Inseego introduces new ruggedized gigabit 4G routers with 5G roadmap
Inseego recently announced the Skyus 300 and Skyus 500, which are two ruggedized gigabit edge routers that are part of the company’s industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) portfolio and are designed to bolster connectivity in the industrial, public safety, transportation and infrastructure sectors, according to a company official.
Ashish Sharma, executive vice president of IoT and mobile solutions for Inseego—a company formerly known as Novatel until the name was changed a couple of years ago—said the Skyus 300 and Skyus 500 routers both deliver LTE Cat 18 connections with peak speeds of 1.2 GB/s with 4G LTE Advanced Pro technology. Powered by Inseego’s MiFi iQ technology, both routers also will work with 3.5 GHz CBRS and 5 GHz License Assisted Access (LAA) systems.
Soon, Inseego’s new routers will support even faster 5G signals—including those transmitted on millimeter-wave networks, where available—with the addition of an external unit that will be available later this year.
“That will be coming later, once our key customers launch these 5G offerings this year in the coming months,” Sharma said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “On the same platform, we will be able to add an external unit to it that will supply that millimeter-wave and 5G capability.”
Adding the 5G extension—units that likely will be expensive this year but should drop noticeably in price next year, when they can be manufactured with greater scale—to the Skyus 300 and the Skyus 500 will be “very straightforward,” according to Sharma.
“It will not be difficult at all—that’s what they’re working on,” he said. “For any reasonable-sized customer, it should be a piece of cake.”
Inseego will have a version of the Skyus 300 and Skyus 500 routers available during the third quarter that will enable FirstNet connectivity, Sharma said.
We have the FirstNet support built into our modem technology, but we are going through integration of that mobile skew now, and we need to go through AT&T certifications,” Sharma said. That work is ongoing right now, and we will be launching that product by next quarter or so.”
Both the Skyus 300 and Skyus 500 provide high-speed routing in a ruggedized package that conforms with IP64 and MIL-STD 810G military-grade specifications. However, the more-expensive Skyus 500 does give users greater flexibility, according to Sharma.
“The 300 and 500 are meant for very, very similar use cases and applications,” Sharma said. “The main difference is that the 500 series is a superset with power over Ethernet built into it, so it can power external devices—IP cameras and stuff like that—and it’s got more antenna ports. If you want to run a CAT 18 connection with CBRS, LAA and high-powered Wi-Fi all at the same time, then that 500-series device is for you.
“With that 300-series device, we’ve taken out the power over Ethernet and some other things to bring to a lower price point for the end customer that doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles. Also, we have fewer antenna ports, which means you can mix and match the things you want to deploy, but you cannot do all of the things simultaneously … It’s basically a stripped-down version of the 500 series for customers that do not need to support all of those use cases at the same time.”
By supporting multiple connectivity protocols, the new Inseego routers can provide users—particularly those in the critical-infrastructure space—with greater assurance that they will have reliable access to broadband connectivity, Sharma said.
“For these types of use cases, our routers have multiple WAN ports built into it,” Sharma said. “We have a fixed WAN port, so you can have a fixed ISP connection in it. We have a Wi-Fi port built into it, through which you can connect devices to this router. Obviously, we have a 4G LTE modem embedded in it—that is a second WAN connection, in addition to the fixed WAN connection.
“We also have these small Skyus DS and SC type of modem devices that that are much less expensive. You can add that as a third WAN connection through the Ethernet port as a third WAN connection, and that modem could be connected to a different carrier … Now you’ve got, in one way, three different carriers—the ISP for the first connection, the CAT 18 to one carrier, and a lower CAT through an external device to another carrier. That’s as connection-proof as we get. And we’ve built great software in it to be able to switch back and forth between those connections smartly and very quickly.”
Sharma said the new Inseego routers are designed to meet growing reliability and security requirements that users have as they become increasingly dependent on wireless connectivity being both robust and secure.
“There was a time when customers were trying to hook up a lot of this critical infrastructure to Wi-Fi,” Sharma said. “I think those days are gone, because you know that Wi-Fi isn’t that secure—it’s best-effort, it very vulnerable. The carrier networks, from that perspective are foolproof. When was the last time you heard of an LTE network being broken into?
“Yes, we have Wi-Fi built into these devices for connecting edge computers and things like that, but the connection between that location and your head office is all run through a highly secure carrier network. It’s much different than anything that’s been done before.
“Security on these devices is paramount, … and we take that very seriously. We have a long history of developing solutions with many layers of security, and we’ve never been broken into. We’re crossing our fingers that we can keep that streak going.”
Even with all of these features, the price of the Skyus 300 and Skyus 500 will be “comparable” with other routers in the market, Sharma said.
“Our strategy is to bring the latest and greatest technology at very competitive price points, similar to those in in the market,” he said. “It will be very competitive with the industrial routers that you see today in the market.”