Coach show picture

Coach & Bus UK 17

As part of our accreditation as a certified Peplink partner we are keen to discover more and more about our target markets – one of which is Public Transport. The bi-annual Coach & Bus UK event at the Birmingham NEC was an obvious place to go on a fact finding mission.

The event itself is very impressive and very well organised. It covers a large area, which is to be expected given the size of some of the exhibits. I do not know the numbers but it looked to me to be a very well attended event.

Coach & Bus logo

Two things surprised me during our day wondering around the huge hall: just how friendly people were and just how advanced the Public Transport industry actually is.

Now it could be argued that it’s an exhibition and exhibitors are trying to sell so therefore they will have their best PR smiles on but I disagree with that – I think the people were generally very pleasant by nature. Whether it was a huge stand with twenty staff or a small family outfit, everyone was happy to take the time to talk to us new kids. It could be that they are from an industry that is very public-facing and dealing with the public is all about the experience. Whatever the reason, it made the whole event an enjoyable affair.

The other surprise was just how advanced the industry actually is. Reading that back it does sound as if I thought Public Transport was stuck in the dark ages but that is not true. I have merely taken the industry for granted and not stopped to think about just what goes into making sure that a bus arrives in the right place at the right time. Getting an insight into the infrastructure behind the scenes was fascinating and seeing all the different aspects that have to be considered was very interesting.

Being from an IT background the areas that really interested me were the technologies used by the coach and bus companies. My obvious interest centred on the provision of passenger Wi-Fi as this is a big focus for the Peplink and Pepwave products. We are all so dependent upon our mobile devices now that Wi-Fi is becoming thought of as a basic need. Every shop, café, restaurant, bar, hotel, swimming pool – and any other public place you can think of – needs to offer Wi-Fi and Public Transport is no different. Being able to learn just how advanced this area is in this sector was incredibly useful to me especially learning about the proposed IT for PT “ITxPT” standard.

The provision of public Wi-Fi is something that the Pepwave range of products is designed for and is already being used for in this sector. Everyone we spoke to at the show who was familiar with the products were full of praise for them, their reliability and the endless ways they can be configured to meet the customer’s exact requirements. Getting feedback like this from people who install the products and stake their reputations on them is always incredibly useful.

We were so impressed with our day at the exhibition; the event itself, the exhibitors, the people we met and how much we learned that we decided to exhibit at the 2018 Euro Bus Expo. We will be there with our European partner, Frontier BV and the manufacturer Peplink will be there too. I’m already looking forward to meeting more people from the industry and learning even more.


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What do I need to use InControl 2 with my Peplink or Pepwave?

Four yes-or-no questions and you will know what you need to take advantage of Peplink InControl 2 to monitor and manage your Peplink or Pepwave devices.


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On 10Mbps + 10Mbps = 20Mbps

People new to Peplink often have this question:

I have a 10Mbps internet, if I add another 10Mbps internet with a Peplink, do I have a 20Mbps internet?

Short answer is: YES. Let us explain.

Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) and Load Balancing

Say you have a Peplink Balance SD-WAN router with 2x 10Mbps DSL internet connections, each plugged into one of the ethernet WAN ports.

The same goes for Pepwave MAX router with any type of landline or mobile internet e.g. Lease Line and 4G LTE/3G.

You also have one computer connected to the Peplink Balance on its LAN port.

When you open an email client to check email, Peplink Balance will send it off to DSL #1 so your latest emails and attachments are being downloaded at up to 10Mbps.

While your emails and attachments are downloading, you open a web browser and go to a website, Peplink Balance will send it off to DSL #2 so the web page and all of its images and contents are being downloaded at up to 10Mbps.

This as you can see will give you 10Mbps + 10 Mbps = 20Mbps of internet.

As you can imagine, if you have multiple computers connected to the LAN ports of Peplink Balance instead of just one, all of the different types of internet traffic from these computers will be distributed over all of your internet connections as well.

10Mbps + 10 Mbps = 20Mbps of internet for all computers on LAN.

And if all of a sudden DSL #1 is down due to a provider network outage, Peplink Balance will see that DSL #1 no longer has internet access and will route all of your internet traffic to DSL #2 until DSL #1 is back.

SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN

If however you have only one computer/surveillance camera/video or voice conference on the network. It is doing one thing only. Be it a single video or audio stream, or a single upload or download. And you want it to be able to use both 10Mbps DSLs for a total speed of 20Mbps, is it still possible then?

Short answer is also: YES. And this is enabled by SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN.

While the design of TCP/IP which is the protocol of communication for internet traffic does not allow for one thing, from one computer or network device, to go across on multiple internet connections, Peplink, with its 10 years and counting of research, developed their patented technology, SpeedFusion, to over this limitation.

This requires a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX, supporting SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding, at each end of the transmission. SpeedFusion will then be able to bond all the internet connection into a single data-pipe so that even one thing, from one computer or network device, be it a single video or audio stream, or a single upload or download, can go across on multiple internet connections.

For details, please refer to the SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN page.

For more information on how SD-WAN and SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN can benefit you, feel free to send an inquiry below.


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On securing your VLANs

One of the reasons that the WannaCry and Petya ransomware were able to cause a global pandemic, was its ability to spread across an internal network, by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft’s implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.

It is therefore always a good idea to confine unverified devices in a guest VLAN, and to prevent them access the internal corporate network.

Say we have 3x VLANs:

  • 192.168.10.0/24 for Sales
  • 192.168.20.0/24 for Engineering
  • 10.1.1.0/24 for Guest

Both Sales and Engineering are internal corporate networks. They are to have access to the internet as well as to have access to each other’s network.

The Guest network is however to provide internet access to guest and other unverified network devices. This network should not have access to any other computer, server or host, on the Sales and Engineering networks.

There are a couple of ways to do it.

Outbound Policy

Outbound Policy features 7 advance algorithms. It allows for a mix and match of different polices using different algorithms for any routing needs.

It however applies to traffic going from VLAN to WAN. It does not apply to traffic between VLANs.

So Outbound Policy is not what we are looking for.

Inter-VLAN Routing

If these 3x VLANs are managed by your Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX, then you can confine a particular VLAN, by simply unchecking its Inter-VLAN Routing option.

The easiest way to see if your VLANs are managed by your Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX is to go to its web admin page, and look under Network > LAN > Network Settings. If you see your VLANs listed, then you can click on a particular VLAN and uncheck its Inter-VLAN Routing option to disallow routing to and from this VLAN.

Network Settings on Peplink web admin page

Network Settings and VLAN on Peplink web admin page

If however you do not see your VLANs listed, this means they are managed by an external switch in the LAN. Internal Network Firewall Rules should then be used to disable inter-VLAN routing.

Internal Network Firewall Rules

Internal Network Firewall Rules are under Network > Firewall > Access Rules on the web admin page of your Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX.

To disable routing from the Guest VLAN to the Sales and the Engineering VLAN, and vice versa. You will need 4x Internal Network Firewall Rules:

Internal Network Firewall Rules on Peplink web admin page

Internal Network Firewall Rules and deny traffic from Guest to Sales on Peplink web admin page

Internal Network Firewall Rules also have some added advantages.

  1. Rules can be specified per host by IP or MAC address.
  2. Rules can be specified per protocol and port.
  3. Event logging can be enabled.

And this is it. This is how to secure your VLANs.

An End Note

Of course this is just to stop the infection from spreading across your organisation like wildfire. It is of paramount importance to always keep your network hosts on the latest security update, and to have a dedicated Unified Threat Management (UTM) or Unified Security Management (USM) solution to hold the gate.


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On choosing the right Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX SD-WAN router model

Finding the right model for your network may sound daunting, and most people new to Peplink may not know where to start.

Here we look at 2 major criterion, as a starting point of choosing the right model of Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX for your network.

1. The Number and Type of Internet Connections

The benefits of Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) or SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN lies in its ability to use internet connections of different technologies and providers at the same time.

Needless to say, when choosing a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX SD-WAN router, one important criteria is the number and the type of internet connections you will want to use.

Three Types of WAN Interfaces

Each internet connection will need one dedicated interface to connect to the Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX.

Ethernet WAN Ports

Each of your landline, for example Cable, Broadband, DSL or Fibre etc. will be plugged into one of ethernet WAN ports on the Peplink Balance or the Pepwave MAX.

Embedded 4G LTE/3G Modems

Each 4G LTE/3G internet connection, if it is available as a SIM card, will be inserted in one of the SIM slots of one of the embedded 4G LTE/3G modem on the Peplink Balance or the Pepwave MAX.

USB 4G LTE/3G Ports

Each 4G LTE/3G internet connection, if it is housed in a carrier-provided or an off-the-shelf USB modem, will be plugged into one of the USB ports on the Peplink Balance or the Pepwave MAX.

A Few Examples

A few examples for demonstration.

Scenario with Multiple Landlines and a 4G LTE/3G as Backup.

Say you have one DSL and one Fibre. Both of these landlines come with carrier-provided or off-the-shelf modems which terminate them into ethernet cable.

You also have one EE 4G LTE/3G internet with the SIM card housed in a EE-provided or off-the-shelf USB 4G modem that you want to use as backup.

Number and Type of Internet
Internet Interface
DSL Ethernet
Fibre Ethernet
4G LTE/3G USB

As you can see, you will need a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX model with at least two ethernet WAN ports, and one USB port.

The least model meeting this requirement is a Peplink Balance 20.

Scenario with Multiple 4G LTE/3G in Different Mediums.

Say you have one EE and one Vodafone 4G LTE/3G internet connections. Both of them are available as SIM cards.

You also have one O2 4G LTE/3G internet connection with the SIM card housed in a O2-provided USB 4G modem that you want to use alongside the EE and Vodafone, or perhaps as backup.

Number and Type of Internet
Internet Interface
4G LTE/3G (EE) SIM
4G LTE/3G (Vodafone) SIM
4G LTE/3G (O2) USB

In this case, you will need a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX model with at least two embedded 4G LTE/3G modems for EE and Vodafone, and one USB port for O2.

The least model meeting this requirement is a Pepwave MAX HD2 Mini.

Scenario with Two 4G LTE/3G. One Primary. One Backup.

Say you have one EE and one Vodafone 4G LTE/3G internet connections. Both of them are available as SIM cards.

EE will be the primary 4G LTE/3G internet connection. Vodafone is to be used only if EE is out of coverage, out of bandwidth quota, or otherwise unavailable.

This means at any time you have one 4G LTE/3G internet connection which may be on the EE or Vodafone network depending on their availability.

Number and Type of Internet
Internet Interface
4G LTE/3G SIM (EE)
SIM (Vodafone)

In this case, you will need a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX model with at least one embedded 4G LTE/3G modem and 2x redundant SIM slots.

The least model meeting this requirement is a Pepwave MAX BR1.

The embedded 4G LTE/3G modem in this case will be able to switch to use the Vodafone SIM card when the EE SIM card does not provide a valid 4G LTE/3G internet connection.

2. The Amount of Throughput

The second criteria is the amount of throughput. And there are two numbers to look at.

Routing Throughput

Routing between WAN and LAN requires processing power.

To use multiple landline and 4G LTE/3G at the same time or as backup to one another, you will need to a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX SD-WAN router with a routing throughput of all of your internet connections’ upload and download bandwidth combined.

 

SpeedFusion Throughput

If your application is to take advantage of SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding for a bonded Hybrid WAN between multiple networks, each with a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX, then you will need to a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX SD-WAN router with a SpeedFusion throughput of all of your internet connections’ upload and download bandwidth combined.

SpeedFusion comes with 256-bit AES encryption enabled by default. For application that does not require encryption, 256-bit AES can be disabled to increase the SpeedFusion throughput.

If you do not use SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding however, you do not need to worry about SpeedFusion Throughput.

A Few Examples

These are the same scenarios from before. This time we are adding routing and SpeedFusion throughput a second criteria.

Scenario with Multiple Landlines and a 4G LTE/3G as Backup.

Say the DSL has a 10Mbps upload and 10Mbps download bandwidth. A total of 20Mbps. The Fibre, 100Mbps upload and 100Mbps download bandwidth. A total of 200Mbps. And the EE 4G LTE/3G, 40Mbps upload and 20Mbps download bandwidth. A total of 60Mbps.

The EE is used as only backup. This means it will not be used simultaneously as the DSL and Fibre.

When DSL and Fibre are available, the total amount of throughput is:

DSL: 20Mbps + Fibre: 200Mbps = 220Mbps

When they are not available, the total amount of throughput becomes:

EE: 60Mbps

This is a branch office location and is to be connected to the HQ and other branch offices by a SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN, with 256-bit AES encryption, on the DSL and Fibre. EE will be used as backup.

This means you will meed a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX with routing and SpeedFusion throughput of at least 220Mbps, or 60Mbps when DSL and Fibre are down.

Number and Type of Internet Throughput
Internet Interface Routing Throughput SpeedFusion Throughput (256-bit AES)
DSL Ethernet 220Mbps (or 60Mbps) 220Mbps (or 60Mbps)
Fibre Ethernet
4G LTE/3G USB

The Peplink Balance 20 has 2x ethernet WAN ports and 1x USB port. It however has a routing throughput of 150Mbps and a SpeedFusion throughput (256-bit AES) of 30Mbps.

Adding the throughput criteria, the least model meeting the requirements becomes a Peplink Balance 710.

It has 7x Ethernet WAN ports, 1x USB port, a routing throughput of 2.5Gbps and a SpeedFusion throughput (256-bit AES) of 400Mbps.

Scenario with Multiple 4G LTE/3G in Different Mediums.

Say both the EE and Vodafone 4G LTE/3G has a 20Mbps upload and 40Mbps download bandwidth. A total of 60Mbps each. And the O2 4G LTE/3G, 10Mbps upload and 20Mbps download bandwidth. A total of 30Mbps.

O2 is used as only backup. This means it will not be used simultaneously as the EE and Vodafone.

When EE and Vodafone are available, the total amount of throughput is:

EE: 60Mbps + Vodafone: 60Mbps = 120Mbps

When they are not available, the total amount of throughput becomes:

02: 30Mbps

This is a mobile location and is streaming surveillance video to the command centre over a SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN, with 256-bit AES encryption, on both EE and Vodafone. O2 will be used as backup.

This means you will meed a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX with routing and SpeedFusion throughput of at least 120Mbps, or 30Mbps when EE and Vodafone are down.

Number and Type of Internet Throughput
Internet Interface Routing Throughput SpeedFusion Throughput (256-bit AES)
4G LTE/3G (EE) SIM 120Mbps (or 30Mbps) 120Mbps (or 30Mbps)
4G LTE/3G (Vodafone) SIM
4G LTE/3G (O2) USB

The Pepwave MAX HD2 has 2x embedded 4G LTE/3G modems and 1x USB port. It has a routing throughput of 300Mbps. It however has a SpeedFusion throughput (256-bit AES) of 60Mbps.

Adding the throughput criteria, the least model meeting the requirements becomes a Pepwave MAX HD4.

It has 4x embedded 4G LTE/3G modems, 1x USB port, a routing throughput of 400Mbps and a SpeedFusion throughput (256-bit AES) of 120Mbps.

Scenario with Two 4G LTE/3G. One Primary. One Backup.

Say both the EE and Vodafone 4G LTE/3G has a 20Mbps upload and 40Mbps download bandwidth. A total of 60Mbps each.

Vodafone is used as only backup. This means it will not be used simultaneously as the EE.

When EE is available, the total amount of throughput is:

EE: 60Mbps

When it is not available, the total amount of throughput remains:

Vodafone: 60Mbps

This is a mobile location and is to provide wireless internet access to users at this location. SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding Hybrid WAN is not required for this application.

This means you will meed a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX with routing throughput of at least 60Mbps.

Number and Type of Internet Throughput
Internet Interface Routing Throughput SpeedFusion Throughput (256-bit AES)
4G LTE/3G SIM (EE) 60Mbps NA
SIM (Vodafone)

The Pepwave MAX BR1 has one embedded 4G LTE/3G modems and 2x redundant SIM slots. It has a routing throughput of 100Mbps.

Adding the throughput criteria, the least model meeting the requirements remains a Pepwave MAX BR1.

An End Note

There are many other features and technical specs to look at. While all of Peplink Balance and Pepwave MAX models support a bundle of core features to achieve SD-WAN, other features, for example SpeedFusion WAN Smoothing and MediaFast Content Caching, however, may be supported only on selected models.

Some other specs and features, for example, having a certain number of LAN ports and Wi-Fi access point, may also be attained by using a Peplink SD Switch or Pepwave wireless access point, or any off-the-shelf equipment, alongside a Peplink Balance or Pepwave MAX router.

Understanding the number and kind of internet connections, as well as the amount of routing and SpeedFusion throughput needed will provide a starting point, towards narrowing down to the right model.

For detailed technical specs, please refer to the datasheet on each products’ respective page.

For more help on choosing the right model, feel free to send an inquiry below.


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