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Four ways network downtime can hurt your business – and how to prevent it

By Ashton Young
Fri 15 Apr 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As businesses become increasingly digitally fuelled, network downtime has grown to be an almost inevitable, heartburn-inducing presence.

In most cases, a business can’t meet the needs of their customers, partners or even their own objectives when their network goes down, which means the consequences often last far longer than the actual outage itself.

Here are four ways a network outage can cripple your business:

Loss of revenue It’s simple. Without an active network, your business won’t be able to work. With no work, there is no money.

Using a retail store as an example, customers may walk away from potential purchases when they see long lines or realise their Eftpos or credit card (because who uses cash these days) transactions won’t be processed quickly, if at all. This also opens the door for fraudulent credit cards that would normally be denied.

Brand damage “Don’t use them, their service is hopeless." In a world of social media, there is nowhere to hide for businesses with poor service or products. A negative customer perception of a brand can cause monumental damage.

If network outages are frequent or particularly well publicised, the damage compounds itself over time as customers and partners associate a brand with poor service and a lack of reliability.

Loss of data and time for repairs When a network goes down, IT managers may be unable to access the network remotely to diagnose and repair the problem, which means businesses may have to wait – sometimes for days – for a physical team to dispatch and arrive.

This isn’t to mention the potential damage that loss of data could cause, sometimes enough to quite literally put a business out of business.

Avoidable costs Perhaps the most frustrating fact for businesses is that losses associated with a downed network can be avoided with proactive planning.

If companies weigh the cost of implementing failover technologies against the losses associated with network downtime, the costs of putting in a failover solution can end up being quite a bit lower than those other factors. According to a conservative figure from Gartner, every minute of Internet downtime costs businesses an average of $5,600, but it is recommended that you use a downtime calculator to determine a more accurate figure for your business.

How can you prevent it?

Fortunately, in the year 2016 the debate surrounding network failover is no longer whether it’s important, but rather what type of 4G LTE solution to implement.

There are three main ways to set up failover through 4G LTE connectivity. Here are the class-leading solutions offered by Cradlepoint:

Overlay Failover The Cradlepoint ARC CBA850 routers convert a 4G LTE signal to Ethernet to provide the location’s traditional wired-line router a second “wired” WAN connection instead of one.

In this scenario, the two WAN connections are always live, with the traditional router determining when failover is necessary. This is a major boon for companies that need reliable failover but don’t have the time, budget or need to completely overhaul their network architecture.

Primary Router Multi-WAN Failover At branches where the primary connect routers are from Cradlepoint’s AER Series and in vehicles with the COR IBR1100 with the Dual-Modem Dock, it’s the Cradlepoint devices that decide when to failover.

AER and COR routers have WAN Diversity, which is the convergence of 4G LTE, Ethernet (DSL, Cable, T1, MetroE), and WiFi as WAN in a single networking solution. These dual-modem (or 3 or more WAN source) devices allow for failover from one LTE connection to another LTE connection, or from wired line to LTE, then to the second LTE connection, Wi-Fi, or any configuration the customer desires.

Router + LTE Failover Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) enables a highly available failover option: Internet failover and router hardware redundancy at the same time.

VRRP is a layer 3 protocol that provides automatic default gateway selections on an IP network. In other words, if the main wired router fails because of hardware or software, the entire network automatically fails over to the Cradlepoint router — with the LAN and WAN uninterrupted.

To learn more about how Cradlepoint solutions can enable your organisation's business continuity, visit their website.

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