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Below is our recent interview with Dr. Jay Cahit Akin, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder at Mushroom Networks. Before founding Mushroom Networks, Dr. Jay Akin was a venture partner at ITU Ventures for 7 years, the venture capital arm of Brownstein Schnel Holdings which has invested in over 50 companies.
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Mushroom Networks?
A: We help IT managers set their networks on autopilot. I like to think of it as having a smart IT engineer built right into the Mushroom router, so that the Mushroom device can detect, analyze and take action on network problems without human intervention. Working around the network problems in this way, shields the negative effects of network problems from end users.
We are known for our broadband bonding SD-WAN appliances for enterprise branches and our multi-wan 4G/LTE routers that can combine cellular connections into a single, fast optimized Internet connectivity.
Q: Tell us more about your products. What makes them unique?
A: Our performance and automation focused approach to SD-WAN is unique in the market. Our easy to use solutions enable enterprises, small and large, to enjoy the benefits of SD-WAN cost effectively. Especially for smaller businesses the simplicity and low cost proposition becomes a no brainer, especially if their business relies on connectivity to the cloud.
For performance sensitive Internet use case, such as VOIP, live video, interactive chatty application traffic, Mushroom’s device acts as an intelligent network orchestrator as it manages packets over the multiple Internet lines to optimize end user experience. The algorithms are sophisticated, yet they stay out of the way without complicating how users install and operate the device.
Q: Can 4G LTE routers replace wired WAN in the foreseeable future? What are the benefits?
A: That is a very good question as wireless WAN technologies have been catching up and in some cases leapfrogging wired Internet access technologies. I believe in terms of lab specs, with 5G, we will get to a point where wireless networks can seriously become a contender to support some small-office type scenarios. At Mushroom we have been serving the trailer/mobile office use case for years now whereby our portable device can combine up to 2 sim cards, 4 sim cards, or 8 sim cards to clean up the natural fluctuations and brownouts in the wireless network – again shielding the network problems away from the end users. With 5G networks that will roll out over the next decade, the peak performance rates will improve compared to today’s LTE networks but the fluctuations in performance inherently here to stay. It is the physics in the wireless channel. So an SD-WAN device that can intelligently manage several of those fluctuating links to create a much more stable and predictable channel will provide the reliable connectivity for business applications. The improvement in performance is significant. Some of clients are using that bonded wireless Internet connection to transmit live broadcast quality video.
Practically speaking, I believe wireless and wired lines will co-exist for a long time. I envision wireless becoming an additive WAN connection to wired WAN first before it takes over wired Internet.
Q: What type of customer would benefit the most from your products?
A: Historically our customer base has a profile from many different vertical markets. The common theme is their dependence to reliable connectivity to the Internet cloud for their day-to-day operations. With today’s SaaS powered world, that pretty much covers any sector.
Having said that, customers that are looking to automate their WAN connectivity and reducing connectivity headaches both in terms of end user experience as well as their WAN costs are usually ideal candidates for our appliances. This sometimes means it is a single office small business or a multi-office enterprise with connected branch offices.
With our LTE bonding router we are also catering to various verticals that rely on reliable and high performance Internet connectivity in remote and mobile scenarios. These include scenarios with pop-up kiosks, office trailers, vehicles and so on.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: As a company that has its roots in university research, innovation is in our DNA. When we started more than a decade ago, combining 2 or more Internet lines was a radical idea. Today the expected market size of this technology is in the billions. Even though we had reached respectable milestones in terms of making the network smarter, we believe that the network can get even smarter. We are working relentlessly to continue to contribute to that target and our upcoming products will reflect that passion we have.