The Failings of Router Failover . . . (Until 4G)

We couldn't agree more with Steve Cassidy of PC Pro, who argues that typical failover is basically worthless. In his much stronger terms:

I hate failover – in fact, the art department won’t let me use a font big, bold and scarlet enough to fully express the depth of my hatred. It’s a crackbrained idea, the refuge of the ignorant against the indifference of the uncaring.

The problems with most failover options, as we've written about before, are enormous (but rather simple):

  1. When you back up a wired connection with another wired connection and one of them goes down, it's likely (in the 90% range) that your backup will also go down. Both wired connections are probably subject to the exact same problems.
  2. The backup connection is probably a seldom-used legacy connection like dial-up or ISDN. Assuming it works at all (BIG assumption), it will be slow. In Cassidy's words, "traffic would crawl almost completely to a stop; failover was a last-ditch concept, intended only for a passing and occasional role as your net connection."

While Cassidy acknowledges that there are newer failover options that aren't using just those legacy connections for backup, he finds that they still suffer from design flaws: failover doesn't do what you would expect it to do. Cassidy ultimately concludes that failover in general is disappointing.

Dear Steve Cassidy: We invite you to try Cradlepoint.

We have to wonder whether Cassidy has ever had his hands on a Cradlepoint router with 4G connectivity. The fact is that our business continuity solutions work – consistently, seamlessly, and quickly. We've built our routers from the ground up to work with both wired and cellular networks. With a Cradlepoint router failover solution, when the wired connection fails, you are back online almost instantaneously, rarely ever noticing any loss of connection. The WAN diversity of pairing a 3G/4G connection with your primary wired option multiplies the effectiveness of failover, and the speed of today's top cellular options, especially 4G LTE, means that your solution won't just work, it will be fast enough to handle real-world business connectivity needs – keeping all of your applications online with no loss in performance.

(And since Cassidy brought it up, we should probably point out that we're excellent at load balancing too.)