Retailers turn to 4G LTE for reliable network failover
Estimates of the cost of network downtime in the retail environment vary, but two things are certain: the costs are high and extend beyond financial loss, and the consequences are avoidable with 4G LTE failover protection.
With the busy holiday shopping season upon us, network uptime is perhaps more important than any other time of year. Retailers serving customers with tight schedules and clear shopping and dining needs often don’t realize the importance of Internet connectivity until applications such as Point-of-Sale (POS), digital signage, in-store kiosks, and company-wide email go down.
The financial cost of network downtime
An hour of network downtime can cost companies between $250,000 and $1 million per hour. When you consider that most retail companies do about a third of their annual business starting with "Black Friday" and\or "Small Business Saturday" and ending with the New Year, financial losses from even a short outage can be staggering —but these aren’t the only cost of downtime.
Other costs of downtime
For many distributed enterprises with branch offices, the consequences of network disruption will ripple across the entire company’s operations and include:
- PCI non-compliance, leaving your organization open to security risks and fraud.
- Inventory management operations are halted.
- Cloud-based applications for communications, security, and data storage stop syncing.
- IT service providers and other vendors are necessary, resulting in costly truck rolls and wasted time identifying and repairing the connectivity problem
- Damage to brand reputation and loyalty results in long-term bottom-line losses.
Is 100% uptime possible?
IT professionals and systems administrators agree that achieving 100% uptime is impossible. No network or service is exempt from occasional, unplanned downtime. An Infonetics Research study of downtime found that companies experience an average of six hours of network outages and degradations per month. In her study conducted on LinkedIn, Kasia Subieta put the figure at closer to 14 hours per year, or 1.2 hours per month.
A post in ReviewHell: Brutally Honest Web Hosting Reviews explained that:
- 99% network connectivity ≈ 7.3 hours of downtime per month
- 99.9% network connectivity ≈ 43 minutes of downtime per month
- 99.95% network connectivity ≈ 22 minutes of downtime per month
- 99.99% network connectivity ≈ 4.5 minutes of downtime per month
If 100% uptime isn’t feasible, how can you get as close as possible?
Wireless failover to save your network
Distributed retail enterprises can increase Internet availability by installing T1 lines to each store, or by adding wired-line redundancy. The problem is that T1 lines can cost nearly 10 times more than a DSL or cable line. T3 lines, with availability at nearly 99.99%, cost 30 times more than DSL or cable, so often it’s not a financially feasible solution.
Further, if you use multiple lines to add redundancy, that still doesn’t address the problem of a backhoe, lightning, or something else taking out a line. If one line is wiped out, there’s a good chance all adjacent lines will experience outages at the same time.
In contrast, 4G LTE technology offers cost-effective connectivity. As a network failover solution, cellular-based wireless offers speeds fast enough to handle POS transactions, inventory control, in-store WiFi, and other applications.
4G LTE boosts business continuity through WAN Diversity®
Many companies are maintaining business continuity during the busy holiday season, and throughout the year, with help from 4G LTE network platforms — particularly, through WAN Diversity® provided by Cradlepoint solutions.
WAN Diversity® brings together wired and wireless networks; it’s the convergence of 4G LTE, Ethernet and WiFi as WAN via one device. Our solutions automatically detect access issues with primary connections and provide cellular network connectivity to avoid service interruptions.
Cradlepoint’s 4G LTE solutions can facilitate backup broadband for a wired-line primary connection or enable automatic dual-modem failover from one cellular carrier to another, and vice versa.
In either case, the relatively low cost of enterprise-grade 4G LTE means greater return on investment and scalability for multiple locations.
Fast, affordable, and independent
When used in tandem with Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager, a Cradlepoint wireless 4G LTE failover solution provides retailers with the peace of mind that comes with high-quality business continuity. Along with always-on connectivity, IT departments benefit from the ability to troubleshoot, configure, monitor, and maintain hundreds or even thousands of network devices from a central location.
If you’re a retailer, the holiday shopping season is a poor time to cross your fingers and hope your network stays connected.
To learn more about business continuity with Cradlepoint’s wireless network solutions, click here.