Optimizing 4G failover solution performance and costs: 4 things you need to know

In an enterprise data center, the cost of just one minute of downtime is $9,000 on average. And in branch offices or retail store environments, the costs of slowed productivity or upset customers and lost sales also add up very fast. That’s why, if your business has any concerns about slow Internet speeds or possible outages, it’s important to understand the potential of a cellular failover solution as well as some key considerations around a successful deployment.

Seeing the value of wireless failover

In addition to providing a way to “pick up the slack” of a slow connection, today’s wireless failover solutions can deliver speeds equal to or better than many wired connection options, in the event of a cut wire or ISP outage. Wireless failover solutions also eliminate last-mile issues while increasing service provider options in most areas. And, with the right approach, you can keep the service and maintenance costs for wireless failover solutions at a minimal level. Here are four factors that are critical to success.

1) Tests for meeting performance requirements
One of the most important things to understand about setting up an effective wireless failover solution is that it usually takes some trial and error, in the form a site survey, to find the best combination of hardware and cellular service. After all, cellular coverage can vary significantly within a building or a local area, so gateway placement and provider choices can dramatically impact connection performance. Site surveys and failover tests will help you ensure your failover approach will meet business requirements.

2) Understanding your data usage and plan options to control costs
Over time, the biggest expense for a wireless failover solution is the service plan; without careful oversight your business could end up unnecessarily spending hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. That’s why it’s worth taking some time to figure out how much data a location is likely to use and choose a plan accordingly. Just consider that although wireless carriers offer a wide array of business plan options, in some offices or locations a consumer-grade plan may suffice for a failover connection.

3) Choosing the right hardware platform for your specific needs
As with cellular service plans, more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to gateway hardware selection. To find the best option, it’s important to consider:

• Bandwidth options—Today, carriers offer many different types of wireless connections, including 3G, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) or 4G, LTE Advanced, LTE Advanced Pro, and more. The options vary from city to city and region to region. To optimize costs, it’s worth looking into the connection options you’ll be employing across locations and choosing devices accordingly.
• Placement options—Some gateways must be located near a server or power source and others include extended power and connection options that enable flexible placement based on signal strength. Your site survey will confirm whether or not you will need the ability to arrange the device location to support optimal connections.
• Power considerations—Depending on the level of availability needed for a given location, you may want to consider battery backup.

4) Thinking holistically about the hardware and management options
Visibility into your failover solution itself is also an important consideration. Especially if you are managing dispersed devices. For example, knowing that a device has been activated at one of your locations is an indicator that the primary WAN interface is down and may need attention. Fortunately, cloud-based management systems, such as Inseego IoT Connect, make it easy to set up alerts related to service-related issues or power outages.

A cloud management solution also helps streamline deployment, monitoring, maintenance and troubleshooting of a failover solution. Remember that you will need to regularly update firmware and configurations as business needs evolve and either uninstalling devices and shipping them back to a central location or sending out technicians for updates would be expensive. With a good cloud-based management solution, you can handle most routine steps from a central location, including monitoring cellular data usage and troubleshooting connection issues.

To get the greatest possible return on investment (ROI) from your failover solution, be sure to think holistically about the gateway device and management option, as well as whether or not you will need any support services to manage your solution.

Read our quick guide to succeeding with 4G failover solutions

Given the importance of Internet uptime, there is a lot riding on your wireless failover solution choice. And by now you understand that cellular failover solutions aren’t foolproof. If you’re ready to delve deeper into how to optimize wireless failover solution performance while avoiding overpaying for hardware and service plan costs, check out our new white paper.

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