If you’re considering providing your employees with the option to work from home, or even just considering it yourself, a 4G routers can provide a greater amount of flexibility in terms of keeping connected to your business network. However, there are a lot of different routers and configurations, as well as roles for your 4G router to fill.
It can be hard to know where to start, so that’s where we come in. Here, we’ve gathered a few different pieces of vital advice for anybody looking into utilising a 4G router as part of their home office set up.
A Failsafe for Your Existing Connection
Now, you can certainly use a 4G router as your primary connection, but it’s also worth considering its functionality as a backup connection in case your primary source of the internet goes down. Downtime can lead to critical losses for a business, to the extent that it causes some companies to go under; consider that even small businesses can lose up to $10,000 an hour if they experience downtime, a crushing, perhaps fatal blow for any startup to take. Ensuring that you have the failsafe of a 4G router on standby can prevent this disaster scenario.
What Type of Router Should I Choose?
While a singer data connection can be just about functional for a single user in a home office, you’ll likely want the performance and reliability that a more standard connection can provide.
To do this, you’ll need to use a multi-SIM router that can utilise more than one SIM through multiple slots, therefore using the power of numerous cellular data connections. These routers tend to take up to twenty SIMs, which can be from multiple network providers.
If you choose to work with multiple carriers, you can utilise a fantastic performance advantage to reduce your chances of experiencing downtime. Using SIMs from more than one carrier means that you can ensure your network will remain online (albeit with worse performance) if the connection from one carrier goes down.
You can contrast this to using all SIMs from a single carrier – if the connection of the carrier goes down, you’re left offline with very few options.
So, there are two things you’ll want to look for when you browse for a 4G router: slots for multiple SIMs, to allow you to utilise the power of more than one connection, and genuine multi-SIM capability – some only allow an additional SIM as a failsafe option, so you need to ensure that it can use them concurrently!
Bonding and Load Balancing – Which to Choose
Choosing a 4G router is only the start of it though, as you’ll need to define the best way of configuring it for your needs. Unfortunately, there isn’t one right way to do this, so you’ll need to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
The majority of businesses tend to prefer the ‘bonding’ method. This combines the power of every SIM in the router to create a single connection. As you may have guessed, this means that the resulting internet connection is far more robust, and has better performance.
However, you can instead choose to use the ‘load balancing’ configuration. This means that you are using your SIM connections individually by connecting them to specific users and applications.
It can potentially be effective in some scenarios, but generally speaking, it’s much less reliable than the bonding configuration and leaves your network vulnerable if any of your SIMs experience issues.
Of course, you’ll have to decide which data configuration is most suited to your needs – and those needs are likely to be a little different; depending on the type of business network your staff are connecting to, the type of role they’re in, and the kind of tasks they’re carrying out.
Monitor Your Network with Reporting
You might find it helpful to keep an eye on how your network is running for a range of reasons. For example, you might want to know how much data your applications use so that you can subsequently work out what data thresholds will suit you.
Some 4G routers can provide a reporting service within its software package. This means that you can keep track of information like this, which can be particularly useful if you want to compare the performance of applications or figure out how much data you’re using on each plan if you’re working with more than one carrier.
Prioritising Network Traffic to Suit You
Many businesses rely on specific mission-critical applications in their daily operations – naturally, these applications require a higher level of network priority than others that are less essential. If you have software dedicated to vital customer service features, for instance, and you have other less important but still significant software running concurrently, you don’t want your mission-critical application to suffer.
Your options, essentially, are to let both applications deal with a poor connection if you don’t have greater network control. You may even risk the vital application going down in this scenario, which, as established earlier, can be disastrous.
Traffic prioritisation doesn’t magic away from this problem, as you still have to make the decision of which applications to prioritise – however, this higher level of control can help you make sure that things are running more smoothly, and you can always ask your IT team or MSP for advice on how best to prioritise your applications.
Wireless Connectivity Means More Possibilities
Attaching a physical ethernet cable to devices to connect them to your network seems especially archaic nowadays – by using a certain kind of 4G router, you can make connecting to your business network entirely wireless, and reap the benefits.
Of course, this is hugely beneficial for working from home, especially if you want to move from room to room or even work outside of your house. This feature can also be useful for employees that work remotely in sales that travel frequently but want to rely on your business’ own secure connection.