07 Oct 3 Tips to Find Out if Your Internet Redundancy Strategy Is Redundant Enough
There’s no question that network reliability is essential for businesses. Network outages and system downtime translate to lost revenue and can even impact your business reputation and long-term success.
Having an internet redundancy strategy helps you maintain maximum uptime and better network reliability. Backup systems can reduce or eliminate downtime experienced from any problem and ensure your networks aren’t completely reliant on one component.
You can reduce the chances of a network failure by making internet redundancy part of your disaster recovery strategy. Here are three tips to determine if your internet redundancy strategy is redundant enough.
Budget for Two Completely Separate ISPs
Using the same internet service provider (ISP) for your primary and backup networks is tempting, but this is almost never a good idea. You should host your primary network with a different ISP than your backup network. Why?
Many things can cause network outages, and among them is a problem with your ISP. If your ISP is having an issue that has resulted in network downtime for your business, it doesn’t help if your backup network is ultimately provided by the same access company.
Having two separate ISPs can ensure full redundancy, whether you want full path diversity with full hardware redundancy and one or more of your routers working parallel or have routers that work parallel to each other in a high-availability infrastructure.
Your networks should still be similar in many ways, mirroring bandwidth and functionality and having similar speeds and hardware, but be from two separate sources from two separate ISPs for maximum redundancy and functionality.
Maximum redundancy is only possible when you have two completely separate networks. It’s not enough to have two different providers because typically these providers will share the same network access and equipment.
While your networks should be identical, they should also be entirely separate from one another. Having this separation ensures you don’t just have redundancy but network diversity. Network diversity can help maximize uptime and improve the resiliency of your connection.
In addition, network diversity lowers the risk by avoiding shared single points of failure that would impact both networks. This kind of resiliency and diversity is especially necessary for enterprises or industries that cannot afford downtime.
A diverse network strategy includes having two or more ISPs with different network paths, separate building entrance points, and even diverse inside riser cabling.
Although having a second ISP is an additional expense, without a redundant and diverse internet strategy, downtime can quickly result in lost revenue.
Select the Right Access Technologies for Your Primary and Backup Networks
There’s a big difference between Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and consumer broadband. DIA provides internet access exclusive to your business with consistently fast speeds, while consumer broadband means you must share your internet service with others, resulting in varying speeds and performance.
When designing your internet redundancy strategy, it’s essential to run two robust DIA connections simultaneously instead of having one robust connection and one inexpensive backup for the sake of redundancy.
For example, if a hotel can’t afford for its guests to lose Wi-Fi access, they can run two big links simultaneously to ensure no downtime and no performance degradation. Or, they can have a big link with a cable backup so if the primary line goes down, they can at least still process point-of-sale (POS) transactions over the emergency line.
Install Firewalls That Can Support Two ISPs
In order to create an effective internet redundancy strategy, it’s essential to have a firewall that can support multiple ISPs and dual WAN ports. Most firewalls allow for multiple connections or allow you to combine connections from separate ISPs into one firewall.
If you purchase two ISPs having similar speeds and performance, then keeping one of them dormant for emergencies only can be a waste of money. To make the best use of both ISPs and the money invested, it’s recommended to get a firewall that supports High Availability (HA) to run ports in an Active/Active fashion. When configured properly, this functionality allows you to run two ISPs simultaneously, always fully utilizing the bandwidth from both ISPs.
Should one fail, the other automatically maintains connectivity, and although the total capacity may decrease, users will never know that the redundant or primary link was lost.
If your backup internet is consumer-grade in nature (such as a cable modem or LTE) and is not robust enough to share the full load of the office, it’s not recommended to run Active/Active but rather set the port to only become available when the primary port fails.
You must also configure your firewall to failover correctly when one of the links fails. Always use the simplest configuration possible when configuring your firewall, and remember that the configuration should be identical for both connections. While complexity may seem like the best option, it can also reduce your network and failover reliability.
Having a firewall that supports two ISPs can improve the redundancy and security of your networks.
Design Your Internet Redundancy Strategy With NewConnect
Invest in reliable backup connection solutions and enhance your disaster recovery and business continuity by working with NewConnect. We work with businesses to provide affordable internet redundancy solutions with two distinct connections and geographically diverse locations. Contact us to discover more about our internet redundancy strategies today.