Cradlepoint expands NetCloud architecture with new 5G VPN-like service, with SD-WAN and Zero Trust services on the way

The new services will make it simpler for partners to put together all-Cradlepoint solutions, and make it easier for them to bring technologies designed for a wired world for the cellular world.

Donna Johnson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cradlepoint

Cradlepoint, which is heavily focused on cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network solutions, has announced NetCloud Exchange, an architectural extension of their existing NetCloud cloud management solution. Three new services were announced, although more are likely to appear over the long term. Secure Connect, an agile LTE/5G VPN-like service, is available now. The Advanced SD-WAN will be available in October, while the new Zero Trust Network Access service will be available in November.

“We were largely hardware years ago, and most people bought the hardware, and support and management were optional,” said Donna Johnson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cradlepoint. “Since then, we have moved to a single package that includes management support and everything all in one  and management is cloud management. You still took title on the hardware, but you subscribed to all the services. That hasn’t changed, but we now have now expanded the services capabilities that will be available. We are adding two new services that add new WAN and security capabilities.”

The one service that is available now, the Secure Connect VPN service, does not add a VPN capability. Cradlepoint has offered that for years. Doing it through NetCloud Exchange greatly enhances its capabilities, however.

“We have always supported IPsec VPN, and that will remain the case, for those who want to do that” Johnson said. “We are not forcing people to rip and replace. We also have an auto-VPN. However, this new Secure Connect solution terminates in Cradlepoint software, so it offers more flexibility and scalability. It also changes how a VPN is built, instead of being in the traditional Layer 3. It uses Zero Trust VPN instead of tunnels, so it can use name-based routing.” The Zero Trust principles use IP address cloaking and no default network access to change the traditional VPN paradigm from “connect and then secure”, to “secure and then connect” to least-privileged-based access.

This version of the VPN also removes the need to use third-party hardware.

“We still sell hardware, but those edges were largely disconnected from one another, and a VPN would make them into a network for an SD-WAN. But those were typically solutions from other vendors,” Johnson indicated.

Fadi Mansour, Channel Sales and Distribution Director, Canada for Cradlepoint

“This is a big change for partners, which really simplifies things for them,” said Fadi Mansour, Channel Sales and Distribution Director, Canada for Cradlepoint. “It increases the completeness of the solution they can sell with Cradlepoint. To build out the VPN before, they would need to buy product from some other vendor, which makes the network harder to build and control, Building an all-Cradlepoint solution also makes it easier to bridge the gap between SD-WAN and 5G, further simplifying things for partners.”

The two forthcoming services are Advanced SD-WAN, which extends Cradlepoint’s current SD-WAN capabilities by adding end-to-end support and advanced application optimization, and Zero Trust Network Access, which uses flexible, fine-grained user, site, application, and resource-based policies that leverage identity, context and 5G attributes to control network access. Advanced SD-WAN will be available in October and Zero Trust will be available in November.

“These will appeal to people who have made a commitment to 5G, and who have  moved already or intend to,” Johnson said, “They will likely already have a mix of locations, as  organizations adopting 5G are moving out of traditional workplaces – home, vehicle  and IoT which are not well served by traditional SD-WAN. They need SD-WAN with more flexibility and need Zero Trust principles more than ever. We feel this architecture and services built on it is aligned with how customers will operate their businesses for the 5G world.”

“Even if we are confronted with a recession perspective, there are still things which will impact the bottom line,” Mansour noted. “Cellular 4G and 5G are where the market is heading. We will allow you to deliver SD-WAN, which was built for a wired world, into a cellular world. We are definitely skating to where the puck is going to be, as more people move to cellular.”

Longer term, Johnson said it’s very likely that more NetCloud Exchange services will be added.

“It’s built to do that, but probably will not be done next year as we will focus on building out the existing services,” Johnson said. “It is also something that can be hosted by partners as an MSP service. That can be done now, since it is a software component.

“Our channel is well-balanced with integrators and VARs as well as MSPs, but we are now seeing a lot of success with MSPs,” Mansour said. “Our platform makes it easy to be deploy as a managed service and VPN and SD-WAN are huge MSP initiatives – and for integrators as well.”