We talk about disaster recovery a lot, but today I want to focus specifically on broadband. We know how crucial broadband is for your business. We know how frustrating it can be if your broadband goes down – or even if it’s just a bit slow. We also know that there’s a fairly simple solution that can put your mind at rest a little and make the situation less stressful for everyone.
There’s no point shying away from the fact that it happens. Its technology and technology can go wrong. Your broadband will go down at some point. Whether that’s because of a fault on the line, faulty equipment or someone unplugging something by accident, it will go down.
When we get that call, we feel your pain and it is our absolute priority to get it working as fast as possible. But there are quite a few steps we often have to go through which can take time. If you don’t have a backup in place, that’s complete down time and minutes can feel like hours.
Have you ever wondered what it is we’re doing to get it sorted? Or why it’s taking ‘so long’? These are the steps we need to take to get you back up and running ASAP.
only joking. Well, only half joking. In that moment we know how you’re feeling and we hate it. We don’t want you to feel stressed out. We want to get you up and running as soon as possible. Rest assured we’re on the case and the following steps will help us get you back up and running as soon as possible.
#2 Questions, questions & more questions
It probably feels like we ask you a million questions and you’re probably thinking ‘I don’t have time for this just fix it!’ I wish we could but we need to gather as much information as possible as we need to relay that back to the networks and ultimately BT. Here are some questions we might ask:
- Are the lights on the router on? This helps us establish if the router is getting power.
- Which lights are on? That’s because the different lights mean different things (obvs I know). The critical ones are the ppp light, dsl light & wifi symbol light depending on your router as these ones generally tell us if the router is online or getting the internet connection from the BT socket
- Has anyone unplugged anything? Have you moved the office around? Has anything on site changed? Have you had a power cut? You’d be amazed at the number of times a cable has been unplugged.
- Are you using a switch? Often the issue is other equipment on site – if you have got a switch on site, we may need you to plug a laptop/ phone directly into the router top rule out a fault with the switch.
- Have you rebooted the router? I know what you’re thinking. Turn it off and back on again? Really? But the truth is it really does resolve so many problems. If the router has been online for a long time then minor errors can build up in the background, it may have a bug in the firmware, it may have an IP address conflict or is simply overheating, it’s a long list. But for most of these things rebooting (essentially turning it off and on again) helps it ‘sort itself out’.
#3 Line Test
Once we’ve ruled out all the above the next step is for us to run a line test. BT still own all the infrastructure in the UK – so although we supply your analogue line through Gamma or Vodafone – we all have to go back to BT to get faults identified, investigated and resolved.
This step helps us work out if the issue lies with the analogue line itself or whether it’s the broadband sitting on that line that has the issue. We do this by logging into a BT portal. If we find a fault, we raise it with BT who ask lots of questions to rule out onsite equipment causing the problem. This can be anything from faulty wires to a faulty router.
If we are confident that there are no other issues, they will appoint an engineer. We can usually get appointments for the next working day but this isn’t always guaranteed. Once an engineer is appointed, they will run their own remote tests. This allows them to work out whether the fault is at the exchange (the green boxes you see on the side of roads) or at the premise. If at the exchange usually engineers only go to your local exchange to fix the problem. If on premise they will need to come to your office to locate and fix the fault.
Weirdly, a fault on the line is usually the best-case scenario because it’s a physical problem that can be fixed. If we don’t find a fault on the line, we then need to look at what else is causing the issue. At this point we speak to the network e.g. Vodafone or Gamma who run their own tests to see if the router is in sync, has the correct IP address, is showing a build-up of errors etc. If they find the cause of the issue then they can fix it remotely.
#4 On site checks
If they can’t identify anything on their end it gets tricky. They will always redirect us back to you to check on site equipment. They will ask us to check if you’ve changed the filter, plugged an analogue phone in to check for noise on the line, plugged directly into the BT test socket, tried a different router and a whole bunch of other annoying time-consuming things.
We do our best to push back on this if we think something else is causing the problem as they won’t investigate unless we say they have been done. So, if you’re getting frustrated with us because we keep asking you try different things, it’s the only way we can get the networks to investigate further.
#5 Replacing Equipment
If we’ve tried all the things above then the last resort would be replacing the router and cables or getting a BT engineer out anyway. It doesn’t happen very often but sometimes a fault can be detected with a visit that wasn’t picked up remotely. But we always need to tread carefully as if the engineer traces the problem to equipment, they will charge a call out fee. Changing the router can also fix the problem if all other avenues have been explored.
If the issues are with speed as opposed to a complete outage then things get even more difficult to investigate. The networks want speed tests done with the BT speed check with just one computer/laptop plugged directly into the router.
I know – this is a right pain but it is the only way for them to investigate speed issues properly. If the issue is speed then your devices on site start to play a role in the equation and need to be ruled out as the cause of the problem.
The same applies to Wi-Fi. We always suggest being hardwired in if possible. If you are connecting via Wi-Fi then this again opens up devices to being the cause as opposed to the broadband itself. This is another example where we may need you to hardwire in to check if you experience the same issue when hardwired in as when on Wi-Fi.
#7 Is a leased line the only way to go?
If your business would come to a complete standstill with no or slow Broadband then we would strongly recommend a leased line. This is the most resilient solution and actually the only true ‘Business’ solution out there. It guarantees the bandwidth you get and that isn’t affected by how many people are using it in the office or in the local area. It also has a much faster lead time in terms of getting issues resolved. It costs more – but if your business and staff rely on broadband it’s a no-brainer.
#8 What about my VoIP phones?
If you have a VoIP phone system and your broadband goes down – your phones will too. We know this can be stressful but we can set up Disaster Recovery options within the Horizon platform so that if your physical desk phones stop working your calls will still be handled in the background. We can direct calls to a mobile, a call answering service or voicemail. We can control all these settings remotely so they can be changed at any time. A 4G backup won’t work with your phones but we can put measures in place to make sure you don’t miss your calls.
As you can see, it can be really tricky identifying and resolving broadband faults quickly. That’s why we can’t stress enough the benefit of a back-up broadband.
If you have good 4G coverage in your office then a 4G router and SIM card gives the most cost effective and flexible back-up. Simply switch over to your backup and continue working as normal until your issue is resolved.
It’s time to put your business first and get a back-up broadband in place. I’m going to make that an even easier decision for you.
Get Unlimited (yes – truly unlimited) 4G Mobile Broadband for just £32.50 per month.
Sign up by the end of September and we will give you a FREE 4G router and 3 months FREE line rental.
Just think about it- next time you have broadband issues there will be no stress – just switch over to your backup and continue as normal. No panic – no staff sat there with nothing to do – no business lost.
And, as it’s a truly unlimited tariff you don’t need to worry about how much you’re using it.
- Broadband being a bit slow one day? Use your backup.
- Got more people in the office than normal – get them to use the backup.
If you need to safe guard your business against downtime then you need to give us a call on 01252 916888 and we’ll do the rest.
*All prices exclude VAT and are based on a 24 month contract