If your business requires stable and consistent Internet connectivity but cannot justify the cost of a second wired internet connection for failover or load balancing, then 4G LTE failover may be a good option for you. When done right, 4G LTE can serve as a great backup to your primary internet connection.
At a minimum, a 4G LTE internet connection requires a cellular modem which can either be a separate device that connects to your existing router via a USB or ethernet cable, or a new router with a built-in 4G LTE modem.
There are many choices for 4G LTE backup internet on the market, ranging from the offerings of cable companies such as Comcast and Spectrum that provide it as an add-on to your cable internet subscription, to do-it-yourself options like the Netgear Nighthawk LAX20 router with built-in 4g LTE modem.
However, not all 4G LTE backup internet solutions are created equally. This guide will discuss the features and performance characteristics that you should consider when shopping for a 4G LTE backup internet connectivity solution.
- Failover – Most router-based backup Internet solutions do an adequate job of failing over to the 4G LTE connection when the primary connection fails. However, this typically entails an interruption in connectivity while the router makes the transition from one connection to the other – in many cases this can take anywhere from 10 seconds up to several minutes. This means that any existing voice calls would be dropped and video meeting would be interrupted. It also means that point-of-sale transactions and any other business critical applications would be interrupted. The best backup Internet solutions will perform this transition seamlessly, so that phone and video users don’t ever notice that there has been a failover event.
- Failback – The fact that 4G LTE need only be used during the time when the primary internet connection is down means that it can be very cost effective. Ideally the cellular connection should only be used when its absolutely needed, because 4G LTE data plans can be costly. Unfortunately, many 4G LTE backup solutions have trouble moving back to the primary internet source when it becomes available (a process referred to as ‘failback’). It’s not uncommon for 4G LTE users to get sticker shock when they receive their cellular bill at the end of the month because the lack of failback has needlessly consumed many gigabytes of data. The best backup Internet solutions will failback quickly and completely, so that no data traffic is stranded on the 4G LTE connection.
- IP Addresses – Because each internet connection has its own IP address, applications or services that are tied to a specific IP address will stop working when a failover happens. So if your business uses point-of-sale terminals, or VoIP (which are commonly locked to a specific IP address for security reasons) be sure to check with your service provider about the expected behavior when your IP address changes. For example, it is known that RingCentral UCaaS will not work with a failover internet connection. Therefore, if you rely on business critical applications that cannot handle a change of IP address, then you should shop for 4G LTE backup providers that can accommodate a persistent IP address.
- Traffic Steering – Another factor related to cost is the type of traffic that is routed over the 4G LTE link in event of a failover. While it may be beneficial to use 4G LTE for business critical functions, you probably would not want to use it for extended periods of streaming TV, guest Wifi, or downloading a large software update file. For this reason, it is important to have a 4G LTE failover solution that gives you the flexibility to block less important traffic from the 4G LTE connection. Typically, you will only find this this feature available on SD-WAN solutions.
- Alerts – One more factor related to cost is the ability to receive alerts when a failover event occurs, or certain data consumption thresholds are met. As they say, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Having alerts will enable you to keep tabs on your 4G data usage, and avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the month, come invoice time.
- Coverage – Finally, if your business has multiple locations, you should consider whether the solution you choose is viable at all of the locations. Often, a given provider will not service every area where you need coverage. For example, if you go with a Comcast’s backup solution, you will need to find a different solution in areas that Comcast does not service. Similarly, if you choose a solution that uses a specific mobile carrier’s network, you will need to find a different provider for any sites with poor coverage
For all these reasons, you may want to explore the RabbitRun 4G LTE failover solution, which shines in all of the categories listed above.
4G LTE failover is an integral part of RabbitRun’s SOHO SDWAN solution, and offers the following features:
- Cloud orchestration and management presents one system for all provisioning and management tasks.
- Multi-carrier modem permits operation on all major wireless carriers in the US and Canada.
- Super-fast failover lets existing voice and video calls continue uninterrupted when primary link goes down.
- Engineered from the ground up to minimize 4G data usage:
- Consumes less that 100MB/month of cellular data in standby mode;
- Only designated traffic gets routed to the 4G link during failover;
- Consistent and reliable failback to the primary circuit as soon as it becomes available.