What is “failover?”

Imagine your business going a day without internet. Your phones go dark, your company’s web site disappear. Your employees lose access to email and collaboration tools like Zoom and Teams. All of a sudden for your business, it’s no longer 2020… it’s more like 1820.

Don’t let it happen to you

I’m not exaggerating. For most businesses, if the internet is down then you’re down, period. And yet this critical resource comes through a slender bit of glass fiber into your building and there are a dozen things that can go wrong with it just on your property. and when something happens, you’re stuck, right?

How you can take control of your own destiny

There’s a technology that’s been around for years that lets companies use a second internet connection when the first one isn’t available. It’s called “failover” and it works seamlessly to keep your business afloat.

Failover technology involves using a second internet source like a gotW3 device attached to your router. This second connection stays unused until it’s needed. It’s usually a slower connection that wouldn’t be well suited for running your business, but as a backup, it’s going to keep your phones and internet up and running while the main connection gets fixed.

Your router or security device switches from its main internet connection to the secondary connection seamlessly in a fraction of a second. Think of it as an emergency light, just for your internet connection.

What you need for failover

The first thing you need is a router or security device that supports failover technology. Such a device has two “WAN” ports, one for the primary connection and one for the “failover” connection. Your IT professional will configure everything so it works.

The other thing you’ll need is some sort of secondary internet connection. Generally this is a cellular modem of some sort. Cellular connections aren’t really the best choice for businesses as they tend to be slower and more easily congested than fiber-based systems. But a cellular connection is certainly going to be better than no connection at all.

Some more expensive security appliances also let you limit the kind of traffic that can go over the failover connection. For example, you would want to keep streaming video from being used, so that it doesn’t take up all the bandwidth.

Or you can do it old-school

It’s also possible for smaller businesses to do failover the old-fashioned way by disconnecting one cable from the WAN port on a router and plugging in another. Obviously this leaves you without internet for a little while. It probably disconnects all your phone calls and causes a little bit of havoc in the office while it’s going on. It’s generally an easy solution that simply involves unplugging one cable, plugging in another, and resetting the router. But it’s not seamless. If that sounds ok to you, then it’s certainly an option.

Get the equipment you need from Signal Connect

When you’re ready to secure your business’s internet connection, call the experts at Signal Connect. We can help you choose the right equipment and get you everything you need to prevent future internet outages in your business. Call us at 866-726-4182 or fill out the form below if it’s after East Coast business hours.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.