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AMX13 Built a Remote-Friendly SD-WAN With Zero Hardware

AMX13 is a loose network of experts with highly diverse skill sets that assembles on a project basis to provide expertise, development services, and consultancy to customers, mostly in the automotive industry.

“The size and composition of the team is different each time depending on project requirements,” says Benjamin May, founder of AMX13. “We are a highly agile group with a huge overview of market activities ranging from research, to mass production, to legislation, and we can connect these areas very easily.”

Benjamin calls their format of working the friendly network approach: “We usually get the call when things are difficult. That’s why we have pre-arranged collaboration methods in place, so we eliminate any ramp-up time and are immediately productive.”

The challenge

“About two years ago, we were performing sensor degradation analysis, basically analyzing the life cycle of optical sensors like parking cameras and identifying the effects that occur during that life cycle,” says Benjamin, “And that involved data collection over several locations with a distributed setup of virtual machines for data storage and analysis.”

The project called for the capabilities of a WAN, but that was clear overkill, as building one would require significant infrastructure investments and would not directly cater to AMX13’s always-remote model of working.

The problem could be solved with a VPN, but regular VPN solutions rarely allow client-to-client communication.

“But GoodAccess allows us to do that,” says Benjamin. “The setup was super lean, it took literally minutes, and now we have a simple way to securely connect to all the devices within our team.”

The result

The outcome of the deployment was basically a small-scale, agile SD-WAN with zero hardware and simple, no-overhead setup. Because the system supports custom DNS records, the team can link IP addresses with names and connect to faraway devices using the same entries as if they were on the local network.

The deployment comprises a flexible group of remote users, several Raspberry Pi’s connected via a 5G router, and a GoodAccess cloud VPN gateway with a static IP address.

On top of secure remote access, there are a few additional benefits that improve AMX13’s quality of life.

“We all connect with our own device of choice that runs on MacOS or Linux, but sometimes we need to add a controlling tool that runs on Windows,” continues Benjamin. “So, instead of maintaining old tools, we can just run one in a virtual machine and have everyone who needs it access it remotely.”

Even in locations with poor connectivity, Benjamin can get by easily with what he has. “It’s slow in the countryside, so I get my internet connection via Starlink plus two LTE connections at the same time. That way, I can distribute traffic over different lines. Some critical counterparts don’t accept that, but I can just use the cloud VPN gateway as a common interface.”

“Without GoodAccess, some of these elements wouldn’t be possible or would have required a much more complex solution,” Benjamin concludes, “And although enterprise tools would work as well, the maintenance would be significantly higher.”

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