Cradlepoint today unveiled a second-generation 5G router at a time when many organizations are reconsidering their current reliance on traditional Wi-Fi networks.
The Cradlepoint E3000 Series 5G Enterprise Router supports both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 wireless and fiber, and 2.5 gigabit-per-second Ethernet networks. It supports multiple routing protocols as well as IPSEC and DMVPN for security. Other capabilities include support for wireless software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) and Cellular Intelligence, a set of tools for tracking usages of data plans.
Finally, Cradlepoint integrates application-level controls, intrusion prevention system (IPS) and intrusion detection system (IDS), IP reputation, web content filtering, and a firewall to microsegment connections.
The Cradlepoint E3000 Series 5G Enterprise Router is designed to make it simpler for organizations to start introducing 5G into their networking environments alongside existing protocols, says Donna Johnson, vice president of product marketing for Cradlepoint. “A lot of organizations are still setting up proof-of-concepts (PoCs),” she says.
Challenges of Bringing 5G to Enterprises
It’s still early days as far as 5G networks are concerned in the enterprise. In many cases, organizations are initially adding 5G services to ensure networking services remain available in the event of an outage to their primary network, Johnson added. There are also use cases involving, for example, public safety that may require video to be captured from a location that doesn’t lend itself to the setting up of a wired network.
Many organizations are also making plans for 5G on the assumption that millimeter waves ranging from 24 GHz to 100 GHz will soon become available to drive a wide range of edge computing use cases. A recent report from International Data Corp (IDC) forecasts the market for enterprise wireless routers to reach $2.98 billion by 2024
In the meantime, individual end users are already starting to rely more on 5G connections provided by carriers to access corporate applications via a variety of mobile computing devices, including PCs that come with built-in 5G connections. End users are also determining, in many cases, that those 5G connections made via hotspot software on a 5G smartphone are just as fast as a Wi-Fi connection provided either via a hotel or café and are much more secure.
In other cases, employees are making use of antennas provided by Cradlepoint to connect laptops to 5G wireless services, says Johnson. Employees now working from anywhere to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are increasingly making greater use of 5G connections, she adds.
Replacing Wi-Fi Connections with 5G
As usage of 5G steadily increases it’s becoming apparent that, after years of hype, the switchover to 5G is starting to steadily occur. It may still be a while before 5G is the primary means for connecting a remote office to the corporate network. At this point, however, as the cost of making those 5G connections continues to decline it’s now a matter of time before many organizations replace Wi-Fi connections with 5G connections to not only connect with corporate headquarters but to also soon share files among employees working in that office to reduce the number of types of networks an IT team needs to support.