On Tuesday, CradlePoint released a new version of its firmware for the new NetBSD-based routers which are the CBR400, CBR450, CTR35, MBR95, and MBR1400. The major new features are GPS support for a large number of modems, ability to load balance two LTE or WiMAX connections, true VLAN support, routing without NAT, and Modem Data Usage tracking. This 3.3.0 release marks the addition of a substantial number of new features and is the most feature-packed release yet.
CradlePoint has been positioning itself over the past couple of years to move more into the enterprise space rather than compete almost solely in the consumer space. The advent of MiFi-type devices and cell phone personal hotspot capabilities has made the consumer space much more crowded and more difficult to reach.
The enterprise space, on the other hand, has fewer competitors and has a much greater potential profit. Other players in the specific space that CradlePoint is targeting include Cisco and Peplink. All of this brings us to firmware version 3.3.0.
From the release notes, the new features in the 3.3.0 firmware include:
- Two WiMAX or LTE modems may be used in Load Balancing on the MBR1400. More modems may or may not work depending on their power draw (which is affected by how close they are to a tower).
- Ethernet VLANs (MBR1400, CBR400/450). 802.1q IEEE standard Virtual LANs (VLANs) support on Local Area Networks (LANs) has been added. The objective of a VLAN is to allow a user to create, operate and administer partitioned networks on an existing network bridge.
- NAT-less routing. A “Standard” mode for Ethernet routing has been added. It does not provide Network Address Translation. Network Settings –> (WiFi) Local Networks –> Local IP Networks –> Local Network Editor –> IP Settings –> Routing Mode = Standard.
- Modem Data Usage and alerts. Under Internet –> Data Usage Management and Alerts is the ability to monitor the amount of data passing through a WAN interface such as a modem or Ethernet port. A user can set up rules to send an alert or shut down the WAN interface when the data usage reaches a defined amount. CradlePoint does not guarantee the data usage monitoring will match your carrier or ISP’s data use measurement, so setting your thresholds below their limit and monitoring their reported usage is prudent.
- Measurement data is saved to the router once an hour. If you power cycle the router you will lose some data usage.
- The page also provides some history graphs to show usage.
- Using the Historical Data field, you can pre-seed your data usage. For example, if you know your modem already has 3.5GB used against a 5GB data cap you can add that information.
- VPN NAT-T and Transport Mode added. NAT Traversal (NAT-T) allows a tunnel to be established with an endpoint that is behind a NAT’ed firewall. Transport Mode is a VPN mode (Tunnel Mode is the other) and allows for end-to-end communications.
- Additional time zones. Five time zones were added. This setting allows the router’s log to have the proper time zone. The router UI uses your browser’s settings to display time and does not use these settings.
- MBR1400 now allows 4 SSIDs to be configured.
- Any single LAN group (group of SSIDs and Ethernet LAN ports) can be configured with Hotspot Services, not just the Guest SSID. You can still only have one Hotspot configuration (Simple Terms of Service or RADIUS/UAM).
- (Experimental feature) Command Line Interface over SSH. Under System Settings –> Administration –> Remote Management –> Enable SSH server and Port. This allows a user to administer the router either locally or remotely through a command-line interface. The username is “admin” and the password is the router’s administration password. The list of supported commands is provided with the ‘help’ command, and individual commands will also show help if you preceed the command with help (‘help wan’ for example). The configuration and status of the router can be checked and set using a directory-like structure.
A few defects fixed are also listed:
- Sierra Wireless 598U did not work correctly on USB port #3 on the MBR1400.
- Defects in detecting WAN failure conditions have been fixed, allowing better Failover performance.
- Issues in VPN with WAN interface failover.
- Improved failure detection for WAN failover and failback.
- No longer show disassociated WiFi clients under LAN section in the Clients List.
- A defect seen while Load-Balancing with multiple modems was fixed.
- Wireless as WAN working with WiFi hotspots on iPhone, Overdrive Pro, and some Android devices.
CradlePoint is doing an impressive job at adding new features. I am especially impressed with VLAN support, routing without NAT, Modem Data Usage tracking, and load balancing with multiple LTE or WiMAX modems. All of these features will be covered in the forthcoming MBR1400 review which is now being updated to reflect changes in firmware version 3.3.0.
As always, the full release notes are available from CradlePoint’s web site. In addition, the 3.3.0 firmware files are available for direct download for each of the following routers:
You can also support this site by purchasing any of CradlePoint’s routers through 3Gstore.com which also provides excellent support for your purchase. The CBR400, CBR450, CTR35, MBR95, and MBR1400 are all available as are many other excellent products.