By Tony Thakur, Chief Technology Officer, Great Plains Communications

Among the unprecedented challenges we’re facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the abrupt shift to telework, telehealth, and telelearning models is straining the networks of businesses, institutions and our households. Americans are social distancing and adjusting to going about our lives from our homes while using online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and video-on-demand. Bandwidth usage is skyrocketing and businesses are implementing disaster recovery plans. Network availability and dependability is more vital than ever.

Benefits of carrier diversity

Carrier diversity is a telecommunications practice employed to create another layer of network dependability. Since each carrier typically maintains separate and diverse fiber and facilities, a business may contract multiple redundant connections from different carriers to ensure network connectivity in the event of an outage.

A single carrier can also provide redundant connections by installing two separate Ethernet circuits. To enable this capability a carrier must build a network with a diverse and redundant architecture. This requires separate fiber entrance facilities, ring topologies, redundant equipment, routes and more. For example, if there is a fiber cut on the south route of a redundant fiber network, traffic can be automatically switched through a north route to avoid disruption of services.

Disaster recovery (DR)

Every organization should have a disaster recovery plan in place tailored to their specific industry and business requirements to help the business recover and resume. With telecommunications disaster recovery should include redundancy and diversity components. For example, DR can include redundant data centers, redundant providers and a disaster recovery plan that identifies critical considerations and details steps to take if a catastrophe or unprecedented situation occurs.

Final thoughts on business continuity

Being prepared and able to continue conducting business in times of adversity is on the forefront of everyone’s minds. To maintain uninterrupted communications, elements such as redundancy provided by carrier diversity and/or redundant connections and disaster recovery belong in a business continuity plan. In addition to network redundancy, a well-thought out plan also includes back-up systems, a separate physical location and diverse circuits to the data center.

An example is a healthcare customer that has a redundant fiber path out of their data center to ensure continued network connectivity between their headquarters, data center and remote offices. During maintenance work traffic is switched to the redundant connection to the data center so service is not interrupted. Similarly, if an issue arises with one of the circuits, traffic can be switched and vital healthcare services maintained.

Great Plains Communications remains committed to our employees, customers and communities to provide critical network connectivity during this COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to connect with one of our highly-qualified technology professionals and discuss how we can help you achieve your business continuity goals. We are here to support you as a trusted technology partner.

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