Monday, March 10, 2014

No internet connectivity? [Solved]

Did you lose internet too?
I think our connection just failed.
Aww, I was right in the middle of an upload!
"Lunchtime @ Work" by @gemsling via flickr

For us, and for most everyone, maintaining a stable internet connection is akin to keeping the lights on. We absolutely need it to do our jobs. It’s our communications, our tool sets, our customer databases, our everything. We’re all cloud here, but even if your office isn’t cloud-based, you still need the web as much as we do at Newmind. A day without email brings most businesses to a crawl, and can cost a lot of money.

As good as your internet provider may be, they will have outages. Bad weather, old equipment, or even construction can leave your office cut off. We had experienced the cold isolation of webless-ness enough times to look at our options for prevention. What we ultimately chose was a solution built-in to our existing network gear. Our Meraki MX60 security appliance (read: awesome firewall) features link aggregation, something that has been historically expensive and out of financial reach for most small and medium size businesses.

Having this in our toolbelt, we were able to subscribe to a second internet service and join it to our network with a few keystrokes. Meraki’s interface is clean and simple, making this a quick, easy setup. Clients joining our network are automatically assigned to one connection or the other, all handled by automatic load balancing. Because the load balancing is done by the Meraki appliance (without complicated rules and policies), we can utilize the full bandwidth of each connection in real time.

Cost of Internet Downtime $6400/week

In the event that one of our internet services loses connectivity, clients on our local area network are automatically routed to the other working connection, with no intervention by anyone. You may notice a brief moment of lag when the switch happens, but many times we don’t notice at all. Our team also receives an email every time a failover event happens, with information on which connection is up or down, and a timestamp of when the event occurred. That information and visibility is a real asset to us, especially considering our team’s level of mobility. In cases of extreme weather, both of our connections could be down, leaving our office basically unusable. Since we have insight into our connectivity, our team can be informed before they leave for the office, and can work remotely until we receive the alert telling us that our internet is back.

Like I said before, this kind of thing really isn't a new feature, but something small and medium size businesses couldn't afford before. Putting this level of technology within the reach of companies like ours, and our customers, is exactly the kind of solution we look for at Newmind. Tech advancements keep happening at a head-spinning pace, and new products and services arrive all the time. Our aim is really to sift through this fire hose of options and possibilities to identify, test, prove, and deploy what makes sense.

Learn more about redundant internet

  • Improve internet service connectivity
  • Upgrade network infrastructure
  • Reduce work downtime

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Luke Reynolds is a new member of Newmind's IT managed services team. Previously he worked with schools, not-for-profits, and businesses to help them acquire and deploy Google Chromebooks on the enterprise level.

Luke Reynolds enjoys writing, music, film, and any form of radical human expression. He's also a rabid proponent of Kalamazoo's local roller derby team, the Killamazoo Derby Darlins.