What to consider when implementing internet redundancy

It’s 2016. Connection failure is no longer an option—it puts your business’ bottom line on the line. Downed internet is an inconvenience at home, but comes at a real expense of time and money at work. Having a backup plan is a real and present business need because the internet will, at times, go down.

To this end, many businesses implement internet redundancy as a failsafe. Network redundancy refers to the practice of having a secondary or tertiary network in place that can easily be activated, should your primary internet connection go down. In addition to an emergency plan, internet redundancy allows you to continue using your secondary network while performing scheduled maintenance on your primary network.

There are many redundancy options available, but CIOs and IT heads are realizing the benefits of dark fiber and its viability as both a primary and a backup option. Due to the tendency of wireless networks to experience performance issues, many technology professionals prefer not to trust their entire network to them. Beyond strength of connectivity, dark fiber presents a cost-effective backup plan for businesses.

Working toward internet redundancy

For many of our clients, dark fiber is capable of providing cost-effective network redundancy in the case of a primary network failure. Either in the form of extra fibers with separate physical paths, or in what is known as counter-rotating ring topology, these networks are capable of seamlessly taking over in the event of primary network failure. Here are three elements you should consider when building out a redundancy plan using dark fiber.

  1. Ensure physical path diversity through the last mile. Route diversity is crucial to the success of your redundancy plan. In fact, the Federal Communication Commission requires this for all Public Safety Answering Points, citing “best practices” both for PSAPs and network companies at large. Route diversity means providing completely separate paths for the fiber responsible for your primary and secondary networks, including entirely separate termination equipment for each route. This measure provides insurance that if there is an outage on one cable, it won’t affect your backup network.
  1. Use a separate internet service provider (ISP) for your redundant network. In order to ensure your network failover plan works when you need it, it’s important to use separate ISPs for your primary network and each of your redundant networks. ISP redundancy further safeguards against outages on either network.
  1. Test, test and re-test. Frequent testing of your backup plan will make it so your secondary network will be able to kick on when you need it. There’s nothing worse than spending the money on a backup plan and not having it work when called upon. Being vigilant with scheduled maintenance and periodic testing will go far to this end.

How dark fiber internet redundancy worked for cloud hosting company

Connectria Hosting, a St. Louis-based managed services provider, provides services to more than 1,000 customers in more than 30 countries. For them, network outages aren’t an option. Seeking a redundancy option for their network that would provide its customers with a backup in the case of a localized building disaster, they turned to dark fiber.

What Connectria got with Arch Fiber:

  • Three pairs of dark fiber from Arch Fiber Networks capable of being multiplexed several times into multiple concurrent, private connections per single fiber pair. Because Arch Fiber Networks already had infrastructure in the building, installation was quick and required no significant last-mile work.
  • The ability to provision all fibers in the way that best suits Connectria, independent of service packages and equipment offered by a large provider. All while spending significantly less than with a lit provider.
  • Disaster recovery capabilities for their own internal business infrastructure by having their own systems in two separate buildings while maintaining a high-speed link between the two.
  • Local and regional disaster recovery capabilities for its customers, with the ability route around trouble spots and by backhauling traffic from carriers experiencing connectivity issues.

If dark fiber seems like the right solution for your internet redundancy needs, feel free to download our ‘Dark fiber 101’ guide to learn more.