Failover

Introduction

Our failover feature is a simple, low-cost way of keeping a business’ critical internet services running by switching traffic to one or more 3G/4G smartphones that are already located on the premises.

Most businesses understand how important their broadband is but, remarkably, many don’t have any form of backup. There is a perception that the connection will never go down, but when it does the consequences can be disastrous for any business.

Our failover uses the existing premises hardware and 3G/4G data packages on employee smartphones. Our aim is to be become the de-facto low-cost ‘insurance policy’ for broadband.

Issues With Traditional 4G Failover

A typical business 4G failover solution requires;

  • A load-balancing capable router with in-built 4G modem
  • A dedicated SIM with sufficient data allowance to cope with any outages

There are, however, a number of problems with this;

  • The cost in the first year alone can easily exceed $600+ and typically requires IT staff to swap-out their existing equipment
  • There is typically poor 3G/4G reception where a business locates their equipment, such as in a comms cabinet
  • When the fixed broadband connection fails, in-bound services such as email, VPNs and webcams will stop working as the public IP will change. Most 4G connections use carrier-grade NAT so it’s difficult to re-route inbound services over mobile
  • 4G connections are typically slower than the business fixed line. Therefore, network contention will occur, potentially impacting important applications. In addition, the 4G mobile data consumption could amount to tens of Gigabytes a day.

Due to the cost and issues of typical 4G failover solutions, many businesses prefer not to implement sufficient reliability measures, ultimately putting their business at risk.

Our failover takes a different approach; it leverages the existing assets that a business has which drives down cost, and makes the solution simple to install and operate.

How It Works

Our failover solution comes in two variations, seamless and non-seamless. While truly seamless failover is often a necessity for business customers, for smaller businesses or consumer customers, up time is still important, but seamlessness is not essential. Our non-seamless failover does not tunnel all traffic through the aggregation server, resulting in lower data transit costs, enabling the provider to offer an even lower cost failover solution.

Alternatively, where a customer cannot afford any connection disruptions, our seamless failover maintains it’s IP address across both the fixed and wireless connections. Inbound services continue to work, TCP sessions don’t drop and the customer experiences next to no disruption.

Seamless
Non-seamless

Our device is plugged into the back of the existing business broadband router using ethernet. In most cases, no configuration to the xDSL, cable, satellite or leased line router is required as it’s generally plug & play. Any member of staff can install the app onto their smartphones. In event of the fixed line failing, traffic is seamlessly switched over to one of the smartphones 3G/4G connection. All traffic goes via a Hybrid aggregation server, located in the cloud, which provides a consistent IP address, whichever connection the traffic is passing through.

The app supports iOS 8.0 or Android 5.0 and higher and installs in seconds. When the smartphone connects to the Wi-Fi network, the app sitting in the background searches for the failover enabled router and registers itself as available to use, when required. If the fixed broadband goes down, the router rapidly determines which smartphone’s 3G/4G connection is the best one to use. Up to 16 smartphones on-site can be placed on stand-by.

By using the existing broadband router, the expensive 4G modem (already in the smartphone) and an existing data plan, the inherent costs of 4G failover are eliminated. Also, the fact that smartphones typically will be located in a better 4G service area than the comms cabinet would, there will be much better mobile performance.

Failover also tackles the speed and 4G data usage issues. Firstly, our blacklisting functions allow the business to specify which devices are important to them in the event of an outage, such as a till and accounts PC and which ones are of less importance, such as the TV streaming or guest Wi-Fi. Then, when the fixed broadband connection fails, only the devices deemed important are permitted to be re-routed over mobile. This means the 4G connection speed is focused on key services only and, in turn, means that 4G data is only consumed by the minimal set of devices that need to continue to work.

Some service providers are looking to offer 4G backup to customers but the cost is prohibitive. In addition some mobile networks are already hitting mobile infrastructure limits in terms of maximum UEs per mobile sector. As our feature uses existing UEs, we provide an infrastructure efficient model.

Router Options

Integrated solution

The software stack can be ported to most CPE devices running Linux 2.4.19 kernel or newer. It is a user-space application, doesn’t require any kernel modules that aren’t installed as standard and, depending upon complexity, can be ported rapidly.

Common processors such as x86, mips and ARM are supported and our application typically requires 1.5Mbytes RAM and approx 700Kbytes of flash storage. The kernel version, RAM speed and CPU speed will determine maximum throughput.

Supplementary device

Where it isn’t possible to port the software stack to your existing CPE; either because there are too many variations of CPE in the field, or there isn’t enough RAM, CPU or flash to accommodate the software stack, a patented plug & play router is available.

The plug & play router is a low-cost, small (42mm x 42mm) device which plugs into a free ethernet port on the back of the customer’s xDSL router. It effectively then becomes the default gateway and typically requires no configuration on the router or customer devices.

It’s very low power consumption means it can be powered from the free USB port on most home routers, eliminating the need for another power socket.

More Information

Our Seamless Failover is currently on sale at retail in the UK and can be purchased through a range of resellers. More details can be found at the dedicated website business.boosty.com.