Resilient Links

What do we mean by a resilient link?

Resilience in computer networking is the ability ‘to provide and maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of faults and challenges to normal operation’

Fundamentally a resilient link is a second link that will ‘kick’ in if the primary link to the school goes down.  It is a second service that goes via a separate path to a different point in the exchange.  This can then be used if the primary link does fail for any reason.

What are the different types of resilient links that could be implemented?

A resilient link is usually provided when the primary link is a fibre connection.  BT do offer resilient fibre connections by providing fibre to two different exchanges however this can prove to be expensive.

A less expensive option is to use a copper circuit, either FTTP or FTTC which, whilst it does go to the same exchange, it uses different technology to get there and connects on different equipment in the exchange.

emPSN offer several different alternatives.  Either by using the existing router that is already there (if it has the available ports) or by using a separate router which gives router resilience in the event of a router failure.   In either case the service will auto failover to the resilient connection.

Why are schools wanting to use resilient links as part of their school network?

Schools are much more dependent on their connectivity these days, if their connectivity does go down it will have a major impact on the school. Whether this is the administration of the school, or in terms of teaching and learning.

Whist the resilient link is there as a back up to the primary circuit it is often of lower bandwidth and is there to provide resilience to those essential services and essential teaching.

What problems will it help schools overcome to have a resilient link?

The single main reason is to ensure you remain connected.  If for example there is a major outage by one of the big networks, those that do have the resilient link will bypass this and avoid the outage, unlike those schools that do not have a resilient link.

How do you get a resilient link installed?

It really is straight forward.  It may well require a visit from a KCom engineer; however, in some cases it could also be installed by your IT support company that you currently work with.

How does it fit into the wider network?

It does not make any difference to the school.  It all runs as per normal and the service will automatically fail over to the resilient link.  The only difference is that the resilient link is likely to be of lesser bandwidth than the primary link.

Using FTTC or even FTTP where it is available, is a cost-effective way of providing resilience for fibre connected sites.  emPSN only charge a circuit rental and small support charge with no additional charges for transit.  Please note however, that unlike fibre where bandwidths are symmetrical and uncontended both FTTC and FTTP are asymmetrical contended services so will not always provide the same level of service depending on demand.  Resilient fibre circuits do provide a like for like resilience.

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