As businesses move from wired to wireless broadband solutions, CTOs and CIOs are increasingly looking for more than just similar download and upload speeds — they also want local edge processing power to guarantee highly responsive applications. Today, Cradlepoint is catering to that need with a new all-in-one wireless edge router that can turn a gigabit-class cellular signal into high speed Wi-Fi for an office full of people, enabling enterprise branch offices to sever their wired broadband connections.
Pitched as a “branch-in-a-box solution,” the E3000 series includes all of the components necessary to equip either a large enterprise’s satellite offices or an entire small business with modern wireless internet access. In its most basic form, E3000 uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard — with backwards compatibility — to share a gigabit LTE signal from an on-board modem, giving users the option to add a second LTE modem to double bandwidth. Later this year, Cradlepoint plans to offer initial 5G modem modules with even higher maximum throughput, most likely customized to the specific 5G network offered by a given carrier, and sub-6GHz 5G modems early in the first quarter of 2021.
Critically, E3000 goes far beyond the basic personal hotspot functionality included with smartphones. The box delivers a wide-area network with enough wireless coverage for an office, and has the ability to run gigabit-speed WAN edge features from Cradlepoint’s NetCloud service using its own processing capabilities. Beyond basics such as content filtering, firewall, and analytics features, E3000 supports IoT edge computing, software-defined WAN management, and BGP routing. It also includes a 2.5Gbps or 5Gbps Ethernet WAN port, a USB port, and an SFP/SFP+ fiber WAN port to connect to wired devices, plus nine gigabit Ethernet WAN/LAN ports, four of which are power-capable.
Edge functionality is widely expected to become important to offices in the 5G era, enabling employees and customers to benefit from low-latency streaming of content stored partially or entirely in a localized cloud. Beyond quickly sharing financial or video data using traditional apps, companies such as ZeroLight will use wireless VR to offer immersive virtual car tours in car dealerships, and Spatial is enabling collaborative “holographic” meetings — including private, locally stored digital objects — using AR and VR hardware.
Despite coronavirus-related disruptions to many of the businesses that might make use of the E3000, Cradlepoint expects the all-in-one router will be used in health care clinics, financial services locations, retail stores, restaurants, and construction sites. Pricing starts at $2,023 for the E3000 with Enterprise Branch NetCloud service, including one gigabit-class (CAT 18) LTE modem. E3000 already has AT&T and Verizon network certifications, plus hardware support for T-Mobile, multiple Canadian carriers, and Europe’s Vodafone and EE. Businesses needing 5G access immediately can pair the E3000 with the company’s previously announced W-series units, which variously support low, mid, and/or high band 5G, depending on the configuration.