5G for enterprise networking is poised to underly some of the most forward-thinking innovations in our world, but it’s a quote from the distant past that drives home what the latest cellular technologies mean for the future of business and public safety.
The great industrialist Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.” Although unimaginable today, there was method in Ford’s madness. In the early days of the machine age, few people enjoyed the freedom that automobile ownership brought. Ford wanted the Model T to be sold to as many people as possible — and production efficiency was key to mass quantities and affordability. His objective was met, with 15 million cars sold between 1908 to 1927. Ford helped create a notable inflection point in history.
The wide-area edge inflection point
Many inflection points are occurring in today’s information age. The edge of the wide-area network is in the middle of one of these. Due to the dispersed nature of the wide-area edge, there are many connectivity scenarios where wires won’t work. 4G cellular networking has filled many of these gaps already, but 5G in enterprise scenarios promises to fill the gaps in unprecedented and innovative ways.
Cradlepoint’s perspective of the wide-area edge inflection point is similar to Henry Ford’s: Allow as many organizations to innovate with 5G as possible. However, the means to accomplish this is entirely different from Ford’s, and here’s why.
5G introduces two new spectrum layers — capacity (mid-band) and high-capacity (mmWave or high-band) layers — in addition to the current coverage-layer (low-band) spectrum. Each of the three spectrum layers has different performance and propagation characteristics.
Operator strategies vary
Most major network operators started deploying 5G in 2019. Some started immediately deploying mmWave for high capacity. Many global operators began to deploy in the mid-band spectrum layer, and others rolled out a low-band 5G service for national coverage. Each operator is aggressively growing their deployments based upon their unique strategies.
Country structures are distinct
Countries have different policies that drive distinct environments. For instance, in the US, the mid-band capacity layer was mainly reserved for defense and satellite use. It wasn’t until 2020 that the FCC restructured the mid-band and auctioned licenses.
Organizations have distributed needs
Organizations with multiple locations will have sites and vehicles across all of these diverse circumstances. Some will have lean IT support, some will need to leverage current investments, and others will want to buy future investment protection.
5G use cases are expanding
The fragmented nature of the WAN edge results in far more varied use cases than in the WAN core. Organizations are extending their reach with mobile care, temporary stores, interactive self-help stations, and digital signs. Businesses want primary wireless and wireless failover for larger sites. Organizations want to deploy HD streaming, real-time diagnostics, and AI-assisted video in vehicles. Connectivity for these use cases requires unique features and form factors that point solutions cannot offer.
Where 5G diversity meets choice
Organizations with many sites want to participate in this next wave of wide-area innovation now. However, they can’t unless their use cases can be reconciled with the diversities mentioned above. Today, Cradlepoint introduced a comprehensive portfolio of 5G routers and adapters for business — offering solutions that can meet today’s cellular landscape diversities. The portfolio helps companies and agencies participate in today’s 5G services while being positioned for future 5G innovation. Specifically, the Cradlepoint 5G solutions help organizations.
Match 5G solutions to spectrum layers
In the new cellular landscape, Cradlepoint offers solutions tailored for the unique characteristics of all three spectrum layers, thereby optimizing use cases for each of an organization’s locations.
Deploy clean-slate 5G architecture
Rather than adding a 5G modem into a 4G architecture, Cradlepoint addressed the unique challenges of higher throughput, power dissipation, signal acquisition, and installation with a clean-slate design for an optimized 5G experience.
Leverage second-generation 5G technology
As a Wireless WAN and 5G leader, the solutions announced today are Cradlepoint’s second generation of 5G solutions. This 2.0 portfolio leverages design learnings from launching the 1.0 product set nearly one year ago.
Manage at scale
It’s one thing to provide connectivity for one or two locations; it is quite another to provide enterprise-class security and monitoring to tens of thousands of endpoints with a lean IT staff. And adding 5G-specific analytics is frosting on the layer cake.
Make great connections with finely tuned 5G endpoints
Cradlepoint works closely with major carriers to test and tune its solutions to their 5G networks. Pre-programmed endpoints and multi-level integrity tests that predict vulnerable connections provide the best connectivity available.
Streamline the 5G solutions
The 5G solutions are designed to work with any third-party router. When paired with a Cradlepoint 5G-capable router, customers get a fully integrated life cycle management experience and optimized performance.
Meet the 5G family
So, let’s meet the 5G family. Listed below are the high-level features that provide the flexibility to deploy in today’s 5G environment.
Designed for indoor sized locations, the W1850 and W2000 are enterprise-class 5G Wideband adapters designed for branches that require the higher performance of Cat 20 LTE and the flexibility of low- and mid-band 5G. As the early-market indoor adapter model, the Cradlepoint W2000 is available now in limited quantities and is therefore ideal for proof-of-concept or low-site-count deployments. The W1850 is orderable worldwide now and generally available in the US and ANZ in mid-June and remaining markets in Q3.
The W2005 is an outdoor adapter designed for fixed locations the mid-band capacity layers. Outdoor placement ensures the best possible signal for mid-band service. The W2000 and W2005 are orderable now in North America, EMEA, and APAC and generally available in mid-May 2021.
The W4005 shares the same hardened exterior as the W2005 but is designed for mmWave service in the high-capacity spectrum layer. It is orderable now and generally available in the U.S. (Verizon) in late May 2021.
The E3000 5G model is the 5G optimized router with embedded 5G and a modular modem slot for LTE or 5G. With 2.5 GbE interfaces, captive modem capability, and 5G analytics, the E3000 is optimized for the 5G era. It is orderable worldwide in July 2021, and general availability is projected for August 2021.
First announced last month, the ruggedized R1900 is the next generation in mobile cellular networking. The R1900 has a small footprint and is packed with the capabilities required by commercial and public safety entities. It is orderable worldwide today and generally available at the end of May 2021.
The MC400-5G is designed for the modular modem slot of 5G-ready, 5G-optimized, and 5G-embedded routers providing flexibility for organizations to adapt and grow their 5G experience. General availability is projected for Q1 2022.
Find your 5G
Whether you are investigating immersive customer experiences, seeking wireless failover for larger sites, or needing bandwidth-intensive applications on the road, the possibilities of 5G in enterprise use cases start now. They will continue to grow as mobile network operators expand and amplify their services. Whatever your wireless-enabled vision, Cradlepoint can help you find your 5G sweet spot.
Cradlepoint is a global leader in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions for branch, mobile, and IoT networks. Cradlepoint NetCloud, the personification of the company’s Elastic Edge vision, is a subscription-based service with purpose-built endpoints that delivers a pervasive, secure, and software-defined Wireless WAN edge to connect people, places, and things over LTE and 5G cellular networks.