State of connectivity in Canada, a year after the historic outage: Research

Last summer, Rogers experienced a massive internet and wireless service outage that debilitated thousands of businesses across Canada.

The outage, which lasted for about 19 hours, served as a wakeup call for businesses to have the right strategies and infrastructure in place to ensure business continuity during these types of disruptions.

Accordingly, over 70 per cent of businesses say they have made changes in the last six months to ensure their operations will not be significantly affected by a major prolonged network and mobile phone outage, new research by Cradlepoint found.

However, it also points out that, a year following the outage, customers of all carriers continue to suffer from connectivity issues impacting their operations, costs and success.

Fifty per cent of respondents reported operational losses due to connectivity problems in the last 12 months, while 34 per cent saw loss of earnings and loss of potential business.

Alarmingly, over 70 per cent of respondents reported at least one hour of downtime per week in the last 12 months.

These statistics reinforce the fact that businesses need to have failover strategies in place so that network data can be rerouted onto a secondary or backup network if the primary network link fails, Cradlepoint noted. 

Jason Falovo, vice president and general manager, Cradlepoint in Canada, recommends the following for businesses to better protect themselves from future outages:

    1. Add connection diversity – Businesses usually rely on a single connection to their ISP, which could not only be affected by a carrier outage, but also by weather hazards. Adding a second Wide Area Network (WAN) connection could be useful to bolster connectivity but it, too, is as susceptible to risks. Instead, consider adding a wireless connection using LTE or 5G. If the wired connection goes down, rapid failover can seamlessly switch to the secondary connection, minimizing network and service disruption.
    2. Add redundant or mirrored routers – If the primary router or WAN connection fails, the backup takes over and then switches back once the primary is restored.
    3. Consider dual-carrier connectivity – Add a second wireless carrier to protect from disruptions.  A separate infrastructure from a second wireless carrier ensures network diversity and makes it unlikely that both services will be unavailable at the same time. The connections can be set up with one as a primary and the other as a backup, or both can be used in tandem, thereby increasing bandwidth.
    4. Accommodate traffic spikes – After a prolonged outage, businesses can be challenged by sudden traffic spikes. They can use a backup wireless link to augment or offload the primary connection; as traffic builds, the secondary connection can be activated, and traffic dynamically routed to the best available path.
    5. Remotely troubleshoot networks – A wireless connection can offer an alternate network management option when the primary connection or device is unreachable. The ability to manage the network out-of-band – outside the primary connection – can be added to certain wireless routers, or accomplished by connecting a wireless adapter to the primary router, enabling IT to diagnose and fix problems remotely.

The research, conducted in March and April 2023, surveyed 500 respondents, including business owners, C-level executives and senior managers, at companies with more than 250 employees.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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