LTE Leads the Way Forward in M2M Communications, Out-Of-Band Management

As the markets for voice and data mature, carriers are looking to machine-to-machine communications (M2M) to become the new engine of growth. Through connectivity embedded in everyday objects such as lampposts, household appliances and even automobiles, M2M forms the backbone of the rapidly emerging Internet of Things, the blanket term for a worldwide network of IP-enabled devices communicating with each other.

Increasingly, 4G LTE is playing a key role in the rise of M2M, which isn’t surprising given its material advantages over 3G in terms of speed and spectrum utilization. LTE is already well-known as a fast data pipe, but its uses are diverse, covering M2M transmissions for cars and HD voice for consumers, as well as out-of-band management through all-in-one appliances such as the Opengear IM7200 Infrastructure Manager.

LTE helps spur renewed interest in M2M space from carriers and manufacturers

There’s major opportunity for speed and security upgrades in the M2M ecosystem. Many of them currently sport only Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or 2G/3G connectivity, perhaps with the thought that the technological minimum is sufficient for a market with such low average revenue per user.

The tide may be changing, though, as new devices with time- and life-critical functionalities, such as medical sensors and automobiles, come to market. Automakers such as General Motors have made waves by embedding LTE into newer models. GM executive Mary Chan told CNET that 98 percent of customers with LTE-equipped cars activated a free 3GB/3 month trial.

In addition to fast connectivity for laptops, phones and other devices that can connect to it via a wireless hot spot, LTE service in a car provides an efficient, secure way to transmit regular reports and receive over-the-air system updates. These same attributes make it ideal for medical equipment that may become part of the IoT, even if its coverage footprint isn’t ubiquitous yet.

“There’s no insurance company that will rely on a [wearable device with a] Bluetooth connection to an Android phone for [security and authentication],” stated Eran Eshed, co-founder and vice president at Altair Semiconductor, according to Light Reading “The challenge today is [LTE] coverage.”

Eshed’s firm is currently at work on an LTE-only modem designed for M2M applications. Previously, Altair Semiconductor supplied Verizon with a similar chip for the carrier’s Ellipsis tablet.

Strong outlook for LTE-enabled M2M communications

With LTE providing greater speed and reliability for endpoints, the M2M market is primed for expansion. A study from ReportsnReports predicted a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent from 2014 to 2020, leading to $196 billion in revenue by 2020.

LTE connections are expected to outgrow the market as a whole. They may increase 90 percent over the next six years, ultimately totaling 210 million. Compared to other forms of wireless connectivity, LTE can much better handle bandwidth-intensive tasks such as video surveillance and remote diagnostics reporting.

Similarly, it has unique benefits for OOB management. Technicians can use an Opengear solution with built-in 3G and 4G LTE for smart failover and troubleshooting, even when the primary network goes down. Data center infrastructure can be closely and securely monitored, reducing the mean time to repair during outages.

Saving With Cellular Out-Of-Band Management

Connecting cellular to the data centerIn comparison to legacy technologies like modems, 3G and 4G LTE are superior technologies to use for out-of-band access. When organizations opt for out-of-band management solutions like the Opengear IM7200, they get a best-of-breed cellular wireless connection that is becoming faster and more cost effective over time.

Today’s 3G is able to support a variety of out-of-band management needs. A February 2014 report from OpenSignal found that the average 3G network worldwide offered download speeds around 1.8 Mbps. While this is lower than the 7.5 Mbps average for 4G LTE, it is still significantly better than the download and upload speeds available on a 56K modem typically used for out-of-band. Considering that a 2013 report from the U.S. FCC found that Continue reading

Opengear Wins Award for the IM7200 Infrastructure Manager

Network Products Guide Best of 2014Opengear is happy to announce that Network Products Guide, the industry’s leading technology research and advisory guide, has named the IM7200 Infrastructure Manager a winner in the 9th Annual 2014 Hot Companies and Best Products Awards in the New Products category. These industry and peer awards from Network Products Guide are the world’s premier information technology awards honoring achievements and recognitions in every facet of the IT industry.

The Opengear IM7200 is a state of the art infrastructure management solution which streamlines remote management of network, server and power infrastructure in data center and remote environments, ensuring efficient and secure access, monitoring and control for local and remote operations teams. Continue reading

Networks Are Now Easier to Manage Wirelessly

Back in February, Sprint officially certified the first of our console server products for use on their network, the ACM5004-GS. As we launched this amazingly powerful remote management device, Sprint wrote the following:

“Did you hear that just now? It was the sound of another cord being cut.

No longer does an enterprise have to maintain a specific wired connection to allow for remote access and troubleshooting of Sprint Managed Network Solutions managed routers. Opengear, an infrastructure management solutions company, has introduced a wireless modem that enables this remote management at a lower cost – and with easier setup – than a wired connection. Continue reading

Channel surfing with 4G mobile broadband – a certification nightmare

As first seen on

LTE (Long Term Evolution of GSM/UMTS), marketed as 4G, emerged as the winner of the broadband cellular wars following the initial release of 3G (3rd Generation Partnership Project UMTS-3GPP & EV-DO-3GPP2). During the past 5 years a plethora of technologies filled the void between 3G and the promised 4G with titles such as 3.5G (HSPA, EV-DO Rev. A), 3.75G (HSPA+, EV-DO Rev. B) and 3.9G(DC-HSPA+, EV-DO Rev.C).

Although claimed as an evolution of GSM/UMTS, LTE (3GPP Rel 8 or later) is incompatible with existing 2G and 3G wireless interfaces and requires a separate spectrum. So why go with a new standard and new frequency bands that can’t slot into the existing North American 800~850/1900 MHz bands? Well LTE is completely different to GSM (TDMA) or CDMA or even WCDMA and it boasts Continue reading

Out-Of-Band Management in a Distributed Enterprise

distributed network with headquarters and multiple branch offices on a hexagonal gridThe choice of a distributed architecture for a business is usually determined by the business requirement to support its remote office base at the same level as its main office. Branch offices broaden the reach of the business and are usually a sign of successful business growth. However once the decision to expand with branch offices has been taken, these offices instantly increase the responsibility of the IT/Network Manager who has to ensure Continue reading

T-shirts, Swords & Beer – Cisco Live 2014

Opengear's booth at Cisco Live 2014Cisco Live 2014 (#CLUS), what an event! Opengear along with many other companies participated in this important annual event, Cisco’s premier education and training event for IT professionals. Attendance at the event exceeded 20,000. If you attended, or have ever attended Cisco Live, you understand that in addition to the primary goal of gaining knowledge about the latest IT trends, technologies and product releases, there is an unwritten goal to Continue reading

IT Management is a Marathon not a Sprint

Running a marathon Watching the preparations for the Boston Marathon last month and more recently the Edinburgh Marathon this past weekend, I couldn’t help but relate them to our work in IT Management. My conclusion was that IT Management is a Marathon not a Sprint. Both are challenging, both need expertise and training by the participants, and both result in Continue reading

Taking Your Cisco Out-Of-Band Management to the Next Level

Earlier this week I found some best practice recommendations from Cisco on securing and controlling out-of-band management for their Nexus 7000 series supervisor modules.  Although the recommendations made by Cisco are textbook examples for creating highly available and redundant remote management there are several ways Opengear can expand on those recommendations to help Continue reading

Why We’ve Supported OpenSSL and Why We’re Happy to See Others Now Joining Us

Open Source has always been important throughout our ten year run at Opengear. Heck, it’s even part of our name. OpenSSL has been around even longer than us – since 1998 – and the cryptographic library has been something we’ve taken a keen interest in, as a user of the technology and as a financial supporter, for many of those years. Now, as “OpenSSL” has become visible outside the developer community due to last month’s HeartBleed vulnerability, we thought it time to reinforce why Continue reading