By Jeremy Thielen
Your day as a retailer starts like any other; you tidy up the store, open to a bright shiny day, and happily begin selling your products to a loyal following. When, just a few hours in, a customer is standing at the point of sale prepared to make a sizable purchase. However this time something is different: you swipe their card and nothing happens. You try to connect to a supplier’s website and it does not work either. In the pit of your stomach a feeling comes over you that you know all too well. The Internet is down…
Being the smart businessperson that you are, you have done your homework and have considered protecting your business from such outages. Odds are you have looked into bringing a second wired connection into your store but found the expense to be prohibitive. The additional hardware, network intricacy and configuration are complicated, and true redundancy is not really delivered as promised because the “last mile” of most networks run side-by-side. That means the backhoe operator four blocks away can still take out both of your wired Internet connections with one fell swoop of his mighty bucket.
Redundancy delivered via 3G/4G networks
The real solution is redundancy delivered via wireless cellular 3G/4G networks. Platforms exist that do not require expensive firewalls, costly configuration or a revamp of your entire network. There is a class of smart little devices called integrated cellular modem/routers, which, when connected to your current network infrastructure, detect and continuously probe the primary Internet connection to make sure it is up and running. When it is not, these devices spring into action and take over the load. Within seconds the device will “fail over” to the wireless 3G/4G connection embedded within its circuitry. This happens so seamlessly and quickly that you may not know you are in a fail-over state without a splash screen or other heads-up advising you of this. You can continue processing sales as normal without a hitch.
So what happens when your main Internet connection comes back online? The device, still probing and looking for life from the wired connection, sees it come online again, and within seconds seamlessly fails back to the main service provider.
For the small business owner this may seem like a futuristic solution. However, it is a reality today and is far less inexpensive than you might think. A bonus: if your business ever goes mobile for special events, fairs, shows, or festivals, this same service can deliver an outstanding connection in those circumstances as well.