Frequently Asked Questions
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What does CrossBridge do?
CrossBridge Solutions is a M2M Service Provider who focuses exclusively on wireless data. We are a wireless service provider and add value to the existing network structure of AT&T or Sprint. We have over 20-years of experience in the wireless industry and understand the tremendous role wireless technology plays in today’s business. CrossBridge Solutions may be your only point of contact for connectivity, activations, invoicing, support, and problem resolution. We can connect your server to all of the carrier networks through one secure and affordable connection. We ensure efficient routing across multiple networks and provide redundant connections to these networks. You can utilize the economical public Internet for host connectivity, but you’ll be running through CrossBridge Solution’s redundant, reliable, secure private connections to each of our wireless network providers. CrossBridge does not provide any hardware or software components, but we do work hand-in-hand with a variety of respected business partners.
What are some of the key vertical markets for a wireless M2M offering?
Key vertical markets include applications where information exchange is periodic or random (not streaming). General markets might include:
- Tower Monitoring
- Meter Reading
- Energy Management (Solar and Wind farms)
- Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants
- Building Management (HVAC and Energy management)
- Trash Compactors
- Fixed asset monitoring
- High Value Shipments
- Tobacco Shipments
- Equipment and Materials at a construction site
- Vehicle Logistics
- Vehicle Tracking
- TAXI Dispatching
- Rail Cars and Switching
- Cashless Transactions
- Cashless Vending
- Border Patrol
- Home Health Care
- Patient Monitoring
- Remote Diagnostics
Fleet Management (sometimes considered Asset Tracking)
Point of Sale and Banking
What are some of the important factors to consider in the end-to-end design of a wireless application?
When moving from a wired to a wireless solution, there may be no such thing as plug and play.
- Choosing the best wireless network provider - CrossBridge Solutions!
- End-to-end connectivity options
- Understanding what coverage is and is not.
- Methods to keep utilization as low as possible
- Frequency of message transmissions
- Understanding protocol overhead
- Understanding the importance of a Static IP
- Methods of Problem Determination and Problem Management
- Methods to prevent billing catastrophes
At a very minimum, you must carefully consider the following:
What is the CrossBridge Difference?
CrossBridge will be you primary point of contact for wireless service, support, problem resolution and customized invoicing.
Consider these facts:
- We owned an operated our own network for over 16 years.
- Unparalleled wireless experience - We know data!
- A NOC is the place from which a communications network is supervised, monitored and maintained.
- Our NOC is staffed 24-hours per day, 365-days per year.
- Internet Direct Connectivity
- A variety of software tunnel and VPN connections.
- A variety of hardware tunnel and VPN connections
- Low Kilobyte or Megabyte plans are available - which is a key for M2M applications.
- Device Pooling
- The Web Portal can be used to activate and deactivate devices and manage rate plans.
- The Web Portal provides for problem determination.
- The Web Portal provides methods to identify exceptional utilization.
- All networks are consolidated on one bill
- We provide usage based billing and device detail
- We have the ability to provide custom bills for our resellers.
We have been providing M2M solutions for over 20-years.
We have extensive Carrier Experience
We have our own Network Operations Center (NOC)
We provide a variety of Host Connectivity Options
We provide a variety of Rate Plans
We provide a Web Portal Interface
We have a flexible Billing System
What is the importance of carrier experience?
To put it bluntly - "been there and done that!"
- We understand network infrastructures.
- We understand the importance of coverage.
- We understand the impact of network outages.
- We understand device utilization criteria.
- We understand the tremendous role wireless technology plays in today's business.
- AT&T GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA/+
- SPRINT CDMA/1xRTT/EVDO/+
We owned and operated our own Network for over 16-years. (1990 - 2006)
We now utilize advanced technologies from significant Network Providers
We were the first Master Value Added Reseller (VAR) for SPRINT (2004)
We are one of only four VAR for AT&T. (2006)
How important is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?
- Network Management
- Device Management
- Performance Monitoring
- Problem Determination
- Physical Divesity
- Multiple power sources
- UPS Power with Dual backup generators
- Diverse Carrier Infrastructure
- Dual Tier-1 Providers
- Secure Access Points
- Tight Access Controls
- Virtual Private Networks
- Private/Static IP addressing
A Network Operations Center (NOC) is the focal point for:
The Crossbridge NOC is staffed 24-hours per day, 7-days per week, 365-days per year
The CrossBridge NOC is comprised of a hardened and secure data center which provides:
What are your Host Connectivity Options.
- Standard Tunnel for Microsoft Operating Systems (most common)
- Hardware Tunnel for non-Microsoft Operating Systems
- IPSec VPN Software with Null Encryption
- IPSec VPN with DES Encryption
- IPSec VPN with Triple-DES Encryption
- IPSec VPN with AES 256-bit Encryption
CrossBridge provides a variety of ways to provide server access. The two primary methods of end-to-end connectivity are:
Internet Direct Method of ConnectivityIf the wireless device will always originate the transaction, you might consider what we refer to as “Internet Direct” connectivity. CrossBridge offers the Internet Direct option for customers with device based request / response applications where the request is sent over the internet to a customer host or Web Server.
When using the Internet Direct option, the wireless device must originate all sessions. Device traffic is routed through our Network Operations Center and traverses the Internet to a URL of a Web Based server. This traffic is subject to typical Internet security and timing constraints. The CrossBridge Multi-Network Engine blocks any Internet initiated traffic for security reasons and to prevent unauthorized wireless usage.
A Tunnel ConnectionIf a host/server will be required to originate a message to a wireless device you might consider one of our Tunnel or VPN methods of connectivity. This type of connectivity can also provide a fixed Static IP for every wireless device in the field. This would allow the server to originate a message to a wireless device on demand. We can offer the following Tunnel/VPN connections:
The Standard Tunnel method of connectivity is typically used in Microsoft environments as a cost-effective, reliable method for communicating with your wireless devices. The Standard Tunnel provides a path for your server traffic over the Internet by creating a dedicated Layer 2 Tunnel (L2TP). This is probably the most common method used today. The CrossBridge Standard Tunnel option utilizes the core communication facilities of the Microsoft Operating System – no new software is installed. Each tunnel connection has a unique username and password. While these credentials could be shared, only one simultaneous connection can be made at a time.
Why is utilization and the choice of rate plans so important?
The answer is quite simple. Wireless application developers do everything they can to reduce end-to-end traffic flow because everything that goes over-the-air is billable. This includes the payload data and any protocol overhead. In a wired application, you don't normally need to be concerned about protocol overhead. It doesn't matter if TCP 'keep-alives' are sent every 30-seconds. However, in a wireless application these 'keep-alives' can add significant billable data. Most wireless applications don't start a TCP session and maintain the TCP session for long periods of time. With a wireless application, you want to start a session, send the data, and close the session.
If you are really concerned about utilization, many wireless application developers choose UDP over TCP because the protocol overhead.
- Message size
- Frequency of message delivery
- Protocol overhead
- Modem providers network management application
- Carrier rounding
Key items that affect utilization:
- Streaming data can be quite costly
Crossbridge can provide rate plans as low as 35-Kilobytes.
Crossbridge can offer "pooled" rate plans.
Crossbridge can offer pay-as-you-go plans.
Crossbridge can offer suspend plans.
Crossbridge offers tier revenue discounts.
Can you explain coverage?
Coverage is always talked about, bragged about and argued about. Carriers provide coverage maps on their Web sites and in stores where their products are sold. They place television adds claiming that their coverage is better than their competitors. Often these maps show very general coverage for entire regions. These maps usually carry the disclaimer that they depict approximate service areas for outdoor coverage based on computer-generated radio-frequency coverage projections and information provided by third parties, but are not a guarantee of service availability.
- You can check out potential coverage by using one of these links:
AT&T Coverage Viewer
Sprint Coverage Viewer
Even with the best analysis, it is important to understand that actual coverage may vary based on your equipment, terrain, structures, indoor locations, network problems, signal strength, weather and other limitations or conditions. The simple truth is that no network is perfect, and coverage breaks within any published coverage areas are always possible and should be expected.
If you intend to implement a large number of fixed-point devices, a best practice may be to plan for some kind of coverage tester. This might involve a simple handheld unit that will sample the receive signal strength using a specified modem and report the information to an alphanumeric display. For even better results, the device should use the same modem and be capable of utilizing the exact antenna that will be implemented in the production environment. If possible, the device should be capable of transmitting some message or a series of messages to determine the probability of successful communications.
We can custom engineer a complete, end-to-end solution to meet the wireless data needs of any size firm.
We provide secure network access to multiple carriers, with the lowest kilobyte usage plans in the industry.
We offer the security, the experience, and the solutions which give you the advantage you need to stay ahead of your competitors.
CrossBridge can provide International SIM cards for more than 240 Countries.