Connectivity weakness addressed
16 July 2018 | 0
Fresh from its success at this year’s Tech Excellence Awards, wireless internet service provider Ripplecom has launched a recruitment drive for IT channel partners to resell its Orion auto-failover service to their customers.
The company won the IT Project of the Year for the SME sector award for the value-added service Orion brought to IT services company Radius Technologies, which provides outsourced helpdesk services to SMEs. With Orion, Radius has been able to guarantee maximum uptime to many of its clients.
The value of auto-failover is intensifying, as internet connectivity becomes increasingly important to businesses, large and small, with more and more applications going online and into the cloud. “Servers have gone to the cloud, along with applications in terms of payroll, accounting, CRM and Office 365, credit card machines and EPOS. In addition, more and more of the voice platform is being delivered over fibre and VoIP,” notes Ripplecom CEO John McDonnell. “The focus is now turning to the strength of connection as a potential point of weakness to the continuity of the business. With businesses going to the cloud, connectivity is the new IT risk, so it’s critical businesses of all shapes and sizes have a secondary connection in the event of a network fault or outage.”
“The focus is now turning to the strength of connection as a potential point of weakness to the continuity of the business. With businesses going to the cloud, connectivity is the new IT risk, so it’s critical businesses of all shapes and sizes have a secondary connection in the event of a network fault or outage”
The consequences of downtime are becoming increasingly drastic in a world where organisations are dealing with more and more connected devices in tandem with the significant migration of critical applications to the cloud. If IT service providers can guarantee customer connectivity, it gives them a significant advantage over potential competitors.
But the price for this service was historically prohibitive for SMEs. Large organisations can afford the infrastructure required to guarantee resilience in case of network failure or unavailability, but custom network builds are expensive and time-consuming. To address this problem, Ripplecom’s engineers devised Orion, using separate carriers and enhanced LTE connectivity to provide a compact and cost-effective auto-failover for SME customers.
Orion uses two physically diverse WAN pipes to the Internet to deliver seamless automatic failover in the event of an outage. Unlike other solutions, it uses the same IP address for the two WAN pipes, making the failover as smooth as possible and ensuring that even if there is an outage mid-call over VoIP, conversations can continue without interruption.
As McDonnell puts it: “In the case of the primary feed going down, we manage all traffic to the secondary feed that is completely separate in real-time. There is no need to re-IP any application. There is no downtime that can be picked up by customers.” He claims that in many instances where businesses have a second feed for failover it is provided by a different telecoms provider with different IP addressing which can be problematic especially for businesses processing payments and operating credit card terminals. Indeed, in some instances, McDonnell says, they may be still changing IP addresses when the primary network comes back online, making the whole process even more complicated.
Ripplecom also believes that Orion is “the perfect antidote for the cloud-shy”. Many owners and managers tempted to make the move to the cloud are deterred by the fear of potential loss of service due to a network outage. McDonnell believes that cloud service providers should look to Orion to give potential customers “the additional peace of mind to clear the path for providers to close the deal”.
As well as providing seamless auto-failover to SMEs at a realistic price, Ripplecom also gives IT partners full monitoring and visibility via a portal that helps them to ascertain whether a connectivity issue is caused by the WAN or the LAN. “They have visibility of the primary and secondary connection, they can see and monitor the connection into their own customer base. They can check and see what’s going on from the telecoms side,” McDonnell says. “If everything’s OK, they know it’s a LAN problem. If it’s a telecom problem, they can see the primary is down but it’s working on the secondary.”
He adds that Ripplecom can give partners a “one-stop shop with the data pipe going in, auto-failover and cloud-based voice solutions”. For many IT partners, this should be an attractive proposition because they don’t want to get involved in telecoms. “Their skills are on the LAN side rather than the WAN side. Most of them want the telecoms handled externally.”
The company says Orion is a profitable business opportunity for IT resellers, providing margin and sustainable recurring monthly revenue while delivering a cost-effective service that is attractive to existing and new customers. Orion is easy to adopt, deploy and administer and because it is automatic, it saves IT businesses time, energy and money by reducing the need for physical intervention and enabling them to diagnose hardware issues remotely.
Ripplecom is keen to recruit IT partners because “many small businesses have a relationship with IT service providers and resellers who are usually local and know their customer base. For a company like us, it’s hard to have a presence and brand across all counties. We need partners to bring this product to customers. It’s a matter of going out and recommending Orion to their customer base. It’s good for customers and it’s good for them. It’s a win-win”.
Created in 2009 through the merger of regional wireless internet service providers Amocom and Callidus Telecom, Ripplecom acquired ICE Broadband and Last Mile Ltd following an injection of funding from Farmer Business Development plc. Over the intervening years, it has invested €2.4m in its infrastructure and grown to become Ireland’s largest independent radio network, with over 300 network and relay sites with traffic backhauled over fibre links ranging from 100Mbps to 1Gps. It has a core network customer capacity of 100,000 and services customers across Ireland, including areas “where many telecoms companies don’t have a network”.
McDonnell says the company’s experience with Radius demonstrates the benefits it delivers to IT service providers and resellers. “When a provider can guarantee their customers’ connectivity, they gain an outstanding market advantage,” he remarks. “Operationally, Orion’s uptime, remote monitoring and automatic deployment translate into a huge cost saving to IT companies servicing their customers.”
Prospective partners are encouraged to get in touch with Ripplecom on (061) 500 250, visit www.ripplecom.net/channel-partners and arrange to see Orion in action in the company’s Limerick HQ.