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Managing Network Traffic During Disasters

Recent hurricanes in the Atlantic have caused widespread damage. The most sudden and important impacts are human and infrastructure. Within a disaster scenario, communications are crucial. Yet, the networks that carry these communications are impacted both by the storm itself and by spikes in traffic. These peaks have been seen by Ottawa computer services.

Managing network traffic before, during and after crises is essential to best implementing the response and recovery. IT companies in Ottawa realize the importance of network performance during emergencies. Innovative management solutions must be developed and considered prior to their need.

Traffic Impacts

Prior to a natural disaster, there is a peak in communications traffic. These trends are known to IT companies in OttawaRecent digital demand was analyzed throughout Hurricane Harvey and its landing in Texas. The examination of a major communication company’s traffic showed a peak right before landfall, and a significant decrease during and in the week following.

During a disaster response, competition for limited bandwidth is high. This can impact Ottawa computer services. Standard methods for routing traffic were not developed for the extreme volumes produced during emergencies. Also, response teams need to share large volumes of information, such as location data, 911 requests, and video communications.

Innovative Solutions

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology saw the danger of emergency network demand. “Sharing data on the internet during an emergency is like trying to drive a jet down the street at rush hour,” said Jennifer Schneider, lead project investigator. Their solution is a new protocol to manage emergency traffic: Multi-Node Label Routing Protocol (MNLR).

MNLR is designed with an immediate failover mechanism. As soon as a network failure is detected, the data takes an alternate path. The network routes are divided into hierarchies so new routes are more efficiently taken. It also runs below the existing internet protocols, which allows regular internet traffic to run as normal.

The protocol has been tested in a simulated emergency environment. A standard protocol recovered from a failure in 150 seconds. MNR took only 30 seconds.

In emergency scenarios, minutes matter. Protocols that can more efficiently move critical data are part an important part of an emergency response.

There is also a role to play on the client side. During a natural disaster, consideration must be given to output. Some nearby areas may be unaffected, yet the communication networks are shared. Minimize bandwidth usage by compressing video, decreasing file size, or reducing overall traffic. These actions will reduce the strain on the communications network.

Network performance is important on a day-to-day basis. It becomes critical in emergency scenarios. The extreme demands need to be managed to deliver a response. Work with your network administrator and Ottawa computer services to ensure your company network is ready. IT companies in Ottawa recognize that preparation and reaction are key steps in emergency scenarios.