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Addressing outages (or: What is a backhaul and why should I care?)

We don't think much about how the Internet gets to our homes. Well, I mean, we here at Ting do. We think about it all the time. We, in the collective sense


We don't think much about how the Internet gets to our homes. Well, I mean, we here at Ting do. We think about it all the time. We, in the collective sense, as citizens and users of the Internet, don't. Unless our access to the Internet is compromised. Then we have some questions that deserve answers. Since Ting brought the first fiber customer online in Westminster back in August, 2015, the Westminster City Fiber Network has faced some challenges. Some of those challenges have become network outages. We'd say more outages than we'd like but one outage is more than we'd like. Growing pains.

What have we done to fix the issue?

As of today, construction, installation and lighting of the new "redundant backhaul" for the Westminster fiber network is finished. A redundant backhaul is basically an alternate route to the larger Internet. It's what will prevent unavoidable issues, like another provider or contractor accidentally severing a fiber line (by far the biggest issue we've had to contend with in this context) from becoming a larger problem like an outage. A redundant backhaul is basically a detour that Internet traffic can use if there's a problem. A side road that accepts the overflow in the case the main highway is closed because of an accident, to follow the metaphor. The Internet is, as the name suggests, an interconnected network. It's distributed and there's no single point of failure for the network at large. There shouldn't be a single point of failure for a network node, like your Westminster City Fiber Network, to reach the larger Internet... and now there isn't. Can we promise 0 outages forever? No provider can do that and to be frank, during the "dirt and hard work" active Construction, phases, the risks of something breaking are obviously greater. What we can promise is that we've built the appropriate infrastructure that will step in to keep local problems from becoming network-wide issues.

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