To what extent does your business rely on a high-speed internet connection? For most of our clients, a fast, reliable connection is ether extremely important or vitally important to their business operations. Almost no one can afford the service slowdowns, let alone outages, that happen far too often even with business-grade service offerings from the major ISPs.
That’s why we often recommend that businesses consider some kind of backup internet service—one that can kick in when your primary ISP connection is either down or slow. The solutions we implement vary depending on company’s needs and budget, but they typically fall into one of these two categories:
1. Backup Internet Service
The most reliable way to protect against debilitating slowness or internet outages is to implement a secondary form of internet service as a backup for a primary connection. For instance, if your primary internet service is fiber, you might implement a cable modem as a backup. Or, if your primary connection is cable, you might implement a T1 as a backup. Regardless, a business-class firewall can be configured to swap back and forth seamlessly between primary and secondary ISP connections based on service availability.
The cost for backup internet service can vary based on a business’s budget and bandwidth needs. In many cases, the secondary connection, since it is a backup, doesn’t necessarily need to be as expensive as the primary one.
While no two businesses are alike, we typically find that those with more than 20 or so employees could really benefit from backup internet service, as could any business for whom service interruptions are disastrous. Medical practices, financial organizations, and manufacturing operations, for instance, can benefit from having a full backup connection.
2. LTE Failover
While a full backup internet connection is the most surefire way to avoid a loss of productivity due to internet outage, the cost can be prohibitive for some businesses, especially smaller ones. For these businesses, LTE failover is a great option for a lifeline connection in the event of an internet outage. This solution involves using an LTE data plan, like you have on your smartphone, as a backup internet connection in the event of an ISP service interruption. Vendors like Cradlepoint sell devices that facilitate LTE service to a network in the event of a primary ISP outage, without users having to take any action.
This is a great, relatively inexpensive option for smaller businesses, with two important caveats:
The connection speed provided by LTE failover will not be as fast as that offered by a primary ISP connection. For many small businesses, LTE speed is good enough for emergency situations. Some, however, rely on lightning-fast connections to do their work, in which case LTE failover might not be the best fit.
LTE failover is a low-cost solution as long as users aren’t transferring large amounts of data over the connection. Just like LTE plans for your phone, the LTE service you get with a failover solution includes a limited amount of data, meaning that if you go over that limit, it could become very expensive. For this reason, LTE failover may be a great option for a retail environment that uses an internet connection primarily for transmitting transaction data, but it might not be a good option for a design group that consistently sends and accesses large data files over an internet connection.
Wondering What’s Best for Your Business?
Again, each individual business’s workflow and budget can help determine the best option for backup internet service. If you’d like help deciding on and implementing the best option for your business, contact us today. And, as always, feel free to comment below or contact us with questions.