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Internet redundancy: How it works and its benefits for your business

Traditional hub-and-spoke networks, in which every connection across multiple locations routes back to a central hub, are inherently vulnerable to spontaneous — and potentially quite expensive — outages.

When a network outage occurs at the internet service provider’s (ISP’s) data center and the provider lacks any sort of backup system, your business’ productivity either ceases or is greatly reduced until you can solve the issue. There’s no knowing how long that could take: For example, if your ground connection is physically destroyed, it could be several days or longer until you’re back online.

Mesh-topology fixed wireless networks are an ideal means for implementing internet redundancy, a critical strategy for bolstering network resilience. Internet redundancy not only acts as a shield against potential network outages but also enhances performance and security. Here, we’ll explain the ins and outs of internet redundancy, how it works, its key benefits and how you can implement it.

An introduction to internet redundancy

Internet redundancy (a.k.a. network redundancy) entails having one or more secondary internet connections — sometimes utilizing multiple connectivity methods — to ensure businesses can stay online even if their primary connectivity source goes down.

For example, say you’re a business with an underground internet solution from your ISP (Ie. fiber or cable) and your connection is severed or goes offline. Without an adequate redundant path, this creates downtime, stopping or significantly impeding your business operations for however long it takes the ISP to restore your connection, which depending on the severity could be a matter of minutes anywhere up to several days.

Leveraging a fixed wireless internet provider as a primary or backup solution enhances your connectivity via diverse path redundancy. Opting for a vendor that utilizes a mesh network further amplifies your internet redundancy, ensuring a consistently robust connection. Any backup provider that matches the latency and throughput of your primary connection, will make your business’s internet experience seamless and dependable. Better still, if you join both internet solutions through an SD-WAN router, you’ll be able to introduce instant fail-over protection. Your employees will never notice one of the providers is down and your productivity isn’t affected.

Connection losses halt or impede businesses functions

Outages cause many issues depending on the business that experiences them, but there’s one constant: Nearly all companies require the internet for numerous major aspects of their operations. If that service is lost, the company itself is down for however long it takes to fix the problem.

This can be especially problematic if a business experiences an incident that causes the connection to not just fail but also physically sever.

For example, if a fiber connection is out because the underground infrastructure is damaged, no amount of troubleshooting on your end can bring your company back online. You’re forced to wait until a service technician comes by to repair it, and even then, there’s no telling how long repairs will take before connectivity is restored.

During that time, your company’s productivity is at a standstill. Even businesses like law firms, which can turn to their landlines, mobile phones and paper files to do some work, are still limited when lacking internet — and this point is of course moot for the numerous law offices that have digitized many of their operations.

Critical usage example: Route Diversity in Biotechnology

Route diversity is invaluable for any business that wants to minimize downtime and enhance performance. One industry notable for its considerable dependency on network functionality — thus requiring internet redundancy — is biotech, which depends on a virtually uninterruptible connection to function.

For example, researchers in biotech utilize extremely complex algorithms and models that sometimes need to run for days at a time across offices in different geographies. Any interruption in connectivity can mean the total failure of a model. That’s why they count on network redundancy as a defense against outages and route diversity for maximized performance.

Through a robust redundancy strategy, a biotech company — whether it’s a startup or at an enterprise scale — can ensure network downtime doesn’t impact its productivity. When multiple genetic engineering projects are running simultaneously at breakneck speed, latency or malfunction in one connection simply means the redundant connection picks up the slack and operations aren’t interrupted. This is critical for a sector where the margin for error is typically less than zero.

The benefits of internet redundancy

Mesh architecture: Built-in redundancy for multiple sites

Traditionally, most networks follow a hub-and-spoke network infrastructure. This is where there is a primary data center that provides network connectivity to all points on a network. The main downside is that if the central hub experiences an interruption, everything it connects to, and any connections downstream will also experience issues.

Mesh topology
with route diversity is different. Instead of using a single data center, internet access is shared among each node of the network. There are consistently at least two distinct paths to the internet. If one point of access goes down, the network instantly finds a new path through which to seamlessly reroute traffic. This creates internet redundancy with far greater reliability and performance.

This type of model also enhances speed, especially when combined with another form of connectivity. By enabling intelligent traffic prioritization throughout the network, each point knows what the least congested route is. Consider this example: Your business has a fiber connection with fixed wireless for backup. You can use both connections at once, enhancing route diversity and improving traffic flow. The more paths data can travel through, the more efficient traffic management can be.

In the event of a network outage, fixed wireless mesh networks can be far easier to repair than fiber connections: The former uses easily accessible point-to-point radios over the air. This allows for ultra-fast ISP response times because there’s no need to dig into the ground to reach the source of the issue.

Creating mesh topology from ground-up connections such as fiber is inherently difficult due to planning and route limitations. However, this is not the case with fixed wireless internet solutions.

Software-defined network management

At the ISP level, WiLine’s fixed wireless service is software-defined, allowing us to closely monitor the performance of the solutions we provide. We are one of the few wireless providers that offer service over a fully redundant mesh network. On the customer’s side, this leads to improved traffic prioritization, reduced latency and jitter, more resilient connections and better overall network availability. The visibility we have into performance can also lead to insights that help us devise improvements to our service, and it ensures our teams act proactively in the event of service interruptions.

Carrier diversity and route diversity

Both carrier and route diversity can and should be part of any robust redundancy strategy to help prevent network outages.

For example, imagine that you’ve selected two terrestrial providers that share the same route to the building — and thus, technically, have carrier diversity but not route diversity. If the connection is compromised at any point along that route (e.g., due to roadwork), there’s a high likelihood such activity will adversely affect both connections.

When you employ a strategy that involves carrier diversity and route diversity for internet redundancy, the problem detailed above can’t manifest itself: You have two carriers — one offering in-ground fiber or broadband, the other providing fixed wireless — but they do not share infrastructure. Therefore, if one of them is compromised, the second should remain intact in most scenarios.

Also, if the fixed wireless connection utilizes a multi-path strategy, it can direct traffic based on business needs and bandwidth availability and help ensure seamless and virtually instantaneous transitions from one path to another if one of the wireless links slows down or goes offline. This rapid fail-over protection helps mitigate any performance declines in mission-critical operations.

Maximize profits by investing in internet redundancy

No company, whatever its level of preparation may be, is exempt from outages. And downtime can be extraordinarily costly: According to data aggregated by Pingdom, the average cost across industries for a minute of downtime is about $9,000. Certain industries far exceed this figure, with retail reaching about $18,333 per downtime minute and automotive costing approximately $50,000 for the same period.

No ISP in the world will ever be 100% reliable. By investing in network redundancy, you can minimize costly downtime, enable business continuity, improve performance and maximize your cost-efficiency.

WiLine provides customizable internet solutions for virtually any type or size of business — from simple 50 Mbps connections to sprawling 10 Gbps hyperspeed networks and everything in between. We proudly deliver our service through a comprehensive software-defined mesh network with inherent redundancy to ensure your exposure to outages is significantly reduced.

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