Monday, October 12, 2015

Wireless Backup is a Bridge Over Troubled Water for your Corporate IT Network

Another "Inconvenient Truth." Your Corporate Network Needs a Wireless Backup

Weather extremes are overwhelming our systems. Storms and floods "never before seen," are happening in places never before imagined. Three years ago it was Hurricane Sandy that knocked out a huge swath of Manhattan and New Jersey. Now parts of South Carolina are reeling from what has been called a "1,000-year flood."

When extreme weather hits, it often takes with it aging infrastructure, collapsing roads, bridges and dams. This is a new dynamic in our lifetime, one that means girding up for rough seas - like we may have expected once in a generation, only now epic weather events are becoming commonplace. If our buildings and public ways are to be battered like ships on the ocean, businesses will need to become more seaworthy. That means building resiliency to minimize setbacks and bounce back to normal operation.

There are lots of considerations in this regard. Foremost among them is to maintain data connectivity to ISPs, carriers, data centers and colo facilities. I can tell you, having been in the microwave business through various epic events, that businesses in and around the epicenters suffered for weeks without communications. Fiber fails, and diverse routes too, so consider what wireless can do as a tertiary form of redundancy. Good chance it could save your cake (for the price of the candles).
"Diverse fiber is not impregnable. And so for epic failures, a totally diverse medium - like wireless (a.k.a., "microwave"), can really save your ass." 
Some might ask, "Why care, if everything else is down?" Sounds like a great excuse to close shop and hit the liquor store. But while some might like a reprieve from the enslavement of computers and smart phones, patient records still need to be transmitted. People still rely on paychecks to be processed. Colleges stay open and kids want to connect with their families. Emergency devices need to communicate. Financial and insurance transactions shouldn't be held up. And what about the Internet? Remember what happened to the citizens of South Park when they lost the Internet?

Okay, so let me deal with the most common objections. "I don't have line of sight" and "Microwave won't give me enough bandwidth."

My answer to the line of sight problem is simply to get someone to find it for you, whether it's to lease space on a cell tower (as a relay or "repeater") or investigate a point-to-multipoint setup. Yes, a direct line of sight shot is best, but not everyone has a house with an ocean view. You work with what you have, so enterprise users without line of sight would have to pay double for the hardware and then maybe a few hundred a month for tower space. Oh my God! I can hear the exclamations. A few hundred a month??? Maybe fifteen grand more for hardware??? But relatively speaking, aren't we talking small change here? Some of us shell out that much for our kids' braces.

And what about wireless (a.k.a., "microwave") not handling all the bandwidth you need? Well, wireless bandwidth depends on distance and other factors. Some can get upwards of 5-10 gigs and others might have to manage on a few hundred megs. Regardless, whatever bandwidth you get in a major sh*t storm is precious. Take what you can, as you would in any emergency, and be glad for it because your foresight saved the day.

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