3 Steps of Designing the Optimal Cable Internet Failover

Laying out the best Internet failover for cable modems and avoid riskWith Docsis 3.0 rollouts starting to mature, cable companies are starting to target small businesses and enterprise branch offices as a bandwidth provider. Early adopters of cable Internet have quickly realized that downtime and reliability can be a major sticking point of cable Internet, which otherwise provides a good value compared to some other alternatives, even after the recent price hikes for business clients compared to the same cable service in a residential area. So the question remains – can you rely on a cable modem alone and what are the precautions you can take to have seamless cable Internet failover to avoid any business interruption?

The exact answer depends on the specific requirements of your business as well as the bandwidth availability options, however, there are several fundamental steps that apply for most cases:

  • ISP (Internet Service Provider) Diversity: As a general principle, if your business is relying on Internet connectivity for any business critical applications, plan a design that has ISP diversity built-in. No matter what SLAs are promised, a single source for your bandwidth is simply too risky if your business leverages cloud-based Internet applications. Until fairly recently, businesses have been keeping a failover Internet line on the side, just as a fallback option in case the primary line fails. With the invention of WAN Orchestration or WAN Virtualization type technologies, cable Internet failover designs can be based on automated setups. The WAN (Wide Area Network) appliance can manage the cable modem failover in case of an outage, thereby creating an automated failover setup for the office. For a case study of such an architecture, read this article.
  • Session Continuity: Once your multiple WAN resources are available for your office connectivity, you can use a Broadband Bonding type technology to add a layer of automatic failover for your cable Internet. Here, the WAN links are combined into a single, larger IP tunnel that can seamlessly orchestrate your Internet traffic around outages, latency or jitter. In other words, if and when your cable link goes down, the traffic will be intelligently routed onto the remaining WAN links without losing the ongoing IP sessions. For a specific use case of session continuity for VPN, you can check out part-one and part-two of my previous article about VPN failover.
  • Traffic Management: Any multi-WAN setup built around cable failover should leverage the additional bandwidth in an intelligent manner. After all, that is why you are replacing the manual cable failover and with an automated solution that supports failover to cable. A WAN Orchestrator setup with a cable line and additional WAN connections can orchestrate the traffic to optimize end-user experience with advanced QoS (Quality of Service) capabilities that work across ISP links. This will maximize the performance that you can achieve over a given set of bandwidth resources.

With ISP diversity, session continuity, and an intelligent QoS-based traffic management, your cable failover plan is complete. Not only have you created the most reliable business-class Internet access available, but you will also save on your operating costs compared to a single high-end ISP link.

Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.

Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.



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