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A remote work router for all seasons: Celerway keeps an ultra-mobile executive team connected and productive during a pandemic

As their customers’ demand for remote work connectivity skyrockets, the C-suite of a managed services provider finds out firsthand that Celerway excels anywhere, from home offices to cabins and connected vehicles.


Techstep is an Oslo-based provider of managed mobility services with a mission to help public and private organizations in the Nordic region improve the workdays of their employees. By bundling mobile device management, software, hardware and connectivity into managed services and solutions, Techstep enables enterprise employees to do their work across mobile devices and locations, with a high degree of security and operational stability. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, has 300 employees, and serves more than 500 enterprise customers in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Background

In the past year, remote work has become the norm, not the exception, no one has experienced it more profoundly than Techstep. They know from their customers—and first-hand experience—that expectations are higher than ever when it comes to connectivity, application performance, security, and mobility.

“When you need a professional connection at least eight hours a day, five days a week, from any location, a phone isn’t going to cut it.”

Gone are the days when “remote work” meant only being outside the office for a couple of hours, when one could rely on a mobile phone to take calls or connect a laptop via Wi-Fi hotspot. “A mobile phone is fine if you’re working remotely for an hour or two, but now, when you need a professional connection at least eight hours a day, five days a week, from any location, a phone isn’t going to cut it,” says John Olve Andersen, Director of Innovation at Techstep.

Executives at Techstep’s enterprise customers spend hours daily in Zoom, Teams, and Google videoconferences and webinars for their customers. They expect perfect connections with no dropouts and no “frozen” video. Security is also a concern for these customers, who are wary of insecure Wi-Fi networks.

It’s difficult to find the single, perfect connectivity solution for this audience. A desktop router that works well at a home office in the city may perform poorly at a home office in the countryside or in a vehicle. Enterprises attempting to address a variety of remote work scenarios may find themselves forced to support multiple solutions from multiple vendors.

Challenge

In late 2019, Techstep was considering Celerway for use at construction sites, retail outlets, and other remote sites, where a dual-SIM router would enable rapid deployment and connectivity for remote teams.

Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, just like their enterprise customers, Techstep’s executive team needed to work remotely, whether from home, vehicle-based mobile offices, second homes in the countryside (cabins, typically), or campsites. Wired connections outside Oslo, can be slow and low bandwidth, while cell phone reception in places can also be poor.

Again, just like their enterprise customers, the team at Techstep needed connectivity not just for themselves but for their entire households, so that the adults could work remotely as the children participate in remote education, video streaming, and online gaming.

Solution

Fortunately, Celerway offers a complete line of Gigabit-class mobile routers for remote work, each with a different form factor but the same, powerful CelerwayOS inside. To meet the specific use cases of four members of the leadership team, Techstep has taken advantage of the entire gamut of Celerway products:

  • GO is Celerway’s enterprise mobile router in the form factor of a mobile device. The dual-SIM GO combines two cellular connections from different mobile network operators, to provide secure, high-performance connectivity. With a built-in battery that provides power for up to 7 hours, GO is truly portable.
  • STRATUS is a versatile Celerway mobile router with two built-in cellular modems, 3 Wi-Fi radios, and PoE input/output.
  • ARCUS 5G is Celerway’s flagship mobile router. Ruggedized and with up to two integrated 5G modems (3 integrated cellular modems total), Arcus enables up to 7 simultaneous WAN connections.

Techstep has managed all these devices centrally using Celerway’s Nimbus remote administration platform.

Results

With Celerway, each member of the team is now able to fully productive from any remote work location, with none of the limitations they previously experienced at home, in their vehicles, or at cabins and campsites.

Andersen says he’s the poster child for “desk on the go”. Because he frequently drives to customer locations and project sites, he keeps a dual-SIM GO in his vehicle and powers it with its built-in battery, while he uses the vehicle’s power outlet for his other devices. “Before Celerway, everyone was suffering from bad connections or lack of connections,” says Anderseon.

“And even with two weak cellular connections in remote places, GO gives me all the performance I need for flawless Teams or Zoom calls.”

“With other vendors, I’d have disconnections, but GO combines the two cellular connections to create one strong connection. And even with two weak cellular connections in remote places, GO gives me all the performance I need for flawless Teams or Zoom calls”. When outside Norway, e.g., in Sweden, he simply opens the device and inserts local SIMs.

GO is also a favorite of Techstep’s Chief Product Officer, Mads Vårdal, who uses it at his home office and campsite, and Chief Financial Officer Marius Drefvelin, who uses it as his home office.

Meanwhile, Techstep’s Chief Commercial Officer Erik Haugen, whose wife is also a C-level executive, has a Stratus at his cabin near the border with Sweden. Before Stratus, working from their cabin wasn’t possible because of its location in a 4G dead zone, with at best two bars on a mobile phone. Haugen tried everything but to no avail: various 4G routers; a hotspot on a mobile phone; and even an old analog network with widespread coverage in Norway. The 4G routers from other vendors were no better than just a mobile phone, and the analog network was slow and unstable. With Stratus, however, the couple can work remotely just as they would at their company offices, participating in non-stop Zoom calls, and accessing large files securely on their corporate networks, all while their son streams movies.

A true edge case is Andersen’s RV, which is often parked in remote areas, and Celerway excels there, too. With Arcus, he can work while his family members stream YouTube, Netflix, and the Disney channel, and it also provides a connection for 24-7 “smart RV” devices for remote accessories monitoring, e.g., to monitor the inside temperature while the family dog is alone in the RV. Best of all, he says, with Arcus, he no longer has to move the RV around to find a good connection.

Impact

Techstep has put GO, Stratus and Arcus through their paces during the pandemic, but they see a need for Celerway products in multiple use cases long after the pandemic subsides.

“With Celerway, our executive team has gotten used to being fully productive while fully mobile,”

The first and obvious fit is remote work. “With Celerway, our executive team has gotten used to being fully productive while fully mobile,” says Andersen. They expect that once their customers get a taste of the freedom to work from anywhere, they won’t settle for anything else.

Executives also care about security. Celerway’s Phantom – high-performance, load-balanced VPN— is a perfect match for security-conscious leaders working from anywhere they like. “I’m happy to say that Phantom is the first VPN that gives me worry-free connections, giving me the most stable web meetings, knowing the Celerway routers withs its VPN are fighting for me in real time with 2 operators offering the most unstable coverage and pore internet connection—that’s magic!,” Andersen says, adding that in the past, VPN was a sore subject that conjured memories of complicated setups and poor performance. “But GO is a little black box that takes care of all the complex, enterprise stuff. You just turn it on, and it works. It’s that simple.”

To learn more about how Celerway solutions can support your remote work needs, contact us.

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