Using a 4G router can provide a fantastic level of flexibility for your business network, with benefits ranging from faster installation at new sites to better overall reliability. But where do you start in finding the right router for your company?
How to Choose a 4G Router For Your Online Business
If you don’t know which features are most vital for your business, or you aren’t even sure whether your business should take this step, keep reading – in this article, we’ve put together a short guide on everything you should know about investing in a 4G router.
Backup Internet Access
If you run a business, this is a word that will chill you to your core: downtime. This dreaded situation can cost your business thousands, with companies being liable to lose over $5000 per minute of downtime. If your company is just starting out this amount will likely be smaller, but even so, any money lost can be potentially devastating – this is where a 4G router can come in.
Making sure that you have one preconfigured on standby means that even if your primary circuit fails, you have a backup option to keep your business running. It’s always good to have a backup plan, and in this case, it could even save your company from potential collapse.
Different Types of Router
Although a single data connection can work for a small-scale user, most businesses will require a lot more heft in terms of how much data they need. Therefore, you’ll need a router than can handle multiple cellular data connections – this is known as a multi-SIM router, and simply means that the router has more than one slot to insert SIMs. They can usually take between two and twenty SIMs, and these SIMs tend to be from two or more network providers.
Working with multiple network providers unlocks a large performance advantage that can, once again, save your business from downtime. For instance, if your router only has SIMs from one provider – or perhaps only one SIM altogether – the service going down means that you’re stranded offline. By using SIMs from multiple providers, you can ensure that a loss of coverage from one provider doesn’t mean that your network has gone down entirely. Your performance might temporarily suffer, but that’s a far better option than losing connection altogether.
Therefore, there’s a couple of things you’ll want to look out for when purchasing your router. Firstly, you’ll want to establish whether the router is for a single user or a business – if it’s for the former, you might be able to get away with a single connection, providing an always-on connection isn’t essential for you. Otherwise, a multi-SIM router is essential! Secondly, you’ll want to check that your router is actually multi-SIM capable if necessary, and doesn’t simply offer a back-up connection.
The Right Configuration for You
Once you’ve decided to look into purchasing a router, you’ll need to know how you want to configure it, as different devices are more suitable for certain configurations, which each have different benefits in turn.
Most businesses prefer to combine the power of the SIMs they’re using, essentially creating a single internet connection in the process. Additionally, this connection is formed from connections from different providers, meaning that the connection is both fast and robust. Configuring your router this way is known as ‘bonding’.
Alternatively, you can use your SIM connections individually, with each being used for a separate user or application within the network. This configuration is called ‘load balancing’, and while it sounds effective, it reduces the flexibility of your network, and is far less robust than bonding, potentially leaving users disconnected if your provider or SIMs experience an issue.
If you’re still not sure which direction to go, you can discuss your needs with your IT department or your provider – they’ll be able to walk you through exactly what you need from your new piece of networking tech.
Prioritizing Your Applications
In your business, you may have certain mission-critical applications that require a high level of network priority when compared to less essential applications. However, this can be difficult to organize: imagine that you have a team using a video conference application for their weekly meeting, but another team is dealing with some vital customer service calls involving important systems. Your network might not be able to handle this, and you’ll need to decide on either letting both ends deal with a poor connection or having to force the meeting to reschedule.
While these choices aren’t ideal, being able to make that decision for your business allows you a greater deal of control over daily operations, ensuring that things run smoothly where they can rather than just crossing your fingers. A router with traffic prioritization can allow for this, and you can ask your IT team for advice on what to give priority
Mission-critical applications going down can have drastic consequences for your business – if this concerns you, then being able to prioritize traffic can be a lifesaver.
Especially nowadays, there are lots of circumstances where hooking up a physical ethernet cable to every single device is a huge convenience, or even entirely impossible. Being able to work wirelessly can be invaluable, particularly if you want greater freedom in your workplace, network layout, or office organization. However, not every 4G router can support wireless connectivity, so you’ll want to make sure this is a feature of whatever router you choose if this important to your business.
Monitoring Through Reporting
Keeping track of how your network is running is vital to know far more about your IT system. For example, knowing if your applications are running efficiently, that you’re using resources well, and that you’re being charged the right amount by circuit providers can give you greater insight into the running of your business.
A 4G router that provides reporting within the software package can allow you to know all of this and more, which is especially useful when you’re working with more than one provider and you don’t have the time to always be checking and comparing them.