Soracom Inc., provider of smart connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced general availability of the Soracom Napter service for remote access to IoT devices.
Unlike most existing solutions, Soracom Napter allows secure remote device without any need for additional device configuration, agent installation, or preparation of a server environment. Developers can initiate remote sessions on demand using the Soracom user console, API or CLI and communicate with devices using common remote access protocols such as SSH, RDP, VNC, or HTTP/HTTPS.
Typically, accessing IoT devices without compromising security requires establishment of a server environment and activation of private networking and bidirectional LAN services like SORACOM Canal and SORACOM Gate. While it is also possible to access devices by providing them with a fixed public IP address, this approach exposes IoT devices and networks to remote attacks.
Napter solves both of these problems by providing secure device access as needed, when needed, without creating a fixed IP address or establishing a full-time server environment.
Soracom Napter is an on-demand networking service for devices using Soracom Air for cellular SIM cards, which enables secure access to devices remotely. Napter allows users to perform remote maintenance, troubleshooting, or other typical remote access tasks, without setting up any relay servers or installing agent software on the device.
When enabling on-demand remote access, Napter will assign a random IP address (with a corresponding hostname) and port. Users can then connect to Napter using the assigned IP address and port, using any TCP protocol, such as SSH, RDP, VNC, and HTTP/HTTPS. When Napter receives connection request, it will take care of establishing the connection back to the device.
Napter provides a simple and secure way to perform common remote access tasks, such as connecting directly to a remote device; remotely accessing a device using SSH to change its settings; connecting to the device using Remote Desktop (RDP); accessing a remote terminal using VNC; accessing a device’s web-based interface; connecting to a remote router or gateway’s admin page; accessing a remotely deployed sensor or device to download its data; and viewing real-time imagery from a security monitoring device.
Other common remote access solutions typically require acquiring and configuring a fixed public IP address, which increases security risks as anyone with knowledge of the device IP address may be able to remotely attack the device. Napter provides the same remote access functionality without the risks typically associated with exposing a public IP address.
“We’ve always put IoT security first,” said Soracom CTO and co-founder Kenta Yasukawa. “That’s why we focus on keeping IoT traffic off the public Internet entirely, with virtual peering, private subnets, and even hardwire connection where needed. Soracom Napster offers many of the same benefits to smaller deployments and earlier stages of development.”
“dCentralized has ground utility robot prototypes deployed across Washington and Oregon. Before we worked with Soracom, if one went dark we had to get in a car, drive 5 hours and SSH into the unit to triage,” said George Chrysanthakopoulos, founder dCentralized Systems. “With Soracom Napter we can SSH into our edge devices from anywhere and quickly resolve issues without any complex network configuration and infra from us. As a bonus, their technical support has been outstanding.”
In June, Soracom announced that its Soracom Air cellular data service connects over one million IoT devices, spanning the globe from the Americas to Europe, Asia and Africa. Soracom Air was first released in 2016, featuring ‘pay-as-you-go’ connectivity designed around the needs of IoT devices and developers. Just three years later, the service has grown to support more than one million active IoT connections and 15,000 customers.
Including its original pay-as-you-go cellular service, Soracom now provides six different types of IoT connectivity, including LoRaWAN and Sigfox. Additionally, Soracom now offers a robust IoT API along with 13 modular IoT services focused around cloud integration, network security, and device management.
As adoption of eUICC/eSIM technology advances, Soracom has seen considerable growth in eSIM use, and these board-mounted communications modules now represent approximately 50 percent of total connections supported. eSIMs are both more rugged than traditional SIM cards and support a variety of form factors, making them ideal for both industrial uses and consumer electronics.