4G Cellular Failover: How It Works

woman swiping credit card payment

Failover is a back up plan for the inevitable moments when your primary, wired internet connection fails. If you’ve owned a business, you’ve undoubtedly grappled with interrupts in the internet connection. However, if you’re planning to open a retail or restaurant business, this is certainly an issue you’ll want to plan to deal with.

The Scenario

It’s a nightmare scenario for business owners: your point of sale system stops working, and you’re forced to inform customers that they must pay in cash. If you choose, you could instruct your staff to manually write down credit card numbers, but this exposes your business to huge liability issues due to non-PCI compliance. From there, the only other option is to regretfully tell customers they need to go elsewhere to make their purchases, costing your business money and running the risk of angering loyal customers.

The Solution

Luckily, there’s a way to prevent this debacle – it’s called cellular failover.

Cellular failover is network connectivity redundancy for your business – a life jacket of sorts that keeps your business afloat when your primary wired internet connection is lost. It works on the same technology (4G LTE) that your smartphone works on anytime you aren’t on your home WiFi. It’s a “metered connection” meaning you’re paying per unit of data. However, it can be deployed at an affordable monthly cost with the cellular carrier of your choice and can allow for enough data to run thousands of POS transactions while your primary internet connection is being fixed. Failover can be deployed without removing your existing equipment. You can simply plug the failover routing appliance (with a SIM card from your carrier of choice) into your existing router and you’re ready to go.

For new businesses, a router with cellular failover capability will also offer you what’s referred to as Day 1 Internet. This term refers to the ability to connect to the internet on day one using your cellular failover connection to get you up-and-running before your local internet service provider is able to come out and activate your wired primary internet connection. This capability can give you confidence in planning your grand opening events.

4G Cellular Failover Diagram

The Form Factor

There are two primary options when it comes to implementing 4G failover for your business. Existing business should consider a failover-only add-on device. The advantage here is that there's no disruption or need to remove your current equipment. You simply purchase a cellular plan with the carrier or your choice, add your SIM card, and plug your failover appliance into your existing router and begin reaping the benefits of a backup plan for our primary, wired connection.

For new businesses, you also have the option of adding a failover-only device, but, you should strongly consider a primary router that includes failover functionality. In addition to a streamlined form factor, a primary router with failover built-in has the added benefit of being dual-use. For instance, if one day you close your business and decide to open a pop-up shop at another location, you could bring your primary router with failover with you and set up a temporary network.


So, does your small business need the guarantee of cellular failover?

Probably. In most cases, your primary internet service provider may offer your business up to 99.5 percent uptime. This seems pretty reliable on paper, but what it also means is that there are up to 4 hours of downtime per month your business could be exposed to. And when every hour of downtime can cost an organization critical revenue in sales lost and loyalty damaged, it may not be a risk your business can afford to take.

For more information about cellular failover, and how to avoid critical revenue loss, download our free ebook!

James Korte
James is a marketing strategist and designer at BlueStar, having worked in professional sports and advertising previously. He's a jiu-jitsu practitioner, 90s hip-hop fan, and Dad to three boys.

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