Retailer Weathers Hurricane Irma While Reducing Network Costs by More Than Half [Case Study]

Karma BennettCase Studies, MPLS, SD-WAN

Retailer Maintains Business Continuity During Hurricane

SD-WAN Failover to the Rescue as Network Costs Halved

Challenge

An Ohio-based retailer was using multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to connect more than 70 showrooms in 24 states across the U.S. Each store was dependent on its MPLS connection to support its Voice over IP (VoIP) phones and to ensure secure access to critical business applications.

With many of its stores clustered along the East Coast, including several locations in Florida, the retailer was concerned about business continuity and disaster recovery. A natural disaster such as a hurricane could interrupt WAN services, causing a major business disruption for stores that lost connectivity.

The retailer began looking for a solution that would allow for failover to 4G wireless broadband should MPLS services go down. The company turned to its IT solution provider for assistance.

The solution provider had already been exploring WAN connectivity options due to the limitations of MPLS for VoIP as a managed service. Customers were adding more and more MPLS bandwidth to improve Quality of Service (QoS) for voice calls and to enable videoconferencing—an increasingly expensive proposition. Then the solution provider discovered InSpeed Networks and decided to evaluate InSpeed’s software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution.

Application

High-Quality Voice at Lower Cost with Enhanced Business Continuity

InSpeed Delivered Substantial Improvements:

  • QoS, performance and visibility was superior to MPLS at every location.
  • Redundancy was enabled at less than half the cost of additional MPLS links.
  • Easy install and cutover allowed team to maintain connectivity during hurricane-induced power outage. 

About the Client

A retailer that serves the disability community, the client has 70 consumer showrooms in 24 states. They provide a 24-hour emergency helpline for assistance with their products, which is one reason it is so critical for them to maintain a stable network, even during disaster recovery.

Solution

The solution provider recommended InSpeed Quality Service to its customer, which decided to evaluate the solution at a single office as a redundancy option. The retailer’s IT director used InSpeed to flip back and forth between 4G broadband and MPLS with no dropped calls or disruption of service. During the trial, the retailer also found that QoS and performance were vastly improved when using 4G broadband with InSpeed instead of MPLS.

It proved to be a timely test. Hurricane Irma soon approached Florida, threatening WAN connectivity at nine stores in the path of the storm.

The retailer sent an IT director to install InSpeed with 4G wireless broadband at each store as a backup measure.

Because InSpeed is a “plug-and-play” solution that configures itself automatically, the IT director was able to install it quickly before Irma made landfall. When power was disrupted, the stores switched to 4G cellular with InSpeed and there was no negative impact on QoS or latency.

After the successful trial in Florida, the retailer’s IT team, supported by the solution provider, decided to install InSpeed at their main call center, which utilized a 10 Mbps MPLS circuit. Initially, the company planned to use InSpeed for backup. However, when the MPLS circuit went down and InSpeed automatically failed over to broadband, there was an immediate improvement in QoS and performance. This led the retailer to eliminate its costly MPLS circuits and leverage InSpeed and broadband instead.

InSpeed’s real-time visibility and reporting capabilities clearly showed how the solution optimized WAN connectivity in the retailer’s main call center. Prior to the cutover to InSpeed and broadband, there was significant packet loss and latency even though the MPLS connection was only handling voice traffic and not normal priority traffic. After cutover those issues disappeared. InSpeed was able to maintain high-quality voice and ensure performance for normal priority traffic as well.

Solution

The solution provider recommended InSpeed Quality Service to its customer, which decided to evaluate the solution at a single office as a redundancy option. The retailer’s IT director used InSpeed to flip back and forth between 4G broadband and MPLS with no dropped calls or disruption of service. During the trial, the retailer also found that QoS and performance were vastly improved when using 4G broadband with InSpeed instead of MPLS.

It proved to be a timely test. Hurricane Irma soon approached Florida, threatening WAN connectivity at nine stores in the path of the storm.

The retailer sent an IT director to install InSpeed with 4G wireless broadband at each store as a backup measure.

Because InSpeed is a “plug-and-play” solution that configures itself automatically, the IT director was able to install it quickly before Irma made landfall. When power was disrupted, the stores switched to 4G cellular with InSpeed and there was no negative impact on QoS or latency.

After the successful trial in Florida, the retailer’s IT team, supported by the solution provider, decided to install InSpeed at their main call center, which utilized a 10 Mbps MPLS circuit. Initially, the company planned to use InSpeed for backup. However, when the MPLS circuit went down and InSpeed automatically failed over to broadband, there was an immediate improvement in QoS and performance. This led the retailer to eliminate its costly MPLS circuits and leverage InSpeed and broadband instead.

InSpeed’s real-time visibility and reporting capabilities clearly showed how the solution optimized WAN connectivity in the retailer’s main call center. Prior to the cutover to InSpeed and broadband, there was significant packet loss and latency even though the MPLS connection was only handling voice traffic and not normal priority traffic. After cutover those issues disappeared. InSpeed was able to maintain high-quality voice and ensure performance for normal priority traffic as well.

Results

The retailer got more than it bargained for when it implemented the InSpeed Networks SD-WAN solution. The company desired to have redundant WAN connectivity with automatic failover from MPLS to broadband to ensure business continuity. InSpeed provided those capabilities flawlessly, and prevented service disruption during Hurricane Irma in Florida.

After utilizing InSpeed during an MPLS outage, the retailer found that the solution delivered superior QoS and performance. Real-time visibility into the state of the WAN connection enabled the retailer’s IT team to see for themselves how InSpeed improved connectivity.

InSpeed provides WAN redundancy, high-quality voice and better application performance at significantly less cost than additional MPLS links. It was an easy decision to replace MPLS with InSpeed at every location. They didn’t want to go back to MPLS because it was inferior to broadband with InSpeed while costing them more than twice as much.

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Don't wait to think about continuity planning until you are in disaster recovery. Every business interruption hurts your bottom line, from sluggish cloud apps up to continuity during a hurricane. WAN failover is just one of many features you'll get with a streamlined Inspeed Networks connection.

We invite you to test drive InSpeed Quality Service. Find out what it's like to have higher quality business communications.

Contact us at sales@inspeed.net or (650) 597-6430.

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