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Single or Multi‑Carrier WANs?

single vs multi-carrier WAN comparison

The subject of single vs. multi‑carrier WANs seems to have become more popular of late given some very large and lengthy network outages.

The latest outages involved BGP and route table sizes. This phenomenon of network outages comes up once or twice every year when a Tier 1 network provider has an extended outage. These outages leave the business subscribers “high and dry” on the network side — in some cases for hours or days at a time.

There isn’t a single carrier that isn’t susceptible to outages, regardless of what they’ll tell you. It has become unfortunately common these days for carrier sales teams to swear on a stack of bibles that they will never have a “core melt,” which is a fancy term for their whole network going down.

We don’t buy it.

Here at EnableIP, we’ve seen just about every single major carrier experience this phenomena over the course of the last six years.

How often does a core melt happen and should you be concerned?

In our experience, about every 5‑7 years there’s an internal carrier issue internal that brings the entire core network down. However, the last mile or loop of your network can experience a couple outages per year on every circuit for a number of reasons.

Although core meltdowns are less frequent, they tend to get more media attention because of the quantity of subscribers impacted and the average length of these outages tends to be more than four hours.

Businesses should be aware of these potential risks and have the ability to weigh in on other factors to determine how much of a concern it truly is.

Here are three questions that should be considered and addressed by your organization:

  • What’s the hard dollar cost of downtime to the business?
  • How does downtime affect customers, vendors, and employees?
  • Is a backup network investment justified by the above cost, and is it worth the hassle of managing multiple carrier relationships?

When it comes to avoiding a complete loss of WAN connectivity, some approaches can be quite simple. But each approach comes at some sort of cost — either in network performance or good old fashioned American greenbacks.

Due to the ubiquity of bandwidth in even some of the most remote sites, a business now has multiple options when it comes to WAN connectivity. These choices really only need to be more than one in order to achieve network and loop diversity. With a diverse last mile access and core network, these major network outages can be present less of a risk and cost burden to the business.

At EnableIP, we walk our clients through various single vs. multi‑carrier WAN scenarios and provide multiple options to keep businesses up and running in the case where one service provider goes down. We have strategies to fit every pocket book. In some cases, you can even have your cake and eat it too by paying less than your current solution while still having a backup solution.

So be sure to bring your fork to the table when you contact us to learn more because lunch is served!

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