May 17, 2011

Uninterrupted Internet Connectivity in Backup or Temporary Settings from CradlePoint


What happens if you lose Internet connectivity? Nothing – literally.

The wonders of today’s technology notwithstanding, the fact is that, if a business loses its Internet connection, it also loses its connection to the world – its customers, its employees, its partners, and its suppliers.

It may seem like an insignificant issue, considering the reliability of many of today’s ISPs but, especially for smaller businesses, outages can still amount to three to five hours per month. That’s not necessarily a big deal, if it happens in small increments during overnight hours. But, there is no way to control when outages might occur, and most of us have experienced outages in the middle of the day that have disrupted work processes.

Or, perhaps you have mobile teams that require connectivity in a variety of businesses settings where traditional access may not be available, especially in temporary locations.

Either way, rather than gambling on service availability, businesses have an easy, inexpensive option for turning the odds in their favor, thanks to CradlePoint Technology, which offers 3G/4G routers to deliver reliable connectivity to small businesses, remote sites, mobile workers, and distributed enterprises.

The principle is rather simple – businesses plug a 3G or 4G modem into a CradlePoint device and have instant WiFi access to their provider’s network for up to 64 users in a temporary environment. As a LAN failover, users connect the LAN to the CradlePoint device, use the same WiFi connectivity under normal conditions and, in the event of a LAN failure, are automatically connected via 3G or 4G networks until LAN connectivity is restored.

“Our solutions are a perfect fit where the WAN is unavailable, inconvenient, or needs help,” says Gary Oliverio, CradlePoint CTO. “We overlay mobile broadband networks such that they fill in gaps, provide backup, or complement the LAN for a better experience.”

He also notes the company is seeing significant uptake with kiosks and digital signage, and point of sale sites that are moving into wireless environments. The company has also added functionality that allows plugging into a larger branch infrastructure by feeding the signal directly into the routing infrastructure, whether that is from Cisco, Juniper, or anyone else.

The company also has an ultra portable battery-powered alternative for mobile workers and consumers in a device not much larger than a smartphone, including one that creates separate private and guest networks.

Here’s just one example of how CradlePoint’s devices allow teams of users to remain productive.

Last year, the TMC team went on the road to San Jose, spending three days meeting with more than 100 vendors from the Silicon Valley area (check out all the videos in the On the Road section of the TMC Newsroom – the San Jose videos start on page 12). 

Over the course of three days, not only did the team require Internet connectivity to conduct daily business, but many of our guests also needed to access demos and presentations. We were able to provide that connectivity thanks to a CradlePoint MBR1200 device (pictured at right), which the company had provided so we could experience first-hand the ease of connectivity it provides.

Setting up the device was as simple as plugging it in to an outlet, attaching the 3G USB modem to one of the three USB ports (users can connect up to three modems for increased resiliency and performance), connecting to the device’s WiFi signal, and signing in via a Web-based interface. In addition to providing laptop connectivity to corporate network resources, it also allows users to connect tablets and smartphones via WiFi, rather than their wireless networks.

Certainly, there are other alternatives, but most are limited simply because they offer single-user connectivity, requiring multiple devices, like USB modems, to allow group connectivity. Of course, many of today’s smartphones can act as 3G or 4G hotspots, but those connections go down when calls are in progress. The CradlePoint devices – as they are fundamentally designed to do – provide uninterrupted service.


Erik Linask is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask



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