Thursday, January 5, 2023

Ensure Consistent Uptime with True Network Diversity

When it comes to business continuity, network diversity is the best way to ensure consistent uptime. We frequently work with our customers to design fully diverse, redundant, and protected network solutions.

Very often, these conversations lead to the discovery that some backup plans or Internet failover providers are not actually solving the network diversity need.

To make matters even worse, most do not realize the points of failure in their resiliency plans until both networks simultaneously go down.

As an experienced expert on network diversity, we have outlined seven common types of redundancy that are available and the point of failures to be watchful of.

1. Carrier Diversity

The most implemented redundancy strategy is an alternate carrier. This means the customer has purchased connections from two different providers.

Carrier diversity is an excellent first step to ensure uptime. Carriers often operate their own network and have separate connections to the edge of the Internet.

If done correctly, having two providers will give the customer several layers of protection:

  1. 2 different routes that do not touch each other
  2. 2 different Internet PoPs
  3. 2 different Internet drains (connections to the edge of the Internet)

Although this is a good first step, carriers often share some of the same elements.

Two Invoices Does Not Equal Two Networks

It is important to do your research and ensure that carriers are indeed running traffic on two separate networks. If one of your carriers is reselling or delivering service over the same facilities, your network will not be protected.

Additionally, if both carriers use the same “last mile provider” or are in the same conduit to enter your building, it is likely there could be a simultaneous outage.

FiberLight not only has an independent network infrastructure that we own and operate, but are also the last mile provider, delivering the conduit to the customer premises.

2. Last Mile Diversity

Last mile diversity is another commonly discussed point of failure.

When your “last mile” is diverse this ensures that the local loops of your two providers are delivered via two distinct circuits to your location. Separate last mile loops give the customer completely unique network facilities preventing downtime outages on this portion of your connection.

3. Entrance Diversity

Often referred to as ‘dual entry,’ diverse entrance means that a secondary connection comes into the building in a different place than the first. For example, if the primary provider enters from the west side of the building, the second connection can enter from the east.

With our background in construction, FiberLight has deep experience providing dual entry into buildings.  If your building allows separate entrances, we can customize a solution to meet this request.

4. PoP Diversity

Pop Diversity and path diversity go hand in hand.  When traveling to an alternative, unique PoP the traffic typically travels a separate path as well. In this scenario, two connections from the same building go to different Internet access points.

If the first DIA goes to Stemmons in Texas, the backup DIA goes to Houston.  If for any reason one path or PoP to the network is interrupted, there is a second diverse route.

5. IP Diversity

IP Diversity will give the Internet traffic a second routing option should the Internet service on the primary provider go down.

In order to achieve IP diversity a customer would need to receive public IP addresses from blocks belonging to different providers.

In this scenario, there is a second gateway to the Internet that utilizes distinct IP addresses should one fail.

6. Equipment Diversity

Equipment does not last forever, and software problems happen. There is a way to add a layer of protection to cover equipment. By designing circuits to land on 2 switches, you can protect your network from hardware or software problems. Most switches and routers are affordable, making this an inexpensive way to add protection.

Cable pulls can sometimes weaken connector

While on the subject of gear at the customer premises, adding diverse internal wiring within your building can also prevent an outage. When neighbors are installing network services it can put stress on your cabling. Accidents happen, even with the best intentions, cable pulls can loosen connections, cause damage, and cause outages.

7. Custom Network Design

True redundancy requires a capable expert who has experience designing resilient networks. It requires the contracting of a network engineer who has access to traffic flow routing information. A network solutions architect who can view current resources and design a diverse solution to protect against network outages, failures, fiber cuts, as well as provide guaranteed bandwidth connections. With the right expertise, it is even possible to create a networking infrastructure that can be used to enhance the quality, availability and robustness of your network services.

If you are investing in diversity to ensure uptime – spend your money well

FiberLight can provide the highest level of redundancy. We have best-in-class engineers and solutions architects who are experienced in designing one-of-a-kind networks for redundant and complex IT operations.