Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3Gstore and the Storm - How We Stay in Business For You

Day 1
Yesterday around 7:25am, hurricane winds hit the northwest suburbs of Chicago.  825,000 were without power and an incredible amount of trees and power lines were knocked down.  Most businesses in the area were closed and even FedEx was closed.  First of all, we were able to run lots of extension cables and get limited power to a few computers and routers, so we can limp along.  We shipped via flashlights and had fans to keep things cool (90 degrees - it was a hot one out there).  One of our employees drove to an open FedEx hub to drop off the days packages.  A great end of the day as all packages were shipped and after checking with FedEx early this am, they all left Chicago on the way to our customer's doorsteps.

Day 2

Not only is power limited, now Comcast cable is down as well.  Luckily we sell lots of 3G/4G data cards that can keep us going, so we get to "Eat Our Own Dog Food".  We are currently beta testing firmware for the Peplink Balance 30 that supports Verizon LTE and within minutes we have our whole office back up and running including our PBX phones.  Below is a picture of the Balance 30, it was taken in the dark, because we do not have lights.  We are using a Pantech UML290 as our lifeline to the internet and it is doing a great job.

A few more technical notes....

We changed our PBX to use the G.729 codec vs. the G.711u as it uses a lot less bandwidth.  We did this because Verizon LTE has either a 5GB or 10GB limit and then they charge $10/per GB when you go over.  However, to keep our warehouse up and running, this isn't a problem because the Balance 30 keep exact track on how much bandwidth we are using.  BTW, anyone that calls us and happens to talk with Ian, you will be talking with him over LTE.