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Five reasons why you should consider 5G for your business network redundancy

05 Jul 2024

5G is transforming network redundancy in Australia and the most progressive companies are already reaping the benefits. Now is the perfect time to explore this new technology and lock in the guarantee of 100 percent network uptime for your organisation.

 

Network redundancy as a concept has been around for as long as there have been networks, but the traditional approach is not foolproof. 

Network outages are far too common. And when your network crashes, the damage to your business - your bottom line and your reputation - is likely to be significant.

5G offers a new and inexpensive wireless redundancy option that complements your existing setup but adds many benefits that wired lines can not provide.

 

5G has changed the landscape of network redundancy

Network redundancy is a simple concept to understand.

If there is a single point of failure and it fails, then… disaster.

If there is a secondary point, then when the main point fails, there is a backup plan.

Network redundancy is a process of installing additional instances of network devices within the network infrastructure to provide an alternate connection pathway.  

However, until recently, most of our network redundancy planning has been limited in scope by the technologies available to us.

The arrival of the 5G network has changed the landscape.

 

Most network redundancy planning is flawed

Until recently, our options for mitigating network outages have been limited.

Traditionally, most companies have taken the approach of replicating the primary wired link with a second or even third wired link, and to align each link with a different network provider.

The flaw with this approach is that the secondary cable, more often than not, is laid in the same physical trench as the primary, with both wires exposed to the same risks. These might be weather-related flooding or bushfire, or man-made interference from capital works.

Of course, there is always the option to install an additional wire through a different entrance, but the cost in both time and money is usually prohibitive, and therefore rarely utilised.

 

How does 5G wireless redundancy work?

Much as you would expect. Instead of adding another cabled link, you would deploy a fixed wireless broadband link.

This is a far simpler, less expensive, and much faster, solution than adding another wire.

When the primary link is compromised, the network automatically fails over to the 5G link. When the primary link is back online, the failover is automatically reversed.

There are a couple of ways to add a wireless WAN connection to your existing branch network:

Purpose-built 5G routers provide reliable connectivity, advanced management, and failover capabilities as well as Ethernet and Wi-Fi interfaces, making them a simple, drop-in addition at the branch.

Purpose-built 5G adapters add a wireless connection to an existing router, relying on its SD-WAN and failover functionality.

MobileCorp recommends Cradlepoint 5G routers and adapters as the marketing leading devices. These can be configured at scale with Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager™ to offer a full range of  SD-WAN, security, application, Quality of Service, and management features. 

 

How 'tried and tested' is 5G for redundancy?

It's a case of the "no-one ever got sacked for purchasing IBM" syndrome. 

While wired redundancy doesn't cover all bases, it is tried and tested, and seems safer as it is standard practice.

You might be asking yourself how reliable and proven is 5G as a network redundancy solution.

You wouldn't be alone in this concern. According to the 2024 State of Connectivity Report, commissioned by 5G networking market leader, Cradlepoint, 28% of Australian enterprises are unsure whether 5G wireless WAN can handle enterprise connectivity.

28% of Australian enterprises are unsure whether 5G wireless WAN can handle enterprise connectivity

State of Connectivity in Australia, 2024 Report

You might also be thinking that 5G as a new solution is best suited to early adopters, and would not be a good fit for risk-averse industries.

In both cases, you can be assured that 5G is already a tried, tested and proven redundancy solution across most industry verticals.

In Australia, some of our most iconic retailers have already moved to add 5G as a network redundancy link. 

MobileCorp is currently rolling this solution out to 330 stores for a big-box retailer with a presence across Australia and New Zealand.  

Coles Group has completed its 5G redundancy project. 

Case Study: Coles Group has already completed its 5G redundancy project.  

Case Study: Ticketek upgrades to complex WAN with Cradlepoint wireless failover

 

 

Five key drivers for 5G as network redundancy

So why would your organisation consider using 5G for a redundancy link?

And why are other organisations already implementing 5G redundancy today?

Here are five key reasons that have seen iconic Australian enterprises move to adopt this approach.

 

#1 Speed of deployment is days - not weeks or months!

It is possible to be up and running with a 5G redundancy solution in a matter of days.

There are four simple steps to deploying a 5G wireless link.

  • Step 1 - 5G Site Survey. A certified radio engineer attends onsite to determine optimal positioning of the 5G adapter or router, whether an additional antenna is required, what cabling will be needed and ascertain the bill of materials.

  • Step 2 - Install 5G Gateway or Router. A certified radio engineer will install your 5G device and test for performance.

  • Step 3 - Connect to 5G. MobileCorp recommends the market-leading Cradlepoint devices which have dual SIM capability. This allows two carriers to be connected for additional failover protection.

  • Step 4 - Secure and Manage. Your 5G link utilising Cradlepoint devices can be cloud managed.Set up Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager for 24/7 monitoring, alerts, cellular health management and out of band management. 

steps to deploying 5g steps 3 and 4

 

#2 Cost Savings 

A 5G wireless link is far less expensive to procure, install, and manage than a wired line. 

It is extremely rare that any capital works are required and installation costs are comparatively minimal, especially compared to a wired line. NOTE: if a router is used instead of an adapter there will be no cabling required.

The 5G hardware can be procured upfront and in Australia may also be available on a monthly no interest repayment plan via the Carrier as an OpEx.

Cloud management gives visibility of cellular health across the network and allows remote troubleshooting, negating the need for a truck roll.

 

#3 Dual SIM allows double the coverage and halves the risk 

The 5G Cradlepoint devices that MobileCorp recommends have dual SIM connectivity allowing two separate mobile networks to be utilised for redundancy giving double the protection. If one wireless network is down, the device will fail over to the alternate mobile network. 

 

#4 Increased bandwidth and traffic steering for critical communications 

Another benefit of having a wireless WAN connection is the ability to quickly accommodate spikes in traffic requiring additional bandwidth. During peak times, the 5G wireless link is activated and both routers coordinate to dynamically route traffic along the best available path. When traffic returns to normal levels, the wireless link is released, so that you only pay for what you need.  

 

#5 Cloud management provides visibility 

Cloud management of your wireless links means you never miss a trick. At a glance you can see the status of your wireless connections, monitor the cellular health, deploy firmware updates over-the-air, and remote manage the devices. 

 

Bonus Driver:  Out-of-Band management (OOBM) 

Out-of-band management means you can utilise the wireless connection to remotely manage and troubleshoot your wired link router. When the network experiences an outage and fails over to 5G, you can utilise that wireless connectivity to access your wired devices. It provides you with an alternate pathway for IT support. This is another cost saving measure as it minimises truck rolls to site.

A diagram of a router

Description automatically generated

 

How reliable is 5G for failover connection in 2024? 

You might be thinking that it’s smart to have a wireless connection as back-up, but wondering how reliable is a 5G link? 

Like any technology, 5G for failover, has its own limitations and challenges. Understanding how relevant these will be to each of your locations is key to your decision-making. 

Network coverage, signal strength, and tower congestion are all factors in determining the reliability of 5G for failover.   

A 5G site assessment will be required at most sites to determine the viability of wireless.  

The good news is 87% of the population already has access to 5G and the carriers are continuing to aggressively infill  the network with the addition of small cell units. 

 

Is 5G wireless redundancy a proven technology in Australia? 

It sure is. 

Network redundancy was one of the first business use cases for 5G in Australia. 

Progressive enterprises and government entities have been using 5G for failover since 2020. The solution has really taken off in 2023.  

MobileCorp has helped many clients to deploy 5G links for network resilience and redundancy.  

These include: 

  • Rescue Helicopter base at La Perouse in Sydney where interrupted connectivity could mean a matter of life and death. 
  • Coles retail stores where any outage would mean a significant loss of revenue and considerable customer dissatisfaction 
  • Ticketek retail outlets at stadiums and events to ensure patron have uninterrupted accessibility to the ground by scanning their tickets, and can also buy tickets on site 

In many other cases, our clients have used 5G for their primary link while waiting on fixed lines, and then repurposed the 5G link for failover.  

These include: 

nine 5g use cases web page

 

How real is the risk of a network outage? 

Just as real today, as it was on November 8, 2023. 

Ask anyone who had their network solely with Optus on that day and they will attest to how that risk played out. 

The day-long outage across both fixed and mobile services affected about 10 million Optus retail and 400,000 business customers.  

With eftpos machines and phone lines shut down many businesses simply could not function. The final cost added up to a $2 billion hit to the economy. The outage also cost Optus $61 million in fines and cost its CEO her job.  

Prolonged outages like the Optus event are rare, but short intermittent outages are commonplace and can also be damaging and expensive. 

Outages undermine your relationship with customers, damage your corporate reputation, impact employee productivity, and can significantly impact your bottom line. 

 

Where should this sit in my list of priorities ? 

Always, in IT, there will be conflicting priorities, plenty of risks to worry about, and gaps to plug. 

Where does network redundancy fit when you are facing a heightened cyber-security risk, expectations to be at the forefront of AI innovation, and the workload of BAU requirements. 

The answer will depend on your organisation and the impact a network outage will have on your business. 

 If the idea of your network crashing keeps you awake at night, this is a solution that can be implemented quickly and inexpensively – unlike cybersecurity and AI! 

 

What are the first steps to 5G for redundancy?

The best way to move forward with 5G for network redundancy is generally with a proof of concept. 

Choose one of your stores and ask MobileCorp to work up the solution for that site.  

We offer a free 5G site assessment which will determine the likelihood of a viable 5G link at your business address.

Our report will tell you where your nearest tower is, the optimal carrier, the likely signal strength, and an estimated cost of deployment. 

If everything all looks good, we will next ask you to pay $495 for a certified radio engineer to attend onsite and identify real-time signal strength, actual positioning of 5G equipment, and quote up the bill of materials that will be required.  

 

Want to learn more? 

If you’d like to do a bit more research before signing up for a free 5G site assessment, the 5G for Business section on our website provides a good summary of how 5G can be utilised for redundancy and also for other business use cases.   

You might also like to download our Enterprise Wireless brochure (no forms!) 

 

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About MobileCorp

MobileCorp is a Sydney-based communications technology company. We support enterprise and business by providing managed endpoints and ICT services including 5G for Business, mobility management, mobile device management, expense management and managed connectivity solutions. We are also a platinum Telstra Partner and the Telstra Mobility Partner of the Year. 

Telstra Mobility Partner of the Year - Winner - sky60 - email

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