Protect your company from voice and data telecom outages

“What most threatens business leaders? Unplanned voice and data telecom outages are ranked as one of the top concerns — even ahead of significant threats including security incidents, industrial disputes and even natural disasters. "

Seth von Helmst | Network Engineer | Nextera Communications

How can you protect your company? The key is to take action before disaster strikes and an Internet outage occurs. There’s no better time than right now to put a plan in place that will ensure the continuity of your business. Internet downtime can result in loss of customer confidence, time, productivity and profits.

Internet outages result in a pervasive sense of powerlessness, and while your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is responsible for delivery of reliable services, stuff happens. Acts of God, construction, technical glitches and more can all cause unexpected downtime. To keep your Internet up and running, companies need a secondary or redundant connection ready to take over when primary service goes down. But a secondary Internet line alone doesn’t guarantee continuity. You need additional technology that can orchestrate a smooth transition from one link to the next. Ideally, you want a transition so seamless your customers and staff won’t know there’s been an issue.

Two top options available for downtime prevention are BGP(Border Gateway Protocol) and Load Balancing & Failover*.

Simply put, BGP is a standard Internet protocol for failover, nothing more and nothing less. This means if your Internet goes down, service will fail over to a secondary connection. Once your primary ISP is back up, the connection automatically switches back to the primary path. Like BGP, Load Balancing ensures continued Internet delivery, but this technology also allows you to simultaneously use multiple connections.

Which option is best? There are advantages to both choices. There are also a range of options and prices, although BGP is usually a one-time purchase that relies on the customer router, Load Balancing relies on software as well as the load balancing appliance.

Some companies choose BGP because it’s a hardened technology that’s proved effective, or they’ve used it for years and are familiar with how it works. BGP is an Internet protocol that runs on a customer router, connecting with each Internet provider. It requires no additional equipment purchase beyond the router itself, if you don’t already have a BGP ready router. In addition, it has a reputation for low maintenance. With BGP offered by Nextera, you can set up a hierarchy of preferred paths and automatically shift traffic to healthy links when a route is down.

In addition to the capabilities provided by BGP above, Load Balancing & Failover also offer:

• Traffic shaping with bandwidth throttling that provides detailed control of bandwidth resources

• Application routing and prioritization to ensure bandwidth availability for mission critical apps

• Manage routes by IP address or application

• Access to an online portal

• WAN status and reporting and monitoring

• VoIP failover; call monitoring and reporting

• Create preferred routes for internal services like email, website, and more

• Firewalling and security features

• Server failover

The relative simplicity of BGP is seen as a benefit to some, but compared to Load Balancing, its functionality is more limited. A key difference between the two options is that Load Balancing isn’t a standard Internet protocol. It’s a failover strategy that runs on a specialized appliance and while all Load Balancing vendors are similar, they aren’t the same.

Companies often choose Load Balancing because in addition to failover capabilities, your business can use the secondary or multiple Internet connections on a day-to-day basis, instead of purely as a backup service. This is a significant benefit because you can use all of the Internet service you’re paying for, which translates to more aggregated bandwidth, faster downloads, speedier uploads and better performance overall.

For more information or questions about BGP and Load Balancing, contact Nextera Communications or your local provider. With so much of your business relying on connectivity, every company needs to get ahead of potential outages by implementing redundant Internet, with failover services that optimize productivity and provide worry-free business continuity.

*When writing about Load Balancing & Failover here, it’s in reference to the specific technology used by Nextera Communications and its Load Balancing partner because there are no generic offerings available.