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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 thatmost Internet service providers fail to provide promised speeds, the gap between 3G and legacy modems is likely far bigger. Most companies would only need to procure a 5 or 10 MB data plan to get the cellular out-of-band access they need.

The next generation, 4G LTE, “delivers a peak speed of 100 Mbps for download”, Diarmuid Mallon wrote in ZDNet.  PCMag’s Sascha Segan wrote in December 2013 “In general, anything involving transferring large amounts of data gets a big boost from 4G.  4G coverage is only going to get better, and that’s where the carriers are spending most of their money right now.”

Even if a remote site only has access to 3G networks, using cellular out-of-band management solutions is a far better option than dial-up modems and other legacy systems. As the price of a cellular data plan goes down and as 3G wireless networks become more robust worldwide, the benefits gained via embedded cellular out-of-band access becomes more obvious.

“The number of 3G networks worldwide has doubled over the past five years, driving the corresponding increase in 3G market share from 8 percent to 25 percent during the same period, supported by the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband devices,” GSMA Intelligence Analyst Calum Dewar said.

3G and 4G LTE, in addition to being faster than most modems and widely available, are often the most affordable option for out-of-band management. Companies should expect to pay between $5 and $10 monthly for the data plan needed to use our cellular out-of-band management solutions. In comparison, a phone line will often cost $60 a month. By opting for a dial-up modem versus cellular for out-of-band, businesses get a slower connection that is more costly to implement. Plus, a cellular data plan can be set up in a day while some Internet service providers will take months to establish an out-of-band line.

“So when you start doing the math, our products pay for themselves, it’s very rapid,” our VP of Sales, Todd Rychecky said. “The product itself is paid for in 9 to 12 months, and then you’re saving a tremendous amount of money in Telco expenses over the next 2 to 5 years. And it’s faster.” He added “you can do things like send a Cisco router or switch out to a remote site along with an Opengear device, have it plugged in, it will actually call home and you can configure that router remotely over a cellular network. There’s a lot of flexibility there.”

“The cellular connectivity that many of our products provide gives unique 3G and 4G network accessible solutions to our clients,” said Opengear Co-Founder Tony Merenda. “The addition of cellular networks for OOBM vastly increases the use cases and possibilities of these solutions. With 3G or 4G LTE networks, IT managers can remotely diagnose and resolve primary network issues that may have previously required onsite maintenance. It’s been a significant change in how remote sites can be managed.”

No matter if a company has adopted 4G-enabled tools like the IM7200 or 3G-focused solutions like the ACM5000, it will see immediate benefits versus legacy out-of-band management solutions. By embracing dedicated cellular wireless connectivity for out-of-band versus modems, organizations will get a faster and more affordable way to keep tabs on mission-critical infrastructure and better guarantee network uptime. As the cellular wireless industry evolves, Opengear will evolve with it, providing out-of-band management solutions that enable IT teams to ensure business continuity and optimal network functionality from anywhere and at any time.