Opengear has reported a massive rise in demand for 3G solutions to provide secure out-of-band connectivity to remote sites and mobile locations for network infrastructure monitoring and management.
Out-of-band remote access has traditionally been served over fixed PSTN dial-in or DSL, providing an independent, resilient access path to troubleshoot and repair remote networks during infrastructure fault conditions or outages. However in the last year, demand for 3G products has overtaken traditional solutions by 32.3% and the lead is growing.
“The pervasiveness of cellular networks and drastically reduced provisioning time of a wireless solution is one clear driver,” explains Robert Waldie, VP Business Development for Opengear, “and with networks moving to fibre and VoIP, repurposing a spare copper line for out-of-band is simply no longer an option. But cost is also a significant advantage.”
With high levels of competition between the cellular carriers, 3G data plans typical cost up to 70% less than PSTN or DSL equivalents. “Cellular wireless is also well suited to highly distributed installs such as branch offices, campus-wide networks and building wiring closets, where it would be impractical and expensive to run secondary fixed lines,” Waldie adds.
The most popular 3G model is the ACM5004-G Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) gateway, equipped with serial console, USB and Ethernet ports for management connectivity to critical network infrastructure.
The unit has environmental sensors and optional digital I/O for water leak, cabinet open and other physical sensors, to enable monitoring and management not just of remote networks, but of entire remote sites. These industrial grade cellular gateways use any 3G network to deliver real-time monitoring, secure access and remote control regardless of location.
“It’s difficult to match the ease of deployment of a cellular solution – insert the SIM and you’re most of the way there,” explains Waldie. “This has given rise to the practice of parachuting pre-configured cellular RIM gateways into problematic sites with little or no onsite technical staff, completely eliminating the need for a physical site visit and associated costs.”
Opengear management solutions are particularly beneficial in high security environments, offering support for a broad suite of enterprise-grade security protocols, such as strong-cipher Secure Shell and IPsec, with full authentication against existing services such as Kerberos, Active Directory, TACACS+, and RADIUS with RSA SecurID two-factor.