The importance of having a redundant network for your business is more essential than you’ve perhaps given thought to.
While redundancy might sound overly technical, you should never ignore what it means just because it’s beyond your technical knowledge. Understanding it isn’t a challenge, and it relates to keeping your network running at all times without outages.
It works by providing alternate paths in your network to keep your system running optimally if a technical failure occurs. Because networks are complex systems, getting one of these outages fixed could cost you more than you think.
As a result, you could face major downtime and extra costs that hurt your business. With proper redundancy, you have a tech investment in place to prevent problems.
Your own company no doubt has to keep running 24/7 to keep up with consumer demands. Having a network outage for just a short time could end up placing you in jeopardy with your customers.
While being resilient in your network requires some capital, it pays back over time in preventing disasters. Let’s look at how it works and how it continually protects you.
Common Protocols for Network Redundancy
Different approaches are available on making your network redundant based on the structure of your business. You’ll discover two standard protocols as common applications, but have slightly slower recovery times. Proprietary protocols are more complex and intended for companies needing faster recovery speeds. The latter is typically used in industrial fields.
One of the standard protocols you might want to consider is RSTP, or rapid spanning tree protocol. This uses an algorithm to determine the most reliable paths in your network. More complex networks use this by creating multiple redundancy links.
Link aggregation gets used sometimes as well, and it helps take multiple links and turns them into one. You’ll sometimes see this paired up with RSTP above as part of a practice using hybrid protocols.
As for proprietary protocols, you have two types that are very powerful and fast.
Creating Ring Protocols
Redundant ring topology gets used often in heavy-duty networks, and it frequently works using industrial ethernet switches. Network reconfiguration works quite fast in this case thanks to using alternate paths from one outstation to another.
Rings are quite scalable as well where you can have up to 200 switches for even faster recoveries. If your company can’t afford to have even one second down, this solution is one of the best.
Redundant coupling (otherwise known as dual-homing) is a variation on the ring concept with similar recovery time speeds. Sometimes this uses lower level networks as part of the backup system.
Management and Protection of Redundant Networks
When you set up a redundant network, it still needs proper management in place to work efficiently. Managed switches are commonly used, though having remote managed services in place can help keep constant visibility on your system.
By having management in place, you’ll get immediate notice of a link failure. Automated systems alert other switches in the redundancy chain that can make recovery take place in milliseconds.
Before you make any decisions, though, you’ll need to audit your network and see what your real needs are. The physical layout of your network needs examining and whether it covers large areas or just local.
Also, look at how fast you want your recovery times. When you study failure rate probability, you can determine whether you need multiple redundant paths. In this case, the RSTP option above might become a safer option.
Let us help you with your network redundancy issues here at Stanfield IT.