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Does Weather Affect Fixed Wireless?

Does Weather Affect Fixed Wireless?
October 10th, 2020 [UPDATED]
First Published January 4th, 2019

Can Weather Affect a Fixed Wireless Internet Connection?

The majority of businesses today have become intrinsically reliant on the Internet. From serving as an accessible means to communicate globally, to hosting e-commerce stores, to conducting online credit transactions and transfers, high-speed Internet connections have become paramount for businesses of all sizes. There are numerous broadband technologies to consider when shopping in today’s business marketplace— from DSL to copper, to fiber, to satellite, to fixed wireless Internet.

When exploring fixed wireless connections, a variety of questions may come to mind. For example, is fixed wireless Internet reliable? Is fixed wireless Internet affected by weather? Does fixed wireless Internet perform as well as a wired connection?

To answer these questions, let’s first take a step back and ask the foundational question, “what is fixed wireless Internet?

what is fixed wireless

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers, and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point and point-to-multi-point signals, fixed wireless technology is deployable in a fraction of the time – and for a fraction of the cost – of terrestrial fiber. Unlike a standard Wi-Fi connection, fixed wireless networks can be directionally focused to produce dedicated speeds of up to 10 Gbps. When configured correctly, fixed wireless technology can withstand extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, high winds, and severe temperatures, both hot and cold, with the ability to operate over licensed or unlicensed wireless spectrum.

Why Has Fixed Wireless Internet Developed a Bad Reputation?

Although trusted and utilized by global militaries and law enforcement for upwards of a century, over the years of perfecting fixed wireless for commercial use, many small carriers deployed inexpensive equipment that operated across only one frequency. This practice caused a multitude of problems, including interference from other links in the surrounding area. The result? A deceiving reputation for being slow, unreliable, and inferior to wired networks.

Another common misconception that has been tagged to fixed wireless technology is that it is equivalent to satellite Internet quality of service (QoS). Satellite Internet, which is notoriously known for its high latency, operates by transmitting signals from a dish to a satellite orbiting more than 20,000 miles above the earth. This distance is drastically different than a 20-mile point-to-point fixed wireless link.

GeoLinks has put all the misconceptions about fixed wireless Internet to rest in our article “8 Facts to Set the Record Straight About Fixed Wireless Internet”.

Here are the highlights:

  • Fact 1: Fixed wireless Internet is not the same as satellite Internet
  • Fact 2: Fixed wireless Internet Is just as reliable as fiber
  • Fact 3: Fixed wireless Internet is not just a rural solution
  • Fact 4: Fixed wireless Internet can be installed rapidly
  • Fact 5: Fixed wireless radio technology is safe
  • Fact 6: Fixed wireless Internet is much more than a backup solution
  • Fact 7: Fixed wireless Internet is secure
  • Fact 8: Fixed wireless Internet works in any weather

Today’s Commercial High-Speed Fixed Wireless Internet Technology

As with all types of broadband connections, fixed wireless speeds and service varies from provider to provider. From technical equipment upgrades to improved and simplified network management through software, commercial fixed wireless networks have advanced rapidly in recent years. When topped off with the ability to combine and switch between more diversified spectrum links (both licensed and unlicensed), properly-deployed modern fixed wireless networks can deliver gigabit connection speeds that rival fiber connections.

weather and fixed wireless internet
 

Fixed Wireless Internet and the Weather

When we think of our Internet connection transmitting data wirelessly, the effects of weather can be a natural concern. Thus, it’s no surprise that fixed wireless providers are often asked, “Does weather affect fixed wireless Internet?”

The answer? Yes, it can if it’s not deployed correctly – and that is one of the primary reasons the technology gets overlooked. However, with informed engineering and experience, fixed wireless networks can be unaffected by weather. For example, before building out any wireless network, GeoLinks’ in-house engineering team first looks at an area’s terrain, historical weather patterns, rain fade, and thermal ducting. Based on the data collected and considering the distance of the shot and required bandwidth, they choose the best frequency or frequencies and carrier-grade equipment for the specific region and build. With multiple failover paths, every GeoLinks network eventually connects to a fiber optic backbone to ensure true network redundancy. The result? A stable, high-speed fixed wireless network designed to withstand the elements.

Plus, GeoLinks can craft a disaster recovery plan for your business to help you combat any weather event or natural disaster you encounter.

Why Should Your Business Implement Fixed Wireless Internet?

In addition to being weather-proof, Fixed Wireless Internet is:

  • Quick to deploy – fixed wireless Internet networks can be deployed in a fraction of the time of competing wired technologies.
  • Cost-effective – by avoiding costly trenching, fixed wireless Internet networks are far less expensive to build and have a lower impact on the environment.
  • Widely available – because they use radio waves, fixed wireless Internet networks can reach areas “off the grid,” such as rural America.
  • Uptime – Fixed wireless Internet networks have multipoint redundancy built-in. This provides always-on connectivity with close to 100% uptime.

Comparing Fixed Wireless Internet to other Business Internet Options

Fixed Wireless Business Internet Comparison Chart 



GeoLinks’ Fixed Wireless Internet Case Studies – Proof of Concept

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Multi-Site Locations:

A great case study to prove the potential of a well-constructed fixed wireless network is GeoLinks’ project with global coffee distributor Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. In 2016, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf was slated to open a series of new locations in Southern California in just 20 days and needed more than 30 circuits to support their public Wi-Fi and POS systems. The company initially contracted to provide a terrestrial connection was projecting massive delays and restrictions of available bandwidth. To meet their quickly approaching deadlines, the company looked to contract an outside local provider to administer a temporary solution. Enter GeoLinks.

GeoLinks successfully delivered more than 30 redundant circuits to all new store locations in just 14 days, enabling the stores to open as planned.

GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ initially was hired as a temporary backup solution while Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s copper network was installed. However, ClearFiber’s seamless operation, combined with further buildout delays, led Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to cancel its copper installations altogether and to use GeoLinks as their primary provider.

The decision to use GeoLinks paid off again when Southern California was hit with a massive storm in the Spring of 2017, causing outages across the state as California’s poor irrigation caused underground reservoirs to flood for nearly two weeks straight. As terrestrial cables live underground, many of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s pre-existing locations operated on copper and experienced extended outages and downtime. All of their ClearFiber™ locations, on the other hand, remained unaffected and avoided outages and downtime altogether.

You can learn more about our success story with Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf here, or you can download the PDF of the case study here.

Coffee Bean Case Study

Catalina Island - Does weather affect fixed wireless?

Santa Catalina Island:

Santa Catalina Island is located more than 20 miles off the California coast, which creates an ongoing problem to secure reliable high-speed Internet access. Before 2016, most island residents lived with either unreliable satellite or cellular connections or no access whatsoever. At one point in time, the island commissioned an outside network builder to deliver a fixed wireless connection to solve this problem. Unfortunately, however, the design was dramatically impacted by weather and atmospheric ducting, causing consistent drops, outages, packet loss, and high latency. The poorly designed network left residents and businesses with an unsustainable and unreliable network.

In 2016, GeoLinks was brought in by an affiliate partner to design a custom solution that would deliver Catalina its first-ever reliable and redundant multi-gigabit network. By understanding the inherent issues of thermal ducting and rain fade, and by examining over 50 years of weather patterns, the GeoLinks team, led by CTO Ryan Hauf and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, were able to conceptualize an innovative network design in under two weeks.

Having ample tower coverage supported by fiberoptic backbones throughout Southern California, GeoLinks’ team of expert engineers then were able to construct a fully redundant network in just 60 days. Using multiple paths over various frequencies to deliver long-haul middle mile, the system was built to seamlessly failover when rain or packet loss was detected, preventing the island from ever experiencing a perceived outage.

GeoLinks – The Most Reliable Fixed Wireless Internet Provider

So, let’s answer our initial questions. When engineered effectively, fixed wireless Internet is a reliable technology that can withstand extreme weather conditions and perform equal, if not better than, a wired connection. With innovative companies like GeoLinks building businesses and anchor institutions multi-gigabit networks that guarantee ultra-low latency, virtually no jitter, 99.999% uptime, fixed wireless Internet may very well be the best Internet solution for your business.

Ready to Try GeoLinks’ Weather-Proof Business Internet Option ClearFiber™ Fixed Wireless Internet?

Chat with one of our in-house experts to see if ClearFiber™ is right for your business.

Request a Quote
 
 
 

Need Internet Immediately?

Talk with a GeoLinks Internet specialist now.
Call 888.225.1571

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ClearFiber™ – Enterprise-Grade Internet Delivered in 7-10 Days

What to Expect in a ClearFiber™ Fixed Wireless Installation

Not sure what to expect from a fixed wireless installation?

Let’s start with an overview of fixed wireless technology. Simply put, fixed wireless provides high-speed direct Internet access using radio waves to create a point-to-point link from a wireless network tower antenna to a dish with a radio on a building roof. Because there are no underground connections involved, fixed wireless technology is deployable in a fraction of the time and cost of a standard terrestrial fiber connection.

It takes 30-60 days to install fiber and that’s only if your business location is already lit (i.e. connected to fiber). If you need to fiber to be deployed to your building, construction can delay your installation to 90-120 days and sometimes longer.

When you sign up for our award-winning ClearFiberTM fixed wireless Internet, you can get high-speed Internet service with speeds up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) in as few as 24 hours, but typically five to 10 days.

How can we install ClearFiber fixed wireless so quickly? We’ve broken down our installation process into five easy steps, so you know what to expect before you sign on the dotted line.

 

Step 1: Qualify Service Availability

Your service request is sent through a serviceability qualification process wherein GeoLinks’ staff verify that ClearFiber fixed wireless service is available in your area.

 

Step 2: Order & Contract

Once serviceability has been confirmed, an official order request is sent to GeoLinks’ Quotes Team to prepare contracts for e-signature.

Once contracts are signed and returned to GeoLinks, an in-house project coordinator is assigned to your account and will follow-up with the following documents:

  • Roof Access Form
  • On-site Contact
  • Site Readiness Questions

 

Step 3: Pre-Installation

Once all documents are completed and submitted, your order is moved to our engineering department, where the circuit is designed to fit your business needs, based on the specs laid out in your contract.

Then, your order goes to the fulfillment department, which makes sure that we have the equipment (e.g. radios and dishes) required for the installation. The fulfillment department also pre-configures or programs the radios for your installation.

Next, our dispatch department will reach out to your on-site contact with the soonest available date time of arrival for installation.

We’ll work to meet your scheduling needs, but installation date from order confirmation is typically between five to 10 business days. We usually schedule multiple installations in the same campus on the same day. Separate locations typically are scheduled and rolled out one at a time.

 

Step 4: Installation

On the day of the installation, GeoLinks’ project coordinator will call 30 minutes in advance of our team arriving. When our in-house technicians arrive, they will meet with your point of contact and confirm that we have access to the server room and roof and secure approvals to proceed.

GeoLinks’ technicians then transport the weatherproof fixed wireless radio dish – usually two- or three-feet in diameter –to the top of your building and secure it to the roof.  To do this, we use a non-penetrating, flat mount with rubber matting between the mount and the roof to protect the roof. The mount is weighed down by bricks to keep it stable. Weatherproof CAT-5 cabling is strung from the radio dish to the handoff inside the building. We’re typically able to drop cables through the ventilation system, so that we don’t need to drill.

We take care to position the mast and dish low so that it is not noticed by passersby on the sidewalk at ground level.

The installation typically takes two to four hours. Once installed, our technicians take pictures of the radio and share them with you, so that you’re aware of the radio location without having to climb to the roof. We then conduct a speed test with you live in-person to verify the installation was successful.

Before GeoLinks’ technicians leave, we obtain a signature indicating your approval that the deployment is in working order.

 

Step 5: Post-Installation Follow Up

Following the installation, our project coordinator will send you IP information with confirmation of the successful installation. Our customer service representative will contact you to verify there are no issues and our billing department will then invoice for the installation and first month of service.

 

Contacting Support

From here on out, if you ever have a need to contact customer support, simply submit a trouble ticket at the form available at our Support page and we’ll get back to you in four hours or less.

If you have an immediate need, and support can’t wait, call us at 1.888.225.1571 to speak with a GeoLinks’ representative.

 

Ready to Get Connected Fast?

Contact a GeoLinks ClearFiber solutions specialist

 

Not All Connections Are Created Equal

With the sudden surge in remote work and distance learning, internet connectivity has been put to the test. As we predicted, shared circuits in residential areas have been stretched beyond their limits with web surfing and video streaming competing for bandwidth with videoconferencing and large data uploads.

These slowdowns are not unexpected. Most residential internet circuits were not designed to accommodate the increased levels of activity they’re experiencing, which rivals that of enterprise-grade broadband circuits typically used by businesses.

Additionally, the vast majority of residential internet customers share a connection with their neighbors so bandwidth must be divvied up amongst all the households that are connected to it. While these connections fit the needs of residential customers under most normal circumstances, conditions are far removed from normal at the moment.

Subscribers to GeoLinks’ ClearFiber network have not experienced any slowdown, whatsoever. Our Fixed Wireless service provides every customer with a dedicated connection, eliminating the need to share and guaranteeing high speeds that are unaffected by the activity of any neighboring circuits.

Clearly, not all internet connections are created equal. GeoLinks’ Fixed Wireless guarantees speeds and provides residential and business customers with additional advantages, such as fast installation (5-7 days) and 99.999 percent uptime.

To learn more about how you can benefit from Fixed Wireless internet, contact us at (888) 225-1571 or  visit our Youtube channel to watch a three-minute video primer.

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Multi-Location Business

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Multi-Location Business - GeoLinks.com

Software-defined wide area network technology (SD-WAN) is a powerful tool for businesses that rely on the Internet to operate. It is especially beneficial for multi-location businesses. Of course, every company’s needs are a little different. So, is SD-WAN right for your business?

Read on to learn more about its benefits and uses for multi-location businesses.

What Is SD-WAN?

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that covers a large geographical area. Unlike a local area network (LAN), a WAN can connect devices and networks to the Internet and cloud-based service providers. Its primary purpose in the business world is to connect an organization’s locations together so that they can work securely and efficiently.

Software-defined wide area networks use software to simplify the delivery of the WAN. It is an answer to the problems of two prior technologies: traditional WANs and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). WANs spread over large areas tend to suffer from connection quality issues. MPLS addresses this but is expensive and slow to deploy.

SD-WAN offers many technical advantages over traditional WANs without all the logistical drawbacks of MPLS. Unlike a conventional WAN which relies on a hardware network, SD-WAN, such as the service offered by GeoLinks, can be managed virtually.

What Are the Benefits of SD-WAN for a Multi-Location Business?

Multi-location businesses can utilize SD-WAN to connect their headquarters with outside branches. This may be an organization with people working in offices all over the globe or it may be a retailer with a few locations around a city. Unlike MPLS which requires the use of a singular telecom across every location, SD-WAN is carrier agnostic allowing you to customize your bandwidth per location.

A business in Los Angeles with satellite locations in San Bernardino and San Diego, for example, may need to run applications that work efficiently between all three sites. SD-WAN would enable them to do so, simply and cost-effectively. If the team wanted to open another location in Riverside, SD-WAN would make connecting the new office seamless.

These are some of the reasons to choose SD-WAN to connect your business locations:

  • Cost Savings: Relative to other modern WAN options such as MPLS, SD-WAN is less costly to deploy and to maintain.
  • Efficient Routing: More traditional technologies such as MPLS are not routed based on application demand. SD-WAN, conversely, uses optimized path routing to ensure prioritized applications have the best possible performance.
  • Fast Deployment: SD-WAN is software-based and delivered through the cloud. Requiring just an edge device installed on site, setting it up is both fast and cost-effective. This makes it very simple to quickly connect another branch or remote office.
  • More Stable Internet: Businesses that rely on the Internet to operate can benefit from SD-WAN as it can seamlessly combine multiple Internet connections. Capable of jitter buffering, forward error packet correction, dynamic link steering, and issuing automatic failover to a backup connection in the event one connection fails, SD-WAN ensures an organization has true business continuity. For certain businesses, this can make a critical difference.
  • Centralized Monitoring: SD-WAN offers multi-location businesses functionality to monitor the network in real-time from anywhere. So, your headquarters can keep an eye on all network activity and remotely address any issues. This significantly simplifies network maintenance when compared to a hardware-based solution.

Which Multi-Location Businesses Benefit From SD-WAN?

Which Multi-Location Businesses Benefit From SD-WAN? - GeoLinks.com - Rodeo Drive

  • Multi-location car dealerships

  • Banks with multiple branches

  • Hotel and restaurant chains

  • Marketing and Ad Agencies with offices spread nationally

  • Schools, Hospitals, Libraries and other Municipalities

  • Multi-location retailers

Basically, any business with multiples branches or offices can benefit from SD-WAN. It is especially helpful for organizations that run cloud services or wish to house and mitigate all IT operations within a single hub.

Most businesses today rely heavily on the Internet. Having automatic failover to back-up connections safeguards your business from experiencing any perceived outages. Therefore, if lost productivity from a dropped Internet connection would substantially harm your business, SD-WAN may be for you.

Ultimately, SD-WAN is the best solution for fast-growing California-based businesses looking to establish a cost-effective, scalable, and efficient wide area network.

Interest in learning more about GeoLinks’ SD-WAN offering? Talk to a GeoLinks team member today!

Local internet service provider wins $87.8 million in government funding

 Local internet service provider wins $87.8 million in government funding - GeoLinks - Ryan Hauf

Photo taken by GeoLinks Co-Founder and CTO Ryan Hauf

 

A local internet service provider is going regional, thanks to $87.8 million in funding from the federal government.

GeoLinks, an 8-year-old Camarillo-based ISP that primarily serves businesses and rural areas, is among several companies that will receive funding from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund Phase II Auction. The company plans on using the capital to bring high-speed internet to rural communities previously lacking connectivity.

The first phase of the fund was held around five years ago and catered to larger, national ISPs.

Money from the fund’s second phase, which totals around $1.5 billion, will be paid out in monthly installments over a 10-year period. GeoLinks will receive $731,000 monthly starting in May, according to CEO Skyler Ditchfield. The company is primarily focused on providing internet service to rural regions and businesses that may be overlooked by the nation’s larger ISPs.

Ditchfield said money from the Connect America fund would allow GeoLinks to create a residential division but said the focus would still be on primarily rural areas.

“It enables connectivity in rural parts of California,” Ditchfield said. “People that live in those locations can try new business ventures, educate themselves better and enable a lot of new internet services like video.”

GeoLinks currently provides internet service to various parts of Ventura County and most other Southern California counties. Local areas serviced by the company include rural parts of Ojai and Thousand Oaks. The company also services entities such as schools, libraries and hospitals in rural areas across the state.

The company plans on using the bulk of the money for new equipment and infrastructure, such as towers, wireless links and distribution. GeoLinks also plans on using around $5.5 million of the funding it will receive to service areas on the California-Nevada border. While GeoLinks will use some of the funding to begin servicing parts of Camarillo and Oxnard, it will also allow the company to make a larger regional push into the Central Valley and around northeastern parts of the state.

The company is allowed up to six years to use the funds to build out its network, although Ditchfield said GeoLinks aims to complete work within four years. As payments will be doled out throughout the next decade, funds received after the network is built will be used for operating costs, such as rent and maintenance.

Applications for the third phase of the fund will likely open in late 2019.

Tyler Hersko covers business news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at [email protected] or 805-437-0312.

MORE: Camarillo-based GeoLinks joins universities on wildfire project

Should Your Business Invest in SD-WAN?

Should Your Business Invest in SD-WAN? - Geolinks.com

What is SD-WAN, and how can it benefit your business?

To stay competitive in today’s fast-paced digital landscape, organizations must evolve and adapt their internal networks to support the latest and greatest business software and technology.

Enter SD-WAN.

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) utilizes software to simplify the process of delivering the WAN (Wide Area Network), ultimately making business procedures quicker, more cost-effective, and more reliable. In order to understand why SD-WAN is growing in popularity, let’s take a step back and look at the fundamental network problems the technology addresses and resolves.

The Origins of SD-WAN

To deliver the services and applications necessary to perform key-business functions, multi-location companies utilize WANs to connect remote offices to both each other and centralized data centers. However, when networks are extended over long distances, operational challenges like high jitter, packet loss, network congestion, and outages can occur. To address these issues, IT professionals have been creating and experimenting with redundant telecommunication links since the 1970s.

Fast forward to the early 2000s, and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) became a highly utilized data-carrying technique for high-performance telecommunications networks. However, the reality is that MPLS infrastructure is both expensive and slow to deploy, therefore becoming restrictive to an increasingly impatient society focused on efficiency and rapid expansion. Thus, come 2013 the concept of a “Hybrid WAN” was introduced to the market. By 2014 networking publications started utilizing the term SD-WAN to describe the new networking trend.

With the promise of significant cost and time savings, the enterprise client became the first to employ SD-WAN, ultimately causing the market to perceive the technology as an enterprise-only solution. However, SD-WAN also enables small and medium sized businesses to adopt an upgraded corporate-like infrastructure. Therefore, SD-WAN has become a dynamic solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Should Your Business Invest in SD-WAN?

So, what is SD-WAN? SD-WAN is a software-based approach to managing WAN connections to more effectively route all network traffic between headquarters or data centers, remote and branch offices, and the cloud.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The promise of SD-WAN goes far beyond simply connecting multiple office locations.

SD-WAN…

  • Is less expensive than MPLS drastically driving down operational and capital expenditures.
  • Is software-based and delivered via the cloud allowing for quick enablement of new branches or remote offices.
  • Assures optimal application performance and dynamic multi-path optimization and routing.
  • Gives companies the agility to implement changes quickly to accommodate evolving customer and market trends.
  • Reduces security threats through comprehensive encryption and micro-segmentation, ultimately securing the flow of data.
  • Has a centralized orchestrator that monitors all network activity, alerting branches of problems, and enabling the remote remediation of issues.
  • Delivers real-time analytics and reporting across the entire network.
  • …and More

If all of that seems irrelevant to your business, consider that SD-WAN can benefit your business if…

Your Company Relies Heavily on the Internet

How much money would it cost you if your business was down a couple hours? Now, if the answer is not much, then SD-WAN might not be all that profitable for your business. However, if after 30-minutes of downtime your employees would frantically be driving to the nearest Starbucks to get back online, switching or upgrading to SD-WAN is definitely worth considering.

SD-WAN has the ability to combine multiple Internet connections together to act as one. This means that if one connection fails, SD-WAN can issue automatic failover to your backup connection. That’s right, no need to call up your IT provider, wait for a response, and then get manually switched over to the backup Internet connection. It’s “Internet insurance” in real time. Interested in securing true business continuity and 100% uptime for your business? Check out our blog: Disaster Recovery Plan – The Only Way to Ensure Business Continuity.

Your Business Uses Cloud Applications like Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, Etc.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen an upstream of organizations leveraging software as a service (SaaS) applications and cloud services from providers such as Google, AWS, and Microsoft Azure. This has caused data traffic patterns to move to the cloud.

Because traditional WAN architectures are not built to support this migration, cloud applications repeatedly encounter extra hops, ultimately wasting bandwidth, increasing costs, and generating higher packet loss and latency.

SD-WAN, on the other-hand, defines policies based on business intent and steers traffic intelligently and securely forgoing additional hops. For example, if the app is hosted somewhere in the cloud, then traffic will be automatically directed to it without backhauling to a POP or HQ data center. By adapting this more agile network infrastructure, businesses will experience overall higher application performance.

Your Business Uses Hosted Voice (VoIP)

Hosted Voice - GeoLinks.com

Imagine the following scenario—you have a very important conference call scheduled for 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. You’ve reviewed all the paperwork, made sure everything is in order, and are ready to go. The call starts off well. Then suddenly, unbeknownst to you, someone in your office starts watching a 4k YouTube video and your call starts to suffer the consequences. The other person on the call becomes gargled. You can’t understand what is being said. You keep saying, “What” and “Can you repeat that? Sorry. You’re breaking up.” Not good.

SD-WAN allows for easy prioritization of traffic. This means that conference calling can always be prioritized over YouTube traffic. This ensures business critical applications, such as voice and video, are never compromised due to off-task coworkers. To learn more about business phone systems check out: From POTS to VoIP – A Look at Today’s Top Phone Systems for Business

So, Should Your Business Switch to SD-WAN?

Today, having a static and inflexible network architecture is no longer plausible for companies that depend on Internet-based applications. From the associated cost of digital downtime, to compromised application and voice performance, ensuring your company’s internal network operations are safeguarded to function seamlessly is essential for success.

Still not sure if SD-WAN is right for your business? Talk to one of GeoLinks’ in-house experts to learn more, and find out if  Your Business Should Invest in SD-WAN.

Should Your Business Invest in SD-WAN? GeoLinks

Personal Field Account from GeoLinks CTO, Ryan Hauf

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night

GeoLinks CTO Ryan Hauf

As we delve into winter, field operations as a service provider can be tough, even grueling in some cases. Long hours, the cold, and sporadic weather can often present challenges in maintaining a state-wide network. Nonetheless, GeoLinks takes great pride and goes above and beyond in upholding its service uptime commitment to each and every one of its clients.

The following account is told by GeoLinks Co-Founder and CTO, Ryan Hauf.

After receiving word that a rural school in Redding that we had connected through GeoLinks’ partner CENIC had lost connection, the GeoLinks team, lead by Co-Founder and CTO Ryan Hauf, immediately set off to restore connectivity.

Matt Murphy [GeoLinks’ Lead Infrastructure Technician] and I left immediately Friday afternoon [in my personal work truck]. We arrived in Redding, California about 1:30am. Just before we pulled into the hotel, I found that I couldn’t get the manual transmission into gear. Coasting to the side of the road we noticed there was a LOT of heat radiating from the transmission, and we came to the conclusion that it had leaked out all its oil. After allowing it to cool for a little while it went into gear again, so we removed the shifter and dumped in about a quart of 90w gear oil (we could not install it the conventional way since that requires a pump which we didn’t’ have.) We were able to drive the rest of the way to the hotel.

After coming all the way we weren’t about to give up, so the next morning we decided that since it was still derivable, we’d give the hill ascent a try. We drove gently to the base of the hill and all seemed okay. About 1/4 of the way up the hill, I slowed down for a washout that was about a foot deep, when I pressed the clutch, it fell to the floor… Uh oh, the problems were getting worse! Of course the engine immediately stalled because I wasn’t prepared for the clutch not to disengage. We were now sitting, stuck in gear, with our front wheels in a washout. We figured we could restart the engine in gear if wheels were free, so we used a high-lift jack to lift the front of the truck. I started it, and let the truck “start/drive/roll” off the jack, which Matt pulled out of the way so we didn’t immediately run it over. We were off again, stuck in first gear, with no clutch, no way to shift gears, and potentially no way to re-start the engine if it stalled, depending on the location.

GeoLiks - Ryan Hauf - Redding

We continued to drive this way and the conditions got worse, deeper snow, very deep washouts, including one that was about 2′ deep, which the whole left side of the truck dropped into for about 200 feet. There was mud and snow flying everywhere from the tires; I had the engine redlined so it wouldn’t stall.

Some parts where the snow was deep it took us 10 minutes just to go 50 feet or so. Tires spinning, we’d slowly chew our way through the snow enough to get traction to drive up the incline.

Eventually, about half-a-mile from the top of the hill, we were in snow about a foot deep and the left side of the truck had fallen into a rut. Eventually we ran up against a rock or something hiding under the snow and we were stuck. At this point I called Steven (the repo man) to bring a truck and trailer up because we would be needing a tow home (and possibly off the mountain.) From there, we hiked the rest of the way to the site and repaired it (Matt actually hiked it twice since he went back to the truck for a replacement radio.)

We swapped the antenna and radio at the site, cleared the ice off the solar panels, applied rain-x to them to hopefully help with future icing, and then we headed back down to leave. It was about 3pm by this point. Once we got back to the truck, we jacked up the front to get it out of the hole it was in. We used a heavy duty ratchet-strap to “winch” it forward just enough to relieve tension from the transmission enough to get the shifter out of first and into reverse. Once in reverse, we started it as it fell off the jack again, and backed down the hill to a point we could do a 3-point turn around, which for obvious reasons was very tricky (no clutch). [Nonetheless] we got turned around and headed down the hill.
geolinks_redding

We limped the truck over to the school because it was still not connected, even though the tower was fixed. We assumed it was an alignment issue. Arriving just after dark, before long a few people from town showed up asking what we were doing there at night, on the roof… They were great and very helpful. Also very surprised at the extent we were going to in order to get their Internet repaired. We troubleshot at the school for a couple hours and they offered to take us to a hotel in town so we wouldn’t have to lip the explorer there with no clutch. We were stuck at this point – we  eventually got dropped off at the hotel around 11pm.

Steven (repo man) arrived at the hotel later than expected. 4:30am, to be exact, due to a fuel leak he had to fix on his truck on the way up at a truck stop gas station in the middle of the night with Macgyver parts. We left the hotel around 8am, and went to South Forks to retrieve an un-needed radio to be used as a replacement radio for the one at the school, which we had determined was bad.

Upon arriving at the school it seemed to be one issue after another, but finally, we were out of there by about 3:30pm, with connectivity successfully restored, against all odds and challenges!  We arrived back in town at 4am.

GeoLinks - Headed Home

Internet for All in California: Overcoming Challenges and Creating Solutions

Internet for All in California: Overcoming Challenges and Creating Solutions

 · K-12LIBRARIESPRIVATE SECTOR
REGIONS: CALIFORNIA

Article written by CENIC

Across the globe, the digital divide is an issue of growing severity. California is no exception. Though it contains the networking world’s epicenter of innovation, large portions of California are left without adequate connectivity. “We have tremendous complexity in California around who does and doesn’t have access to broadband Internet,” said Louis Fox, president and CEO of CENIC. “Urban areas are generally well connected, but California is also a very rural state with sparsely populated areas distributed across a vast and complex geography.”

The 2017 California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) Annual Survey revealed that only 69% of California households have connectivity through computing devices, which are crucial in terms of finding and applying for jobs, as well as enrolling in classes and doing school work. Computer costs and technical know-how are barriers for many of these households. However lack of broadband infrastructure is also significant: 19% report that Internet service is not available where they live.

Californians without Internet access felt disadvantaged in many of the same areas; 38% felt hampered in their opportunity to gain career skills and take classes, while another 38% lamented their inability to get health and medical information.

To overcome this digital divide, leaders in the public and private sectors are banding together to bring reliable, affordable Internet access to underserved communities. At the CENIC annual conference in March, panelists identified the issues and obstacles that stand in the way of connectivity, and discussed the ways in which they are each working to close the digital divide and provide Internet for all in California.

“The challenge in California right now is not small,” said Sunne Wright McPeak, CEO of CETF, a nonprofit established with the express purpose of closing the digital divide. “Our geology makes trying to build anything incredibly complex. Then, add on top of that the diversity of our populations, the complexity of our politics, and the fact that we’re trying to do something that nobody in power is supporting.”

Lack of support may very well stem from lack of awareness. Kim Lewis, CENIC’s legislative advocate, is on a mission to educate the networking world about the plight of underserved communities, which often get left behind, leading to an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots. “The infrastructure in the ground is lacking, and in many areas it’s missing altogether,” said Lewis. “What are our community members going to do when they go home after working all day and their kids don’t have the access they need to do homework?”

In addition to political and geographical barriers, efforts to establish connectivity suffer from under-funding. “The problem is money,” said Rachelle Chong, principal of the Law Offices of Rachelle Chong in San Francisco and former FCC commissioner. “There is inadequate money being spent on broadband infrastructure in the rural and tribal, and sometimes, even suburban areas of California.”

California residents also face connectivity challenges from the private sector. Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, a facilities-based backhaul and Internet access company, and Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, a fixed-wireless Internet and telecom provider, are two innovators attempting to disrupt the Internet connectivity market. “Most American households have two choices for broadband, and tend to only have one or zero when it comes to fast access in the range of 50 to 100 megabits per second,” said Jasper. Ditchfield noted that some provided connectivity packages don’t actually supply adequate connectivity. “A cellular connection — 4G or 5G — to the home is not going to solve the problem of connectivity,” he said. “It’s better than nothing, but it’s not going to give our kids the capability of accessing the online learning resources they need.”

Fortunately, connectivity champions like these panelists are carving out new pathways for underserved communities. Thanks to legislative advocacy from people like McPeak, Chong, and Ditchfield, new initiatives are being considered and put in motion. “The [California Public Utilities Commission] has just put out a rule-making to give out a $20 million grant for digital literacy in California,” said Chong. “Essentially, if you’re a school, a public library, or a community-based organization, like a local government or nonprofit organization, you can apply for a grant from the CPUC to do two things: gain either digital literacy programs or public access to computers.” (Learn more about two grant opportunities for community-based organizations and apply with CETF between July 17 and to July 27.)

Each member of the panel spoke passionately about getting the rest of California connected to the digital world. “To me, the Internet is the great equalizer,” said Ditchfield. “It allows you, no matter where you are, to learn at your own pace, to learn what you want to learn, and to go out there and research and make something of yourself, whether that’s creating jobs, educating yourself, or taking care of your own medical issues. It should almost be a basic human right.”

All expressed their eagerness to continue their efforts within the CENIC community, hoping to draw on CENIC’s resources and plethora of connections. “CENIC has been a great partner,” said McPeak. “In fostering a culture of collaboration and digital inclusion, CENIC has been a pioneer. You have provided a pathway and been a trailblazer in collaboration.”

It is CENIC’s ongoing goal to bring quality, high-speed broadband service to all research and education communities. We at CENIC look forward to forming new relationships and fostering existing ones to establish Internet access for all in California. (#Net4AllNow)

For Further Reading

Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally

shared vs dedicated internet

Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally

You’re sitting at your desk, trying to upload an extremely time-sensitive contract into an email, and you see this…

Meanwhile, your coworker Joe in the next room is trying to host a multi-user conference call on your VoIP system, and he hears this….

 

 

You can even hear Jamie, down the hall, spewing choice words as she tries to load your company’s online CRM but is deterred by this…

slow internet

Reality check

To support the high-demand, high-bandwidth applications that fuel today’s mission-critical business operations, it’s no longer a luxury to have a high-functioning network, it’s a necessity.

So, what causes slow Internet?

Force Majeure

Let’s face it, some things in life are just simply out of our control.  For example, an extreme weather event, such as heavy rainfall, can flood terrestrial Internet infrastructure, such as DSL or Fiber, causing community-wide network blackouts for hours, days, or weeks at a time. Similarly, your local construction crew might accidentally drill into the lines feeding your building’s primary Internet connection. Or perhaps your city’s electric company has an unforeseen power outage causing your Internet to drop. While it’s impossible to completely prevent the unpredictable, if Internet is important to your business, consider investing in both backup generators and a backup Internet circuit to safeguard your business from potential downtime.

Inefficient Bandwidth

Does your office have 20 users working off a symmetrical 3 Mbps circuit? Chances are your business operations will move at a glacial speed—that is, if they can be accomplished at all. Outside of physical users, do you know what everyone in your office is using the Internet for? Are they streaming video, uploading images, or downloading large files? All of these operations require bandwidth. Thus, in the case outlined above, your office lacks sufficient bandwidth.

To avoid Internet slow down, it’s imperative to know what your business uses the Internet for, and adjust your bandwidth accordingly. Furthermore, it’s important to understand if your office or building… A. has exclusive access to the bandwidth you’re paying for or B. you’re on a shared circuit leading to…

Monopolized Bandwidth

If your company is operating off a shared circuit, it is entirely possible that your neighbor could use up or hog your bandwidth. So, unless you plan to schedule out times for both your companies to take turns using the Internet, read on.

(TIP: Learn How to Determine the Amount of Bandwidth Your Business Needs Here.)

What is a Shared Internet Circuit? 

When your Internet is part of a shared terrestrial circuit, you’re doing just that, sharing. All user data is transmitted across a singular network expending more and more bandwidth as additional devices join and engage the network. So literally, all users on a shared circuit share speeds and bandwidth— AKA what your neighbor does may affect the quality of your connection.

The PRO of opting for shared Internet access is that it is typically the most affordable form of broadband. Additionally, if you live in a highly dense urban area, it’s likely readily available from a variety of competitors. For businesses who do not rely heavily on the Internet, this is a perfectly fine and economical solution. Just be prepared for random and potentially frequent slow down.

What is a Dedicated Internet Circuit?

Unlike shared Internet access, dedicated circuits provide private Internet access to a single location, meaning bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner. Therefore, businesses who opt for dedicated internet access (DIA) actually receive the speeds and bandwidth they sign up for—no sharing! While fiber can deliver dedicated circuits, due to the terrestrial nature of the technology it is typically slow to deploy and extremely expensive. Therefore, more and more businesses are turning towards fixed wireless for this premium service, such as GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network. Dedicated Internet is very valuable for organizations with multiple users, cloud-based phones or web-enabled devices — or simply businesses who value uptime and reliability.

DIA Use Cases

Not sure if your business should upgrade to a dedicated circuit? Here are a variety of business use cases, and how they can benefit from DIA. 

Car Dealerships:

  • From interdepartmental communication, to customer service, to online marketing, to generating large financial contracts, an average car dealership’s day-to-day business relies on having dependable high-speed Internet.

Doctors’ Offices and Hospitals

  • Electronic health records (EHR) and X-Rays are quickly migrating to the cloud, making large file transfers increasingly imperative to healthcare facilities. Fact: A 1 Gigabyte Multiple CT Scan file transfer at 1.5 Mbps will take 84 minutes to download vs. only 1.25 minutes to download on a 100 Mbps dedicated circuit.

Hotels and Restaurants

  • In the hospitality industry, convenience and accessibility is paramount. Thus, having a high-functioning POS or check in system is mandatory for daily operations, and free guest Wi-Fi has become expected. Also consider that more and more users are making reservations online— can’t access the Internet? Good luck confirming reservations or booking requests! 

Real Estate

  • Real estate is an industry that revolves predominantly around website and phone leads. To be successful, agents must be accessible at all times, and keep web listings up-to-date with recent images and video tours. Therefore, high-speed Internet and using unified communications can be extremely beneficial.

Banks

  • From ensuring that money transactions are efficient and secure, to deploying live security-monitoring, to executing nightly backups, a bank would be severely compromised if they encountered a lack of bandwidth.

So, if you’re business depends on having a reliable and secure connection to the internet, consider upgrading to a dedicated circuit today