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LTE Router - use cases from IoT to enterprise & anything in-between

Last week, we have discussed "What to look for in a 4G router" and the first question to ask ourselves was related to the "use-cases". This week we will dive deeper into the various use cases of LTE routers and LTE modems.

LTE modems and LTE routers (also sometimes the lower end personal LTE routers are branded as MiFi), are an evolution of the cellular connectivity that normally provides the 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 vest 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 case outside of our discussion.

LTE connections speeds with the new category versions rolling out fast, 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 retail, healthcare, food or financial sectors, the LTE router is used as the edge WAN device for the enterprise branch. There might be various reason for using an LTE router as the permanent and primary Internet connectivity for a small or mid-sized branch, including lack of wired connectivity options is the most common one.

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 router) and in the fast paced business world we live in, those type of high lead times are not acceptable. An advanced LTE router with built-in firewall, QoS and traffic management capabilities will provide the most 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 as part of a specialty vehicle fleet, or perhaps as part of a mass transportation vehicle, Internet connectivity for the systems running in the vehicle (such as security cameras, telemetry data) or Internet connectivity for the passenger applications (such as wifi for train and bus passengers) can be powered with LTE routers. Some use case examples 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 Machite to Machine (M2M), with the reduction of connectivity cost, any thing (literally) 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 fail-over network, instead of a primary network. The advanced LTE routers are capable to have wired WAN, as well as 2 or more LTE connections and intelligently combine them to create networks with 4G automated failover.¬ Check out for example the Broadband Bonding LTE routers here.

In some cases, the deployment require 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, firewall'ing, 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.

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