What to do if there’s an nbn™ outage in your organisation

March 15th, 2019 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

Experiencing an nbn™ outage can be inconvenient, but if it occurs at your place of business, it can be extremely costly as well. In this guide we look at some of the causes of internet outages, what to do if you experience one, and ways to protect your business from outages in the future.

What causes outages?

A loss of internet is not always an accident. It can be a planned outage during which a service provider carries out maintenance or upgrades. But this will usually be done at a time when it is least inconvenient for customers, such as the weekend or early hours of the morning ,and customers will be notified ahead of time that it is happening.

Much of the time outages are accidental and they can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Congestion – network congestion is when there are too many users wanting access to a network at the same time, causing it to slow down and become gridlocked. Congestion often occurs at particular times when demand is highest, such as in the evening when everyone is logged on. This issue is unlikely to occur on a business or enterprise internet plan due to the 1:1 contention ratio, which means you are not competing with other users for bandwidth. However if you are using your home internet, it may be a factor.
  • Weather – storms causing power outages and downed phone lines, as well as other weather-related events, can cause outages by interrupting the connection between your server and your service provider. In such cases, the only thing you can do is wait until the connection can be re-established by maintenance crews.
  • Equipment failure – having hardware that is outdated, overloaded or not configured properly can cause outages, as can power surges if your equipment is not protected by overload switches.
  • Operator error – duplicating IP addresses, wires plugged into the wrong jacks and bad firewall rules are all operator installation errors that can lead to outages or the inability to connect in the first place.

What to do in an outage

The first thing you should do if you lose your nbn™ connection is to make sure it’s actually an outage. In other words, you need to establish if it’s a problem with your service provider or something that has gone wrong at your end.

Try turning everything off and back on again. While this is a practice that IT personnel are often accused of doing ad infinitum, it is actually worth trying, as it fixes a surprising number of problems with computers and internet connections.

However, if you try this and still have no connection, you’ll need to find out if it’s a problem with your service provider – the quickest way is to visit their website, where they should be providing updates on any outages or disruptions they may be experiencing, including information on when they’re likely to be resolved. Alternatively, you can give your ISP a call.

If it’s a widespread outage, all you can really do is sit tight and wait for it to be rectified, but if your business relies heavily on constant internet connectivity, this can be a frustrating and very expensive time. That’s why it’s recommended you have in place a redundancy service with a different connection type to your day-to-day internet; this redundancy can kick in when your usual service goes down.

How to prepare for an outage

Prevention is always better than cure, so if you can’t afford to be offline for any great length of time, you may want to look at providing some backup for your enterprise in one of the following ways;

  • Two connection types – this is where you have your primary connection with a service provider (i.e. ethernet) and also a secondary connection, (i.e. wireless) with the same provider, which you only fall back on in the event of an outage.
  • Two delivery methods – diversifying the way your internet is delivered to your business can reduce the chances of a man-made outage (i.e. if you have two ethernet cables entering your building at two different points, if one is severed by roadworks at the front, the one at the back will still be operational).
  • Two service providers – this is where you sign up with two separate ISPs, so that if one experiences a problem with their network, the other will be unaffected.

Ultimately, it depends on the degree to which being offline will affect your enterprise. If an outage is going to cost you thousands of dollars an hour in lost revenue, the added expense of backup systems and providers will be money well spent.

Aussie Broadband offers a range of failsafe solutions for businesses wanting to guard against outages including;

  • Aussie Broadband nbn™ (primary) and Aussie Broadband microwave (secondary)
  • Aussie Broadband fibre (primary) and Aussie Broadband nbn™ (secondary)
  • Aussie Broadband nbn™ (primary) and Aussie Broadband ethernet (secondary)
  • Or we can even combine other carrier services if needed, such as a failover to a 4G router or an alternative carrier altogether.

Ready to talk to an expert about how to protect your business from an outage in the future? Contact the team at Aussie Broadband for a free consultation.

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About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron works from an office in the tropical Northern Territory, inciting intense jealousy from his Victorian workmates during winter. He’s an expert in IT solutions from the ground up. Aaron is National Sales Manager of Aussie Broadband, which specialises in bespoke telco solutions for corporate and government customers.