Connectivity matters Featured

5:55pm EDT October 20, 2004
Virtually all companies today use the Internet, and many have a Wide Area Network. A WAN is a remote connection to your computer or telephone network which may be by the Internet or through private leased data circuits.

So how important is it that your WAN is functioning? Your WAN may be used for many purposes, including:


* E-mail to and from anyone outside your building


* Access to the Web sites of trading partners, for research, price checks, order status or placing orders


* File transfers


* Payroll processing


* Access to your telephone system for support or remote extensions/branches


* Access to your computer network so that branches or remote workers can run your business software (such as ERP, CRM or supply chain management)


* Remote access to your intranet


* Access to your extranet


* Electronic funds transfers




Research has shown the average hourly cost of downtime in the WAN varies widely, from $28,000 for a package shipping firm to $6.4 million for a brokerage house.


Business critical

What is the impact to your firm if your staff, customers and vendors can't conduct business with you due to a failure in your WAN?

For many firms, the answers lead to the conclusion that the WAN is business-critical. If that is the case, you need to look at providing greater reliability and stability in your WAN.

Greater reliability requires you to have two or more WAN circuits (phone/data circuits) into your location from different carriers. It is best if you have two sets of terminating equipment.

You must deploy equipment that provides for automatic failover between the circuits in case of failure. You may want to also provide for automatic load sharing and balancing, which gives you faster throughput, as you are able to use all the circuits simultaneously. If desired, you can increase the level of security you have at the same time.

There are only two options for the automatic failover and load sharing -- Cisco's proprietary BGP function or a FatPipe product. BGP requires extensive and expensive work on your equipment and telephone line carriers; you have to obtain a special class C IP license, and only Cisco equipment can be used.

FatPipe is much more flexible. It works with any carrier, any type of circuit, any speed, any type of equipment and doesn't require the class C IP license. FatPipe has many patents on its technology for failover, load sharing, load balancing and security improvements. Only FatPipe can provide the degree of security enhancement. FatPipe can be deployed and implemented quickly; BGP cannot.

FatPipe products can also help your firm meet federal law requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach Bliley, and HIPAA. RANDY WEAR is president of Decision Systems Plus Inc., a member of the Technology Assurance Group (TAG). DSP provides computer and telephone technology infrastructure sales and support nationwide, to increase client's productivity and profitability. Reach him at or (847) 544-5818.