Why You Should Have Two ISPs

Christopher Lentz | May 16, 2014 04:56 PM

There are not too many businesses today that operate without the use of the internet. I bet you would be pretty hard pressed to find even a few that don’t have it in their office. So then, it goes without saying that almost all businesses now require the internet to fully operate. This makes keeping your internet connection up a task that requires more than just a single Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Trouble When You Least Expect It

A lot of us want to believe that bad things won"t happen to us or our business. However, Murphy"s Law has shown its face more than a few time over the course of each of our careers. Let"s say that you have a 50 person company with about 20 of those people performing sales calls and other key communications to customers and vendors alike. Suddenly at 10 AM your internet goes down, this includes your new Cisco VoIP phone system. You call your ISP but they say that it will be at least 4 hours before they can get the service back up and running. What do you do? Four hours is a long time to be without your two primary means of communicating with customers and vendors. If you are like most businesses this just simply would be unacceptable.

How To Avoid A Nightmare

Avoiding the nightmare that I just described above is not that difficult, but it will take a bit of extra cash and some extra configuration on your networking equipment to get things set up. In Cisco networking terms this is known as a Hot Standby Routing. Your primary connection, likely a very fast and high bandwidth connection, provides your connectivity during normal operations. However, when an outage occurs on that connection the standby connection from your second ISP kicks in and traffic begins to flow over the new connection. With the right configuration, when your primary ISP returns the routing is reverted back to the original connection on your high speed link. All this time, your users will likely never notice that things have switched over.

What To Consider For Your Backup Connection

There are a few major items to think about when you start looking for your secondary connection. First, will you need just phone access and basic email? If so, you can go with a smaller and slower secondary connection which will cost less. You might even be able to get away with a hot-spot or 3/4G connection which some newer routers can support. Next, ask yourself how many users you have. For each user, you should have about 0.5 Mbps of connectivity to maintain a decent level of service and speed for your users. Finally, if you are providing services like email or other critical applications to any remote offices then you will likely need to have a matched secondary connection. This will ensure that your other sites can still access those services and applications during your primary ISP outage.

Don’t be caught with no internet connection when you need it the most, give us a call today and let one of our certified Cisco engineers help you set up your redundant internet connections.


Enforma IT provides Cisco Network Consulting, VMware Virutualization Consultanting, and Server/Desktop Support in the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland, San Jose, and Chicago metropolitan areas.

© 2019 Enforma IT. All Rights Reserved.