Last week, we discussed “What to look for in a 4G router” and the first question we asked ourselves was related to the “use-cases”. This week we will dive deeper into the various use cases of LTE or 5G routers and LTE or 5G modems.
LTE modems and LTE routers (sometimes known as “MiFi“ for some of the lower-end personal LTE routers), and the upcoming 5G versions, are an evolution of the cellular connectivity that normally provides Internet access to your mobile phone. So, historically, LTE routers and also 2G and 3G modems have a use case for individual connectivity needs. The specific use cases can be vast and since these applications usually do not require the performance and feature set of advanced LTE routers, we will leave that set of personal use cases for later.
LTE connection speeds with the new category versions rapidly being deployed, have come a long way and are now capable of providing connectivity speeds that are impressive. Because of that, they are becoming a connectivity option for enterprise branch offices. Whether in the retail, healthcare, food or financial sectors, the LTE router is used as the edge WAN device for the enterprise branch. There might be various reasons for using an LTE or 5G router as the permanent and primary Internet connectivity for a small or mid-sized branch, although lack of wired connectivity options is the most common.
For scenarios where the LTE router will be used as a temporary Internet connectivity solutions, the use-case might be related to the time sensitivity of the network activation. It is fairly, common to have install lead times as high as several months (compared to the same day for an LTE or 5G router) and in the fast-paced business world we live in, those types of high lead times are not acceptable. An advanced LTE router with built-in firewall, QoS and traffic management capabilities will provide the much needed connectivity to the cloud for a new pop-up retail store.
Similarly, kiosks can be connected to the cloud and the backend systems of the business via LTE routers. Kiosks by definition will be portable or in locations where wired Internet connectivity might be problematic to provision.
The ultimate mobility of course is with vehicles, where Internet connectivity can easily be provided by LTE routers. The vehicles may be part of a specialty vehicle fleet where the internet is needed for various systems or applications running the vehicle, such as security cameras or telemetry data. Or perhaps the vehicles are part of a mass transportation system, such as buses or trains. For these vehicles, LTE routers can provide Internet connectivity for the passengers in the form of WiFi. Some other vehicular use cases include mobile clinics, bus libraries, first responders, law enforcement and others.
We are about to unleash the real power of connected machines. Sometimes called IoT (Internet of Things) or Machine to Machine (M2M), with the reduction of connectivity cost, virtually any thing can afford to be connected to the cloud. The application can vary from tracking parts, to monitoring crops to managing your home electronics remotely over the Internet. In any of these applications, either for the “thing” itself, or as a gateway for the collection of “things”, LTE routers can be a good and sometimes the only alternative.
Of course, we assumed in all of the use cases described so far, that the LTE router is providing the primary connectivity. In some scenarios, however, the LTE modem may provide a failover network, instead of a primary network. The advanced LTE routers are capable of having wired WAN, as well as two or more LTE connections and intelligently combining them to create networks with 4G automated failover. Check out, for example, the Broadband Bonding LTE routers here.
In some cases, the deployment requires a physically segregated network from the primary network and therefore a separate router may work better, which we call the secondary network use case.
Whatever your use case might be, we recommend broadband bonding LTE routers with advanced routing, firewalling, traffic shaping, layer 7 filtering, quality of service and bandwidth reservations.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.