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volume 11 number 6 june 2006 TipSheet

Welcome to the June issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll provide some information on a Fault Tolerant Internet Connection.

Tip 570   DUAL-WAN ROUTERS TO THE RESCUE! Category:   NETWORK

For most businesses, Internet access is as important as telephone and fax services. And when small businesses compete against larger enterprises, the pressure is on to perform. Failing to promptly reply to an important client because your Internet connection is down doesn't cut it. Reliable Internet access is even more crucial when you run your own email server, provide remote access to remote users, or host other servers that must be accessible to the outside world. Unfortunately, the business broadband Internet services that small businesses can afford often resemble consumer services, with a higher price tag but with somewhat unreliable service and unpredictable speed.

If you work for a small-to-midsized business (SMB), you might think keeping up with your larger competitors is impossible. But advances In hardware and software, plummeting prices, and the Internet let you leverage technology opportunities to compete without losing the responsive- ness that comes with being smaller. The trick is that you must be aware of available services and innovations and do some out-of-the-box thinking. By using dual-WAN routers, you can get highly reliable Internet access for dollars a month�and even connect multiple locations in one WAN.

Dual-WAN Routers

Thanks to the deregulation of the telecommunications market, most companies have several choices of Internet providers and at least two technologies�cable and DSL. Suppose you could subscribe to both cable and DSL, connect them to a small box, then connect the box to your LAN? What if the box functioned like a consumer Internet gateway�but with a few added features? This box would let you use both Internet connections for higher bandwidth when both services were functional; however, if either Internet service failed, the box would transparently route traffic over the remaining connection. This scenario might sound too good to be true, hut it isn't.

Several vendors offer dual-WAN routers that provide this type of fault-tolerant Internet access, and the best part is the price: $250 to $500 per router. (See our special this month for a D-Link DI-LB604 for $131.

Solid Internet Access

We usually recommend against dual DSL connections because both depend on your phone line. To avoid compromising the fault-tolerance of two separate, unrelated broadband providers, choose cable, power line, or satellite as your other provider. Also, make sure your router provides automatic switchover and includes the advanced features you need. Not all dual routers provide auto-failover DNS serving capabilities or VPN functionality. Having rock-solid Internet access for the cost of an additional broadband account is well worth the extra $15-$45 a month, especially because the access requires no intervention. When I travel, it's good to know that I can remotely access my network even if one Internet connection goes down. (Keep an eye out for upcoming tips that provide more elegant solutions for SMB.)


Copyright 2006, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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