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TIME IS MONEY!

What Ben said all those years ago, still applies today. And with increasing reliance on the network,
business continuity is needed now more than ever.

Brand Equity Impact

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High Availability

Must Work

Business Continuity For Branch Offices

Time is money. In context of your network, this truth yields two simple equations:

  • Network down-time = money lost
  • Network up-time = money gained

It is that simple. As the network is business critical for every business, maintaining network uptime, or business continuity, is foundational to the bottom line. Alternately, network down-time costs real money, and more.

Your cost of network down-time will depend on many factors, primarily centered on real time applications. The more you have leveraged your network to support real time information and real time transaction flows, your cost of network down-time can balloon quickly. Read more on the Brand Impact of downtime, outages and failures.

The time is money maxim is especially true for distributed enterprises with retail locations, banks, restaurants, kiosks, government offices, distribution centers, or branch offices. The consequences of losing connectivity with headquarters, network operations, and secure payment processors can be severe.

Lost revenue, or branch office productivity are financial risks that must be mitigated. As a result, it’s imperative to maintain network connections at distributed locations have adequate continuity.

With your brand and the bottom line on the line, your choice for reliable, must work business continuity services is critical.

To Wire or to Wireless? That is the Question.

In making your business continuity deployment decision(s), the easy part is that you have two primary choices for a secondary connection to the router at your distributed site:

  • Wireline
  • Wireless

Now it gets more difficult. Which is right for you? The answer, of course, depends on several factors, and that answer may vary site by site. Every coin has two sides.

The traditional method of providing network continuity, a secondary wireline connection, generally provides high network availability, security, and performance, especially private wireline services such as T-1, T-3 and Metro Ethernet. The flip side of that coin, is that wireline solutions can be relatively expensive, especially in context of capacity or “bandwidth”. This is measured in cost / Mbps (Megabits per second).

And, wireline solutions can be complex to deploy and manage. As such, services from multiple service providers must be aggregated and managed. Customers with diverse distributed sites often have to be the “integrator” and manage multiple provider relationships to gain the coverage they need, yielding cost and complexity.

For these reasons customers are considering the other connectivity option: Wireless. In particular, next generation 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) Wireless services can help improve network and business continuity. Wireless connectivity provides the following benefits:

  • Availability  Dual wireline links can be subject to outages from the same terrestrial interruption such as line cuts and natural disasters. Recent history is replete with examples of network downtime experienced from earthquakes, hurricanes / flooding, and freezing.   Network diversity gained from a secondary wireless path can help improve availability and provide business continuity benefits.
  • Cost Effective – Especially for secondary connections that have low utilization, Wireless services can be a cost effective way to gain network continuity.
  • Easier to Provision – Wireless services provisioning is typically measured in hours or days from time of order receipt. Wireline connection provisioning can often be measured in terms of weeks or months.
  • Flexibility – With a wireless connection the router can easily be moved to another location, and can also operate while in motion for fleet applications – trucks, cars, buses, trains, etc.
  • Reduced Complexity – The major wireless providers have broad national footprints.  This broad national coverage can many times allow for that single provider to deliver services to all distributed sites thereby significantly reducing customer complexity in managing providers, service levels, billing, etc.

The flip side of the wireless coin, is that wireless connections can have lower performance than wireline connections in two primary areas:

  • Throughput
  • Availability

Where bandwidth is the capacity of the network, or the size of the container, throughput and availability are the ability to consistently and completely fill that container over time, and to do so with a low error rate and latency, in order to improve the performance and benefits of the network.

Wireless networks can have lower throughput and availability due to:

  • Site Location – Distance of the site from radio towers, multipath interference from radio signal reflections, and radio interference due to weather and other sources are among key contributors to this consideration.
  • Router Location & Antennas – Poor “line of site” from the router to the radio tower / cell site, and inferior antennas used to propagate radio signals.
  • Shared Access – Throughput can depend on how many devices at any one time are sharing the bandwidth provided by the radio tower / cell site.
  • Weather – Inclement weather can degrade wireless signals.

And, these factors do vary over time. That said, your wireless network doesn’t have to be battered by the tides and currents of wireless variability.

Significantly increased performance and reliability of your wireless routing service is gained from optimal RF planning, antenna type and placement, and wireless service type. Done right, these can even reduce variability due to inclement weather.

To help you further explore these considerations when designing and deploying your critical, must work business continuity network services, we offer the guide for Cisco ISR Best Practices for Verizon LTE, or The Guide.

Whether used to help you in your own DIY deployment, or to provide you context to inform your work with one of our top Partners, in The Guide you will find best practices and details to aid RF planning and design, antenna considerations and selection criteria, and service modalities to increase throughput over shared access facilities.

You will also gain tools you can use to customize and extend wireless business continuity services to respond to real-time events, automate tasks, create customized commands, and take local automated action based on conditions detected by the Cisco IOS Software.

There are two additional topics to consider in the decision to Wire or to Wireless:

  • Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Network Security

The Guide provides an in depth analysis of these topics, including details on gaining private network security via next generation LTE Wireless services.

We can also connect you with other leading technology vendors. These industry leaders have made significant investments to gain certifications in both the Cisco and Verizon Wireless Partner Programs. You can get more information by contacting us at information@nowiresnoworries.com

Parting is Such Sorrow.

For LTE wireless services to provide needed continuity, two components must work together:

  1. The LTE network service
  2. The router to which the LTE service connects

When the two are designed and supported together, all the world is your stage. And when they are not, the parting, and finger pointing, create such sorrow.

As such, when making your wireless network continuity decision it is important to consider how well integrated, tested and supported the router and wireless network service offer. To assist, we offer these key elements for your consideration:

Speed-of-Failover

When a wireline network fails, it is critical that wireless network services initiate immediately. Representative key questions to have answered are:

  • How fast and efficiently does the router failover from one network to the next?
  • How quickly does the new network start routing traffic?
  • How have the manufacturer and the Wireless provider worked together to improve the speed of failover?

Power

Routers are subject to internal and external power failures. External power failure prevention and recovery is managed on an Enterprise level. To manage internal power failures, representative key questions to have answered are:

  • What design considerations and components have been used to maintain power consistency?
  • What design considerations and components have been used to provide power redundancy?
  • How quickly can the router replaced if it does incur a catastrophic power failure?

Out-of-Band-Management

If primary network resources are used for management of the network device, that activity can slow network performance and increase costs due to higher data utilization. Out of band management provides a secondary path or channel to manage the network device in order to improve performance and control the cost of primary data services. To understand Out of Band management capabilities, representative key questions to have answered are:

  • What Out of Band capabilities are provided by the router?
  • How can Out of Band information be accessed?
  • How quickly can Out of Band services be provisioned?

Security

In addition to maintaining data integrity and privacy, security is a critical network performance and business continuity criteria. The more vulnerable the network is to security threats, the less it can be relied upon for “always on” continuity. To maintain security and yield continuity benefits, representative key questions to have answered are:

  • Does the router provide a proven “Defense in Depth” security architecture?
  • How well integrated is the router with the wireless provider private security services?
  • What safeguards are in place to support physical security of the router?

Protocol-Support-and-Flexibility

No man is an island, nor is a network. To gain maximum benefit networks must interoperate with other networks. As no two networks are the same, reliable communication and protocol support is critical to ensure deployment and management flexibility. To maintain protocol support and flexibility, representative key questions to have answered are:

  • What routing protocols are supported?
  • How easy is it to deploy wireless services to integrate with your existing corporate networks and protocols?
  • What support is in place between router manufacturer and wireless provider to troubleshoot network configuration issues?

Joint-Research-and-Development

Business demands are constantly changing yielding ever new demands on network services. As such, network and router integration must constantly adapt to keep up. You will place a BIG 3-5 year bet in selecting the combined router and provider wireless service. To gain high performance and reduced risk, representative key questions have answered are:

  • What is built into the combined offer to provide service extensibility?
  • What is the level of human and financial resource invested by the companies to support ongoing advancements?
  • What documentation represents the level of joint investment?

Joint-Support

Technology integration is complex, and it does fail. Fact. Especially when combining technologies and services from 2 or more providers. To maintain must work business continuity service joint support from the manufacturer and service provider to reduce failures, and to quickly get back on line when failures occur is critical. In order to maintain high performance, and reduce finger pointing, representative key questions to have answered are:

  • How long have your support organizations been working together?
  • What are escalation paths to solve critical network issues?
  • What documentation is in place address issues and to represent the depth of the relationship?

Best & Best

Both Cisco and Verizon offer answers to these questions and more in the guide for Cisco ISR Best Practices for Verizon LTE, and in the product pages for the Cisco 809, 819, 829 and Private Networking services.

For answers to additional questions, please contact us at information@nowiresnoworries.com.

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