Weathering the Storm with Disaster Recovery

While the North Pole was experiencing unusually mild weather[1] in early 2014, the United States saw the coldest temperatures of the century[2] in some areas. Cities like Chicago and Boston saw frozen rivers and lakes[3]. Even New Orleans saw temperatures in the high 30s. States like Texas needed a boost from wind energy[4] or nuclear[5] to keep their customers’ lights and heating systems on.

Whether or not you believe in global warming[6], the average winter climate in the United States has been colder and more turbulent over the last few years. The recent dip in the jet stream, or polar vortex, is just one example of how the cooler months can be very dangerous. Ice and heavy snow can weigh on power and communications lines. When these lines fail, emergency crews and first responders are even more critical. IEEE Spectrum[7] and other technical websites have reported on just how tough things were for our country’s electrical infrastructure.

Temperatures at our Akron, Ohio teleport were as low as -12 below without wind chill and -35 including it. Just like the rest of the country, we struggled with our car batteries and spent 48 hours keeping a much closer watch on our network and satellite RF equipment. While our systems and the American power grid survived this round, the winter weather highlighted just how tenuous our positions can be sometimes.

The first step is having a disaster recovery plan. How will you handle your data if backups fail? Where will your food, water, and power come from? Improvisation works well in comedy, but not when you’re facing difficult times. The best outcomes result from good planning.

Whether you’re a business, a homeowner, or a first responder, the primary concern is people. During winter storms or oppressive midsummer heat, you need to be concerned for your own safety. We all need food, water, shelter, and mild temperatures. Once you’ve taken care of the most basic, primal necessities, though, you need to consider how you’re going to stay connected.

Unlike traditional internet, satellite service isn’t susceptible to the infrastructure around you, especially if you have access to an auxiliary power supply or generator. With a solid primary or backup satellite connection, your business can keep browsing even during a polar vortex.

When it comes to creating a disaster recovery plan, businesses don’t often think about how snow and ice might affect their internet capabilities. If a strong ice storm or extremely cold temperatures strike, traditional landlines could go down for days or even weeks before recovering. Wind and nuclear[8] may keep the power from going out, but modern businesses just can’t afford to be without internet access.

Skycasters satellite internet service is a great option for primary or back up internet services. We’re used to working in the oil and gas industry where satellite communications are the only option and reliability is essential. We also work closely with a number of government agencies and first responders who just can’t afford extended downtime offline. But how can you plan for what hasn’t happened yet and why should you invest the resources?

Our network’s latency is generally around 650ms which means you can count on traditional business applications and VOIP running on our network at broadband speeds even when no other communications options are available. Skycasters’ dishes can be packed up and moved to other sites on a moment’s notice. In disaster areas or a state of emergency, crews need to be able to communicate with the people in charge or to retrieve information from medical databases.

Don’t let natural disasters catch you off guard. Make sure to plan for any situation and get more information about a back-up or primary internet connection via satellite.


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