October 16th, 2020 [UPDATED]
Originally published on June 15th, 2020
Ensure Point-of-Sale Transactions and VoIP Calls Always Go Through
Before we walk through 4G LTE failover for business Internet connections, let’s take a brief refresher on SD-WAN.
What is SD-WAN?
First, we need to briefly cover a software-defined network (SDN), as this is where SD-WAN has its roots. In an SDN, the control functionality is abstracted and separated from the network’s physical devices, so configuration and management are centralized. Instead of configuring a network box by box, the configuration is completed in one place and then pushed down to all the individual devices on the network simultaneously. The same principle applies to wide area networks (WANs) with SD-WAN.
Software-defined wide area networks use software to control connectivity, management and services between data centers and remote branches or cloud instances. SD-WAN manages multiple connections—from LTE to broadband to MPLS and segments, partitions and secures traffic across an enterprise’s wide area network (WAN). Each business’ SD-WAN implementation is managed from a centralized orchestrator that monitors network activity and alerts your company and SD-WAN vendor to any issues.
GeoLinks’ SD-WAN solution supports network security features including restricting and allowing traffic to and from specific websites.
Two Types of SD-WAN Configuration: Active-Active VS Active-Passive
There are two main types of SD-WAN setups.
In an active-active configuration, your company will have two or more WAN sources connected and online at all times. With both network lines always-on, your network traffic is routed over whichever source is best optimized for each individual application you’re using. If one line fails or drops in quality, SD-WAN prioritizes mission-critical traffic and instantaneously (and automatically) routes the data to the other line without any data loss. You and your staff often won’t even know this has occurred because there is no service disruption.
In an active-passive configuration, your company will have just one WAN source active at any given time. When the primary pathway fails, data will failover to the secondary pathway.
Benefits of SD-WAN
To learn more about SD-WAN and ways your business can leverage the technology, read our article “Size Doesn’t Matter: SD-WAN Benefits Every Business Network”.
Here are the highlighted top five benefits to your company when implementing SD-WAN:
- Cost Savings
- Bandwidth Elasticity
- Enhanced Quality of Service (QoS)
- Business Continuity
- Improved Data Security
The powerful cost benefits of SD-WAN dominate conversations, so it’s easy to forget that the impetus behind SD-WAN development was business continuity — Internet failover, to be specific.
What is Internet Failover?
Internet failover is just what it sounds like: When the primary Internet connection fails, experiences packet loss or latency spikes, SD-WAN technology switches traffic over to a secondary connection. At a time when your business is increasingly dependent upon Internet connections to access vital computing and communications infrastructure and applications, you can see why business continuity is critical. It’s not only essential to maintaining productivity, but also for the consistent delivery of service to your customers.
GeoLinks offers Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) wireless service as the recommended choice for Internet failover for most businesses using fiber optic or our own dedicated fixed wireless network.
Why Choose 4G LTE Failover?
4G LTE wireless is particularly advantageous as an Internet failover connection for several reasons, including:
- Diversity: 4G LTE wireless does not rely on last-mile wired connectivity and offers an entirely diverse connection from a primary wireline connection.
- Speed: 4G LTE is the wireless equivalent to a physical line with speeds averaging 10-20Mbps, with download speeds in the U.S. approaching 30Mbps and in some areas nearing 45Mbps, according to January 2020 research from Open Signal.
- Responsiveness: 4G LTE wireless has both low latency and low idle-to-active times.
- Cost Efficiency: From a failover perspective, the cost benefits of 4G LTE are considerable compared to additional wireline connections.
- Omnipresence: 94 percent of North American residents, and 98 percent of the U.S. population, in particular, have access to 4G LTE. The probability of 4G LTE reaching all of your business locations is very high, even in rural settings.
- Simplicity: Deploying 4G LTE as a backup is plug-and-play.
How Can 4G LTE Failover Help You?
Having a disaster recovery plan is essential to today’s businesses. Human-caused outages (construction accidents, cyberattacks, etc.) and natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires are on the rise. LTE-driven business continuity is a proven, affordable option for businesses of all sizes.
Here are the most critical use cases for SD-WAN with 4G LTE wireless:
Point of Sale (PoS): If your business is a retailer, restaurant, hospitality or entertainment company, processing electronic payments is the lifeblood of your business. If there’s a fiber cut, loss of power or any other disruption to your connection, 4G LTE can kick in so you can still accept credit cards or digital payments.
VoIP Calls: If your business relies on data connections to carry voice calls (VoIP), you need to ensure that those calls continue to stay connected with high clarity. With SD-WAN and 4G LTE Wireless as a failover option, you can continue to make calls if there’s a disruption. Also, SD-WAN can enable primary and secondary circuits to be active simultaneously, enabling calls to proceed uninterrupted (i.e., session persistence) even if one of the connections goes down. (Plus, SD-WAN offers quality of service controls to make sure your voice calls are high fidelity.)
At GeoLinks, we leverage a configuration that allows for destination-based failover to address these two mission-critical scenarios. As a Verizon Wireless Preferred Partner, GeoLinks offers a high-quality LTE connection via a commercial-grade machine-to-machine router that plugs into our SD-WAN device at the customer location. Because VoIP and PoS systems are low bandwidth applications, GeoLinks is able to offer this solution for $49 per month without incurring data overages.