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Digi Enables Broadband Wireless Backup for Verizon Wireless Retail Stores across U.S.

Verizon Wireless operates one of the largest and most reliable wireless networks. With more than 80 million wireless customers and operating approximately 2,600 company operated stores and kiosks, Verizon Wireless has the largest number of wireless customers in the United States.

With thousands of retail stores dedicated to serving the needs of its customers, ensuring a consistent Internet connection at each location is critical. Even when a primary connection is down, stores must be able to run Point-of-Sale applications to view customer information and sell and activate products and services; process credit card transactions; and retrieve product/service information. Verizon Wireless currently connects its stores via multiple T-1 lines. If the primary connection fails, connectivity rolls over to a backup ISDN line. Over the last two years, Verizon Wireless began researching, testing and implementing alternative broadband backup solutions in order to overcome the limitations of its ISDN backup connections.

“We’ve had some challenges over the last year and a half,” said Guy Cummins, project manager, Verizon Data Services. “We’ve been working with Digi now for under a year to help overcome those challenges, and we’ve made some good progress.”

After trialing a competitive offering without success, Verizon Wireless turned to Digi International for its Digi Connect® WAN 3G, a high-speed cellular router with integrated VPN designed for primary and backup connectivity to remote sites. If a Verizon Wireless store’s T1 connection fails, the router will now fail over to an EVDO Rev A Broadband wireless connection using the Digi Connect WAN 3G.

“We initially tested one of Digi’s EVDO products and found it to be significantly superior to the previous product we tried, mainly because of its ability to receive a signal and its ease of configuration,” Cummins said.

Ease of Deployment
Prior to selecting Digi, Verizon Wireless trialed another manufacturer’s EVDO Rev. A Broadband wireless solution. Verizon found it to be time consuming to set up and resource heavy to maintain.

“Setting up and maintaining our previous solution was a complicated procedure at a lot of levels,” Cummins said. “We had to do all of the work after store hours because we can’t bring stores down during store operations. We also felt physically tethered to the device. We couldn’t always get it up and running the first try because resources were sometimes unavailable overnight to finish the installation.”

In contrast, Cummins found the Digi Connect WAN 3G to be extremely easy to deploy. The Digi Connect WAN 3G simply plugs into an Ethernet port on the router, which can be done any time of the day. It can also be configured and tested by technicians at their desks prior to deployment.

“The Digi product is pretty much plug and play,” Cummins added. “The Digi product can be done ad-hoc. The technician can test and configure it at his desk, then set it up at the site during a scheduled visit. We don’t have to make a special trip, and the only resource needed to implement is the remote technician.”

Cummins estimates it takes approximately one hour to set up the Digi router. In comparison, he estimates it took nearly 20 hours to set up the competing solution.

“Ease of deployment is outstanding,” Cummins said. “The competing product was approximately nine times more difficult to deploy.”

Device Manageability
Verizon Wireless also likes the remote device management software available with the Digi Connect WAN 3G. The Digi Connect WAN 3G features Digi Connectware® Manager, an enterprise class remote device management software that runs on a customer’s central server. Administrators have access to one device or thousands for management, monitoring, alerts and troubleshooting.

“A big driver for choosing Digi is the enterprise manageability of the product,” Cummins said. “We will be deploying the products at between 500-700 stores by the end of 2009. We need a product that is manageable remotely and centrally. We have three different network operation centers that need access to a tool to get in there and monitor and troubleshoot the devices from a central location. The Connectware product looks like it will be able to do that for us.”

Device Dependability
In addition to being easier to deploy, configure and manage, Verizon Wireless also experiences the reliability of the Digi Connect WAN 3G.

“You can put it out there and position it to get the best signal strength,” Cummins said. “[The Digi Connect WAN 3G] has done a much superior job of holding the signal and maintaining the connection than the competing device.”

Cummins concludes: “The biggest advantage of the Digi product is that it just works. With my experiences so far, I’ve found it to be reliable and robust.”

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"The biggest advantage of the Digi product is that it just works."

- Guy Cummins, project manager, Verizon Data Services

Application: Broadband Backup for Retail Stores

Industry: Retail/POS

Company: Verizon Wireless

Challenge: Verizon Wireless needed a reliable easy-to-deploy backup solution for broadband backup connectivity to its retail stores.

Solution: Digi Connect WAN 3G, a cost-optimized, upgradeable, multi-function wireless WAN cellular router, provided instant failover to the primary T1 lines.

More about Digi Connect WAN 3G
Digi Connect WAN 3G is a cost-optimized, upgradeable, multi-function wireless WAN cellular router in a small form factor. It provides secure 3G high speed connections to remote sites and devices over Verizon Wireless’ EVDO Rev A network. Digi Connect WAN 3G features a unique “always-on” connection and enterprise class remote device management software for easy setup, maintenance and configuration of large installations.

    Key Features:
  • Reliable performance for primary or backup wireless connectivity
  • Easy to deploy
  • Integrated VPN
  • 10/100Base-T and Ethernet connections
  • Remote management software for
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