How to build redundancy into your business connectivity
No business can afford downtime.
Many businesses are almost as dependent on connectivity as they are on electricity – internet outages can easily grind business operations to a halt if there is no failover in place. Depending on the nature and size of the business, and the length of the outage, businesses can potentially lose thousands of dollars in revenue and lost productivity. Plus, it could have negative impacts on the reputation of the business.
If your business relies on your internet connection to function, it’s important you consider how you can build redundancy into your connectivity.
What is redundancy?
Redundancy is a term often used in engineering. It refers to the inclusion of additional components in a system that aren’t strictly necessary, but can be relied upon if other components stop working.
It may be tempting to think that building redundancy into your business systems is not essential, however, doing so could be far cheaper than the alternative. According to a 2014 Gartner study, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. In 2021, businesses are even more dependent on functioning internet and IT services – as such, if the study were conducted again, it could produce a much higher figure.
One way businesses can build redundancy into their internet and networking systems to prevent outages or system failures from having catastrophic impacts on revenue or reputation is with internet failover.
Why is failover important?
Internet failover is an additional internet connection that will kick in if your primary connection stops working, for whatever reason. It acts similarly to an understudy – if the lead actor is injured and can’t perform, the understudy takes over and the audience is none-the-wiser.
There are a number different failover options your business can implement to increase the redundancy of your system, which we’ll explore in this artist. However, if you’re considering redundancy options for your business, a key idea to keep in mind is ‘diversity’.
The more diverse your failover internet connections are, the more effective they will be against outages or other disruptions. From carrier diversity to medium diversity, we’ve compiled some ways you could build redundancy into your business network with internet failover.
Different types of redundancy
In this section, we’ll take a look at some different types of redundancy your business could consider implementing. However, if your business is critically reliant on connectivity, the best way to prevent disruption and outages is to build a range of redundancy diversities into your system.
Carrier diversity is a common practice where businesses select a different ISP for their secondary internet link. This is because different providers generally operate on different infrastructure, meaning that if one provider experiences an outage, it’s unlikely the alternative provider will also experience an outage at the same time. The downside of this is that you’ll get two bills from different providers. However, this doesn’t actually protect your network from failure – it just offers a backup if your primary internet connection goes down.
Another way to build redundancy into your business connectivity is to utilise different forms of internet infrastructure. For example, if your primary link is fibre or a TC-4 connection, you could consider having a secondary microwave link installed. That way, if something happened to your fibre line, your connectivity would default to the secondary microwave link. Another option is 4G failover, which will trigger a switch to the 4G network should your fixed-line connection experience disruptions.
Another failover method is to locate your internet infrastructure in geographically diverse locations. For example, you may achieve last-mile technology diversity by running a fibre line next to a copper TC-4 line in the ground to your premises. However, if an excavator were to begin digging in the wrong spot and accidentally hit your lines, both your primary link and secondary link would be damaged in one hit. If the two links were located in separate places, this problem wouldn’t occur.
Internal network redundancy
Internal networks can be complex, so there can be a lot to consider in terms of network redundancy. An obvious place to start is with layer one – or physical hardware – elements. Switches and routers, for example, are generally reliable. However, should one fail – which does happen – it can cause major disruptions. If your business is critically reliant on your network, integrating backup routers and switches into your system is a wise move. Other things to consider include network protocols, power and cooling. For example, would your building need an additional source of power, such as a generator or battery backup, if your mains power was disrupted?
A simple and cost-effective way to increase the redundancy of your network is to select an ISP that manages its network well. Some key things to look out for in terms of good network management include:
1 – Customer reviews and industry awards – do your research. Does the ISP have their reviews switched ‘on’ on Google and Facebook? What do other businesses have to say about the ISP? Has the ISP won many industry awards?
2 – Is the ISP transparent about it’s network? – Does the ISP publish how much network capacity it purchases from the nbn™? Does the ISP communicate any outages quickly?
3 – Is link geographic diversity offered? – Does the ISP offer dual last mile links – with options for dual automated active/backup and active/active links?
4 – What support does the ISP offer? – Does the ISP offer business-grade support, uptime guarantees or eSLA (enhanced level service agreement)? Does the ISP have an established communications protocol for outages or disruptions?
Here at Aussie Broadband, we provide a level of redundancy to our customers in terms of how we manage our network. You can trust that our network functions well because we are transparent about how we manage it: we publish our CVC graphs on our website for each Point of Interconnect (POI), as well as information about our network, ping times, system outages and our upgrade schedule.
Plus, here at Aussie Broadband, we’ve built a level of redundancy into our network as a standard for customers. From redundant fibre links at a POI level, down to rack-level redundancy in our DataCentres, we take active steps to ensure you get the best service possible. Business-grade support comes automatically with all of our services, and we offer up to 99.95% uptime SAG and nbn™ 4hr eSLA 24/7 on our nbn™ services.
If you want to learn more about how to integrate redundancy into your business connectivity, give our expert, local team a call. If you’re a small to medium business call 1300 480 905, or if you’re an enterprise or large government organisation, call 1300 161 625. For more information about our range of services, click here.