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Crash Course: Router Redundancy Protocols

Routing protocols add redundancy and reliability to increase uptime. Here's what you need to know.

As applications like voice over IP raise the bar higher for network uptime, it may be time to consider new ways to keep your network humming along without interruption. Routing protocols such as VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol), IEEE 802.1w, OSPF-ECMP (Open Shortest Path First-Equal Cost Multipath) and others let you remove single points of failure by adding redundancy--and reliability--in your multivendor network equipment and connections to help keep those voice calls coming.

   

Implementing these protocols takes planning and training, and may require software upgrades or even new switches and routers. But, before you go there, be sure your documentation and change-control procedures are sufficient. Good documentation lets you more easily resolve network problems and solid change-control procedures help prevent one of the biggest causes of network downtime--human error.

Carefully review the impact of any changes to your network, update your documentation, then have your staff test major changes in router and switch configurations and software upgrades in the lab.

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