How is internet access crucial to your business?
Timely email communications
Cloud based software programs
Hosted phone systems
Access to information
While internet access to the office coffee machine may not be critical to your office functioning, I suspect that it is in many areas of your company. Historically, having a backup internet circuit has been challenging for businesses. Cost has always been a factor as well as true redundancy. What good is a backup circuit if it needs any part of your existing circuit’s network or infrastructure?
I’ve met with many customers that did not realize the backup circuit’s traffic was carried on the same router or fiber connection at some point as their primary circuit. A gardener digging four blocks away and cutting that fiber or a dead router and both are down. I’ve personally experienced the gardener cutting a fiber line. Nice guy – was just putting in an irrigation system for his roses. Three whole blocks close to downtown Orlando out of most flavors of internet access for 3 business days. Not us though – because we knew what to have to prevent an overlap of infrastructure for our backup internet.
Options for Backup Internet
Today, it is easier and more cost effective than ever. You’ve heard the ads from cellular companies about data speeds increasing with 4G and now 5G on the horizon. That’s great for when I am reading the latest fishing report from my kayak in the lake. I think the impact for businesses is greater (I know, it’s a tough call). That same cellular data network can be added to your existing infrastructure to create a seamless backup to your existing internet access. There are plans suitable for backup internet starting at $79.00 per month.
There are several companies, such as Sierra Wireless, that provide best in class cellular data network products for every carrier. Throw in some satellite from companies such as Viasat and you can get backup service pretty much anywhere in the world. Backup to your coax, fiber, DSL or whatever you have. On a different network and infrastructure.
Let’s face it. You are only going to get more reliant on rock solid access to the internet as time goes on whether it is to support your VOIP phone system or other cloud based services. It is probably already a significant impact on your business when it goes down or is in “best effort” mode. Depending on the data equipment you choose, the main and backup circuits can be “bonded” to give you access to the bandwidth of both circuits.
The first step to getting a backup circuit is to understand what you have today and how much of that is necessary for business critical applications. You could have a 100 MB circuit but only really need 25 MB for essential needs. You could have 1 GB and only really need 250 MB in mission critical mode. The point is that usually your absolute minimum bandwidth to run your business is less than the bandwidth you have (assuming you are on the right size circuit to start). Also, knowing how much data you consume on that circuit is very helpful when the potential for satellite or cellular data is considered.
Once you know what you have and what you need to run critical applications, the next step would be to identify all of the available sources for that amount of bandwidth. Generally speaking, there should be at least two or three carriers that can deliver service to your location. In most markets there are dozens. The simplest way to setup a backup would be to include cellular data, DSL/T1 or Coax in the mix. Most of the time these services are being supported by different infrastructure. Any combination of these would be a good starting point for backup. It isn’t 100% – nothing is – but pretty darn close. There are scenarios that take entire metro areas or regions down but that is not the norm.
When you know what your minimum requirements are, and have identified the carriers that service your location, you are now ready to talk to a sales person from each of those carriers and learn the technological differences, get a quote, pick one and then get it implemented.
Don’t have time to meet with all those sales people? What about the time it takes to learn backup internet do’s – don’ts and all the acronyms that the data and telecom world are so fond of (SD-WAN, T-1 and UCAAS, oh my!). Then somebody has to project manage the cutover. Lots of time and energy taken away from your business.
Or, you could engage Ideacom Solutions Group to do all that for you. As a vendor agnostic advisor, we provide customized telecom and data solutions from over 100 domestic carriers and thousands globally. We will handle everything from the initial meeting to cutover and on-going support of the selected solution. You will know that the best choice for the technology that connects your business to your prospects, customers and suppliers has been made and professionally implemented. And you will have a backup for internet access the next time someone plants a garden over critical network infrastructure.