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The idea of downtime for an office or remote site in your company network is painful to think about in today's increasingly connected world.
Yet, businesses are continuing to move operations from expensive internally managed systems to cloud based hosting and software suites to benefit from data protection, compliance, scalability / flexibility, cost efficiencies and business continuity.
We live in an age when we expect to be connected 24/7 with no exception, and your users expect the same. But, reliable links to cloud services and WANs require robust connectivity.
Ethernet (leased) lines are the obvious choice for stability (as they provide a service level agreement with support response times), plus guaranteed speeds and bandwidth. However, not all remote locations can justify the costs and need to look into alternatives.
Business broadband is available in many different types, such as G.fast, ADSL, FTTC, FTTP, etc. It is much cheaper than Ethernet (leased) lines. The problem is that there is no guaranteed service level agreement, so, if the circuit is down, when will an engineer attend a site to get the service back up and running?
4G links are being used more and more to provide an alternative / backup connection as they offer good speeds (greater than broadband in some cases), contract flexibility, low manageable costs and they don't rely on the BT Openreach infrastructure.
We've observed top data transfer speeds of 60Mbit/s and averages of around 30Mbit/s up and downstream with 4G. Although, transfer speeds are subject to signal strength.
Business broadband services offer faster speeds and are cost effective, but they can still be prone to problems with the added concern of waiting times for services be fixed again.
Like 4G, Ethernet (leased) lines provide synchronous upload and download speeds. However the main advantage is they are not reliant upon the BT Openreach infrastructure, so they offer a great business continuity option by using different technology on an alternative network.
Recent drops in the cost of 4G (now from as low as £20.99/month) have enabled it to be considered for a range of uses in business operations, including a backup connection should copper or fibre links go down.
A combination of wired and wireless links that are managed by SD-WAN enable systems administrators to guarantee 100% service up time for their business network users.
Additionally, some 4G services provide the option of being supplied with a public IP address, which makes the connection unique and routable.
When a broadband service fails for whatever reason, SD-WAN can be configured to manage the use of alternative connections.
4G has become a viable backup link due to its flexibility in terms of costs, contract and performance and, through its seamless integration with SD-WAN, it can maintain WAN connectivity.
The world of networking is changing as internet technologies mature and our users continue to demand increasing amounts of bandwidth. Uptime expectations are higher than ever and have expanded across entire workforces, while online systems mean connectivity is paramount.
There have been monumental improvements in broadband and 4G services, alongside competition induced cost reductions that makes their use more enticing.
The future is bright for those who manage the IT budget as cost saving technologies are here by combining business broadband, 4G and SD-WAN.