Peplink as an IoT Connectivity Platform

27 January 2016
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Category: Technology
27 January 2016, Comments:  Comments

When deploying IoT sensor networks in the enterprise things can get complicated fast. In this post I take a look at how Peplink Products and Technologies can act as the perfect enterprise IoT Connectivity Platform to simplify IoT Sensor network deployment and management.

Peplink as an IoT Connectivity Platform

Peplink devices and technologies can act as a complete connectivity platform for networks of IoT sensors as they are deployed both inside and outside of the enterprise. The platform enables secure, centrally managed, isolated IoT sensor overlay networks to be installed on top of existing physical network infrastructure.

IoT in the WAN

These overlay networks which are managed and monitored centrally using the InControl 2 cloud management platform, provide the network layer abstraction required to secure and isolate IoT traffic seamlessly over local and wide area networks.

Use any and all network connectivity

Each location where IoT connectivity is required has a Peplink device installed that connects to whatever network connectivity is available locally. This might be the local corporate wired and wireless LAN infrastructure, direct connection to an existing internet access gateway or dedicated wired and cellular internet connectivity provisioned for the IoT network’s use alone. The Peplink device then acts as the IoT network’s internet access gateway, securing traffic in and out of the IoT network as well as connecting it reliably to the internet and other IoT sensor and reporting networks within the corporate LAN/WAN.

Assembly Line IoT

Combined multiple WAN links for resilience

All Peplink devices support failover between available connected WAN links, allowing the use of cellular and Wi-Fi as WAN, and any other wired network connection that is available as a failover link – providing highly available, resilient connectivity. Some Peplink devices also support SpeedFusion VPN Hot Failover which allows them to seamlessly move live sessions from a failed WAN to another one that is in a hot standby mode, maintaining VoIP calls and Citrix Sessions even when a WAN link fails.

Peplink Hot Failover

WAN Bonding

Peplink Multi-WAN devices that are SpeedFusion enabled can also bond all available health WAN links into a single logical point to point connection. Providing integral hot-failover of traffic but also aggregating bandwidth too.

Peplink WAN Bonding

Use PepVPN for secure connectivity between devices

When acting as the gateway for each IoT sensor network, the Peplink device can not only route IoT traffic directly out to the internet (whilst isolating it from the corporate LAN), but it can also create secure point to point VPN connections to other Peplink devices.

Those devices might be located locally on the same physical network segment (within a single building for example), or they could be geographically distant and globally distributed, but so long as they can route traffic to each other (over the corporate WAN or via the public internet) all devices can connect securely to create an isolated distributed overlay network (or in other words a virtual secure network on top of other networks).

Global IoT

Manage, Monitor and Control all devices using InControl 2

As the number of IoT sensor networks increase, so does the complexity of the data networks they use to connect to each other and out to the internet. This is compounded further by the need for complex security configurations to provide IoT sensor network isolation on the corporate LAN and WAN.

What is needed is a centralized management point, from where all devices can be monitored and managed securely.

InControl 2 is Peplink’s cloud based management and monitoring platform. As a dedicated platform for all Peplink devices, InControl 2 provides a single view of your entire device estate, logically organised into parent organizations and usage groups.

Device and Wi-Fi Management

InControl 2 SDWAN Controller

Using InControl 2 you can check the status of all your devices at a glance, and monitor client volume and bandwidth usage across your entire estate of devices – wherever they are deployed. With real-time bandwidth usage and historic reporting, you can spot usage anomalies for each live device and drill down to a client view to see per client data usage. This is perfect for IoT device monitoring and network capacity planning as the number of IoT sensors increases throughout your organization.

Firmware Management

Keeping any network secure and supporting new deployment options requires tight firmware management policies and procedures. InControl 2 provides complete firmware management and new firmware rollout scheduling. You can see the current firmware version in use, and set automated firmware upgrade policies to make sure your network is always up to date. Incontrol 2 SDWAN Controller Firmware cloud mangement

Automated Configurations

InControl 2 automatically creates a history of device configurations, so that previous configurations can be restored in the event of user error, or when a device has been factory reset or upgraded / replaced.

New devices can fresh out of the box using default configurations and once connected to the internet they will download and install the latest configuration as well as upgrade to the latest firmware version with all processes driven by automated policies set at either the group or device level.

Fully Automatic SpeedFusion VPN Configurations

Peplink SpeedFusion Configurations

As the number IoT sensor networks increase, configuring and visualizing the complicated VPN configurations required to secure and isolate them becomes a resource intensive process if performed manually. InControl 2 allows complicated VPN configurations to be setup using InControl 2’s easy setup wizard. The VPN configurations can be assigned to groups of devices so that group membership controls inter device communication over VPN. When VPN changes are required they are pushed to the devices immediately – with live SpeedFusion status and notifications displayed on screen in real-time.

Remote Device Administration

When IoT sensors are deployed deep within existing corporate networks, managing their access gateways can be a challenge especially when you need to traverse multiple DMZ’s and perimeter firewalls to get to their web administration interfaces.

InControl 2 allows for secure access to the remote device web administration portals using a dedicated on demand remote web admin tool built into InControl. Access any of your Peplink devices – wherever they might be, with a couple of clicks.

Intelligent Notifications

Get notified on important events and coordinate email notifications between administrators with two stage escalation.

Beautiful Reports

Really understand your network and how clients are using it. Spot potential bandwidth capacity issues before they become a problem. Identify the heaviest bandwidth consumers.

MSP Ready

As a managed service provider, you can have visibility of all of your customer networks whilst restricting each customer’s view to their own devices.

The right device – whatever the requirement

Peplink has the broadest product range available, with tiny devices (like the BR1 Slim) that support a single active WAN and 150Mbps of throughput, right up to the datacenter level Balance 2500 – Multi-WAN hardware designed for 8 Gbps of throughput, as well as virtual appliances for cloud deployments too.

Whatever the requirement, wherever it needs to be deployed, Peplink is a perfect fit, and all products are enterprise ready and managed in one place using InControl 2.

Peplink enables the ultimate in agile IoT networks

Using Peplink devices as the internet gateway for IoT sensors and networks – in combination with SpeedFusion VPN to secure and isolate the traffic from other corporate and public networks, provides real enterprise grade network agility.

Not only can IoT sensors be securely deployed anywhere – using any available WAN link, but IoT network capacity can be increased at any time too by adding additional WAN links of almost any type.

This allows for IoT networks to be deployed in rural locations over cellular, in factories using Wi-Fi and even in the middle of the ocean using satellite, as well as more traditional locations such as homes and businesses using fixed line connectivity with cellular backup.

With centralized and automated network configuration from InControl 2 – Peplink’s cloud based management platform, even complex network overlays can be easily managed, visualized, monitored and maintained.

Martin Langmaid. Solutions Architect, Peplink.