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1 Uninterrupted Internet: Maximizing Revenue and Minimizing Business Risk with 3G/4G Failover White Paper Page 1

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary... 3 Considering The Options: Upgrades, Redundancy and Failover... 5 Upgrading Technology... 5 Adding Redundancy... 5 Implementing Failover... 6 Creating an Efficient 3G/4G Failover Solution... 7 Interoperability... 7 Management Benefits Beyond Failover Shared Service Signal Quality Ease Of Use Security VPN Functionality Case Study: Blinds To Go Challenge: Continuous Uptime For Retail Transactions Solution: CradlePoint Standalone Router Benefits Conclusion Page 2

3 Executive Summary For businesses that rely on the Internet whether for point- of- sale (POS) and credit card processing, or for cloud- based business and productivity applications, or both non- stop availability is essential. Without it, they risk losing revenue, alienating customers and hampering productivity. For the many businesses that rely on DSL or cable for Internet service, that risk is an everyday reality. With availability at 99.5% at best, the question isn t whether they will experience a loss of service, but when. Businesses can increase availability to 99.95% by installing a T1 or T3 line, or they can try to reduce risk by adding service redundancy. But even assuming they can justify the high cost of such measures, they remain at risk for unanticipated service interruptions caused by uncontrollable events such as severe weather or construction accidents. 3G/4G mobile broadband technology offers a cost- effective, reliable failover solution to minimize the risk of service interruption. With its relatively low cost, 3G/4G failover is appropriate both for large organizations that operate multiple branches or retail locations and small or midsize businesses for whom other options are simply cost- prohibitive. 3G/4G failover increases uptime hours by delivering secure, uninterrupted connectivity at any branch location, store or office. Every business is at risk, and there s more at stake than money. This paper describes the various technologies and services available to protect against Internet outages and describes the advantages of choosing 3G/4G mobile broadband technology as a failover solution. Page 3

4 On average, DSL and cable service are disrupted for every month for 5.2 hours the equivalent of a day's worth of peak revenue hours. Minor outages are generally over in minutes, but severe storms, power outages or construction damage can paralyze a business for days. During this time, revenue is lost, customer service and company reputation suffer, and productivity may grind to a standstill. IT loses time to dealing with equipment or customer service requests, and employees relying on cloud- based data or applications may not be able to do anything but sit and wait until service is restored. During an outage in a retail environment, businesses must either turn customers away or revert to dialing in or hand- swiping credit cards a painful experience for both employees and customers, often resulting in lost sales and damaged customer relationships. Other critical tasks such as inventory lookup, approvals and price updates are also halted. Consider All Parts Auto, a privately owned auto parts retail store in San Jose, California. The company depends heavily on its business DSL for credit card transactions and on- line access to warehouse inventory. When the Internet goes down, employees must make multiple phone calls to check inventory and handle credit card transactions with carbon paper forms all while the customer stands around and waits. Handling sales and inventory manually not only creates frustration, it also leaves the company more vulnerable to fraud and reduces efficiency to about 40% compared to using the online system. When the owner factored in five retail stores, each doing roughly 400 transactions a day, he realized that simple network failures added up to big losses in a hurry. But a recommended $20,000 investment in redundant equipment and added services was simply not cost- effective for his business. Clearly, there s a need for a more cost- effective solution for companies like his. Page 4

5 As All Parts Auto s experience confirms, Internet service interruption is far more than an inconvenience. To offset the considerable risks associated with it, businesses need to build in reliable, secure and cost- effective network backup that protects all locations. Considering the Options: Upgrades, Redundancy and Failover There are three options for increasing network availability and addressing the problem of a single point of failure: purchasing network technology upgrades, adding redundancy or deploying a 3G/4G mobile broadband failover solution. The following summarizes each option and the advantages and disadvantages to consider when determining which will be the most effective (and cost- effective) solution. Upgrading Technology The first option is upgrading from business DSL or cable service to a more reliable network technology such as T1 or T3. These offerings typically increase availability from approximately 99.1% to 99.95%, reducing three hours of monthly downtime to 15 minutes. However, this solution is still a single wired line with no redundancy, leaving a business at risk for catastrophic outages caused by construction or bad weather. In addition, upgrading can cost as much as four to eight times the price of business DSL. Such an investment may be well worth it for running critical equipment in a company s main office, but probably won t be justifiable when the cost must be multiplied over hundreds or even thousands of distributed locations. Adding redundancy The second option is to add network redundancy to insure against interruptions of primary service. One way to do this is to purchase wired Internet services from a separate DSL Page 5

6 provider. However, because it s the same type of service, it remains vulnerable to the same physical risks, even if it s from a different source. Bringing in one business DSL and one business cable service poses the same risks; both are wired connections that are equally subject to damage and disruption by, for example, an errant backhoe. And while having separate technologies may provide at least some level of insulation to downtime risk, the service improvement is likely not worth the added cost: 1% incremental availability in exchange a 100% increase in the monthly cost of Internet access. And the more locations are involved, the more difficult it is to justify such a costly approach. Implementing Failover The third option is implementing automatic failover protection using a 3G/4G network. With this approach, an outage in a DSL or cable line results in an automatic switch to a mobile broadband connection, allowing service to continue without interruption. This system creates true redundancy because the failover technology has a completely separate infrastructure; something that damages a wired connection is unlikely to also disrupt a cellular tower. However, while these technologies provide high availability and redundancy, cost can still be an issue. 3G/4G mobile broadband providers offer plans designed specifically for failover scenarios at a cost of as little as $20 per month. But the low cost may be offset if a company has to invest thousands of dollars in capital expenditures to cover the cost of added equipment for wireless backup. An intelligent, cost- effective appliance is therefore critical to properly manage and blend the services of a low- cost wired primary connection with a high- value, highly available wireless connection. It s the only way to ensure that the incremental 1% additional availability is achieved with only a modest increase in monthly recurring costs for Internet service. Such cost- effective solutions are critical for 3G/4G failover to scale the general market. Page 6

7 Creating an efficient 3G/4G failover solution Efficiently blending a wired and wireless Internet connection for higher availability requires a set of solutions that: Provides the highest degree of mobile network interoperability Offers simple, scalable deployment, maintenance and control over multiple distributed locations Fits the budgets of both small businesses and large enterprises CradlePoint is the leading supplier of 3G/4G mobile broadband network routing solutions that incorporate these key requirements, creating the flexibility to protect any business at any scale. Interoperability CradlePoint s network and modem technology is incorporated into its WiPipe platform, which can automatically recognize and drive over 300 USB and ExpressCard modems across all major and second- tier carriers. Supported modems include 3G (EVDO or HSPA technologies) and 4G (LTE, WiMax and HSPA+ technologies). CradlePoint s routers allow for easy testing and prototyping, enabling quick and easy deployment with any local carrier. Additionally, CradlePoint has developed a set of high- gain modem systems that increase the reliability of the cellular signal. Added system gain and a layer of diagnostics ensure that any remote location is best supported over the lifetime of the deployment. CradlePoint s offering includes both add- on and stand- alone solutions, which further increases interoperability. Businesses using an add- on approach with existing wired infrastructure can simply plug a 3G or 4G modem into an adapter to convert the broadband signal to an Ethernet connection. Page 7

8 The stand- alone solution provides sequential failover capability, continuous local connectivity and high- performance WiFi making it ideal for small businesses and highly cost- effective for new deployments. Both solutions can be mixed and matched as needed, and each can be managed remotely. Figure 1: Failover protection provided by CRADLEPOINT CBA750 against DSL/Cable outage. Page 8

9 Figure 2: Failover protection provided by CRADLEPOINT MBR1400 against DSL/Cable outage. Figure 3: Failover protection provided by CRADLEPOINT MBR1400 against wireless network outage. Copyright 2011 CradlePoint, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 9

10 Management CradlePoint s WiPipe central management system allows IT to deploy a large number of systems and to remotely update, upgrade, configure and manage them. In addition, a unique group management capability makes it possible for end users to work with alternative carriers in areas where the primary carrier does not have good coverage, or when international carriers may be required. Even across different hardware platforms and implementations, all device management and control can still be maintained at a single portal location. And because the management is cloud- based, all interactivity with each node is done efficiently without a heavy burden on network utilization. Benefits Beyond Failover A number of benefits beyond outage protection derive from a 3G/4G failover solution. Shared Service CradlePoint ExpressCards and USB air cards (modems) plug into individual computers to establish a single and non- sharable mobile broadband connection to the Internet. However, when these appliances are plugged into a CradlePoint router, it not only delivers broadband Internet connectivity but also allows the 3G/4G service to be shared by establishing WiFi connectivity and/or providing Ethernet LAN connectivity. Signal Quality CradlePoint WiPipe technology provides robust and efficient routing in a platform that is designed to operate in close proximity to cellular radio modems without interfering with or degrading network performance. The WiPipe platform also employs highly optimized software that continually assesses wireless connection quality and supports QoS to ensure that VOIP and video- over IP applications run at peak performance. Page 10

11 Ease of Use CradlePoint routers are straightforward to set up and use. They offer plug- and- play simplicity and can start working right out of the box with a broad array of cellular network modems. Security The WiPipe platform provides enhanced security protection by requiring a WPA security code for initial configuration and WiFi network access. Businesses may require personal security codes as well, and can even establish enterprise- level security using WPA- Enterprise. The end result is higher security and a simplified experience for users. VPN Functionality CradlePoint systems provide secure and reliable VPN functionality, allowing businesses to create, manage and terminate up to 20 concurrent VPN sessions over multiple locations, with the following security features: WEP, WPA, WPA2 and AES encryption for secure WiFi SPI Firewall and NAT (Network Address Translation) to prevent unwanted access to connected computers Security features (URL filtering, traffic filtering, DMZ, virtual server, port forwarding) for safer Internet access. Page 11

12 Case Study: Blinds To Go Challenge: Continuous uptime for retail transactions Blinds To Go, a leading retailer and manufacturer of window blinds and shades in North America, was looking for a last- mile telecom redundancy solution for POS systems in 100 retail outlets. The company specifically wanted a wireless failover solution to provide continuous uptime for store transactions with no interruptions in the event of an outage of the primary wired source of Internet connectivity (T1/fiber, DSL or cable, depending on location). Solution: CradlePoint standalone router The company s systems administrator chose a solution based on a CradlePoint stand- alone router for its retail outlets, based on the solution s flexibility, enterprise- class security, and ease of deployment and use. Being a retail business, we needed robust failover capabilities. There was no compromise to be made. We ve not had any problems with the CradlePoint solution. We ve definitely seen an improvement in uptime since we switched. Constantin Koutrias, System Administrator, Blinds To Go Page 12

13 Benefits Ease of deployment. Blinds To Go was able to dispatch one technician to install pre- configured routers in its stores, and each installation only took an hour. Simple configuration via web browser. A single configuration file can be saved to disk for quick, easy deployment to other units. Manageability. The company only has to support one hardware platform, and has the flexibility to use several carriers or switch cellular platforms without having to buy new hardware. Speed. Blinds To Go reports a 10-15% improvement in speed and reliability with the CradlePoint solution. Conclusion Incorporating a 3G/4G failover solution protects against potential losses associated with Internet service interruption by automatically switching to a mobile broadband connection in the event of an outage in a primary line. CradlePoint provides 3G/4G mobile broadband network routing solutions that provide the interoperability and manageability necessary to achieve higher availability cost- effectively. Page 13

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