The MacGyver Experience: How Improvising with Cato Avoided Downtime

July 12, 2017

Backhoe operators, floods, fires – everyone has a horror story for when one of their offices went dark. In the days of MPLS, there wasn’t much you could do when a service failed. Internet failover is a great idea, but only if you had thought about it ahead of time. Otherwise, an outage often meant lost productivity.

Ahhh, how things have changed. With SD-WANs, branches configured with dual-homed connections can and often exhibit better local loop availability than MPLS. By running both lines in parallel (what’s called active/active), a brownout or blackout on one line simply means using the other ISP’s connection –  often without users even knowing.  So many customers tell us that they switched to SD-WAN simply to improve their uptime. Kind of ironic when it’s MPLS that comes with uptime guarantees.

And then there are those who use SD-WAN’s flexibility to improvise on the spot, something they could never do with MPLS. Kind of like MacGyver saving the fate of the planet with duct tape. Here’s one such story that I received from a customer (edited for clarity):

“There were huge outages in London the other day for customers of a local  Internet service.  Some 36 exchanges were affected in the North West London area. The cause was from major fibre damage.

One of our offices was also affected, but instead of downtime we had quick work around. I  connected our Cato Socket to our PlusNet  service, which we normally use for WiFi. I  rebooted the Socket and, walla! Our site was back online. Worked like a dream.”

Without being tied to a local loop provider, Cato users can grab whatever connection works best – xDSL, 4G/LTE, even cable. As long as they can connect to the Internet, they can connect with Cato.

If you have your own “horror” story, we’d like to hear it. In return, we’ll send one of our cool, new Cato shirts to the first five respondents whose stories we run.  Simply email Kim White (kim@catonetworks.com) with a description of your horror story (<300 words) explaining:

  • details of what happened
  • the impact or potential impact on your and your business
  • your “MacGyver” solution
  • contact details, and, optionally,
  • your twitter / social handle.

All responses will be edited for clarity.

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.