Failover to Cellular: Another example of customer-driven innovation at Opengear

The productivity loss due to Internet downtime in an enterprise or at remote sites can be staggering making a “failover” Internet connection a necessity for most businesses. A research study conducted by the Aberdeen Group estimated that the industry average cost of downtime was about $110,000 per hour in 2010 and about $212,000 per hour in 2012!

As we head into 2015, that cost is guaranteed to be significantly higher for most organizations, be it retail, healthcare, education, financial services, transportation or any other business. Until very recently, building in redundancy to avoid downtime could easily cost a fortune, making it uneconomical for all but the largest enterprises. However, high-speed 4G LTE cellular technology has been a disruptive technology in this space. A high-speed 4G LTE cellular connection can easily serve as the backup Internet connection for even the most demanding businesses. Coupled with the falling prices of cellular data plans, this technology offers a compelling ROI that was not possible even at the beginning of this decade. M2M plans from mobile carriers in the US start as low as $5 per month!

Adding a cellular router to your network to increase network availability solves only one-half of the problem. Just as traffic congestion leads to even more congestion, so too with network problems — every experienced network administrator knows that fact. So, when the next “Internet is down” problem ticket arrives, it will very likely be accompanied with some problems with the PDU, a hardware failure, a misconfiguration error, or some other weird combination of problems. We call these “multi-failure events” which, unfortunately, are surprisingly common. It is due to such multi-failure events that the average time to recover from a network failure ranges from 7.5 hours for cloud installations to 30 hours for SMB networks!

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And this is where the true value of our innovation – combining Opengear’s Smart OOB™ with our latest advancement, Failover-to-Cellular (F2C) really shines through. Opengear announced F2C in its ACM and IM products at the Fog Conference on Nov. 19, 2014. F2C is a continuation of Opengear’s history of listening to our customers and innovating to solve their problems. Not only does F2C enable continued business operation with a failover Internet connection, it also helps you access your critical infrastructure, remediate problems, and get your network back to its normal state of operation. The net result of this killer combination of Smart OOB and F2C is a significant reduction in Mean-Time-To-Recovery (MTTR) from network failures and an increase in Mean-Time-Between-Failures (MTBF).

Explained this way, the benefits of complementing Smart OOB with F2C seem obvious in hindsight. However, this combination of features was not obvious to us from the outset. Opengear understands the out-of-band management space really well and has deep expertise in cellular technologies. We have been the pioneers in introducing cellular to the world of out-of-band since 2010. The trickle of requests for this combined capability — OOB + failover — started more than a year back. When enough customers presented similar problems, we were able to whittle that number of requests down to their essence — a simple network continuity solution along with out-of-band management capability to quickly fix infrastructure issues. Our engineers did not take long to figure out that this could be achieved reliably with simple IP Passthrough technology. We are certain that our customers will also love the simplicity and reliability of our solution. We are excited about it and will continue to listen and learn from customer feedback.

The F2C feature is currently in beta testing with select customers and will be available as a free firmware upgrade at the end of December 2014. It will also be available in all cellular enabled ACM and IM products shipped soon after. You can read more details at http://opengear.com/solutions/failover-to-cellular.

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