AT&T announces Cradlepoint products as FirstNet Ready and able to migrate to 5G
AT&T announced that, beginning today, FirstNet subscribers and AT&T business customers can use Cradlepoint in-office and rugged in-vehicle routers that leverage AT&T’s 5G Evolution technology immediately and provide an easy upgrade path to 5G in the future.
“Uniting the unmatched benefits of FirstNet with the future promises of 5G can unlock a whole new world of public safety potential. These Cradlepoint devices serve as an important step in that progression,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president, FirstNet at AT&T, said in a prepared statement.
“By bringing these devices to the FirstNet ecosystem, we can continue to keep public safety on the cutting edge in network technology. First responders can benefit from fast speeds today while getting a path to easily move to 5G at a future state without having to fully rip and replace their equipment.”
5G Evolution is AT&T’s technological upgrade to cell sites that enable theoretical cell-site data speeds of 400 MB/s to 800 MB/s, which likely translates to 40 MB/s to 80 MB/s for individual consumer users, according to Scott Mair, AT&T’s president of operations. Cell sites that have been upgraded to 5G Evolution are designed to migrate to meet the full 5G standard via a software upgrade, with no hardware changes, multiple AT&T officials have said.
AT&T cell sites are expected to upgraded to 5G Evolution in 400 markets by the end of this year, and the 5G Evolution upgrades are scheduled to be completed nationwide in more than 500 markets by the middle of 2019, Mair said.
According to an AT&T press release, the following four Cradlepoint 5G Evolution routers are available only to FirstNet subscribers—all of the routers have completed more than 3,500 tests and are deemed to be “FirstNet Ready”—and AT&T Business customers until March 2019:
- “IBR900-1200M and IBR1700-1200M – Ruggedized, GPS-enabled mobile routers built to connect a wide range of in-vehicle applications that can be used in a variety of public safety and commercial settings: police cruisers, ambulances, fire apparatuses, mobile command centers, public utility vehicles, school buses, delivery trucks, taxi and limo fleets, and more.
- “AER2200-1200M – An all-in-one office router designed for small- to medium-sized businesses.
- “MC400-1200M – A modular modem that can be used with applicable Cradlepoint routers to provide primary or secondary LTE connectivity on the FirstNet communications platform or other AT&T networks.”
Cradlepoint’s offerings include the first FirstNet Ready 5G Evolution in-vehicle routers on the market, according to an AT&T spokesperson.
For FirstNet subscribers, the Cradlepoint devices are able to take advantage of the physically separate FirstNet LTE core and prioritized communications, according to the AT&T press release. Potential public-safety use cases include sending and receiving high-quality video in the field, supporting computer-aided-dispatch (CAD) capabilities on first-responder vehicles, and establishing connectivity during a disaster or planned event, according to the AT&T press release.
A key feature of the Cradlepoint in-vehicle solutions is that they include modular modem slots that allow users to expand capabilities without having to replace a router, according to Donna Johnson, Cradlepoint’s vice president of product and solution marketing.
“If you already have an in-vehicle solution, you can add one of our FirstNet modular modems in the empty slot,” Johnson said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “If you don’t have a Cradlepoint solution, you can purchase one with the FirstNet Ready [functionality] already integrated … So, it’s not a rip-and-replace [scenario] at all.”
For business users, Cradlepoint’s wireless edge solutions are designed to transmit and receive large amounts of data between an enterprise and the cloud, as well as supporting more Internet of Things (IoT) devices, according to the AT&T press release.
“As cellular technology advances in speed and reliability, businesses are excited to embrace 5G technology,” Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business, said in a prepared statement. “These Cradlepoint devices are the perfect wireless solution to complement how a company uses AT&T Fiber to power their business. These solutions bring intelligent connectivity to new destinations—empowering businesses as they innovate and create new revenue opportunities.”