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Can your business afford to risk a network outage?

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Can your business afford to risk a network outage?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The latest major Telstra outage, less than a week after the company announced a major investment to fix the problem, has a major lesson for all the telecommunication users and for the carriers who service them. 

Outages happen. They are a fact of life. With the best will in the world, the complexity of modern telecommunications systems means that network continuity cannot be guaranteed. If the biggest network in Australia, the one that charges a significant premium because of its supposed reliability, goes down, anything can happen.

No matter how much money Telstra – or anyone else – throws at the problem, it will not go away. There will always be extreme weather events, fires, or human error. All of these have been blamed for some of Telstra’s outages. Telecommunications networks are complex systems, and complex systems fail sometimes, for reasons that are impossible to predict or prevent.

Telstra’s latest outage – its seventh this year – caused many problems. Myers EFTPOS terminals crashed and so did Jetstar’s check-in systems at Melbourne Airport, Australia’s second biggest airport. It was the last day of the financial year, which magnified the problems. Public and private health systems went down, as did political offices, two days out from the federal election. The National Australian Bank and Melbourne’s public service system Myki were also affected. The problem was centred in Melbourne, but the knock-on effects were felt nationwide.

Telstra’s customers are fuming, and you can bet there are a lot of people inside the company who aren’t too happy either. But there is little use pointing fingers when the fault lies in the nature of the beast.

Protect yourself against network outages

The fact is that the demands being placed on modern networks will continue to grow. As data volumes explode and more and more organisations and the systems they use are network dependant, pressures are being placed on network infrastructure are not going to go away any time soon because outages will continue to occur as a matter of fact.

Less than a week after the company announced a huge investment to fix network outage issues, Telstra has again failed in their ability to address the business critical nature of the ICT services that you use in your business.

As you become more dependent on ICT and the underpinning ‘connectivity’, the costs of network outages mount in terms of lost revenue, productivity and disenchanted customers.

What you need is true network diversity

The real question is what the users and providers of telecommunications networks should do to negate, or at least minimise, the effect of these inevitable breaks in service. An increasing number of businesses rely on their communications systems for mission-critical applications, and even a small amount of downtime can cause major problems and significant expense, both directly and in terms of lost business.

For too long incumbent carriers have been promoting the diversity of their services. Different access media technologies (fibre and copper) and different access paths (different entry points and ducts) are not enough. Human error, complex software issues and massive bandwidth spikes will still bring down big networks.

As the Telstra outages show, media redundancy and path redundancy are not sufficient. What you really need true network diversity which can be achieved with a combination of media and path redundancy together with carrier diversity – where an outage on one carrier’s network will not affect the other and the failure of one carrier’s services will not bring the entire network down.

If you are serious about eliminating network outages you need carrier diversity. With carrier diversity you source two different services from two different carriers with two completely separate network infrastructures.

Make it an active service

In the past, network protection and or redundant services sat idle in the event of that rare but costly outage. Now you can seamlessly integrate our carrier diverse service into your existing service provider’s network.

This way you get the extra capacity when everything is working well and the automated network failover leverages secondary service when your primary service is unavailable ensuring your business continuity.

Ask yourself this question: Can you risk NOT having an extra level of redundancy?

Sure, it costs more, but against that, you need to balance the investment on your business and the opportunity cost of such network outages. How much does it cost your business if your mission-critical network is down, even for a couple of hours?

The major carriers will do all they can to prevent outages, but as recent events show, that is not enough. Investing in network diversity is an insurance policy against outages, and a tried and tested way of minimising the inconvenience and cost they cause to your business.

Work with people who understand critical networks

We are an independent licensed telecommunications carrier with over 40 years of servicing some of the Australia’s most demanding Government, Enterprise and Service Provider organisations.

We specialise in the design, build and operation of our own mission and life critical telecommunications infrastructure and associated network services across Australia.

We have pioneered the delivery of broadband network services through the use of carrier grade microwave access in the ‘last mile’. We integrate this independent access network with our own and third party fibre backhaul to create a service that is 100% independent from the Telstra network.

As one of the few Australian carriers to achieve the Metro Ethernet Forum’s certification for Carrier Ethernet 2.0 services, we are uniquely positioned to address redundant and primary connectivity in fringe metro, regional and remote Australia.

Combined with our private mobile network offerings and extensive data centre interconnects, we are fast becoming the provider of choice for organisations that place the highest of importance on network up-time and service utilisation.

If you are serious about your network availability, contact us today on 1300 837 835 or info@vertel.com.au to chat with our experts and see how we can help you to mitigate your business risk.