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How much revenue will your business lose during your next network outage?

How much revenue will your business lose during your next network outage?

It goes without saying that the continuity of any retail operation is a critical part of business’ WAN design. Losing data connectivity due to a wireline cut or service disruption can translate into a loss sales, decreased employee productivity, and discouraging repeat and future customers. Service providers have provided several different options for back up of MPLS over the years. These options have included backup to the Internet, a second MPLS link at the location with a separate access and utilizing two different service providers at the same location.

All of these options have their pluses and minuses’. Before you select a solution for your retail locations let’s look at the objectives for backup and evaluate these options against those objectives. The key objectives for a backup solution should be:

  1. Resistant to disaster
  2. Provides speeds comparable to the primary connection
  3. Maintains security and security compliance
  4. Economical
  5. Provide flexibility for rapid store moves and temporary kiosk operation.

bc-comp-planBack up to the Internet when viewed against the above objectives, is resistant to disaster as long as the Internet connection is on a physically separate network and can be sourced at speeds comparable to the primary connection. Basic Internet service is an economical approach. However since the data traffic is now flowing over the public Internet you have to take extra security precautions to encrypt the data traffic and maintain your PCI compliance. Typically Internet is provided by some form of wired service so the same timelines you have to deal for establishing your primary connection, you will have to deal with for the backup Internet service which will limit your flexibility for store moves and kiosk operations.

A second MPLS connection when viewed against the above objectives is resistant to disaster as long as the second MPLS connection is on a physically separate network and can be sourced at speeds comparable to the primary connection. From a pricing perspective you are typically not paying 1X the price of your primary MPLS connection, however network choices may actually drive the price higher. Since your traffic is flowing over an MPLS network the security mechanisms that are in place for the primary MPLS connection are replicated and this will reduce the burden for compliance. Typically a second MPLS connection is provided by some form of wired service so the same timelines you have to deal for establishing your primary connection, you will have to deal with for the second MPLS connection service which will limit your flexibility for store moves and kiosk operations.

Utilizing two separate service providers certainly makes the data service very resistant to disaster as long as you are certain that your service providers are using physically separate networks. Also there is an extra burden on you to implement the routing and backup switching from inside your store’s LAN. From a pricing perspective you have to accept that you are going to have to pay close to or over 2X for this approach. Since your traffic is flowing over MPLS networks the security mechanisms that are in place for the primary MPLS connection are replicated and this will reduce the burden for compliance. Typically a separate MPLS connection is provided by some form of wired service so the same timelines you have to deal for establishing your primary connection, you will have to deal with for the separate MPLS connection service which will limit your flexibility for store moves and kiosk operations.
increase-productivity
Looking at these options and their pros and cons, the option of a second MPLS port is typically considered to be the best choice. However what can you do to give yourself the added benefit of flexibility for rapid store moves and temporary kiosk operation? Service providers such as EarthLink have provided MPLS over wireless to add the benefit of rapid turn up and flexibility to the service. These solutions have been very successful for many retail customer locations.

MPLS over wireless was originally offered over “3G” wireless networks. As we know while successful, 3G service has limitations in speed and coverage. As the capacity and coverage of 4G networks have been increased, it is now time as they say “to kick it up a notch” by offering MPLS over 4G Wireless. MPLS over 4G meets all the critical criteria we have discussed and provides the added benefit of the 4G bandwidth speeds.

EarthLink is pleased to announce that AT&T 4G LTE Wireless is being added as a Wireless Access option for EarthLink MPLS service.  The EarthLink Wireless Access portfolio now includes AT&T 4G LTE, Sprint 3G and others representing a best in breed approach for wireless service coverage.  You can learn more about EarthLink’s wireless MPLS access options by clicking here.

About Bill Ciminelli

Bill Ciminelli
Bill Ciminelli joined EarthLink in December of 2011 to provide Product Management of the company’s private MPLS network product line. Since joining EarthLink, Bill has overseen the launch of Data Center Connect product that allows MPLS based interconnection to EarthLink Business’ cloud and virtual services. Bill is currently focused on extending the MPLS network to provide a variety of services necessary to harness the power of virtual and cloud services the power of virtual and cloud services. Before joining EarthLink Bill worked for American Fiber Systems (now part of the ZAYO Group), a fiber based competitive access service provider. In his 8 years at AFS Bill’s role was in New Product Development, Product Management, Market Development and Marketing. In these roles Bill was able to define and bring to market AFS’ Metro Ethernet Transport, Internet, Wavelength and Long Haul Transport services. During his tenure at AFS Bill oversaw the integration of disparate products from two acquisitions into a uniformly delivered single product set and provided key support to AFS’ successful new venture funding efforts. At AFS, and now at EarthLink, Bill’s focus is always to define and implement telecommunication services from the perspective of the customer, how they are utilizing the service and what problems are they trying to solve, not the just how the “A” and “Z” locations have to be connected. Bill has an MBA, and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Political Science from Clarkson University. Bill’s prior work experience encompasses product management and marketing positions at Global Crossing, (now part of Level 3) and Nortel Networks.