The Brilliance of Redundancy and the Backup Quarterback

Funny…the things that remind you of the importance of network equipment redundancy.

A few weekends ago I was watching the football team of my alma mater on TV – that would be the Florida State Seminoles, sports fans – take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While Wake Forest was playing well, the Noles’ performance was…meh.

The Seminoles took the win, 24-16, but it wasn’t pretty. The new QB that our Head Coach JUST HAD TO RECRUIT after being dropped by from Notre Dame continues to perform less-than-stellar on the field, while the team in general seems to be plagued with injuries.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest looked good…REALLY good, in spite of an injury to one of their key players. Their starting quarterback had been injured in the previous week’s game, so Wake Forest’s second needed to step up. And he did – big time. Backup QB Kendall Hinton had 27 completions for 215 yards, threw for a touchdown, and had a 110 efficiency rating, as well – amazing for a freshman.

What does playmaker Quarterback Kendall Hinton have to do with network redundancy, you ask? Everything. Think of the Demon Deacons as a broadcast network. Follow this analogy and Hinton was the off-the-shelf redundancy that seamlessly replaced the failed piece of equipment, allowing the team – I mean network – to stay in the game (which they did – just ask us Noles).

Never doubt the importance of redundancy.

In one of this year’s previous posts (Three Things to Know to Keep Your ABR Network Alive) we acknowledged not every current ABR network is financially ready to make the investment in a DVB platform, but an outlay in MULTIPLE spare DAC 7000 encoders and ABR 202 or 202A receivers MUST be made until you convert. Think two encoders and enough spare receivers to supply half of your downlink sites.

Remember: ABR equipment is no longer being manufactured and will only be repaired as long as parts are available. A missing ABR 202 with no backup will cost you a single downlink locale, yet a DAC with no backup means your entire network is indefinitely off the air!

Networks that have invested in the newer DVB audio or video platforms by manufacturers such as XDS, IDC, 2WComm and Ateme should not ignore the need for redundancy, either. Yes, your gear is shiny and new, but things happen. Our suggestion? One receiver for every TEN in the field. And consider budgeting for an additional encoder, modem, and amplifier, as well. Lacking these essential pieces may mean your entire network may be down for days, if not weeks.

Most FSU fans assumed the #9 ranked Seminoles would easily dominate the unranked Demon Deacons, but that was not the case. The 24-16 score does not adequately reflect how competitively the Deacons played. Wake Forest played up – hungry for a win against the Noles’ and confident in the ability of their backup – I’ll say it, redundant – quarterback.

So take a look at your network with critical eyes. Are you fully redundant?

Or, are there some improvements you can make to ensure you have backup?