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Cloud, IoT, M2M, failover, failback and security; a bunch of buzzwords that probably define the challenges you face today as a remote network administrator.  You’re no longer sitting at the location ready to hop into action to fix problems.  What makes the challenge even greater is the adoption of cloud based solutions taxing the network infrastructure, and becoming more dependent on internet connectivity to retrieve data.  In retail markets these remote sites are even more critical since they are customer facing and are a revenue generating asset. They are becoming populated with increasingly complex POS systems, payment systems, advanced signage, data logging sensors and even guest network connectivity.

Unfortunately, many remote sites do not have the tools, on-site skills or the ability to react during a critical failure.  Even sites deployed with failover connectivity are left at a severe disadvantage until they return to their normal operational status.

Considering bandwidth

Is your backup connection up for the task of supporting your network?  Your primary remote service relies on a physical connection typically provided by a cable company or a dedicated internet provider.  Unless a redundant connection is available, building a new one can be cost prohibitive.  One alternative is cellular connectivity that can provide a connection that is quicker and easier to deploy.  In the United States, some cellular providers are offering connections up to 50 Mbps utilizing 4G LTE data.  This is a vast improvement over 3G, which was only able to achieve 1/10th of that speed.  Thus, many companies now rely on the cellular connectivity as a method of network failover.

In many instances, the speed and bandwidth provided by cellular is still insufficient to transmit the data being generated at the remote site.  During peak hours, all the devices are trying to access the data at once, creating a backlog of traffic leaving your network at an unusable state.  Imagine 5 lanes of traffic now merging onto a single lane.   During this downtime, there could be a loss of sales, low productivity, and/or customer dissatisfaction – all of this affecting the bottom line.  Can’t afford to have your remote site go down?  Check out our eBook “Living on the Edge” here.

Recovery > failover

To manage the limited bandwidth, proper management tools are required on site to ensure that the most critical traffic is prioritized, leaving other parts of the network inactive during this period.  The ability to recover or repair issues on site is a far more effective method than relying only on backup connectivity.

Management tools can generate notification of issues before they become failures, identify the problem remotely and possibly resolve simple issues with a restart.  A hardware failure can be easily identified, and ensure that remote technicians traveling to the site are equipped with the correct parts for repair.  And if a network connection is the reason for the failure, they can deploy difficult configurations to allow critical parts of the network to function while shutting others down.

Since employing network administrators at every single remote location is impractical, companies that deploy integrated advanced management tools have a competitive advantage by resolving issues faster, and bringing their networks back to their full operational state.