EVDOinfo Tip of the Week #17: Connect Mobile Broadband to Existing Network with Cradlepoint CBA250

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Thursday, 27 August 2009

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Connect Mobile Broadband to your Existing Network with Cradlepoint CBA250

Cradlepoint's Cellular Broadband Adapter - CBA250
Cradlepoint's Cellular Broadband Adapter - CBA250

Note: The successor to the CBA250, Cradlepoint's CBA750, is now available! Read more about the CBA750 here

Many users of mobile broadband technology are familiar with the Cradlepoint name and their line of routers, which allow you to share your mobile broadband connection with multiple computers/devices either via WiFi or ethernet. While the WiFi routers (like the MBR1000) are Cradlepoint's most popular models, Cradlepoint also offers "specialty" routers for unique or advanced applications. One of the least well-known Cradlepoint products is the CBA-250 (CBA stands for Cellular Broadband Adapter), which is somewhat different than the "regular" routers most users are familiar with. The CBA250 does not use WiFi and is not appropriate for all situations, but features some unique capabilities that make it an excellent choice if already have a wireless network set up at home/work and just need a way to connect your mobile broadband device to your existing network.

What makes the CBA250 different than its cousin the CTR500, which it closely resembles, is the ability to turn off the routing function of the router. Why is that important? When a router is functioning normally, it is sending the Internet connection through a system of firewalls and translating the signal into something useable by multiple computers, which can make connecting to certain devices a complicated process. By turning it off, the only function the CBA250 performs is converting the connection type from your USB or Expresscard mobile broadband modem into Ethernet.  This makes the CBA250 a great solution for remote or very specialized systems that require mobile broadband internet but do not have the capacity to manage the card when directly plugged in (such as credit card processors or remote monitoring devices) as well as the simplest way to connect mobile broadband to your existing network. With the routing turned off, you can just attach your mobile broadband USB or ExpressCard modem to the CBA250 and then connect that to your existing router with an ethernet cable - it's as simple as that.

If the thought of buying a "router" that doesn't have WiFi capabilities sounds strange to you, here’s a prime example of a situation where a CBA250 may be a better choice than going with another Cradlepoint router: You already have your house set up with a wireless router for your cable/DSL/satellite connection. You have a "regular" router that already has the systems in place, the configuration tweaked just the way you like it, and all of your devices connected (printers, DVR's, gaming consoles, etc), but are switching to mobile broadband - and your "regular" router, of course, can't accept cellular modems. With the CBA250, all you have to do is plug in your new cellular modem to the CBA250 and hook that up to your existing setup with an Ethernet cable - no need to make complicated changes to the configuration, re-do your custom settings, etc!

Other Cradlepoint routers can be set up with your existing system as well, but doing so requires a good deal of time and effort configuring the router, turning off settings, etc. In addition to the hassle-free setup, users who rely on a VPN to connect to their work networks will really love the CBA250, and so will your IT department! Its ability to work without spending hours configuring just the right settings to get the VPN connection up and running is really a crowd pleaser.

For many people, a traditional router with WiFi will be a better choice, but if you're looking for an easy way to integrate cellular technology into your existing network, the CBA250 could be your best bet!!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 March 2010 )
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