Bandwidth aggregation is no silver bullet for emergency communications

Adaptive private networking — bundling different types and speeds of network elements to create an inexpensive but reliable set of links — can help stretch networking budgets, but it does not solve all problems.

“Learn to manage expectations,” said the technical manager of Arizona’s Maricopa Region 911 service, who requested to remain anonymous. “We had hoped to be further along by now in getting additional links.”


Related coverage:

Virtual WAN stretches 911 budget with low-cost network reliability


The regional 911 service provider, a governmental consortium serving the Phoenix metro area, is using Talari Networking appliances to intelligently aggregate links into a virtual WAN. That has improved performance of the legacy network without requiring additional bandwidth.

Now that they know it works, “we’re anxious to get new connections,” he said, taking advantage of broadband consumer links of 10 megabits/sec and up that cost much less than business-class frame relay service.

There also are other options for improving performance available to a consortium that includes many local jurisdictions, each with its own resources. “Be ready to start leveraging your relationships with different stakeholders,” the manager said.

Bringing together county networks, metropolitan traffic control system networks and other independent systems can help to create a redundant, varied ecosystem that can increase overall capacity and help ensure reliability.

The service-level agreements that are given up when moving away from expensive business-class networks can be replaced by having multiple independent networks with minimal sharing of physical infrastructure. This can help eliminate single points of failure and maintain failover routes to provide high availability.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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