Building More Reliable Business Services With Fiber Networks
Cloud computing has made applications more reliable for businesses, but many cloud setups still have a weak link. The networks that connect customers to the cloud are a potential point of failure. If a flaky network stops your CEO from connecting to their online enterprise performance dashboard or interrupts her video conference with a regional manager, then the IT department will still take the blame.
Investing in reliable network infrastructure is just as important as choosing a competent unified communications service or online software provider. This article explains why fiber networking services such as Lumen® Fiber+ offer you more reliable connectivity that fills the last gap in your medium business’s IT portfolio.
The Hidden Cost of Downtime
Companies face significant costs when email and other services go down. What may seem like a short hiatus can cause a ripple effect that has broad-reaching ramifications for the business. Disruption to company processes like sales and support was the biggest downside of downtime according to 29% of C-suite SMB executives surveyed by data protection company Infrascale. The next biggest impacts were decreased employee productivity (21%), lost revenue (17%) and impact on reputation (16%). The result? Almost half (47%) of businesses said that downtime costs them at least $20,000 per hour, with some reporting as much as $50,000.
These dangers make reliable IT services a governance issue. In a business environment built on connectivity, that begins with a robust network architecture. Fiber networks offer several advantages over other wide- and municipal-area networks based on a fundamental difference in their physical makeup.
How Fiber Helps
One reliability advantage that fiber has over other kinds of network is its relative immunity to electromagnetic interface. Other network technologies use electrical signals transferred along copper wiring, but the conductivity that makes copper so useful in these networks is also its biggest weakness. It picks up unwanted electrical signals from sources including large motors and lightning storms. These strong signals can disrupt the delicate electrical pulses traveling along the cable, causing data errors.
Fiber is less susceptible to this problem because it uses tiny strands of glass to send data as pulses of light rather than electrical signals. Strong electrical sources won’t affect these pulses, so the data arrives as intended.
Light pulses have another reliability advantage: they travel further. Fiber sends pulses for tens of kilometers before needing a repeater to boost the signal. Copper signals degrade more quickly—often by the time they reach the end of the street—meaning that two devices far enough away from each other could see errors creep into their communications. Fiber networks are far less vulnerable to those kinds of errors.
Speed and Bandwidth for More Reliable Applications
These advantages give fiber two other properties that make it more reliable: speed and bandwidth. No interference means no resending corrupted data, and longer-distance signals don’t require extra steps to boost transmissions along the way. This means data travels more quickly along fiber networks.
Faster transmissions mean lower latency (the waiting time between sending data on the network and getting a response). Some applications like Voice over IP and videoconferencing are sensitive to latency. Slower networks can plague these applications with quality problems. Fiber’s low latency means rock-solid performance, even for the most demanding applications.
Fiber’s other important performance characteristic is bandwidth. This is the amount of data that can pass along a network at once. Think of it like a highway: Four lanes of traffic means you can send twice as many vehicles as a two-lane road.
Just like a larger highway, fiber carries more data packets than other broadband connections (up to 940 Megabits per second, or Mbps). That’s important for offices with multiple people using applications at once. Without enough network bandwidth, all those applications will compete for space on the data highway, causing congestion—a digital traffic jam that will make them unreliable. Fiber’s extra bandwidth adds new lanes to the road, enabling all applications to send and receive the data they need in good time so that users don’t have to wait.
Fiber’s high bandwidth and reliability makes it the perfect network to protect companies against disaster. Backing up data is easy enough on high-bandwidth local area networks inside a building because they can send large amounts of data quickly. But what happens if a fire or flood takes out the entire building?
For true reliability, companies should back up data between offices, but they need fast, reliable links to do it. Fiber’s robust, high-bandwidth connectivity makes inter-office backups faster and more efficient.
Find out how a simple, reliable change to your networking strategy can help you to sleep more easily at night.
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