Cradlepoint announces first Gigabit LTE router solutions for pathway to 5G

The new edge router solutions based on Cradlepoint’s NetCloud service that are the first to use their Elastic Wideband technology to provide Gigabit-Class wireless connectivity for enterprise and public safety organizations.

The IBR1700-1200M router

WAN networking solutions vendor Cradlepoint has announced their first Gigabit-Class LTE cloud-delivered router solutions. The new Edge routers, available now, are the first products which use their new Elastic Wideband technology, and a key component of their Pathway to 5G strategy.

Cradlepoint’s Elastic Wideband leverages the foundational 5G technologies of 4×4 multiple-input and multiple outputs [MIMO], 256 quadrature amplitude modulation [QAM] and multi-carrier aggregation to deliver Gigabit-Class LTE today on cellular networks that support LTE Advanced Pro now, and which will extend to full 5G in the future.

“Our Elastic Wideband technology is applicable to the 4G world today, but its value increases as we go to Gigabit LTE,” said Todd Krautkremer, Cradlepoint’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s the first manifestation of the implementation of 5G. That’s where our Elastic Wideband technology becomes hyper-relevant. It combines LTE Advanced Pro with value-added software at the edge to let customers take advantage of these cellular network capabilities. It lets us pick the most advanced radios out there.”

The technology is based on Cradlepoint’s Elastic Edge vision of that path from LTE to 5G,

“Elastic Edge is our vision of a future enterprise network infrastructure that is mainly wireless and connects with elasticity, something that new networks will require,” Krautkremer said. “It is about software technology at the edge and the management and security capabilities. We believe a substantial part of the next WANs will be wireless.”

Krautkremer noted that in December, AT&T partnered with Cradlepoint to provide a solution that will unlock the AT&T 5G network for business and public safety.

“This is the other side of that coin, and is the next step in our plan to bring 5G capabilities to business,” he said. “It delivers technology that not only supports the AT&T relationship, but becomes the first major step in our Pathway to 5G strategy – providing a graceful path to embrace 5G where and when it becomes available.” The new solutions are specifically designed for enterprise and public safety organizations using that AT&T service.

Gigabit-Class LTE is designed to fill the gap which will exist until widespread adoption of 5G.

“Today, you have 5G available, but only in pockets, in a small number of cities, and to get to the point where we enjoy LTE today, where you can just connect and it will be instantly usable, will likely be a decade from now,” Krautkremer said. “You won’t get that consistent service for quite some time. It’s not just a matter of producing the radios, that carrier infrastructure has to change. This is the point of Gigabit-Class LTE, to bridge that gap. It’s the glue that makes the newer technology usable as it builds out over the next 5-10 years.”

Gigabtit LTE has begun to move into Canada as well. Last spring, Rogers announced a partnership with Ericsson for a multi-year network rollout which will see Rogers continue to expand its Gigabit LTE and launch 5G trials in Toronto and Ottawa at some point in 2019.

Krautkremer acknowledged that something like Gigabit-Class LTE that can upgrade elements of what LTE provides now is a practical necessity, since absolutely nobody will invest in an upgrade path which could well take a decade to see any results. He stressed however, that there really isn’t a much of a price premium

“There’s a slight uptick in cost – but its 10 per cent, not 10x,” he said. “That’s because wireless is really driven by consumer economics, where the price for premium phones has remained constant over the last two years even though the quality has been massively upgraded.”

Most channel partners typically prefer to wait until a market for a solution is firmly established rather than chase after early adopters, but Krautkremer said that there are good reasons for them to get into Gigabit LTE.

“The channel overall is dealing with a lot of different headwinds,” he said. “They have the shift from hardware to as-a-service, and traditional product lines like the Cisco branch business are being disrupted. Gigabit LTE is already being used in a lot of wide area applications, and partners are selling into environments that have those solutions. Just as we saw with Wi-Fi and other waves in the past, as the channel recognizes new use cases they build a practice around it. So while the partner wont be selling 5G any time soon, they will be able to sell something. They will have a new story for the customer, that will get them to the corner office. The utility we offer here is that it gives them opportunities to have new conversations around these Gigabit LTE solutions. They open new doors, and lets them augment use cases that offset the loss of margins on old products.”

All of the new Gigabit-Class LTE edge routers are based on the Cradlepoint NetCloud service, and all include their NetCloud Manager—a cloud-based orchestration and management system. Two solution packages are available for the Branch. The AER2200-1200M Series of all-in-one, Gigabit-Class LTE edge routers includes a second modem option and SD-WAN, security, Wi-Fi and IoT functionality. CBA850-1200M LTE Adapter is a remotable LTE modem that provides fast and reliable LTE connectivity for primary and failover uses and works with any traditional or SD-WAN routers.

Two solution packages for Mobile are also available. Both the IBR900-1200M and IBR1700-1200M Series provide ruggedized, Gigabit-Class LTE edge routers for in-vehicle and portable deployments with a second modem option and mobile SD-WAN, Wi-Fi, GPS, and engine telemetry relay functionality.