Downtime and outages are something every company strives to avoid. They are costly and can negatively affect the future of the business. According to SolarWinds, an outage can cost a small business from $137 to $437 per minute and grow exponentially to around $9,000 for large businesses. However, small businesses are more likely to experience downtime and are less likely to recover from a major loss. As a developer, it is critical to implement communications solutions that ensure adequate reliability for your business or client.
Two ways to ensure reliable communications are through network redundancy and network diversity. While you are likely aware of these methods of providing reliability, if you use the two terms interchangeably, your network could be vulnerable to disaster.
Below we’ll explore both network redundancy and diversity and guide you through why they are important and what makes them different. You can ensure your business or client’s communications offer redundancy and diversity to optimize the reliability of its telecommunications network.
What Is Network Redundancy?
Network redundancy is a practice where multiple paths are added to the network, allowing traffic to reach its destination if one or several connections fails. Redundancy can increase network reliability and be beneficial if one device fails by letting a second device take over. However, a redundant network can be complex and may contribute to failures. It is essential to balance complexity with functionality to deliver optimal reliability.
What Is Network Diversity?
Network diversity is a practice that improves the reliability of a network, even if redundancy fails to prevent the issues. Diversity involves using two or more physical connections in and out of the organization, so business operations can continue even if one network route is down. A redundant network with only one inbound and outbound connection for the organization will fail if those critical routes are lost.
Why Is It Critical for a Business to Have Network Redundancy and Diversity?
Network redundancy and diversity are different, but both are critical elements of network reliability and in ensuring your business or client has a consistent connection. If the organization only has redundancy, its network can still fail externally. With only network diversity, it can fail due to internal device and connection issues.
Network diversity and redundancy are critical to a functioning and reliable network, and neither should be overlooked. When you combine network redundancy and diversity for your client or business, their network is protected from internal equipment and external failures at the internet service provider or gateway level.
Without network diversity, the business’s inbound and outbound connection still has a single point of failure that risks the entire network. Creating a second point of failure can prevent lengthy and costly downtime.
How Can a Company Archive Network Diversity?
When implementing diversity into a network, the two or more connections the business is using must not be identical. If two similar connections are used, it increases the probability that both will fail when the organization needs the second route as a backup. Each connection must have different characteristics to ensure that two or more routes will be useful when needed.
One way to ensure network diversity with two or more distinct connections is to choose from two different geographic locations in the cloud. When your client or business can connect to or serve clients through multiple geographic sites, it has reliability and insulation from site closures and even natural disasters occurring in a geographic region, like earthquakes or hurricanes. When one site closes down or ceases operation, traffic can be routed to the other site with little interruption.
When you choose a cloud-based service for your client or business’ communications, a platform that has locations throughout the country where you intend to operate or internationally will offer a diversity of geographic locations to your network—various locations can also provide optimized service for a business’ users in remote or virtual office settings.
A second way to improve network diversity is through interconnection. When fiber connections enter your office, they typically share a fiber vault or manhole with many providers, including the others you may have selected from distinct geographic locations. If something happens to damage the fibers, such as an earthquake or construction incident, all of your routes may be impaired.
When bolstering network diversity for a business, ensure there are multiple inbound and outbound paths for your traffic. In a metro area, you can often choose from a provider that offers connections in a ring configuration, ensuring a backup path for your traffic and eliminating a single point of failure.
Examples of Network Diversity and Redundancy at Work
Network diversity and redundancy are similar, so real-world examples can help you differentiate the two elements of reliability. Network redundancy is often helpful during internal interruptions. For instance, an update breaks several devices, such as a series of switches or PBX systems within the office location. With redundancy, business operations will not fail due to several devices being down, and work can continue on different devices.
Network diversity is more suitable for external network failures when one internet service provider or gateway is experiencing downtime. For instance, if a fiber backbone entering the office from the north is damaged during construction, a secondary internet service provider or a fiber backbone to the south of the office location will provide diversity to ensure reliability.
Ransomware and other malicious attacks can also be a reason to implement redundancy and diversity. According to a study in CIO, nearly 8 out of 10 businesses surveyed had experienced ransomware attacks in the last 12 months.
The number of attacks is likely to grow and can cause downtime for companies of every size. Network redundancy will ensure that your client or business can continue operations if on-site devices are impacted. Network diversity will protect it from attacks on internet service providers or major infrastructure like the power grid.
How Can You Determine If Your Communications Network Offers Redundancy and Diversity?
Now that you understand how network diversity works and why your communications should be redundant and diverse, you can select a communications provider that fulfills your business or client’s requirements for a diverse and redundant network. Look for the following qualities in a platform offering redundancy and diversity.
Flexibility of Devices
A communications platform that allows users to use multiple devices with SMS, MMS, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), on a session initiation protocol (SIP) trunk will allow users to switch between devices when needed.
Users can change locations and work remotely without requiring an on-site private branch exchange (PBX) or their business phone number to be ported, a process that may take days. With a flexible provider, users can have their direct inward dialing (DID) route to another device or forward their calls to a mobile phone, ensuring business operations can continue off-site.
Dynamic Redundant Paths
An interconnected network with dynamic failover and redundant paths will ensure inbound calls arrive at their destination by routing calls to a new physical connection when the current path is interrupted. A network that can dynamically assign new routes will quickly restore the route with no downtime before users notice an interruption. Look for a provider with dynamic failover features to ensure a reliable connection.
Having multiple rate centers worldwide will offer a vast and interconnected network. It ensures that traffic can still reach its intended destination if one or more rate centers are experiencing downtime.
When remote work is involved, an international network often offers more than just network diversity. It can also offer users a better experience by ensuring they can use the shortest and fastest path to reach your client or company. Look for a platform that offers numerous international rate centers to deliver the best experience for remote workers and a high level of network diversity to provide reliability.
Integrate Network Redundancy and Network Diversity Into Your Communications Strategy
A communications platform that offers network redundancy and diversity will ensure that your client or business’s communications are reliable. Using this guide, you can understand the differences and what to look for to ensure your provider will deliver a reliable connection with 24/7 uptime and business continuity.
Flowroute provides network redundancy and network diversity with the HyperNetwork™. The network is redundant with dynamic failover to ensure optimal call quality and receipt of inbound calls. We also have thousands of on-network and international rate centers to provide multiple levels of network diversity for users on-site and remotely.
Our services include MMS/SMS, voice SIP, internet fax, and instant messaging service. We allow you to bring your current carrier and compatible PBX and IP phone equipment, and we use a Numbers API to manage DIDs, making it easy to route phone calls to the right number as part of a business continuity plan. Get started with Flowroute, and diversify your network for exceptional reliability.