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What is an IRG?
The IRG - Internet Redundancy Gateway - is a router employed to provide managed services that include load balancing, failover, hotspot, VPN, MPLS backup, and Virtual WAN, among others.
How does the IRG work?
The IRG accomplishes both load balancing and failover at the same time, based on sessions. Deciding which Internet link to use when a new session is established is predicated on pre-programmed, prioritization variables. In essence, load balancing. If one Internet link should fail, sessions are automatically rerouted through the backup link, providing failover at the same time. All available links are simultaneously active.
What devices are compatible with an IRG?
Any device that can connect to the Internet: All the IRG needs is an Ethernet hand-off to work with other networking equipment components.
Will the IRG work with my network?
The IRG is a router on the network, configured in a manner that minimizes network changes and downtime. The IRG performs well in virtually all network environments, and can usually be installed in less than an hour.
If my bandwidth needs to grow, what can be done?
There are two tiers to our IRG routers. The standard offering can support up to 200 Mbps of traffic, and up to 35 Mbps of IPSec encrypted traffic. If additional bandwidth is required, the upgraded IRG model is capable of handling up to 3 Gbps of traffic and 900 Mbps of IPSec traffic. Upgrade between the two options is available on an individual case basis.
How does the IRG connect to my network?
Typically the IRG is situated between existing and new ISP modems or routers, and the present network infrastructure. Current network equipment will communicate with the IRG, and the IRG will handle all of the routing out to the Internet. Through NAT (network address translation), we can forward all or some traffic to devices on the LAN side of the IRG.
We work with clients to determine the optimal manner to add our IRG to networks and minimize both downtime and network changes. In most situations, the IRG can be installed with all services operational in less than an hour.
Why do I need more than one ISP?
Connection redundancy can avoid substantial losses of productivity and revenue in the event of primary ISP failure, as well as lost credibility with clients and vendors. Failover capability - coupled with redundant resources - assures seamless continuity and an uninterrupted Internet experience for staff and clients alike.
What is load balancing?
Load balancing is the process of splitting traffic between two or more Internet connections to avoid complete saturation of any given link. No connection can exceed the speed of the link to which is has been assigned, but by employing multiple Internet connections, it's possible to increase the overall bandwidth available to the network.
What is failover?
Failover is the process of routing traffic away from a connection in the event that an Internet service provider has a problem. The IRG monitors each connection individually for service outages, and in the event of signal interruption reroutes all traffic to a viable connection, sends an outage alert, and monitors the failed connection status. Once the service returns, traffic is once again allowed over that connection. The IRG processes failover services automatically and seamlessly.
What is policy-based routing?
Policy-based routing is the practice of classifying specific network traffic types and routing them separately as specified. For example, bandwidth-heavy applications might be routed over a cable Internet connection, while VoIP traffic is channeled through the T-1 line. The IRG may be programmed to identify and route traffic as desired.
What is Quality of Service (QoS)?
QoS is the set of techniques utilized to manage network resources to filter and assign priority to specific types of traffic based on source, destination, or the traffic type (i.e., voice calls, video calls, general web traffic, etc).
What is a Captive Portal or Hotspot?
A captive portal - or hotspot - is a means of forcing network -attached devices to go through a specific web page before they are allowed to connect to the Internet. This is most often employed to require agreement to terms-of-service in order to connect, to track usages, and to mete out bandwidth limitation on a per-user basis. Our IRG supports all of these functions and more in situations using a hotspot for common areas or waiting rooms to offer wireless access to waiting customers.
How does the IRG backup an MPLS Network?
As reliable as MPLS connections may be, no connection is perfect. Inevitably, there will be outages and issues at some point. Choosing to rely solely on a single MPLS connection to conduct day-to-day business will guarantee that at some point business will come to a halt. Installing a secondary MPLS connection from another provider is one possible solution to this problem, but may often more than double connection costs. An IRG leverages multiple low-cost, high-bandwidth Internet connections to establish a secured, point-to-point VPN between multiple locations.
Traffic proceeds normally over the MPLS network as designed, but when that MPLS connection falls offline, traffic is automatically rerouted over the VPN connection. No sessions are lost or interrupted, and the transition goes unnoticed. Once service is restored, traffic is seamlessly routed back over to the MPLS network with no dropped VoIP calls or lost data sessions.
What is a Virtual WAN or Poor Man's MPLS?
A virtual WAN (Wide-Area Network) is employed to leverage multiple low-cost, high-bandwidth commodity Internet connections to enable multiple locations to communicate together securely. Traditionally, this is done through a service known as MPLS, but such connections are often cost-prohibitive. The IRG establishes encrypted, point-to-point connections between two or more locations, allowing direct, secure access to all remote locations. Adding two or more Internet providers at each site provides a redundant, reliable, and secure connection with higher bandwidth capabilities at a fraction of the cost of traditional MPLS networks.
What is No Dropped Calls?
VoIP technology employs the Internet to place phone calls. The down side of VoIP: When the Internet fails, phone service fails as well. One workaround is to have a failover device on the network that will then push the Internet traffic out via a backup connection in the event of a failure, but calls are still dropped and redials necessary.
The IRG alleviates that VoIP problem: Phone calls are neither lost nor interrupted because an Internet connection goes offline. By leveraging the power of the Cloud and data center redundant Internet feeds, the IRG establishes a point-to-point connection between an office and the Cloud where VoIP traffic is sent. Since VoIP traffic is now coming from the Cloud, in the event of a primary ISP outage, calls are automatically seamlessly routed over the backup connection: No dropped calls are experienced.
Should I maintain my own firewall?
The IRG has a built in SPI (stateful packet inspection) firewall, capable of extending those services to cover any network where it has been installed. Networks seeking greater degrees of service - such as a UTM (unified threat management) device - would need to maintain their own independent firewall.
How am I informed of a service outage?
Our IRG takes a layered approach, assuring that all necessary parties are informed of service interruptions so appropriate corrective action(s) may be taken. The router monitors each Internet connection in real time by sending out ping messages to three different locations. If too many of these messages fail to return, the link is considered to be in a down state, and it is disabled, triggering an alert that is sent to as many people as required.
Additionally, our Cloud-hosted SNMP server polls each IRG every five minutes to assure that it is online and fully functional. If an IRG becomes unreachable for any reason, alert e-mails are sent out so that appropriate remedial action can be taken.
What happens if the IRG fails?
As part of our IRG program, our spare-in-the-air program will deliver a replacement unit the next business day, if a problem ever develops. The new IRG arrives completely pre-configured: The simple exchange of units requires mere minutes (plug-n-play).
To further reduce any potential downtime, the lease of an additional unit (at a reduced rate) that resides on-site as a hot spare is an available option.
Finally, during initial installation the IRG install/remove process is thoroughly explained so that clients may always have direct access to their Internet service provider.