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Surviving the snow, ice and broadband outages #onstorm

By January 6, 2014 Broadband

The only thing worse than a storm is a storm two days before Christmas.  We have quite a few customers in the retail space and the fact is, that 100% of our customer base is commercial so when outage happens, it means most definite impairment to sales and operations of the impacted site.

We don’t like outage. We also don’t like fine print.

Enter Force Majeure.

The term “force majeure” relates to the law of insurance and is frequently used in construction contracts to protect the parties in the event that a segment of the contract cannot be performed due to causes that are outside the control of the parties, such as natural disasters, that could not be evaded through the exercise of due care.

In telecom, it is often carried in a contract as an ‘Act of God’ covenant  which could mean anything from weather to traffic, and yes, we have seen it all.

Fact is, when ‘outage’ happens, people tend to look at something like an ice-storm and declare a ‘snow day’ and wait for the spring thaw. When there is an outage, we can expect to be down for days, not just hours.

We don’t like outage

We don’t like outage, but having a primary and secondary circuit that are delivered via a fibre or copper cable on an impacted or ‘down’ pole-line won’t exactly help you.


Enter back up wireless

About one and a half years ago we started to deploy back up 3G and 4G /LTE circuits as a ‘secondary’ data path for each of our broadband connections.  At one point, we have over 300 customers impacted.  These were mostly due to power, but about twenty had impacted telecom circuits, and of the twenty impacted sites 100% of them failed-over to our backup circuit for continued broadband connectivity.

For them, It means that their Point of Sale, Debit, and Credit systems were able to carry into the busiest sales cycle of December 23, 24 and in some cases the 26th until all circuits were restored.

What does it look like?



The above diagram outlines what this typical installation looks like. The back up wireless can be achieved via a ‘plug in’ wireless ‘stick’ which can be plugged into the router directly.  Alternatively, we have a separate 3G/4G cellular modem that we plug in via an onboard Ethernet – we prefer the second one.

Happy new year.  Spring is coming.  Bring on the floods!  There is always something.