Retailers turn to cellular broadband for reliable network failover solutions to prevent downtime
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 cellular broadband.
With the busy holiday shopping season upon us, reducing network downtime is perhaps more important than any other time of year. Retailers serving customers with tight schedules and urgent 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.
What is the cost of network downtime?
An hour of network downtime can cost companies between $250,000 and $1 million per hour. Considering most retail companies do about a third of their annual business between Black Friday and/or Small Business Saturday and the new year, financial losses from even a short outage can be staggering—but these aren’t the only costs of downtime.
For many distributed enterprises with branch offices, the consequences of network disruption will ripple across the entire company’s operations and can mean:
- Payment Card Industry (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.
- Help from IT service providers and other vendors is necessary, resulting in costly truck rolls and wasted time identifying and repairing connectivity problems.
- Damage to brand reputation and loyalty resulting 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 network 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% continuous uptime isn’t feasible, how can you get as close as possible?
Using wireless failover to reduce network downtime
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 they’re often not financially feasible solutions.
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, cellular broadband 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 Wi-Fi, and other applications.
Boosting business continuity through
Many companies are maintaining business continuity during the busy holiday season, and throughout the year, with help from hybrid WAN solutions that bring together wired and wireless networks; it’s the convergence of LTE or 5G, Ethernet and Wi-Fi as WAN via one Wireless WAN router. Our solutions automatically detect access issues with primary connections and provide cellular network connectivity to avoid service interruptions.
Cradlepoint’s wireless edge 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 cellular broadband means greater return on investment and scalability for multiple locations.
Fast, affordable, and independent
When used in tandem with a cloud-based network management tool, a wireless broadband 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.