When vandals sliced a fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert last month, they did more than time-warp thousands of people back to an era before computers, credit cards or even phones. They exposed a glaring vulnerability in the U.S. Internet infrastructure: no backup systems in many places.
A few years ago I wrote an article about the top five causes of disruption of internet service. Our number two cause on our list at the time was
2) Failed Link to Provider
And our number one cause was congestion.
A few things have changed since 2010, first off Congestion is on the decline, and although still a concern it is less of a problem now that bandwidth prices have fallen and most businesses have larger circuits.
In our opinion, based on our experience, failed links from your provider are now the number one threat as pointed out in this Huffington Post Article . (The first paragraph of this post is an excerpt from that article) Not only are provider outages common, they can also take days to remedy in some cases.
As a network equipment OEM, the biggest concern with respect to failure that we hear of our customers are the components in their Network. Routers, Firewalls, Switches , Bandwidth shapers, customers want redundancy built into these devices. That’s not to say these devices are flawless , but in general if they are up and running in your utility closet, they rarely spontaneously fail.
On the other hand…
The link into your building and everything upstream relies on several, to perhaps thousands of miles of buried cable , usually buried along a road right of ways. These cables can be violated by any idiot with a back ho, or a lightning strike on a nearby power pole.
My Business class internet is up most of the time but it does go out for a few hours at least twice a year. I have alternatives so it is a minor hassle to switch over.
Moral of the story: The next time you ask about reliability on an equipment component in your network. I suggest you also ask the same question of your upstream provider.