Editor’s Note: We took a poll from our customer base consisting of thousands of NetEqualizer users. What follows are the top five most common causes for disruption of Internet connectivity.
1) Congestion: Congestion is the most common cause for short Internet outages. In general, a congestion outage is characterized by 10 seconds of uptime followed by approximately 30 seconds of chaos. During the chaotic episode, the circuit gridlocks to the point where you can’t load a Web page. Just when you think the problem has cleared, it comes back.
The cyclical nature of a congestion outage is due to the way browsers and humans retry on failed connections. During busy times usage surges and then backs off, but the relief is temporary. Congestion-related outages are especially acute at public libraries, hotels, residence halls and educational institutions. Congestion is also very common on wireless networks. (Have you ever tried to send a text message from a crowded stadium? It’s usually impossible.)
Fortunately for network administrators, this is one cause of disruption that can be managed and prevented (as you’ll see below, others aren’t that easy to control). So what’s the solution? The best option for preventing congestion is to use some form of bandwidth control. The next best option is to increase the size of your bandwidth link. However without some form of bandwidth control, bandwidth increases are often absorbed quickly and congestion returns. For more information on speeding up internet services using a bandwidth controller, check out this article.
2) Failed Link to Provider: If you have a business-critical Internet link, it’s a good idea to source service from multiple providers. Between construction work, thunderstorms, wind, and power problems, anything can happen to your link at almost any time. These types of outages are much more likely than internal equipment failures.
3) Service Provider Internet Speed Fluctuates: Not all DS3 lines are the same. We have seen many occasions where customers are just not getting their contracted rate 24/7 as promised.
4) Equipment Failure: Power surges are the most common cause for frying routers and switches. Therefore, make sure everything has surge and UPS protection. After power surges, the next most common failure is lockup from feature-overloaded equipment. Considering this, keep your configurations as simple as possible on your routers and firewalls or be ready to upgrade to equipment with faster newer processing power.
5) Operator Error: Duplicating IP addresses, plugging wires into the wrong jack, and setting bad firewall rules are the leading operator errors reported.
If you commonly encounter issues that aren’t discussed here, feel free to fill us in in the comments section. While these were the most common causes of disruptions for our customers, plenty of other problems can exist.