How do you support your employees who are working remotely from rural areas? Employees telecommuting via fiber Internet access have become commonplace. But, slow unreliable Internet leaves rural employees left out of collaborations with their urban and suburban peers. CFOs, COOs, and CAOs can affordably support remote work by rural employees using a combination of Internet providers and software solutions. Here is what has worked for Ten Mile Square employees.
Fixed wireless, DSL, cable, BPL, mobile, and satellite Internet service providers all offer rural Internet solutions. They suffer from a variety of problems:
- Fixed wireless – expensive bandwidth and line of sight requirements do not work for most rural homes.
- DSL – slow and inconsistent connectivity quality, limited to 18,000 feet from central phone office
- Cable – lack of service, unreliable, slow upload speed
- BPL (Broadband over Powerline) – lack of service, expensive
- Mobile – coverage, data caps
- Satellite – latency does not support video conferencing
How can you combine multiple Internet options into a solution that supports rural employees? Software products that provide channel bonding allow you to combine Internet providers for greater speed and reliability. Channel bonding is a technology that combines Internet connections for increased stability and speed. You can bond two routers connected over two WiFi interfaces or a tethered mobile phone and a router over WiFi. There are two simple options you can deploy:
- Speedify – an application that supports Windows, macOS, IOS, Android, and Linux. It also includes a VPN to the Speedify servers. $5.99 per month for one year with family/team plans and dedicated VPN servers supported.
- iNetFusion – an application that supports Windows and Windows virtual machines. No VPN capability. $99.99 for a lifetime plan.
Using Speedify we are able to use Viasat satellite Internet service as the primary Internet connection and AT&T mobile Internet as the backup. The Speedify software prioritizes traffic by speed and latency. The majority of traffic goes over the faster high latency Viasat connection while Speedify routes video conferencing over the lower latency AT&T connection. This approach supports rural remote workers with a $180 per month reliable Internet service.
- Viasat – 683ms latency with true unlimited 30 Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds for $150 per month.
- AT&T mobile Internet – 30ms latency with a 30 GB per month hotspot cap at 37Mpbs download and 12 Mbps upload speeds for $85 per line
What about Starlink satellite Internet service from SpaceX? They are in beta test now. They are achieving speeds of over 100 Mbps with a latency of 20ms. This will be a game-changer for rural remote workers. For today, multiple Internet service providers and channel bonding provide a solution.