Cradlepoint On How Wireless Use Cases Have ‘Exploded’ And Why Fixed Line Is ‘A Dinosaur’

‘Anything that can be wireless, will be wireless. We’re just scratching the surface in terms of the use cases and opportunity. If you think about what 4G did for the consumer, we’re now bringing that into the business and 5G is going to accelerate that even more,’ Cradlepoint’s executives tells CRN.


The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned creativity in connectivity, according to Cradlepoint executives.

For the wireless edge networking specialist, every conversation with customers revolves around harnessing cellular and wireless as their primary connection point where it was once was only considered as a backup or failover option for businesses, Eric Purcell, senior vice president, global partner sales Cradlepoint, told CRN ahead of the America Partner Summit this week.

“What’s really interesting is we used to be failover-only. We have a lot of major enterprises, in retail, healthcare, and finance, that have cut the cord and the pandemic actually accelerated a lot of it,” he said. “When you go to your coffee shop, most likely, it has a Cradlepoint in it.”

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Many businesses across a variety of industries have learned that fixed line networks are very inflexible. Too inflexible to adapt to new use cases that have emerged over the last two years, such as emergency triage environments, pop-up COVID-19 testing and vaccination settings, and users working from remote locations, said Mark Pugerude, chief sales officer for Cradlepoint.

“Fixed line is kind of like a dinosaur,” he said. What did prove to be adaptable, he said, was wireless.

“The use cases for wireless have exploded,” Pugerude said. “The creativity and ability to put networking wherever [users are] at; it’s one of the fun parts for our channel partners. Now, every time they go on a sales call, they know that every customer has a use case that would be acceptable for wireless.”

[Related: How Cradlepoint Catapulted An Agent Into A Winning Business LTE, 5G Provider ]

That’s because wireless networking is instantaneous. “You could order a Cradlepoint router on a Monday, it ships on a Tuesday and everything’s up and running by Wednesday. That’s stimulated [ideas like] ‘Maybe we should do this for our warehouse, or our remote offices, or our visual signage,” Pugerude said.

The new opportunities have created a new wave of excitement for channel partners, he added.

StepCG, a networking-focused solution provider and Cradlepoint partner, is now leading with 4G LTE, 5G and cellular, said Ed Walton, CEO of Covington, Ky.-based StepCG.

“We’re like the next generation solution provider,” he said. “Wireless is now primetime, but customers are still just learning about it.”

StepCG is working with a large retailer based in the Midwest that is relying on Cradlepoint’s wireless technology as the primary connection across its more than 200 locations nationwide. “We’re converting all these customers and saying: ‘You’re using Cradlepoint failover, but here’s what you can do with as the primary,’” Walton said. “It’s an education thing. We tell customers who are already using it for backup what can be done and what other customers are using [wireless and cellular] for.” The retailer client is saving about $2 million a year for its connectivity, he added.

StepCG also has a private cellular practice that it’s using to help schools overcome the digital divide, in addition to supplying private cellular connectivity for use cases such as airports, stadiums, and manufacturing floors. “We’re leveraging open APIs to offer security and managed services around it,” Walton added.

Once it’s deployed, StepCG is often scoring the rest of the client’s business – their traditional wired environments, too, he said.

Partners and customers use NetCloud Manager – the “heart and soul” of Cradlepoint and the management service within Cradlepoint’s platform that lets IT administrators manage branch offices, vehicles, and IoT environments. The company currently has more than 2 million routers and adapters and 28,000 active customers in more than 50 plus countries, on NetCloud Manager, according to Boise, Idaho-based Cradlepoint.

Cradlepoint last year launched a 5G specialization, a first for the industry, Purcell said. The company has about 50 partners that achieved the specialization so far. “Those partners are reaping the benefits. Two specifically are getting ready to transform two of the largest retailers in the world, so they’re getting a return on their investment. Again, we’re seeing those retailers cut the cord, which is really exciting,” he added.

“Anything that can be wireless, will be wireless. We’re just scratching the surface in terms of the use cases and opportunity,” Purcell said. “If you think about what 4G did for the consumer, we’re now bringing that into the business and 5G is going to accelerate that even more.”

Cradlepoint, which is owned by parent company Ericsson, about doubled the size of its company since late 2020. The company is investing heavily in Europe, Asia, and North America, as well as with distributor partners to grow its channel ecosystem, Pugerude said. Cradlepoint is also forging technology alliances with players such as Amazon Web Services, Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks, and Palo Alto Networks.