Cradlepoint AER2100 is the first dual band 2.4/5Ghz WiFi embedded router

With the recent announcement of the new Advanced Edge Router (AER2100) Cradlepoint becomes the first manufacturer to offer a dual band concurrent 2.4/5Ghz fully embedded cellular router. Dual band wireless is ideal for branch offices that might have neighboring companies competing for wireless space. The 5Ghz band is substantially less crowded offering better range with multiple nearby WiFi networks and can provide more bandwidth for faster. In addition to other nearby routers below is a quick list of popular culprits that can affect your WiFi range.

Some devices that can interfere with WiFi:

  • Cordless Telephones
  • Kitchen Microwave
  • Smartphones with hotspot capabilities enabled
  • Portable MiFi devices
  • Baby Monitors
  • Garage Door Openers
  • Wireless Cameras
  • Computer Cables
  • Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Mirrors
  • Energy Efficient Windows
  • Fluorescent lights

Depending on your environment you could see completely different results than another user with less interference. Take for example an office with 50 computers and a wireless IP camera system may only see 300’ of WiFi coverage, where a warehouse with little to obstruct the signal could see 500+ feet. When you run the AER2100 in dual band mode (Shipped configured to dual band WiFi) the 5Ghz band can give you greater range where there’s lots of interference on the 2.4Ghz band. Traditionally the 2.4Ghz frequency gets the best pentration, but if you’ve got devices competing in that band you could actually get more range on the 5Ghz band.

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Cradlepoint Cloud Security now available for the AER2100 and ARC MBR1400

Over the last year a lot of applications have moved to the cloud for hosted service that doesn’t require additional equipment on your end. With a Cradlepoint Extended Enterprise License agreement you can now take advantage of ZScaler cloud based firewall services. After you establish an account with ZScaler you can login with a unique username/password combo through the router that will give you several cloud based service options. Below is a breakdown of some of the features that ZScaler can provide for your AER2100 or ARC MBR1400 Cradlepoint router.

Cloud Security Features:

  • Real Time Reporting - Based on your cloud configuration you can get specific reports about data consumption and user traffic across your network.
  • Behavioral Analysis - Figure out specific patterns across your network. These could include sites employees like to browse and how long they spend on them.
  • URL Filtering - This option is pretty straight forward allowing you to block specific domains on your network. For example you could take and add a rule so anyone that tries to visit the site is simply unable to load the page.
  • Advanced Threat Protection - This service is designed to protect against botnets, malicious activity content, phishing, cross site scripting (XSS) attacks to help guarantee a safe browsing experience.
  • Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware - Protect you PC’s at the router level instead of deploying individual software licenses on multiple PC’s to protect against viruses
  • Data Loss Prevention - Full inspection of outgoing data such as sales data, pricing information and intellectual property like source code that you don’t want outside of your office locations. Regulatory compliance by state or federal governments such as HIPAA, GLBA, PCI or SOX will also protect personal or private consumer info.
  • Bandwidth Management - Instead of relying directly on the QoS (Quality of service) provided by your router you can use ZScaler service to manage business critical applications and usage per data source.

There are routers in the market that will do some of the things ZScaler does like bandwidth monitoring, URL filtering and QoS controls. When using ZScaler you’re getting a simplified process that can be universally applied to different corporate or branch offices using Cradlepoint equipment without creating different configurations on different routers in the field. This allows your IT staff to create a unified secure network complete to know exactly what traffic is moving across your network, what shouldn’t be, and a way to stop unwanted traffic from disrupting your day to day operations.  

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Cradlepoint NEMO/DMNR support for Verizon Routing

Cradlepoint NEMO/DMNR primary support is now available on the AER 2100, ARC MBR1400/MBR1400 and COR IBR600/650 series routers. This feature allows your company to communicate and manage LAN connected devices attached to your Cradlepoint router. In the past the only way to do this was to request a static IP from Verizon to give you inbound access to your devices. NEMO/DMNR works by separating the public traffic providing you with a direct connection back to their internal IP network bypassing the need for a static route. Access and traffic flow can then be controlled by your IT staff and manage LAN devices from a central location without the need for individual VPN connections for each LAN device connected to the network.

If you’re on a business continuity or M2M (Machine to Machine) data package this feature can be incredibly useful for you. With a traditional static IP your network could technically be pinged by rogue devices from outside the local network, which isn’t a big deal on Cable/DSL connections, but over a low usage cellular package this could cost you a lot in overage charges. Take for example a low usage $4.99/mo 2MB Verizon M2M package, which is designed specifically for equipment that uses minimal amounts of data like point of sale transactions. Overages on these type of plans start around .95 cents per MB or a whopping $972 per GB if the router is improperly configured. When used properly these packages can save you a lot monthly, or cost you a lot if not implemented correctly and the NEMO/DMNR protocol ensures you won’t encounter any wasted bandwidth if someone starts to ping your devices remotely.

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Cradlepoint Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol

Cradlepoint VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol) is now available on the AER 2100, ARC MBR1400/MBR1400 and COR IBR600/650 series routers. This feature is an add-on option available with an ECM/EEL software license for your equipment. After you’ve purchased the add-on feature you’ll be able to take advantage of the new protocol. VRRP is incredibly useful if your deployment is in a mission critical setting such as a hospital or bank where you can’t afford to have your network go down at all.

VRRP technology works by creating an inline router cloned with the settings of your primary Cradlepoint unit. This creates a master unit and a slave unit so if the master faults the slave unit then becomes the master unit. This allows you to continue with business as usual and not worry about getting a warranty replacement for equipment. So, if you can’t afford for your business to be without Internet VRRP ensures that in the event of a hardware fault you’ve got equipment in place that requires zero user intervention to get the network back up and running.

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CradlePoint’s Extended Enterprise License and OpenVPN (SSL VPN)

The CradlePoint Extended Enterprise License (EEL) provides advanced routing and security features that are designed to increase productivity and business continuity for an enterprise’s network. EEL is an extension of Enterprise Cloud Manager (ECM), and can’t be purchased by itself. In order to have EEL and take advantage of its features, the accompanying CradlePoint router must also be on ECM. Until today EEL was only available for the ARC MBR1400, MBR1400, and the COR IBR series routers. With the release of the new AER 2100, EEL has expanded to cover these models as well.

(CradlePoint AER 2100)

EEL provides the end user with access to a number of new features including advanced enterprise routing options, expanded VPN and tunneling protocols, NEMO, and Cloud Security. One of the major features that EEL brings is OpenVPN, otherwise known as SSL VPN. Though the EEL works on multiple Cradlepoint routers, the OpenVPN aspect of it only works for the MBR1400 variants, and the new AER 2100.

(Example of OpenVPN Network Access)

OpenVPN allows portability across multiple operating systems and types of hardware, is easily configured, and works with NAT addresses as well as dynamic addresses. OpenVPN (SSL VPN) doesn’t require special software on end users devices, and instead gives remote users access to larger networks through web applications. IPsec VPN, the standard VPN found on Cradlepoint hardware, usually needs specialized software built for the hardware it is running on. This makes compatibility with older hardware and with a wide variety of hardware difficult. Since OpenVPN is more of a ‘desktop to network’ style of access from a web browser to the host Cradlepoint, setup is usually limited to the Cradlepoint and IT departments don’t have to individually configure or manage each individual device that will be connecting.

Is OpenVPN right for your network? There are a few questions you can ask yourself. Is this intended for unsophisticated end users? Do you want to display the content of the network through a web browser or web application? If the answer is yes, then OpenVPN (SSL VPN) through the Cradlepoint EEL and compatible router may be the best choice for you.

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Cradlepoint AER2100 L2TP Tunnel Support

With the recent announcement of the Cradlepoint AER 2100 (Advanced Edge Router) new features are available not seen on other models. The EEL license (Extended Enterprise License) agreement you can unlock additional features on your AER 2100, ARC MBR1400 and COR IBR600/650 series. One of these features is L2TP VPN tunneling support (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), which can be useful for any company that needs more than just standard IPSec VPN tunneling. If you’re unfamiliar with L2TP tunnels we’ll explain exactly what their purpose is and how it can be used within your company.

What is L2TP?

The acronym L2TP stands for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol and is used to support VPN’s between ISP’s. This means if you have employees who telecommute or have remote office sites you can use L2TP to establish a secure connection between the two points without having special hardware at each end. Unlike a more basic PPTP tunnel, L2TP/IPSec use a secure 256-bit encrypted tunnel making your VPN traffic more secure. Within the router all you need to do is assign the specific LNS address, create a username/password and define the remote user settings.

(L2TP Computer Login Example)

After you’ve got everything configured on the Cradlepoint router all you need to do is give your employees their account login info. From a Windows/Mac computer, smartphone or tablet they can then configure the L2TP tunnel to connect. This is a software based client available on virtually all platforms so you don’t need to worry about employees having specific hardware in order to connect. This then allows them secure access to your main network to gain access to secure systems that would otherwise be inaccessible off the local LAN network.

Please Note - In order to access advanced features on your AER 2100, ARC MBR1400 or COR 600/650 series you need to have an ECM (Enterprise Cloud Manager) and EEL (Extended Enterprise License) agreement.

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AT&T testing 2.3Ghz LTE Rollout

AT&T plans to deploy LTE service within the 2.3Ghz Wireless Communication Service spectrum within the next year said John Donovan, Senior Executive Vice President of AT&T technology and network operations. This frequency originally was planned to be used solely for downlink, but now has been redesigned for uplink capability too. To maintain current service levels AT&T uses roughly 10Mhz of new spectrum every 12 months so the 2.3Ghz band can be used to help offload usage in high traffic areas where 700/800/1900Mhz frequencies are overloaded. Right now the company still has enough frequency available to cover current demand and this is simply future planning, but they’ll also be refarming their 2G GSM frequency due to be shut off in 2017. At this time there’s not an official date when handsets will be available with 2.3Ghz capability or when they’ll bring the service into markets across the country.

Poor AT&T service in your office? Get a wireless repeater to boost reception

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