There are some computer systems you just never want to lose. Take NASA’s systems for example. You just don’t want to lose connection to your astronauts.
Traders aren’t usually in that sort of life-or-death situation, but loss of connection to the internet can potentially lead to a significant financial loss. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
NASA engineers long ago instituted a system of redundant computers for their operations which they dubbed “failover.” Traders can use this same concept. Here’s how it works.
When your first, or primary, internet connection goes down, your connection rolls over to a secondary provider. Ideally, this would happen automatically. Realistically, sometimes you’ll need to take action to connect to the secondary system.
In either case, if you have open trades, you’re waiting to buy an investment instrument, or you run automated trading of any kind, you can’t be without an internet connection. So you need to plan your failover system.
To ensure you never miss a trade, here are 5 internet failover options you can use:
1. Get a secondary high speed broadband internet provider.
Your first option is to purchase 2 high speed connections. This is the best solution for active traders. Your fastest connection should be primary. Your slower account would be your secondary, or failover, connection.
For example, if you have high-speed internet from Comcast cable, purchase a second broadband internet connection from AT&T. (If you don’t have either of these, substitute your regional providers’ names here.)
Your secondary connection doesn’t need to be as fast as your primary. In my case, I get 940 mbps (megabits per second download speed) from AT&T in my south Florida office. I get 100 mpbs from Comcast. So, I use AT&T’s “Gigablast” service as my primary connection. Comcast is my failover connection.
I acknowledge these are exceptional speeds. You may not have the same available in your area.
Costs can range from $80 to $120 per month for these high-speed services. You may find that to be expensive. It’s true. There is a cost. But the cost of a major drawdown from a open trade is far greater.
2. Get a secondary provider with DSL.
Another, cheaper, option is to use high-speed broadband for your primary connection, and DSL (digital subscriber line) for your secondary, failover connection. Hotwire, Windstream, and AT&T still offer DSL plans in my area. Prices for DSL average $50/mo.
3. Use your iPhone’s connection.
You can turn your smartphone into an internet connection for your computer. Not many traders realize they can “tether” their smartphone via USB or your phone’s WiFi.
Set up your iPhone first, by turning on its sharing/tethering option, found in the Settings app under “Personal Hotspot.”
Next, set up your computer. Your iPhone should now appear as a connection option in your computer’s network connections list. If you’re sharing via Wi-Fi, your phone will appear as a hotspot from your laptop, tablet, or any other device.
Bear in mind, you’re using your smartphone’s data package. Overages can apply.
This is a great option for exiting a trade, or for having a failover connection during a storm. Typically, there’s no additional cost.
Consider increasing your data plan with your provider if you use this option often. You can also use this option as a secure connection when you travel.
4. Tether to your Android phone.
Tethering your computer to your Android smartphone can be accomplished via USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth.
To connect your Android phone to your computer, follow a similar procedure as you would on the iPhone. Once tethering is enabled on your device, visit your computer’s network settings. Locate your device on the list of available hotspots.
5. Tether to an Internet Mobile Hotspot Card.
Using your smartphone as a failover internet connection is an easy option, but may not be the best choice if you end up using it frequently. A mobile hotspot card is another option if you don’t want to tie up your smartphone or if you’re worried about data plan overages.
Verizon Wireless sells a number of mobile hotspot devices under the Jetpack brand name. A Jetpack is simple to use. Turn it on and connect to it with WiFi. That’s it.
Verizon gives the option to have a prepaid data plan, so you can pay as you go. Deposit funds into your prepaid account and you’re good to go until you reach your data allowance or expiration date. Then purchase more data and use it immediately.
This option has an added benefit. In addition to using it as a failover, you can use it when you’re traveling.
Use it in the airport, as a replacement for spotty hotel internet, or even when you’re camping in the woods. And best of all, it’s a more secure connection than public WiFi.
There is no excuse for traders not to have a failover system in place. Having a secondary internet connection available at a moment’s notice is just good risk management.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250