Feature Article

June 06, 2011

Overlaying 3G and 4G to Improve Enterprise Network Bandwidth, Reliability

Increasingly, enterprise IT organizations are struggling to affordably provide adequate bandwidth and uptime for network applications and services. Solutions like adding T1 lines are quite expensive – sometimes prohibitively so.

A more affordable solution is to overlay 3G and 4G connectivity onto existing networks, injecting bandwidth and reliability in a more modular, as-it-is-needed manner. Such connectivity might be primary, or simply a backup.

In a MobilityTechzone video interview during Interop 2011, Cradlepoint’s CTO and founder Gary Oliverio, elaborated on his company’s capabilities for helping enterprises improve network performance using wireless overlays.

He explained that this type of setup might be used as a primary connectivity for things like machine-to-machine (M2M) applications or kiosks, or for branch offices. As a backup, such connectivity comes in handy for providing bandwidth on demand for smaller offices, or as a failover. 

To illustrate the concept of 3G/4G connectivity for increasing reliability, Oliverio used the example of business DSL, which tends to provide somewhere in the range of 99.5 percent uptime. That might sound like a lot, but in a 720-hour month (30 days), that translates to 3.5 hours of downtime. In an enterprise setting, having a desktop application be unavailable for that amount of time does not fly.

“Everything is about connectivity, in the consumer market and in the business space,” Oliverio noted.

Cradlepoint’s mission is to use 3G/4G overlays to take enterprises from two-nines to three-nines of availability. Its flagship product, the MBR 1400, is a gigabit 802.11 N router. Ports on the side allow the addition of air cards (it supports more than 200 different cards from providers like Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile). A security cap with additional capabilities can be attached via USB, creating a full CPE solution capable of running as a wireless primary.

The MBR 1400’s capabilities address limitations of air cards, extending their utility.

“A lot of air cards are not built to run 24/7,” pointed out Oliverio. “We built in software to keep the cards alive and running.”

The MBR 1400 is intended to augment, not replace, existing network equipment.

“This is a complimentary product, not a rip-and-replace,” Oliverio stressed. 

Watch the full video interview for more about Cradlepoint’s efforts to help operators simplify data plans, what’s involved with connectivity for cloud applications, and the company’s VAR channel strategy.

Want to learn more about 4G wireless technologies? Then be sure to attend the 4GWE Conference, collocated with TMC’s ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. The 4GWE Conference provides unmatched networking opportunities and a robust conference program representing the wireless ecosystem. The conference not only brings together the best and brightest in the wireless industry, it actually spans the communications and technology industry. To register, click here.

Mae Kowalke is a MobilityTechzone contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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