• United States
by Steve Taylor and Joanie Wexler

WAN back-up strategies conundrum

Jun 19, 20032 mins
Backup and RecoveryNetwork SecurityVPN

* Reminder: Seek physical diversity in WAN access links

Last time, we discussed new global DSL access options to Virtela Communications’ Internet-based VPN services. Our discussion of the announcement with Virtela director of marketing Jeff Phillips led to an interesting discussion of WAN back-up strategies, because Phillips said one use of the new services is to back up leased-line access circuits. 

While DSL provides redundancy from a service and equipment perspective, the dominant local phone company often provisions the DSL circuit and leased-line access links – and uses the same circuit to do so.  If your site doesn’t have dual-entrance facilities, and the same local carrier provisions your leased-line and DSL circuits, both links likely share a conduit. So a cut on one cable probably means a cut on the other. You might be better off with either an airborne connection – such as cellular or satellite – or a cable modem connection as a backup.

Phillips said that Virtela will work with the phone company, as well as with competitive local-exchange carriers and interexchange carriers that have local facilities, to ensure physical diversity wherever possible.  He also indicated that enterprises seem less open to alternative technologies like cable modem and wireless services for remote and branch offices than they are for teleworker environments.

This correlates well with our findings in a Webtorials.Com survey conducted last July.  Cable modem service, for instance, ranked slightly higher in customer satisfaction than DSL.  However, it also ranked lower in terms of installation to remote and branch sites.

Why?  We wish we knew.  The technology is solid and services are generally available.  (If you want cable in your office for CNN and financial news, we bet you can get it.)  Our best guess is a lack of business-targeted marketing by the cable companies. 

What do you think?  Let us know and we’ll summarize the results in a later newsletter.