The Importance of Cellular Failover for Satellite Connections across Australia

#australia, #failover

April 26, 2023

As 3G networks shut down and satellite technology becomes more accessible, businesses and home-users around the country are relying more heavily on Satellite connectivity than ever before. Unlike traditional fixed & cellular connectivity devices, satellite set-ups don’t come with built-in back-up connections (known as failover) and need additional devices to provide this function.


Adapting to the Changing Connectivity Landscape

While most of the Australian population lives and works in coastal, connected areas, most of the country itself has either sparse or non-existent Internet connectivity. Parts of rural Australia also rely quite heavily on 3G cellular connections – and it’s still unclear whether these areas will have 4G/5G connectivity by the time the 3G network shuts down in June 2024

It’s no surprise, then, that the demand and wider use of satellite connectivity options like Starlink has risen significantly for both industrial and private use cases across the country. It has vastly improved temporary or mobile IoT systems, tracking, and equipment monitoring; plus, rural home use and caravan connectivity.

Although it solves many connectivity challenges, it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s important that anyone needing a stable connection is also including a failover device to their set-up.

What is Cellular Failover for Satellite Connections

Cellular failover for satellite connections, put simply, is the process of adding a backup Internet source for when the satellite connection fails.

A cellular router or gateway is configured to detect any failures in the satellite connection. When a failure is detected, the cellular gateway or router automatically establishes a network connection and begins routing traffic through it. This ensures that there is no interruption in the Internet connection, and users can continue to access the Internet and transfer data without disruption.

This function is universally necessary to ensure continuity of service. But it’s particularly important for IoT applications, such as those used in agriculture, mining, and emergency services that rely critically on connection stability.

Fortunately, implementing this solution is extremely easy. All Teltonika Networks cellular routers and gateways, for example, can be set up for satellite failover in a matter of minutes. Anyone can do it and no engineering experience or assistance is needed.

Why You Need Cellular Failover for Satellite Connections

Satellite connectivity, like any other connection type, is intermittently unreliable. Anything from atmospheric conditions to physical obstructions can weaken or kill satellite connections, sometimes for hours at a time during weather events. A fail rate that’s not acceptable for almost any application.

On a basic level, users in caravans may experience weak or choppy connections whenever the weather changes, which causes understandable frustration. Something easily preventable with a backup source.

But when you consider the impact of comparable downtime in the IoT solutions that are used to monitor water levels, measure air quality, or detect bushfires – the need becomes critically obvious. With cellular failover for these satellite connections, these systems can continue to operate even if the satellite connection goes down, ensuring that early warnings are reliably provided for natural disasters in rural locations.

What if There’s Weak Cellular Signal When the Satellite Connection Drops

This is a challenge that’s faced by anyone setting up a remote or non-fixed Internet connection in Australia. The reality of the Australian landscape is that no matter what, there is a risk that all connection may be lost or weakened for periods of time. But it’s a matter of designing the best solution for the needs of the connection – and all connections require some level of failover.

For critical systems, there will be multiple layers of additional mechanisms to mitigate and distribute risk, including things like satellite link diversity, alternative network paths, and backup power supplies. Plus choosing cellular routers with multiple sim cards and fitting them with more powerful antennas.

For lifestyle solutions like caravanning, a robust cellular router with some decent antennas should do the trick.

Safeguarding Your Solution Against Preventable Downtime

Overall, it’s clear that cellular failover for satellite connections is critical for ensuring uninterrupted connectivity in Australia’s changing connectivity landscape. With the shutdown of 3G networks on the way and the addition of solutions like Starlink, satellite technology is becoming more and more prevalent. With this, it’s important not to overlook the backbone of any good connectivity setup – failover.  

Fortunately, implementing failover is quick, cost-effective, and easy. Industrial routers and gateways like ours at Teltonika Networks are out-of-the-box designed to be used in this way, even in the harshest conditions. So, there’s really no reason not to safeguard your service against the inevitable downtime of stand-alone satellite connections.

By having a backup cellular connection in place, users can more confidently rely on satellites to provide stable and reliable connections now and into the future.

If you’re working on a project that requires cellular failover for a satellite connection in Australia, or systems that require satellite failover for cellular connections – you can write to us or schedule a call to discuss your connectivity needs.

All Teltonika Networks Routers and Gateways support Failover by default. Click here to browse our product range.

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