Multi-Homed Connections

Connecting your office network the Internet seems like such a simple thing today – just call up one of your local high-speed providers and get them to drop in a connection to your office. The physical medium may vary (fiber, coaxial cable, wi-fi), but the result is the same – your office gets a routed connection to every other computer on the Internet.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like there needs to be much more thought put into this. That is, until the day you get a service interruption. All the assurances in the world from your provider about redundant systems won’t help you when the lights on your router stop blinking, and your office productivity goes to zero for an hour or more while your provider scrambles to fix their issues and get you back up and running.

Surprisingly, most outage incidents are not caused by problems in the physical link coming into your office, but rather caused by internal provider issues that affect an entire region. Redundant routers won’t help you when human error pushes an incorrect routing update to both routers taking them out at the same time.

This is why a prudent choice is to bring in separate redundant connections from two (or more) different providers, giving you a multi-homed connection. The advantage to selecting different providers is removing common points of failure. Unfortunately, true multi-homing is harder than just purchasing a connection from two independent providers. To be in control of your own connectivity, you will need to apply for your own IP address space, and then acquire and program a router that uses BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) to announce your address space to each of your upstream providers. For companies that need less than ~250 public IP addresses, this is an onerous task requiring technical knowledge, and additional expenses (such as registering IP addresses, purchasing and maintaining BGP routers, etc).

This is when Provision Data Systems can help. We help small to medium businesses by purchasing large upstream connections to multiple independent providers and maintaining a large pool of IP addresses announced using BGP routers. We can then use this infrastructure to service your company’s co-located servers, or via a local wireless or fiber connection to your office. Our rates are competitive with the incumbent carriers, however, we provide the additional benefit of a true multi-homed connection.