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Internet Back Up Solution

January 2021

by Richard Lee

Many businesses are connected to the internet. However what would that mean when and if your internet services goes down?

There could be significant disruption to business. You might not be able to read/reply emails, the accounting system is not accessible, productivity of workers drops. Other consequences may be loss of customers, good will and worst still the outage costs you a lot of money.

Quick solution if you've got a smartphone with data and laptop is to configure your smartphone as a WiFi hotspot. Then connect to your smartphone wirelessly on your laptop computer.

What if you're on a Network? It should still be possible to access the internet wirelessly using either your smartphone as the hotspot or portable wireless internet such as a Telstra 4GX portable internet device. This while still maintaining your connection to the wired LAN which include servers and printers and other workstations.

Another solution is to use a modem/router together with a 3G/4G USB modem connected in. It is possible to configure your modem router to provide back up internet via this 3G/4G USB modem. The connection of the 3G/4G modem is wireless and uses the same network as your mobile phone service. Its based on a SIM card that you buy from a service provider together with data.

Having a spare modem router protects against a fault in the primary modem router. This solution is better ( than using your mobile as hotspot or even a portable wireless internet device ) as it allows desktop PCs and printers ( that don't have wireless NIC cards ) to maintain their connection to the internet.

The solution might look like below:

< .. ~~ I N ~~ .. >

< . . ~~T E R ~~ .. >

< . . ~~ N E T ~ ~ .. >

| |

^ ISP#2 ^ ^ ISP#1 ^

~ |

~ |_____< Primary NBN Modem Router > . . . . . . . . .

~ | .

~ ( Network Switch )+-------------------+ .

~ + + + +-----------------+ | .

~ | | |________+ | | .

~ | |__________ | | | .

~ < Backup NBN Modem Router > | | | | .

~ | | | | | .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ [ 3G/4G Modem ] | | | | .

+------------------------------+ | | | .

| +-------------+ | | .

| | +--------------| | .

| | | |------------+ .

+++++ [ ] [ ] [ ] <___<

===== ==== ==== ==== ====

Network Printer PC1 PC2 PC3 LC1

Backup Internet Solution Shown on a Typical Small Local Area Network

Key to Symbols

| or --- or ___ : Network Cable connection

. . . or ~ ~ ~ : Wireless connection


===== : Printer

[ ]

==== : Personal Computer


===== : Laptop Computer

^ ISP#n ^ : Internet Service Provider

< > : Modem Router

( ) : Network Switch

[ ] : 3G/4G USB Modem

< ..~~ ~~..> : Internet

In the above diagram note how the 3G/4G USB modem connects to the back up

Modem Router. When an outage happens, PC1 to PC3 and even the laptop LC1 need to reboot in order to get a new IP address from secondary DHCP server on Backup NBN Modem Router. This allows a new Gateway address ( which points to the back up Modem Router ) to be registered with all computers. Any printer(s) may need to be re-programmed with the new Gateway IP Address.

To avoid wasting data capacity provided by the 3G/4G USB modem during normal internet service (ie primary Internet is working ), all wireless devices should connect to the back up Modem Router instead of the primary. That way both data on the primary and secondary are being consumed.

One thing to note is that generally it is recommended to use a different ISP for the back up Internet Service. That way should the worst happen with your ISP you should still have Internet redundancy.

I encountered a situation whereby my primary internet was inaccessible due to a fault in the NBN modem router. As it turned out, the ISP took a relatively long time to supply a replacement - 5 weeks. That time frame would've caused havoc in a lot of businesses not prepared for it. By having a back up modem/router readily available it would be possible to protect against internet down caused by either a fault in the primary modem/router or an issue at the ISP providing the internet service. The back up router should also be able to be configured to take the place of the primary router.

A back up Internet solution if properly set up, should pay for itself many times over during its lifetime. Considering the potential for an Internet outage situation together with the hourly cost to your business and you will appreciate the true value of this solution.

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