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Hi, I am not Maggie

By April 25, 2015 Broadband

Hi, I am not Maggie.

From time to time, I get an email or even the occasional ‘tweet’ from customers. Problem is they are not my customers. Frontier Networks Inc. (my company) provides coverage in Canada, USA, UK and Australia and operated out of our Toronto (Etobicoke) location. Frontier Communications is different.

Frontier Communications Corporation is a telephone company in the United States, mainly serving rural areas and smaller communities. It was known as Citizens Utilities Company until May 2000 and Citizens Communications Company until July 31, 2008. The CEO there is Maggie Wilderotter. I don’t now Maggie but we are both members of YPO (Young Presidents Organization). Maggie is part of the Northeastern US Region Chapter.

I received an email a few days ago from a network Integrator on behalf of their customer. Their Internet connection was apparently down. This customer apparently relies on their internet connection for their daily POS payments and debit / credit card processing. Sadly I could not help but I directed them to the right company. At last check, there were about 15 companies in Canada and the USA with the name Frontier in it.

But I had a good conversation with the integrator. I shared an opinion. Any retail customer small or large really does need 100% coverage. Imagine standing in line to pay for your purchase and the data connection that would allow you to pay with your debit or credit card is down. Now imagine that it is Christmas Eve, Mother’s Day, Boxing Day and the line behind you is about 30+ people long. Not good.

Retailers have a few days a year that drive a majority of their sales and profits. There is no real way to correlate network up-time probabilities against your most ‘vulnerable’ and ‘sensitive’ volume days. At Frontier (Networks), we work with many, many retailers and regardless of size, we know that a 100% up-time is what they need (may not be what they want, and may even not be what they want to be for).

A vendor circuit, whether from Frontier Networks or Frontier Communications are subject to downtime. Downtime can be both scheduled and unscheduled. It happens. A good service level agreement is not really a guarantee of much other than ‘if’ the circuit goes down that you ‘may’ receive a ‘credit’ off you bill.

In our case, our most basic design scenario provides for 100% up-time – we call this Noah’s Ark.

Noah’s Ark?

You know the story of Noah’s Ark. Two animals (diverse… meaning one male, one female) were loaded up on a boat and when the universe was flushed, boom… Version 1.0 was born. Urban legend was the ill-fated unicorn (male or female) entered the boat, but the other (if female – was likely packing hair product, or was changing for the 10th time; or if male, was sitting on the couch watching the last 10 minutes of the game yelling ‘ I will be right there’) sadly arrived after the departure of the boat. Ergo – the end of the unicorn.

In network design, we often reference the Noah’s Ark model when we design a network.

There are two types.

Redundant = two networks

Diverse = two entirely separate networks, including elements required

What is not redundant?

Not redundant is when you have a single Internet connection from your single internet provider which plugs into a single router which plugs into a single switch which then plugs into one or two retail POS devices.

What is redundant?

Redundant is having two Internet connections from your internet provider which plugs into a single router which plugs into a single switch which then plugs into one or two retail POS devices.

What is diverse?

Diverse is having two Internet Connections from two different internet providers which plugs into a two routers which plug into two switches which then plug into one or two retail POS devices with diverse NIC cards and diverse cabling.

The difference between not redundant, redundant and diverse from Frontier on a monthly basis is pretty nominal. It is pretty much what we drop off most of the time.

Still don’t know what Diverse is?

Picture this. You operate a Bar. It is Superbowl weekend. You just put in $ 50,000 in new TVs, stocked up on beer and made an over-the-top purchase of foods and supplies to nail what could be your busiest day of the year. And your customers, when it comes time to pay, cannot.

Come to think of it, a generator could come in handy as well!

About Frontier Networks:

Frontier Networks Inc. is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and provides Broadband Internet or MPLS, Voice lines or Cloud PBX (a replacement to old phone systems), cloud servers and colocation to Canadian Retail and Multi Site customers who demand world-wide coverage from a ‘new’ network. “we like to do traditional things in a non-traditional way”.  Frontier has built a network that connects to other networks. Think of them like a large ‘backbone’ of interconnected networks. They connect to every phone company, cable company, wireless and hydro/utelco in Canada and the US through a series of well-connected Points of Presence (POPs). Simply put ‘we don’t suck’.

See more at:

Follow me @luigicalabrese
Follow Frontier @frontiernetwork