In the days of paper order pads and medical records, your telecom connections were important, but not necessarily critical. The telephone lines were probably more valuable than the broadband connection. That’s all flipped upside down now. Yes, telephone service is vital to most businesses, but so is that all-important connection to the cloud. Lose it and you’ve lost most of your office functions. After all, everything is in the cloud now. That includes your vital business data and the cloud-based apps that make your office run.
We know that wireline bandwidth connections are highly reliable... but not perfect. What do you do in those rare instances when your line goes dead? Wait it out? For simple equipment outages and line breaks, that might be the logical approach. Chances are that you’ll only lose half to one business day. How much is that worth to you?
If your losses from being down for 4 to 8 hours are minimal because the Internet or private line connection are more of a tool for your business rather than essential to keeping things running, then perhaps you’re fine. In the new model of cloud services, you’ll have more than the mere inconvenience of not being able to update inventory right away. Your entire operation will be dead in the water. For a high volume retail or distribution operation, the losses can mount up quickly. Hundreds? Thousands? How much per day will you lose?
Now, what if you could have an entire year’s worth of backup protection for less than one day’s losses without such protection? Would that be worth it?
Many businesses have multiple wireline services to protect against just such a disaster scenario. With bonded T1 or EoC (Ethernet over Copper), the loss of a single copper pair reduces the available bandwidth, but the connection keeps running. That offers some protection but doesn’t help if the situation was caused by the entire wire bundle being cut by a backhoe digging too near the cable right of way. It also doesn’t save you if the problem is an equipment failure on either end of the line.
This argues for dissimilar connections. One approach is to get your business up and running with copper wireline solutions while you are waiting for a much larger capacity fiber line to be installed. Once the fiber is provisioned, you keep the less expensive copper connection as a backup. There’s a good chance that the fiber and copper don’t share any common terminal equipment or run in the same conduits, preventing a single point failure of both. That’s not always the case, but it does offer some protection compared to having two of the exact same line services.
Another approach is to have a wireless bandwidth service for business continuity. The proliferation of cellular towers with high speed bandwidth channels now means that virtually every business location is in range of at least one and probably several tower sites.
Bandwidths have also greatly increased. Nearly universal 3G service offers speeds similar to T1 lines at 1 Mbps download. The more advanced 4G service is good for 5 to 12 Mbps download and 1 to 5 Mbps upload. That’s fast enough for most small to medium businesses, especially as a backup solution.
The beauty of commercial cellular-based wireless backup is that it is very affordable, with a cost less than half what you pay for a T1 line and installation measured in days rather than weeks or months. The equipment comes already set up to work with the strongest signal at your location. Most companies can install what looks like a WiFi router themselves and be running the same day the gear arrives. The router includes a port for your existing wireline service, T1 or EoC, and offers automatic failover in the event of a wire outage.
Another use for rapidly installed wireless bandwidth is to support newly opened or temporary business sites. This includes new store openings, temporary holiday store locations and construction sites. You can lease the service by the month without a long term commitment.
Do you have a situation where you need connectivity right now and can’t wait for the usual installation times? Are you feeling a bit insecure that you can lose substantial business if your connection fails for even a day? Are you digging out from a recent disaster and need private line or Internet service immediately? If so, you are an excellent candidate for wireless business continuity service. Get pricing and details to see how well this will work for your situation.