How a simple redundancy plan can prevent a major headache

Analyzing an Ethernet service provider’s network is critical to building a good redundancy plan, which ties back to the service level agreements (SLAs) you should have received during the consultation phase. The network management and monitoring systems should rapidly identify the point of failure if there is an outage. In addition, your local teams should be available to remedy the situation. Take a close look at your network provider, and note common components that could be subject to failure. Their failover systems should engage automatically in the event disaster strikes.

Redundancy in a network can take many forms. However, best practices suggest:

  • Put network hardware on a dedicated backup battery system and a generator that automatically engages when it detects a power outage.
  • Have an automatic failover system that responds quickly to eliminate downtime. This system should create an environment in which users won’t notice any change in functionality.
  • Configure a hot spare switch to implement in the event of hardware failure.
  • Contract with a secondary carrier to obtain automatic redirection of data and voice traffic if service from the primary data provider fails.

In the design of a redundancy network, you should see if the provider applies standardization on similar switches and routers. By using devices from the same manufacturer across their setup, configuration and troubleshooting become simplified. That will expedite recovery time when a failed device needs to be swapped out for a spare. To review the basics of network redundancy click here.

Service outages can occur at any time due to either internal or external influences. Typical contributing factors include:

  • Power outage
  • Natural disaster
  • Environmental issues such as water intrusion or overheating
  • Damaged or defective hardware/feeds from provider
  • Human error such as improper routing, damaged fiber lines, or bad paths