Redundant Internet Access for Businesses

by : Stephen J. Richards

Businesses are increasingly reliant on internet availability for their critical business operations and revenue generation. What were once brick and mortar stores targeting customers in their local geographic area are now interactive websites offering products and services to customers throughout the world. This drastically changing face of commerce revolves around the availability one crucial element: the internet. The internet’s widespread availability and ever improving speed and capacity has given it a stronghold in a world that in the not so distant past was constrained by geography and logistics. The internet carries with it countless advantages for businesses, such as rapid communication between employees, erased geographical boundaries and the convenience of reaching out to customers seeking services from their own homes. Today, many businesses rely solely on the internet for their mere existence, making internet availability a critical element of their business strategy.

With one outage, the grandeur of the internet is instantly diminished. Not only does internet downtime prevent website visitors from patronizing a business, but it hurts customer goodwill and inhibits valuable communication between employees of a company. For instance, a corporate headquarters in Massachusetts utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) to securely share files and data with its branch in Colorado would be brought to a halt by a lack of internet access. The loss of revenue associated with internet downtime can be substantial, prompting businesses to seek out preventative measures to ensure consistent availability such as redundant internet access.

Typically, home and business internet users rely on a single link to an internet service provider’s network for their internet access. Internet outages are not generally caused by a system wide failure, but rather because of a problem with an organizations sole link to its provider. Technical failures or physical cable damage caused by construction, for example, can cause internet service to be disrupted indefinitely. The loss of revenue associated with an uncertain amount of internet downtime beyond their control is a risk many businesses cannot afford to take. Redundant internet access facilitates the flexibility to automatically switch traffic among multiple connections, eliminating the uncertainty associated with relying on a single link. This is accomplished by subscribing to multiple internet service providers allowing for the use of multiple types of physical connections. For instance, a company may use a T1 connection as a primary internet service, and also subscribe to a telephone based DSL service for backup in the event of failure.

Effectively implemented internet redundancy allows for continued internet access even during a primary ISP failure, thus preventing losses in revenue associated with internet downtime.