I wrote an article recently for Network Computing Magazine about the importance of diversity in networks to achieve internet reliability for home and business networks.
As a Solution Architect for Peplink – one of the original manufacturers of load balancing routers, this is something that I am always saying again again. If you want a reliable connection to the internet then you need multiple ways to connect to it – preferably ways that use different transport mediums (like fixed line DSl and LTE for example) from different ISPs.
What always surprises me is when customers disagree. Frequently (especially in the small business space) those responsible for the business will hesitate at the additional costs of a secondary DSL line, or cellular connection combined with an enterprise router that can manage these links properly. They’ll tell me that they can’t remember the last time the internet failed so it really isn’t that important to their business.
And sometimes they will be right. With cloud based services becoming the norm now and email, file storage and VoIP sat safely in this virtual sky, it can be less important for a physical location to be 100% available, especially if staff numbers are in single digits where a business can continue almost unaffected using tablets and smartphones that are connected via inbuilt cellular links. However small companies that are truly 100% cloud based are surprisingly rare.
Most companies have a process or function that needs both internet and local physical network connectivity at the same time to work efficiently, from printers to receptionists, and the cost of these functions not working at all (or at a reduced efficiency) over multiple internet connected devices can be hard to measure. Also the human element kicks in. We are all beasts of habit, and when our usual way of achieving something changes we can be flustered and take longer to do it – even if the alternative technology (like email or conference calling on a smartphone) is there to be used.
In my opinion even small businesses should consider multiple WAN links for their internet connectivity, since without them – when their internet connection fails (and we all know it will at some point) the cost of not being connected can be surprisingly high (if difficult to measure). If not, then at the very least, staff training using a controlled test of internet connectivity failure is highly recommended.
If you would like to know more about multi WAN load balancing for high availability feel free to get in touch or pop along to www.peplink.com to see what we can offer to help.