Posted: Friday, June 10th, 2011
In the business world, network redundancy has been high on the agenda post 9/11. We’re in an age where businesses are increasingly reliant upon technology to underpin their day to day operation; prolonged network failures are more costly than ever before.
One common indicator of a connection’s reliability and resilience is the SLA, and in particular – the uptime guarantee. SLA’s are a useful guide to how robust a service is, they provide a reflection of a company’s confidence in the service they deliver and should provide assurance that the connection supplied is of a certain grade, and augmented by fixed response and fix times and round the clock support.
However an SLA’s uptime promises can sometimes blind organisations into assuming that they’ve mitigated against all points of failure and failing to look into their network topology. Consider this; if businesses were to quantify the cost of having business critical systems suffer an outage, are these costs compensated by the SLA on offer?
Five years ago, Fluidata brought an innovative aggregation platform to market called PureFluid. This bonds multiple circuits and/or technologies (ADSL/ADSL2+/SDSL/ 3G) from multiple providers, all lines deliver over the same IP subnets allowing for seamless failover in the event of a fault on one of the circuits or networks.
For this solution Fluidata provide an SLA of 99.99% in terms of service uptime and network availability. We believe, that perhaps with the exception of diverse fibre digs, we’d be hard pushed to provide a more resilient service and as such a higher SLA. After all no connectivity service is infallible.
Yet 100% SLA’s do exist in the industry, providing promises that are hard to keep. Typically when you investigate the design of these solutions, the points of failure and Terms and Conditions’ that back them up are not sufficient. All I am saying is beware the semantics and drill down to what’s actually deliverable and why.
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Posted: Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Nearly exactly a year after we signed the lease for our new office, our new demo suite is now ready. I have spoken before about our old playroom in our previous office on Tooley Street and we wanted to replicate it when we moved office. We did nearly straight away but with the worst copper known to man coming into the building (the site flooded twice in two years…) speeds were not that impressive. Also because of the layout of the office we couldn’t just replicate the playroom like for like and needed to find a new way to demo our products and services.
While it might not look very technical or advance it was very tricky to get all the technology to be displayed in an easily digestible format so that new customers could see what we have to offer. As we are demonstrating connectivity it was important to display everything backwards so that we show off the cabling and routers, whereas in most active environments it is the piece of your network you hide away.
We have now completed a number of demonstrations and I believe it is proving to be a successful sales tool. I haven’t had too many technical issues so far, but as the client appreciates a live demonstration is much more powerful than a whitepaper or a case study. With lots of talk about network operators not delivering on promises we feel it is important, especially with business customers, to put our money where our mouth is and demonstrate it firsthand.
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Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2010
I recently handled an enquiry with a prospect whose VC system was being let down by its underlying internet connection. The connection in place was a cheap Annex-M (O2) solution, the problem an unsatisfactory upstream data transfer rate that was fluctuating between 0.8 Mb/s and 1.3 Mb/s and accompanied by high jitter. His incumbent provider had informed him that with his line length too long for SDSL (2.4KM), the only solution to improve his upload would be a bonded solution or leased lines; as he was already running on the quickest ADSL technology available.
His ISP was right: ADSL 2+ Annex-M is the quickest DSL technology; but it was wrong in the respect that the speeds one receives from their connection are not exclusively attributable to the technology they use. Other factors such as the quality of an ISP’s network, the contention ratios guaranteed and the CPE devices used all play a significant role in the how quickly and effectively a service will operate.
My recommendation – to simply move the prospect across from their Annex-M service to ours – came as some surprise to him. However I felt by using a Cisco router, and with Fluidata running a private VLAN across the O2 network to guarantee low contention, he would see an improved performance. Also by having the capacity to tinker with SNR settings, we could induce higher upload out of the technology and, at the very least, stabilise his upload speed and reduce his jitter.
I was delighted than when I spoke to him earlier on this week and he reported achieving just over 2 Mb/s on the upload and that his Video Conferencing system was running smoother than ever. These speeds exceeded both our expectations and dispelled one of the myths in our industry: that purchasing connections is all about the speeds advertised.
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Posted: Sunday, December 27th, 2009
The Telefonica network which provides Fluidata with many of its flagship products such as BURST and Vox 2.0 is currently facing provisioning issues with a number of their exchanges.
As many of you will be aware Fluidata is now operating the wholesale channel on this network, as a result of increased demand through the channel, coupled with the continued success of these products on the direct sales side, the network is in constant need of being upgraded.
Telefonica are working hard to ensure more ports are enabled at each exchange so that new services are brought online as soon as possible. One of the reasons for the delay is that this takes some time as there is a requirement to install more backhaul capacity to ensure existing customers are not impacted by more users being enabled.
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Posted: Sunday, October 25th, 2009
The Internet has become an essential component of our working lives over the last 15 years. It’s hard to imagine communication without recourse to email, research without access to the web, even lunchtime without Facebook is becoming a distant memory.
In recent years the internet has started to be harnessed for more wide ranging purposes; from file sharing and VPN access to phone calls, data, and video and even alarm systems.
With many of the later services I’ve mentioned, IP and DSL in particular is yet to be fully embraced as the principle method of protocol. Predominately this is due to people’s experiences; many of us have conducted VoIP calls where the other user sounds as if they are at the bottom of the well, or sat in a video conference and been treated to audio/visual quality redolent of watching the TV on an old, faulty 1970’s set complete with coat hanger masquerading as aerial. Poor connectivity is often the fault line here and it has led to companies plumping for costly leased lines or ISDN, or abandoning this type of system altogether.
However, with the advent of Annex-M, and DSL connectivity with guaranteed contention and failover options, the technology is now in a position to reliably support VoIP, video conferencing and other important data. Such developments are is not only providing huge cost benefits for end users but also for systems integrators and unified communication operators.
At Fluidata we have certainly seen an increase in partnerships with operators in voice, video and hope the DSL we provide will facilitate more devices and systems to switch to IP in the future.
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