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50% of Irish enterprises now invest in diversity
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50% of Irish enterprises now invest in diversity
Airspeed Telecom's research has revealed that among Irish enterprises, 50% are now investing in a diversity solution, a significant increase over previous years. Airspeed Managing Director Brendan Martin talks to us about voice and data diversity and why the upsurge in investment is set to continue this year.


Q. What was the research Airspeed conducted, and what you discover?

A. We were prompted to analyse which Irish enterprises currently had a diversity solution and examined 400 businesses. Around 50% of these had diversity, which means they have both a primary and secondary connectivity solution powering their voice and/or data services.

Q. Is 50% a higher proportion than you expected?

A. Diversity has not traditionally been front of mind for Irish enterprises, so we were interested to see that the number has finally reached the 50% mark, up from about 10% five years ago. There's obviously more room for growth, but it's good to see so many Irish enterprises taking action to protect their business continuity. We're expecting investment in diversity to rise significantly again during 2017, driven by factors including increased reliance on cloud computing, hosted voice services, hosted CRM and ERP services, and solutions like Microsoft Office 365.

Q. What technologies are being used for diversity, and how do companies choose which technology to use?

A. The proportion was around 60% licensed microwave, with the balance fibre and VDSL. If you're investing in diversity, it's important to investigate the true separation between your primary and secondary connectivity. If you have fibre for both your primary and or secondary, it's quite possible that both fibres are sharing a physical access point to the building, or sharing ducting. That means you've actually got a single point of failure for both your primary and secondary connectivity, which is never advisable.


Q. How can a company estimate its cost of downtime, if it's making a business case to invest in diversity?

Answer: The cost to a business of its downtime can vary significantly. A broken or cut fibre connection could entail downtimes of 3 to 5 hours. But the cost of those hours can vary depending on whether it is a critical time in the company's business. There are peaks and troughs in any business, including its most critical windows of activity during which connectivity is more important than at any other time, such as a limited timeframe during which it accepts or processes batch volumes of orders, or is processing and printing labels for a large shipment. There are also sectors where demand is real-time and highly perishable: customers contacting a call centre for financial services, or looking for a venue to organise a conference, may simply go on to the next number on their list if they can't get through to the first one.

Brendan Martin is Managing Director at Airspeed Telecom - connect with him on LinkedIn

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Brendan's top tips for companies investing in diversity

If you're discussing diversity with your telecoms supplier, here are some points for you to think about:
  • Always inquire about Geo diverse routing. Are your primary and secondary routes completely separate, coming into your building at different points and connecting back into the core telecoms network at different points? There should be a clear end-to-end audit, with no contact between primary and secondary routes
  • Consider using the same capacity for secondary and primary connectivity. The cost and capacity of microwave has significantly improved, with Gigabit speed microwave routinely available now in metro areas and up to 200Mbps microwave available outside urban centres. It's not vital to have the same capacity on both your circuits, but it's advisable, and increasingly, it’s affordable
  • Inquire about termination. You can minimise risk and maximise your resilience by ensuring that you use separate termination equipment for both primary and secondary connections. If your termination equipment fails, and it's connected to both your circuits, your backup won't function
  • Consider using your secondary network all the time. Of course you should test failover of your diversity solution, but even better, organise your network so that a portion of your day-to-day traffic travels over your secondary connection rather than just your primary connection. This is a good way to verify the health and suitability of your secondary network
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