When paired with out-of-band management, automated failover to a cellular connection &mdash' either from a wired connection or another cellular connection — can ensure your business operations remain up and running, and always on.
In this post, we will talk about why cellular failover is a key strategy for retailers seeking solutions that help avoid network outages, and why, in fact, cellular is starting to replace retail reliance on wireline networks.
Whether you're managing ATMs, digital signage, food service locations, POS terminals, branch offices, hotels, convenience stores or shopping malls, one constant remains: unshakable Internet connectivity is a non-negotiable business imperative. Customers expect it. Retail businesses, grocery stores and financial institutions rely on it for transactions and revenue. And increasingly, your brand and reputation require it. But in the real world, business connectivity can be impacted by many different things.
It could be a wayward backhoe cutting through a LAN line, faulty equipment, severe weather or human error. Your retail operation could be a victim of a cyber crime. And then there are natural and catastrophic disasters such as a hurricane or flooding, an out of control wildfire or an earthquake.
Regardless of the cause, network downtime carries a high cost. According to a report by IDC, network downtime costs 80% of small- and medium-sized businesses at least $20,000 per hour. Then factor in the damage to your brand, reputation, and customer loyalty that is hard to quantify but also hard to ignore.
Most wireline/broadband connections can provide 99.5% uptime. But even that level of reliability can still translate into dozens of hours of unplanned outages annually that disrupt your ability to process credit card transactions, track inventory, dispense cash at ATMs, or perform other mission-critical office or store tasks.
To reduce risk, many companies augment their primary connection with a redundant backup connection using a second wired line. Unfortunately, these backup lines are equally vulnerable to the same risks, since they run on the same conduits, or are strung on the same poles, with the same termination points. In most instances, they even connect to the same service providers.
In response, many forward-thinking companies are turning to wireless cellular connections for backup connectivity, both to rely less on expensive wireline solutions and to enable the ability to grow and upgrade with cellular network enhancements.
Cellular failover provides a seamless fix. When the wireline system fails, connections automatically failover to a 4G LTE connection, ensuring that Internet connectivity — and vital business operations — are virtually uninterrupted. The advantages are significant:
The cost of running wired cable is significant. Many companies today are turning to cellular in cases where it is cost prohibitive to run landlines, and the pace of improvements in cellular technology is supporting this shift.
When a device is offline, or when a network is down, an administrator must be able to reach remote equipment to restore normal operation. Out-of-band management ensures that a network administrator can access a remote site for remediation if remote WAN or LAN networks are down, and does not rely on the production network. This methodology is enabled via a serial console port that offers a management interface for troubleshooting issues with networking equipment, devices and servers.
One of the key benefits of cellular failover is that it will make your business more efficient, and that can have an enormous impact on operating costs.
For example, without an automated cellular failover solution, troubleshooting and fixing a network connectivity issue is a multi-step process. In the event that your primary network connection is disrupted, you're typically going to have to send a truck out to a site to determine the problem and schedule service.
Following that, you may need to send a second truck out to the site to implement the fix with the right parts. This process can take many hours or even days to complete, during which the business can lose a range of functionality, from email service to POS connectivity and the ability to process transactions. Therefore, in addition to the costs of service personnel and truck rolls, your business can quickly lose revenue.
With a cellular failover solution, a backup connection automatically kicks in if the primary fails. What's more, with out-of-band access, the problem can often be identified and handled remotely, avoiding a truck roll altogether. If the issue does require a replacement part, instead of rolling trucks twice — once to identify the problem and once to service the issue — you can send just one truck to implement the fix. Meanwhile, your cellular failover keeps your business up and running with no perceived downtime or revenue loss.
Digi recognized the opportunity to provide the exceptional advantages of cellular to enterprises that require always-up, always-on connectivity, and today has multiple enterprise solutions with cellular backup options to suit any need across the retail and branch office landscape. You can choose the device that best supports your connectivity requirements, as well as the connection type best suited to your application, and evaluate upgrades such as the Digi 1002-CM CORE plug-in modem with dual SIM support.
Contact us to help determine the right solution for your business.