Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New Role for Wireless as Wireline Backup

We tend to think of wireless as the future of all telecommunications. Perhaps it’s all the hoopla over BlackBerry devices and iPhones. So why would anyone consider wireless as a wireline backup instead of the other way around?

The nice thing about wireless communication is the freedom it brings. You simply grab your device and go. Can’t do that with a desktop PC connected to an Ethernet network. But who’d want to. You’d look as silly as those people who carry around full size telephone handsets connected to their cell phones.

For big and heavy PCs, servers and printers, there’s not a lot of incentive to get rid of the network wire. That’s especially true if you need an AC power cable anyway. The one exception might be a printer that sits in an area with no network connection nearby. In that case, WiFi connectivity makes sense.

The other thing to remember is that wireless bandwidth is a scarce resource compared to copper wireline networks and fiber optic connections. Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps is the norm for desktop equipment. Many network access cards are now 10/100/1000 Mbps. At Gigabit Ethernet speeds, even wireless access points get pricey. WAN bandwidth gets really pricey.

So if most LANs are going to remain primarily wired and WAN connections are usually cheaper per Mbps over copper or fiber, then where does wireless fit?

This cost/benefit analysis breaks down if your application needs to be portable or mobile. It also breaks down if the wireline connection breaks down. What I mean is that if someone with a backhoe cuts through a cable bundle and severs all the copper telephone cable and fiber optic strands on a certain path, wireless may be your only option to connect with the outside world.

Several companies are marketing solutions for the business that wants to be as sure as possible that no disaster will take out its connectivity completely. Vocal IP Networx and Accel Networks, to name two, have wireless Internet solutions available. Cellular broadband networks are well suited to this application because cell signals are so widely available. With HSPA and EVDO Rev A readily available, it is possible to get Mbps connectivity with a single aircard.

Satellite broadband offers another wireless solution that doesn’t depend on landline availability as long as you can run on backup power. All you need is a clear view of the southern sky to point the dish and you can have two-way communications. Latencies on Geosynchronous satellite tend to be prohibitive for real-time applications such as VoIP, but email and most Web browsing runs just fine.

Are you concerned that your operation may be vulnerable to a complete loss of connectivity due to single point failure? If so, you should see how affordable backup wireless solutions can be to give you peace of mind. This is also a good time to check prices on wireline connectivity. WAN prices for T1, DS3, Ethernet and other services are much lower than they were a few years ago. Find the best prices on all bandwidth services now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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