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Published on June 13th, 2014 | by Alexis Argent

4Gon speak to Peplink on the history of Peplink, Peplink Balance 4G Routers, Pepwave MAX HD2 4G range plus the future of wireless technology

Craig Herrett sales Manager at 4Gon Solutions speaks to Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink. The pair discuss the history of Peplink, Peplink Balance 4G Routers, Pepwave MAX HD2 4G range, plus the future of wireless technology and much more.

Broadcasting from various countries around the world using wireless technology, this is 4G Uncovered, a 4Gon Solutions UK podcast.  I’m Craig Herrett and joining us today is Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink. Thanks for joining us today Martin!

4Gon: Please could you give the 4Gon audience a brief introduction on Peplink and its range of products?

Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink: Peplink was formed in 2004 with the sole purpose of producing dedicated easy to use load balancing routers. At that time, although routers existed that could do load balancing it was often a poorly thought out feature addition, and never the core function of the device. Peplink sought to produce specialist, dedicated WAN Path Controllers -, routers designed from the ground up to sit at the edge of enterprise networks and intelligently manage and monitor multiple WAN links – providing session based load balancing.

We very quickly realised that although Load balancing was great for general internet access, IPSec VPN was never designed to cope with its traffic being split across multiple WAN links – this led to the development of our SpeedFusion VPN bonding technology – a point to point VPN implementation that works over multiple WAN links – providing bandwidth aggregation and importantly packet level hot failover across multiple WAN links. We call this unbreakable VPN.

As we identified use cases and applications for SpeedFusion outside of the typical enterprise WAN environments we started to build new hardware products to fill these requirements. This led to our MAX range of cellular routers, devices that support both usb data dongles as well as having embedded 3G and 4G modems, and can deliver secure SpeedFusion VPN anywhere you have any kind of connectivity available.

Today we specialise in three things:

MPLS WAN replacement using our Balance range of products to bond multiple fixed line services from any ISP (we also support USB cellular connectivity on these devices) with the ability to bond anywhere from 2 to 13 WAN links,

Mobile Cellular routers that can bond cellular connectivity from multiple ISPs to create a secure vpn connection anywhere. Mobile and temporary deployment is a big growth area for us. Lots of people want to extend their corporate network into vehicles and provide rapid deployment solutions for things like Public Safety and temporary locations such as building sites.

And we have our own range of Wifi devices- which come in all shapes and sizes, some of these are specialist With IP rated enclosures and varying form factors that can come with or without embedded cellular backhaul for almost any kind of custom deployment. Others have been designed for specific verticals -for example we have our AP One In Wall which is designed to fit a standard single gang backbox as a replacement for a RJ45 data point. It has inbuilt dual band wifi radios as well as a 4 port switch and can be powered over ethernet with POE passthrough for a VoIP handset. We built this for hospitality deployments.
We also have products enabling wifi on high speed trains, Aps with inbuilt software selectable antennas for both directional and omni directional requirements. In fact, if you have a quirky wifi requirement we’ll likely have something off the shelf that will fit, and if we don’t we’ll happily consider making something to do the job.

4Gon: Why should 4Gon customers choose Peplink products over brands such as Conel, i-MO, DrayTek and Sierra Wireless?

Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink: You are right there are a lot of really great vendors out there, with products that do very similar things to ours. Load balancing routers are everywhere, and there are an ever increasing number of VPN Bonding and cellular router products coming onto the market.

In fact it can be actually quite difficult to do like for like comparison between products as every vendor has a slightly different apporach to the verticals that they are targeting. Backed up by different underlying technologies.

I actually get asked this question a lot and for me its not so much what we make but more how we make it and the underlying technologies in place that differentiate us from our competition – let me explain.

First of all its important to emphasise that we are Multi-WAN Specialists. We have been designing, building, selling and supporting MultiWAN routers for 10 years now there really is very little we don’t know about multi WAN routing. Its not an addon function we’ve bolted on to our devices – its their core purpose, and personally I think we do WAN load balancing very well, with granular control over outbound and inbound traffic as well as a really easy web based management interface to monitor and manage it.

And Simplicity is key for us. Our Mantra is WAN diversity simplified. And we really mean it. Load balancing just works out of the box, and even when you are doing point to point VPN bonding between a pair of our devices using 10’s of WAN links, our SpeedFusion VPN only takes a couple of mouse clicks to configure – we are without a doubt industry leading with our ease of configuration.

Also, our SpeedFusion VPN bonding technology is very mature, we have a dedicated team that work on its development and fine tuning for markets all over the world – its tried and tested and it works and improves with every firmware update.

But perhaps most importantly our key differentiator is our complete ecosystem of products, technology and management capability.
Not only do we have a full range of products deployable for almost any application or vertical, we also have a full suite of management technologies too.

We have InControl – our cloud based monitoring and management service, that gives you visibility of your entire Peplink estate, with bandwidth, availability, and client usage monitoring, as well as inbuilt fleet management for our GPS enabled devices.
It acts as a single dashboard where you can monitor and manage all of your Peplink products, and since our routers have inbuilt AP controllers – you can use it to manage wifi deployments as well.

We also have a smartphone app that enables our routers to push notifications to you wherever you are. So you can see when a WAN link fails or get notifications about bandwidth usage – and things like that.

Its this breadth of products and management technology that really makes us stand out against our competition.

4Gon: The Peplink Balance LTE Routers seem to be an impressive range, could you tell us more about these products and what industries they best fit into?  

Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink: Our Peplink Pepwave Max 4G Router product line is very popular and is being deployed in a whole range of industries and verticals. Everywhere from global police forces that want to bond cellular links for live HD video streaming from their vehicles, to building and civil engineering companies that need the corporate LAN extended to portakabins on the side of the motorway or in the middle of a field for a construction project.

Fundamentally every business nowadays needs reliable, resilient bandwidth whereever they are working, be that in a field, on a ship, or in a vehicle. And its our ability to extend the corporate LAN over SpeedFusion VPN reliability using bonded cellular connectivity, that provides many more possibilities than a simple 3G or 4G router.

I am personally surprised almost everyday by customers and integrators who are using our products to provide bonded, resilient bandwidth to a whole host of locations that I simply hadn’t considered before. We have the Peplink MAX HD2s up mountains, on oil rigs, in heads of states personal vehicles and aircraft- in fact everywhere and anywhere that secure reliable bandwidth is required.

4Gon: Does Peplink have any plans to bring out any more 4G or wireless access points in the near future?, if so please could you tell us more about these?

Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink: We are always innovating and responding to customer requirements. One of the benefits of doing all software development and hardware design in house is our ability to bring new products to market fast – often much quicker than our competition. Due to be released in the next couple of weeks is our Pepwave MAX HD2 mini cellular router a smaller form factor micro usb powered router designed for installation into tight spaces and built with an eye on body worn applications. It will be a great addition to our expanding range of cellular bonding products.

4Gon: And finally with wireless technology improving, with the emergence of standards such as 3G, 4G and in the future 5G, how do you see the wireless industry moving forward?

Martin Langmaid, Solution Architect at Peplink:One of the biggest growth areas is of course M2M applications – with more and more devices becoming internet connected every day. We’re already seeing our routers installed into vending machines and ATMs with our customers using InControl to monitor and manage 1000’s of devices with centralised firmware deployment and configuration management.

But I think in the future, the real challenge will be less about bandwidth availability (especially as 5G rolls out) and much more about reliability and ISP diversity – something we are already doing over the existing 3G and 4G networks.

That said, there will always be poor coverage areas where bandwidth bonding will be required, so i expect we will see smaller dual modem cellular routers (like the HD2 slim) as well as larger routers with more embedded connectivity (like our HD4) being used on a case by case basis depending on the deployment. It will never be a one box fits all approach.

As for Peplinks approach to the future demand – we will continue doing what we have always done. Innovate products and technology based on real world customer requirements, making simple, elegant, and reliable products and technologies exactly how our customers need them.

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