What Is Network Redundancy?

What Is Network Redundancy?

A network redundancy, or disaster recovery plan, identifies the critical components of the network where a failure would cause significant outages.

In the event of a failure with these various communications links or devices, redundancy allows your network, servers, and internet connectivity to remain in service by providing alternative communications paths and backup equipment.

Network redundancies typically apply to:

  • Servers
  • Networks
  • Internet Connectivity


Why Is Network Redundancy Important?

According to Ponemon Institute’s Cost of Data Center Outages report, unplanned network outages costs organizations nearly $15,000 per minute. While the direct costs to an organization are obvious, indirect costs, such as damage to reputation or lost productivity, can have a significant impact on business operations. Developing network redundancies, backed by a disaster recovery plan, will help to eliminate or reduce costs associated to downtime.

Direct Cost

The direct expense outlay to accomplish a given activity. Direct costs would include the cost to detect and control the incident, possible equipment damage, and cost of third parties contracted to help resolve an unplanned outage.

Indirect Cost

The amount of time, effort, and other organizational resources spent, but not as a direct cash outlay. Indirect costs would include the time to recover lost or damaged mission-critical data as well as user and IT productivity loss.

Opportunity Cost

The cost associated with lost business opportunities as a result of reputation diminishment after the outage. Opportunity costs would include lost revenues and related business consequences. Lost revenues come from the current and potential customers’ inability to access core systems like VoIP or email during the outage period. The consequences a business could face due to an outage would be reputational damages, customer churn, and loss of business opportunities.

What Are The Different Types Of Network Redundancies?

In order for businesses to operate efficiently, it’s important to avoid scenarios where your staff indicate, “The server(s) is down! The Internet is down,” and then wondering what other fallout occurred due to a network failure.

To do this, IT operations should evolve their disaster recovery and business continuity plans to include redundancies within their servers, networks, and internet connectivity.

The different types of network redundancies include:

  • Multiple Spanning Trees (MST)
  • Ring Networks
  • Diverse Trunking
  • Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

Choosing the best redundancy model can sound overwhelming, which is why we’ve broken down the different types of network redundancies to help you make the right decision for your network.

Common Network Redundancy Models

Multiple Spanning Trees (MST)

MST supports load-balancing capability while still allowing for scalability. It enables the designated administrator to plan out a random number of VLANs to one MST instance. As a result, there are the least number of instances essential to satisfy a design.

Multiple Spanning Tress (MST) – Network Redundancy

Ring Network

A ring network is a type of topology in which nodes are connected in a closed loop (ring) configuration. Similar to a bus network, a ring network has one extra link connecting the last switch to the first switch and where each switch supports a redundancy protocol. Ring protocols typically disable one link to stop messages from circulating the network. If the link in the ring fails, then the backup link is enabled to restore the network.

Diverse Trunking

Diverse trunking provides communications and network access between two switching centers. A trunk can consist of multiple wires, cables, or fiber optic strands bundled together in a single physical sheath. Typically, network redundancy is accomplished through the addition of substitute network paths from a secondary physical cable which are implemented through redundant standby routers and switches. When the primary path is unavailable, the alternate path can be instantly deployed to ensure minimal downtime and continuity of network services.

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

A MPLS cloud is a meshed and redundant network in which data packets are assigned labels that specify the paths or routes for transmission across the network. Label Switch Routers (LSRs) read these short labels and forward the data packets according to these instructions. This enables very high-speed packet switching and redundancy through the core MPLS network.

Having redundancy built into networks is essential for your business’s success. In the case of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (“Javits Center”), redundancy played a vital role in providing a secure connection to the entire facility. Read how a fully-redundant fiber solution like Astound’s Metro Ethernet played a fundamental role in minimizing business disruption in the event of a failure.

IT Disaster Recovery Planning: Essential to Business Survival

There’s no threshold for vulnerability when it comes to disasters. Whether natural or manmade, catastrophic events don’t discriminate based on the type of business, its size, age or location. Many businesses think they’re too small to need a plan when, in fact, an effective IT disaster recovery plan may be the difference between company survival or failure.

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