Report: LTE’s Popularity Among Enterprises Continues to Rise

CradlepointIn Cradlepoint’s new State of the Network 2017 Business Intelligence Report, one trend is quite clear: Legacy WANs, which are predominately based on wired lines, hardware-defined, and resource-intensive infrastructures, can’t keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of today’s lean and agile connected enterprise.

This report, featuring data from more than 100 surveyed enterprise decision-makers, explores how companies of all sizes are being challenged to expand their networks to more people, places, and things. Several key findings emerged from the research, including:

Approximately 60 percent of IT pros indicated they were already deploying LTE as a WAN connectivity solution.

Our research — and experience — indicates that the majority of enterprises have indeed deployed LTE for primary or backup WAN connectivity. But what that looks like can vary across industries as well as within a company itself. Individual departments may be setting up applications for lead generation or customer analytics as they work to determine how to better engage customers and create a better customer experience.

For example, because marketing departments have such an impact on company revenue, a marketing team’s IT budget often is separate from the IT department’s budget. Sometimes referred to as “Marketing IT,” this type of arrangement can be beneficial for the entire company. A bank can set up a physically separate and secure network connection using 4G LTE to deploy digital signage throughout its branches without requiring the IT department to go through a lengthy security review, because the application is on a separate network. With 4G LTE, marketing teams can quickly, cost-effectively, and securely set up customer-facing applications that directly drive additional revenue.

This type of deployment doesn’t necessarily mean a company or department is bypassing IT or giving short shrift to security; it simply means everyone is using technology solutions to increase profits and efficiency for the company.

The 40 percent of IT teams who, according to our research, indicated they are not yet deploying LTE as a WAN connectivity solution may simply not realize that such a deployment is possible or how much easier LTE depoyment has become in recent years. Many customers discover the benefits of LTE as WAN after speaking with their wireless carrier representative.

Many of the 40 percent who are falling behind aren’t constrained by technology barriers, but instead a lack of up-to-date information. Staying competitive requires staying informed on wireless broadband solutions.

Bandwidth (30 percent) and cost (30 percent) are considered the dominant WAN connectivity challenges, according to respondents.

Many CIOs have built their networks around traditional connectivity. Many of them are using legacy MPLS networks, which are fairly expensive wired connectivity solutions with constrained throughput. The throughput offered through MPLS may have seemed impressive 10 years ago, but it’s no longer adequate to run all of the new data-hungry applications, including video and customer WiFi.

As companies add new applications to their networks, CIOs often classify them into two key areas: core applications and noncore applications. Those classified as core traditionally involve the essentials for keeping a business up and running, such as processing credit card payments.

As the amount of noncore applications continues to grow, a company’s legacy WAN network faces increasing pressure. Applications such as security systems, video surveillance, and customer WiFi all strain bandwidth. Yet if a company looks to increase bandwidth on its MPLS, the costs can be significant.

Consequently, companies are instead looking to add multi-WAN capabilities. They may still choose to keep MPLS for critical functions, such as processing credit cards, but also are looking to offload noncore applications to the traditional internet. This reduces bandwidth pressure while allowing you to offload these applications to lower-cost WAN options such as LTE.

Approximately 57 percent of IT pros cite security as the most important feature they would look for in an SD-WAN solution.

Many IT teams are paying for MPLS networks because they have the perception of being secure, and because it’s the way things have been done for quite some time. Yet using SD-WAN — i.e., using multiple WANs at the same time and securely steering traffic based on application-specific policies — can leverage lower-cost, higher-bandwidth broadband Internet while maintaining high levels of security.

Solutions such as Cradlepoint NetCloud leverage the Internet and virtual technologies to extend the traditional enterprise network. This integrated platform provides an entirely new way to build, secure, control, and manage end-to-end private networks in the cloud using wired and wireless broadband Internet services.

Half of IT pros said increased flexibility/agility gives LTE an advantage over traditional wired connectivity solutions, while 39 percent said efficiency is another key advantage.

Flexibility/agility, redundancy/reliability, and efficiency are interconnected. As LTE networks evolve, the speeds that companies can get out of their LTE networks have surpassed the speeds they get from traditional wired networking. As standards continue to evolve every 18 months or so, speeds continue to increase significantly.

Actually, companies can make the entire connectivity process more efficient. Enterprises with multiple locations — such as convenience stores or banks with branches — may end up contracting with dozens of wired line service providers. Switching the entire company, including these remote branches, to wireless 4G LTE eliminates the problems associated with wired connections, minimizes the number of monthly invoices, and reduces the number of support calls while improving reliability in the process.

In the past, few IT analyst firms  anticipated LTE’s rapid rise as an enterprise WAN option. Today, however, some of the top enterprise IT research firms are actively recommending 4G LTE for the enterprise.

OmniAccess Access Point 1101

OmniAccess Access Point 1101

Multifunctional entry level access point for medium density and small business

OmniAccess® Access Point 1101 indoor Wi-Fi access points provides high throughput wireless connectivity, seamless user experience and simplified management required by small enterprise WLAN deployment.  Featuring enhanced RF Radio Dynamic Adjustment™ (RDA) technology, AP-Group architecture design and user-role based management, OmniAccess AP101 delivers plug-and-play WLAN deployment ideal for any small and medium business.

OmniAccess Access Point 1101 is a dual-radio, 5 GHz 802.11ac and 2.4 GHz 802.11n 2×2 MIMO, indoor wireless access point. Powered by multi-core CPU processor, the OmniAccess AP1101 has the fast encoding and decoding capability and provides reliable multiuser access. It supports up to 1.2Gbps wireless data rate and up to 64 simultaneous clients association.

 

 

Benefits: OmniAccess Access Point 1101

  • Plug-and-play deployment, part of a simple LAN+WLAN+UC turn-key solution designed specifically for SMB
  • High performance access points with ability to fine-tune quality of service (QoS) delivered to each application
  • Competitively priced product with lifetime warranty gives peace of mind

Features: OmniAccess Access Point 1101

  • Quality of service for real-time applications
    • VoWLAN support with QoS for each application (Voice, Video, Collaboration, etc..)
    • Seamless roaming for real-time applications
  • Integrated simple guest management
    • Built-in customizable captive portal
    • Support of role-based management access (Admin, Viewer and Guest Manager)
    • Simplified guest account creation & management, with no need of IT skills
  • Enhanced RF technology – Radio Dynamic Adjustment with DFS/TPC to deliver reliable, high-performance WLAN access

– See more at: http://enterprise.alcatel-lucent.com/?product=OmniAccessAP1101&page=overview#sthash.SmDeCFl4.dpuf

5G Today vs. 5G Tomorrow

Among the more than 108,000 attendees at Mobile World Congress 2017, it wasn’t difficult to find the most buzz-worthy topic. At the forefront was 5G — what it means for people and enterprises today, and what it can potentially do for mobile networks within the next few years.

5G is rapidly climbing the hype cycle toward the peak of inflated expectations. Qualcomm has even claimed it could be as “transformative as electricity.” Officially named by the 3GPP global standards organization, 5G is supposed to combine all the aspects of 4G with massive mobile data, 3G with voice and video, 2G for M2M and IoT deployments, and WiFi spectrum, all with zero latency and gigabit throughput to become the next-generation WAN.

Watch this three minute video with Cradlepoint Product Manager, David Rush, to identify the hype around 5G, what 5G means today, and what it will be by 2019.

7 Key Factors to Consider for Failover

Key Factors of Failover

Business Continuity Solutions for Variety of Mission-Critical Needs

By David Rush and Landon Reese

Regardless of industry or location, every business needs to strategically and proactively plan for network failover. When connectivity goes down, Point-of-Sale (POS) services, business operations, profits, and even customer satisfaction suffer.

In the interest of business continuity for your network, here are seven key factors to consider regarding failover:

1. Overlay Failover

Organizations that may not have the resources to overhaul their new network architecture can instead implement overlay failover with their existing infrastructure as a simple, cost-effective solution. Cradlepoint’s ARC CBA850 bridge converts LTE broadband to Ethernet by providing the existing wire-line router with a second “wired” WAN connection.

Overlay failover increases reliability without relying on last-mile connectivity via the same trench. It’s easy to set up as well; IT staff can simply plug in the router and configure remotely with Enterprise Cloud Manager (ECM), the network management service within Cradlepoint NetCloud.

2. Redundancy

Multiple parts of a network can fail, so it’s important to deploy different types of redundancy. If your wired WAN connection goes down, you can failover to LTE. In the event that your router goes offline, you can take advantage of a second, parallel router using Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP).

VRRP, a layer 3 protocol, empowers businesses to take failover to a higher level by allowing Internet failover and router failover simultaneously. If the primary router fails, a backup hardware solution — many organizations use the Cradlepoint AER1600 Series — can take over as the primary router. The entire network automatically fails over to the Cradlepoint router — with the LAN and WAN uninterrupted.

3. Out-of-Band Management (OOBM)

OOBM is another important element of network failover. Traditionally, a truck roll — requiring expensive equipment and labor — is needed if something goes wrong with a primary router’s configuration. Through OOBM with ECM, IT staff can use LTE connectivity to remotely access the router and all LAN-connected devices sitting behind Cradlepoint’s ARC CBA850. It’s like having an engineer sitting at a laptop plugged into the console port of the primary router,  from anywhere in the world..

These robust OOBM services are available through ECM without the primary Internet connection, inbound SSH, or a static IP address.

4. Bandwidth

Many businesses are simultaneously exchanging multiple types of data, such as sales information, voice and video data, and inventory, often at peak times. LTE failover is ideal in the event that your primary WAN connection goes down, but why not utilize the extra bandwidth all the time?

LTE is incredibly powerful because it supports high bandwidth, which your business can benefit from by utilizing LTE failover for load balancing. Critical traffic can be sent across LTE while public traffic can be routed through a land-based connection. In the case of an outage, public WiFi can simply be shut off to preserve critical services, thereby ensuring failover when you need it while expanding bandwidth when you don’t.

5. Multi-WAN Management

At first glance, 99.5% uptime sounds impressive — until you realize that the missing 0.5% equates to four hours of downtime each month. If your business has multiple locations, that downtime can become very expensive very quickly.

A multi-WAN solution can boost that uptime to “four-nines” uptime, or 99.99% solution. With multi-WAN failover and several failure detection and decision agorithms, Cradlepoint provides flexible and robust failover and failback. Cradlepoint offers best-in-class mechanisms that allow you to pick which WAN source to use and can handle advanced multi-WAN management.

6. Wireless-to-Wireless Failover

In vehicles, where wired lines aren’t an option, LTE is the primary connection, but that doesn’t mean failover isn’t available. The Cradlepoint COR IBR900 and COR IBR1100 both support multiple LTE connections as well as WiFi as WAN. WiFi offloading of video DVRs via station WiFi for busses or police is common so as not use the LTE connection while in the field. IT managers can select WiFi to automatically attach and trigger video offloadingwhenever available and LTE to activate while on the road.

IT teams that deploy the COR IBR1100 together with the Dual-Modem Dock can achieve true wireless-to-wireless failover, going back and forth as needed between two LTE connections and WiFi.

7. Future-Proofing

Future-proofing your network is a smart investment now and later. Ensuring that what you buy today is adaptable to what is released tomorrow can be an extremely important — and financially responsible — element of your network failover solution.

Cradlepoint’s, for example, connects into the CBA850 and other Cradlepoint routers, which offers a turnkey networking solution for best-in-class 3G/4G/LTE. When the next generation of LTE modems is released, businesses can take advantage by only upgrading the MC400 modem portion of the product instead of the entire router.

5 Key Issues SMBs are Grappling With

oxo-connect-blog-750Did you know that Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) are responsible for 2 out of every 3 jobs around the world? Understanding the challenges and opportunities that are shaping the future of SMBs is a matter of the utmost importance.

A recent survey, conducted by Techaisle[1], identified the top 10 SMB priorities that IT and business decision makers are focused on in 2016. That got us thinking and we decided to drill down on 5 key areas we believe SMB business owners are grappling with this year:

  • Mobility
  • Collaboration
  • Cloud
  • Security
  • Budget

#1 Business on the go

In today’s business environment employees need to be able to work from anywhere, anytime–whether from home, from Starbucks, or on the road. To get the most out of mobile solutions, small businesses need to figure out what they want to accomplish. For instance, a flexible workforce can provide real-time customer service; employees can collaborate more easily and get faster results; real-estate costs can be reduced. The solution might be complex, highly secure and expensive, or it might be simple with lower security and higher risk. Selecting the right solution is specific to each company’s goals.

Some of the challenges SMBs face today when setting up mobility solutions include high equipment costs, complex installation, VPN integration, and they may require assistance installing software on mobile devices. And, even when a solution is working fine, it may be operationally complex and require IT expertise to maintain.

Hybrid cloud solutions are changing the game. Employees can easily install applications on their devices and become immediately mobile. Regular updates keep their applications current with no requirement for complex installations. The solution just needs to be hybrid-cloud “connected” to the existing telephony system and they are ready to go. Additionally, since the service is provided on the cloud network, there is no requirement for a VPN, or a remote security solution.

 

#2 Collaboration is key

The world is clamoring for collaboration. Voice and video calling directly embedded in a browser is making that possible. With the open-source API standard, Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC), Web applications can engage in direct voice calls, video chat, and data sharing without the need for desktop or mobile applications, add-ons, or browser plug-ins. This means videoconferencing will continue to get smoother, smarter, and more affordable while operating at even higher Internet speeds.

But it’s not just about video conferencing, IDG’s 2015 Unified Communications & Collaboration Study,[2] predicts a surge of adoption in UC&C over the next three years. According to their findings, 56% of enterprises, and 66% of SMB organizations plan to implement or upgrade their UC&C solutions within the next year. Those numbers are impressive.

Cloud-based integrations also have a role to play in expanding collaboration. They can connect a  videoconferencing solution with, not only core collaboration software, but also the myriad of devices with which employees interact. Off-site team members increasingly collaborate using smartphones and tablets, as much, if not more, than they use desktop or laptop PCs. Whether that means joining a group chat, sending and editing shared documents, or logging into a videoconference from an Android or iOS device on the go, cloud-based collaboration is on the rise.

Fundamentally, the key is to align systems with how people actually work. In a March 2015, Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Technology Alone Won’t Solve Our Collaboration Problems”, Mark Mortensen stated “every week a vendor introduces a new gadget, system, or service that promises to improve communication and collaboration.” [3] The reality is it’s not necessarily what technology you’ve got, but how you use it.

 

#3 It’s time for the hybrid cloud

A recent study from IDG Research Services asserts, “it’s no secret that digital business transformation and hybrid cloud computing are two of the most dominant IT trends today.”

Findings from the study indicate there is, “clear proof that a hybrid environment makes implementing digital business initiatives faster, easier and less expensive.”[4] Costs are lower, and return on investment is quicker and higher than initially projected.

IDC’s white paper, “The Growth Opportunity for SMB Cloud and Hybrid Business Continuity” suggests,  “SMBs are discovering, that in today’s hypercompetitive business climate, an investment in cloud-based business continuity can mean the difference between thriving, surviving, and becoming obsolete.” It confirms that, “SMBs around the world continue to shift investments from on-premise, to public and hybrid cloud environments, to achieve robust, complexity-free, and cost-effective business continuity.” [5]

Business owners are being driven toward consuming everything in their environment as a service. This is a major shift from capital expenses to operating expenses. By migrating services like communications, Unified Communications, and collaboration, from on-premise, to a hybrid cloud platform, companies can  commit to a consistent expense structure that is flexible and can create a business advantage.

 

#4 The security challenge

As SMBs rely more on technology to run their businesses, the requirements for access, as well as secure and protected data, become more critical and more complex. So, it’s not surprising that both small and medium businesses rank security among their most pressing technology challenges.

Data is no longer tied to a specific device or location and that makes IT folks uneasy. In our increasingly “cloud-first, mobile-first” world, data may reside on a company server, in cloud applications, or in cloud-based file-storing services. In addition, data can be accessed from a smartphone or tablet as easily as from a desktop.

The Dimension Data, Network Barometer 2015 Report[6], which was focused on a large installed base of customers, uncovered the following results:

  • 60% of network devices have at least one security vulnerability
  • 74% of wireless access points are older models (802.11g and older) that don’t support a sound mobility and security strategy
  • 53% of network devices are aging or obsolete (and that number is growing year-over-year)

This confirms how critical it is to regularly review network infrastructure.

 

#5 Scaled activity without scaled budgets

Budget constraints are top of mind for most SMBs. They often have different requirements and different IT challenges compared to large enterprises. In the blog entitled, “The SMB Digital Challenge: Scaled Activity Without Scaled Budgets”, Lindsay Rowntree says that, “In the UK, SMBs make up 99.3% of all business, yet account for only 18% of total marketing spend. One of the core challenges faced by small business marketers in the UK and, indeed, globally, is the lack of budget versus their larger peers, forcing them to limit their options significantly.”[7] That huge disconnect, between the number of SMBs, and the marketing spend, means SMBs have to seriously consider what they need to do to compete.

To be successful today SMBs need to be online, connected and accessible via mobile apps. To ensure efficient customer service, they need to be able to manage their business anytime, and from anywhere. The digital world is creating a massive opportunity for SMBs willing to embrace and leverage its advantages. A pay-per-use service offering can deliver the services and the budget flexibility that SMBs require, especially when essential services are basically provided for free.