true whether we’re using one Cradlepoint device or two. This kind of control allows us to provide very good connectivity to our customers, but in an affordable, intelligent way.”
Mobility: The transportation business is unique in that companies in the market often borrow each other’s vehicles to meet unexpected demands. Because Cradlepoint devices are so easy to install and configure, Bauer’s IT staff can temporarily remove a device from one of its vehicles and install it in another company’s vehicle.
“Clients are impressed by how easy it is for us to set up wireless access no matter whose vehicles we’re using. This has helped us solidify our reputation as a company that really knows how to ‘get it done.’ ”