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Cradlepoint, Extreme Networks partner on 5G WWAN

Cradlepoint and Extreme Networks will combine the former's 5G routers with the latter's network fabric to build a 5G wireless WAN for remote deployments.

Cradlepoint and Extreme Networks have introduced a joint 5G wireless WAN for remote deployments. The offering comprises Cradlepoint's 5G/LTE routers and Extreme's network fabric.

The partners claim the integrated technologies simplify launching a wireless WAN, or WWAN, in a hospital's mobile clinic or a branch location. Motor City Wash Works in Michigan has deployed the joint offering in an automated car wash, the companies said.

The partnership, announced this week, will offer Extreme's network fabric to build a LAN in a remote location. Extreme will also provide the tools for managing the network and automatically configuring new devices. Cradlepoint's 5G router will handle traffic moving between the LAN and an outside cellular network.

"The goal of this partnership is a joint go-to-market with an integrated solution," said Roy Chua, founder and principal analyst at AvidThink.

For Cradlepoint, the partnership offers a toehold in new markets. Cradlepoint provides gear used by ambulances and firetrucks to stay connected on the road. Extreme is in healthcare, education and the public sector.

"Partnering very tightly with Extreme was just a natural steppingstone," said Robin Manke-Cassidy, Cradlepoint's director of solution marketing. "Many of our channel partners for both Extreme and Cradlepoint are joint partners, so they already sell both of us -- this just streamlines how they can take us into an opportunity together."

Another factor is that Cradlepoint's parent company, mobile networking giant Ericsson, has not traditionally sold networking technology for the data center and campus, according to Chua.

"Ericsson historically has been going after the carrier market," Chua said. "The desire here is that this could be a bridge for Ericsson to expand their reach into the enterprise market, especially with the rise of private 5G."

There are direct competitors for a fully functioned, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi/cellular network product. They include Digi, Inseego and Peplink.

The partnership will also compete with vendors providing less functional but easier to use 5G technology. Chua gave the example of Cisco Meraki's 5G-enabled remote access point, which has fewer features than the Cradlepoint-Extreme collaboration, but has an edge for simplicity.

The combined network fabric and WWAN from Cradlepoint and Extreme is available now through the companies' channel partners.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media.

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