Least Cost Routing, also known as 'Automatic Cloud Connection' is commonly abbreviated to 'LCR', and is the configuration of automatic connection intervals of communication equipment, and the configuration of failover to backup carries should the primary carrier be out of coverage or service.
This article will go through the following:
- How to enable Least Cost Routing
- Set priority
- Defining 'skip'
- Automatic Cloud Connection Settings
- Connection interval
- Warning delay
- Outbound traffic check
It is important to note that the "Config - Communication Equipment" permission must be granted write access to the user group that will be performing the configurations onboard (under CS Group Settings).
HOW TO ENABLE LEAST-COST ROUTING
- Login to the ship Dualog Connection suite with an account with the appropriate write access.
- The configuration of Least Cost Routing is performed under Communication Setup. To access this, proceed to open the Admin Panel and select Configure under Communication Setup:
- On this page, you will see an overview of the vessel's previously configured communication equipment.
- You may enable an Automatic cloud connection for the methods you would like to connect at an automatic interval, by default every 20 minutes.
- Once enabled, you may further choose the priority of the methods with the up/down arrows if automatic connections are enabled for more than one piece of equipment. Typically, the equipment with unlimited or cheapest data packages such as VSAT should be set as first priority.
Disclaimer: This is an example of the most common configuration, in which the Dualog system will attempt to connect over the configured first priority, such as VSAT, and failover to the second priority, such as Fleet Broadband or Iridium, if the connection over the configured first priority fails more than a certain number of times, as configured in the following section of the article.
- "Skip" may optionally be configured, where a typical use-case is when you want Dualog to attempt one or more additional connections over the first priority equipment before attempting the second priority equipment.
- To apply a skip, you may open the drop-down menu and enter "Skip settings". With a skip of '1' the Automatic Cloud Connection will skip this equipment once during failover, effectively retrying the first priority again.
AUTOMATIC CLOUD CONNECTION SETTINGS
Expanding Automatic Cloud Connection Settings reveals additional configuration options for fine-tuning the behavior of Least Cost Routing, with the most commonly changed behaviors being the Connection Frequency, Warning Delay, Outbound traffic check, and Primary method retry, as explained below.
Connection Frequency: This is the frequency with which Dualog will attempt an automatic connection, which is set to 20 minutes by default.
The interval can be changed to be shorter or longer, or, less frequently, at specific clock times.
Warning Delay: This is the delay before the Dualog system will send an automated warning message to the vessel's postmaster account stating that Least Cost Routing has failed. It is common to set this to at least "2" to prevent the postmaster account from receiving a large number of these automated messages when coverage is poor.
Outbound traffic check: Outbound traffic checking is an optional feature that can be enabled.
This runs concurrently with the connection interval, where the Dualog system checks every 'X' minutes to see if there are any pending outbound emails on the vessel, where 'X' is the optionally specified number.
If this is the case, Dualog will perform a connection before the interval is triggered.
Primary method retry: Enter the number of minutes until retrying if the primary connection method fails. When a primary connection method fails, a value can be set as the countdown before attempting for a retry.