๐Ÿ—œ๏ธClosing the Gap: Achieving Last Mile Telecommunications Availability & Navigating Causation Challenges ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ’ก

๐Ÿ—œ๏ธClosing the Gap: Achieving Last Mile Telecommunications Availability & Navigating Causation Challenges ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ’ก

Clients naturally assume that any issue preventing them from working stems from the service provider's domain but service providers tend to confine their assurances to the physical links they manage

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3 min read

In the realm of telecommunications, a significant divide often exists between client expectations of availability and what service providers perceive as their responsibility. Clients naturally assume that any issue preventing them from working stems from the service provider's domain. However, service providers tend to confine their assurances to the physical links they manage. This gap in understanding and accountability can lead to customer churn, as disputes erupt when clients report downtime, and service providers respond with a disheartening, 'No Fault Found.' While the service provider may technically be accurate in their assessment, it does little to alleviate the customer's frustration, as they often lack insight into the underlying problems. To bridge this gap, service providers need to become more perceptive and customer-centric in their approach to retain and satisfy their clientele.

Let's delve into the causation problems that can disrupt telecommunications availability:

  1. Power Problems: These encompass issues at the client premises, including utility failures and localized problems like tripped circuits. Additionally, inexpensive client premise equipment (CPE) often employs subpar connectors prone to failure. In regions like South Africa, frequent load shedding exacerbates power-related disruptions.

  2. Theft: Equipment theft is an unfortunate reality, and in certain areas, it extends beyond the gear to include cabling and anything remotely valuable, whether secured or not.

  3. Fire Incidents: Accidents happen, and fires can disrupt telecommunications infrastructure, whether due to a braai gone awry or other causes.

  4. Cable Breaks: Maintenance activities by fiber crews or construction work (hello, backhoes!) can lead to cable breaks, impacting connectivity.

  5. Service Provider Maintenance: Occasionally, service provider maintenance tasks result in downtime, often stemming from a lack of proper labeling or documentation, leading to incorrect paths being worked on.

  6. Network Overutilization: Sometimes, staff members indulge in non-business-critical activities like downloading movies or streaming YouTube, choking the network's bandwidth.

  7. Telecommunications Operator Congestion: Local Points of Presence (POPs) can become congested, causing slowdowns in services, as experienced in ADSL DSLAMs at local exchange levels in some areas.

  8. Media Errors: Issues such as attenuation on fiber or interference on wireless links can disrupt service. In some cases, it's the result of well-meaning but misconfigured Ethernet ports by "telnet jockeys."

  9. Faulty Patch Cords and Pigtails: Poor patch management and incorrect destressing of cables can lead to faults in patch cords and pigtails.

  10. Equipment Failures: From blown power supplies to pigeon droppings on equipment or generator exhaust infiltrating network closets, various equipment failures can disrupt operations.

  11. Reboots and Freezes: Sometimes, networking equipment requires a good ol' reboot due to freezing or performance issues, making it a top cause of outages after power problems.

  12. Security Incidents: Virus attacks, denial of service incidents, ransomware, and similar security breaches can mimic symptoms of overutilization. Often, it's the result of known vulnerabilities left unpatched in networking kit firmware.

  13. Firewalls and ACLs: The notorious 'Mordac and his damn firewall' situation, often arising from misconfigurations or overzealous security measures.

SD-WAN: Bridging the Causation Gap

In this landscape of causation challenges, SD-WAN emerges as a silver lining. A savvy service provider can leverage SD-WAN to offer customers valuable insights into the causes of disruptions, regardless of whether they fall under the provider's responsibility or not. SD-WAN's core principle revolves around diversification, avoiding a single point of failure. Regardless of the causation, the impact remains limited to a singular link. With multiple failover and aggregated links at the forefront, SD-WAN ensures resilience and reliability, diminishing the frustration of downtime.

If you have insights or experiences related to the last mile and telecommunications availability, we welcome your comments and contributions below! ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ๐ŸŒ

Ronald ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa. ๐Ÿ‘‰ Contact Fusion

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