We deal with a lot of internet connections. Whether that is the latest optic fibre links delivered through the NBN or private companies or back to the days where dial-up was king, we have seen it all. Unfortunately, we have also seen it all go so wrong and how a business can quickly realize how dependent they are on the Internet and wished they had implemented that backup connection during a major outage.
As Australia implements its biggest infrastructure project ever, the National Broadband Network, we are able to assist clients in achieving broadband at speeds they could never previously afford. This is having a major impact on how they do business, how they support branch offices and how they access and migrate services to the cloud.
A common misconception that we are finding however is around what the NBN means in regards to broadband failure and how backup internet connections come in to play. It is most certainly true that the NBN uses new infrastructure behind the scenes and for the most part is an optic fibre connection to the premises (or at least very close to the premises depending on what area you live in and what stage of the NBN you were in) and that this new technology is much more reliable than the traditional copper used in alternative technologies. But what is also true is that there are external factors that can still cause outages and that once you are connected to the NBN, your business will probably rely on your internet connection more than ever before and you need to plan for what can happen if your shiny new NBN connection does turn off. Many clients we meet with assume that once they are on the NBN it will never turn off and that is a very dangerous assumption to make.
The NBN after all is just an underlying network that connects your premises to your internet provider. Should your internet provider have internal problems or upgrades, then that connection may be offline and NBN or not, you are left in the dark. This is what makes choosing a reliable business grade ISP more important than saving a few dollars per month on the connection. Many smaller ISP’s have poor track records with uptime, or less internal infrastructure to handle upgrades or the increased demand the NBN puts on their network.
Recently www.itnews.com.au gave us a look inside a NBN Exchange in Queensland and the type of equipment used to connect the NBN to premises in that area. While the shiny new equipment and optic fibre cables may look impressive, the most important thing to take from this is that no matter how many billions are spent on this network, the underlying thing connecting your business to the internet is a cable in the ground connecting back to a central location, which means external factors such as human error, natural disasters and equipment failure can all have an impact on your ability to get online and the NBN as a single point of entry to the Internet is not the safest method for your business if connectivity is critical.
To take a look at those photos from ItNews use the following link: http://www.itnews.com.au/gallery/photos-a-look-inside-an-nbn-exchange-417135
We have seen natural disaster, equipment failure, human error or a combination of each have major impacts in the past; Roof collapses in Exchanges after heavy rain have caused flooding in racks of infrastructure taking out phone lines and internet to thousands; Contractors digging up streets breaking major fibre cables with the same outcome. Only recently in 2016 we have seen Telstra’s mobile network have four major outages in less than two months that were caused by a combination of hardware failure and human error, showing that even wireless technologies are not excluded from these sorts of problems. A few years back we saw human error on a major routing point cause over half of the internet connections on the East Coast of Australia be sent to a single provider rendering these connections useless.
Another failure point specific to the NBN is that most of the new fibre cabling is delivered and terminated on the external walls of the building. This opens up a new element not seen before with underground cabling, where tampering or intentional damage could take out a premises connection with very little effort, making security of the premises and equipment even more important.
The good news out of all this is that there are options to provide relatively cheap backup services in the event of a failure to your primary network connection. The best option is to use a combination of both fixed wire technologies cellular / wireless technologies and with 4G services becoming more wide-spread and faster than ever, they can serve as a fantastic backup service on a low cost plan and only used in the event of a failure.
Some of you familiar with the matter may understand the issues faced with certain providers around public IP addresses and static IP addresses, especially when associated with low cost plans (we are looking at you Telstra), however there are solutions around this. We can provide a solution with a single static IP that roams across any primary and backup internet connection, providing automatic failover for outbound internet including inbound services (including when that backup service is a Telstra 4G service). This can eliminate any risk connecting to your cloud services, avoid downtime for your business and even continue to support any branch office connectivity you may have to head office in a major outage scenario.
If you are interested in discussing backup internet services for your business, please contact us on 1300 138 761 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org