Sprint secures financing for T-Mobile acquisition

Sources have told the Wall Street Journal that Sprint has at least two bank proposals on the best way to finance the acquisition of T-Mobile. Sources also say the deals total enterprise value is about $50 billion, which includes $31 billion for T-Mobile and about $20 billion in existing T-Mobile debt. T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom recently transferred 67% of their stake in T-Mobile over to a dutch holding company, which could help to lower the tax penalties if a sale were to occur. The move shows they’re seriously considering moving forward with the deal but will still need to gain approval by the FCC and DOJ before Sprint’s acquisition of T-Mobile could gain final approval. It will be a tough sell for Sprint after AT&T tried to also buy T-Mobile last year and failed to receive approval.

 

Peplink announces the new Balance 30-LTE branch office router

Today Peplink announced that the Peplink Balance 30-LTE is now available for purchase. These units include 2 standard WAN connections for Cable/DSL, 4 Gigabit LAN connections, 1 USB port and a fully embedded cellular modem. By having a fully embedded cellular radio you no longer need to plug a USB device into the side so you get a more robust reliable solution designed for 24/7 uninterrupted access. There are three separate SKU’s available for Verizon 3G/4G, AT&T 3G/4G and a globally unlocked GSM version with European 3G/4G support. Below is a quick reference guide of the capabilities of the new Balance 30-LTE:

Balance 30-LTE Specifications:

  • Wan Ports: 2
  • Embedded Radio: 1 (Verizon/AT&T or Unlocked European)
  • USB Port: 1
  • Recommended Users: 1-25 users
  • Router Throughput: 100Mbps
  • Load Balance Support: Yes, 5 Algorithms
  • VPN Support: PPTP/IPSec VPN (2 tunnels)/PepVPN
  • Quality of service: QoS controls for VoIP and E-Commerce
  • Bandwidth Monitoring: Hour, Day, Week, Month reports available
  • LAN Ports: 4 (GbE)
  • Power Consumption: 15W

Just like the Balance 20/30 units without embedded technology the new Balance 30-LTE doesn’t have built in WiFi. However, you can easily add WiFi connectivity with the Pepwave AP One, AP One Mini or any other access point of your choice. By having the WiFi as a separate box this gives you more flexibility to customize different features like Captive Portal or guest user login authentication. If you don’t need those advanced features you could get a cheaper access point without paying a price premium for one dedicated box that has a several features that you don’t need for your business.


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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 YouTube.com 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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