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Outage creates business problems

A four hour outage on a dark and furtively inauspicious February morning drove home the dependency businesses have on the internet and the need for good connectivity. “The truth is that today the consequences of no internet access is much greater than you first think. One day of no internet access can in fact be disastrous. Here’s a game to play; if you haven’t already, do a business continuity exercise where you try to go through a day not using the internet and note every time it impacts what you’re trying to do and how badly. You will be horrified,” reveals William Hunter, IT Manager for The Lexis Agency.

Issues with ADSL Backup Lines

The problem with a standard ADSL line stems from three problems that do not affect fibre services, where the bandwidth you pay for is the bandwidth you get. An ADSL lines speed is promoted on download speeds, not upload speeds, so any assumption that the two are the same should not be made. Lexis could download at 24Mbps but only upload at 1Mbps. The second problem is that ADSL is a contended service. A business ADSL connection is shared typically with 19 other businesses in your immediate area. When usage is high the speed drops for all. The third problem is that the maximum connectivity speed is also affected by the distance you are from the exchange with lower speeds encountered over greater distances.

William illustrates this reduction in connectivity well: “A 24Mbps connection shared between 100 users all using it at the same time delivers just 12Kbps per user taking 12 minutes to download a 1 megabyte video file. With a 1Mbps upload speed on ADSL it would take 4 and a half hours to upload the same 1 megabyte video file.”

When Lexis experienced their internet outage, William had a backup strategy with an ADSL line and a good router/firewall handling failing WAN connections. However, his predictions that a fibre-leased line backup was needed were proven to be accurate.

“That morning we were due to pitch for new business that required the playing of demo reels we had stored on A-Frame. Obviously, this was not going to work. Cue frantic attempts to find the original media on the day.” And then came the request I had been waiting for.

“William. Do something about it.”

The Solution – M247 Fibre leased-line backup

Lexis now have a backup 100Mbps fibre leased line through a different physical fibre cable to a separate point of presence ensuring the internet is always available, they now experience no internet outages. Lexis benefit from excellent connectivity on the M247 Dark Fibre network that delivers an uncontended and symmetrical 500Mbps service. This means upload and download speeds are the same and are unaffected by the number of circuits on the M247 network.