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January 07, 2014

What Do Aviation and Telephony Have in Common? Power Failure is Not an Option

By Justin Reynolds, Content Producer

Communication is essential to the success of any business, and customers need support when they want it. Should a businesses’ phone system go down and a customer be greeted with radio silence during a crisis, that customer might ultimately decide to take his or her business elsewhere. With this in mind, it is imperative that businesses do all they can to ensure their phone systems remain online at all times.

Decision makers that understand the importance of maintaining strong voice infrastructure likely have invested in uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that will keep their systems running in case power outages occur. But what happens if the power supply unit (PSU) within that UPS fails?

Your phones go down, and your business suffers.

Having logged countless hours behind the controls of airplanes, Oliver Emmanuel, president and founder of Phybridge (News - Alert), knows the importance of ensuring that systems don’t fail by having a backup layer of redundancy built into them. When airborne, you can’t afford to experience mechanical problems. When designing Phybridge’s innovative switches that deliver Ethernet and Power over Ethernet over a single pair of wire with four times the reach of traditional switches, Emmanuel took the notion into consideration from the start, which is precisely why failover features are built into the company’s switches.

“As a pilot, I am acutely aware of the importance of failover, and this has been designed into our systems from the ground up,” Emmanuel says. “Much like pilots can’t afford engine troubles mid-flight, businesses having communications systems fail is not an option.”

Pictured: Oliver Emmanuel, president and founder of Phybridge

In the event of a power outage, unprepared businesses can be certain their phones will go down. Other businesses will stay online thanks to the failover in place from a UPS. If the PSU inside the switch fails, a redundant power supply will keep it running. But eventually you’ll need a new power supply, and you’ll be forced to bring the switch down anyway.

But in the case of a PSU failure, businesses can guarantee their systems will remain up and running with a hot swappable power supply with redundancy and power-share. Power is essential to keeping phone systems online in any situation, and switches that lack failover features are certain to go offline during power outages.

Though any conversation surrounding IP telephony systems likely focuses on the network itself, when it boils down to it, power is arguably the most important feature of any such system. Without power, even the most formidable voice infrastructure is essentially worthless. With this in mind, decision makers who strive for 5 9s reliability (systems that are online 99.999 percent of the time) should ensure that they do all that they can in order to make sure switches remain powered at all times.

While IP telephony units afford much greater versatility than their legacy counterparts thanks to the fact that they leverage the power of the Internet, one noticeable disadvantage of such phones is the fact that they need power to operate. When power outages occurred in the past, legacy telephones were not affected. Such telephones connected to Publically Switched Telephone Networks (PSTNs) are powered by the telephone company’s battery supply, which continues to function even if there’s a long power outage.

When it comes to IP phones, the telephony industry has evolved and UPS units were developed in order to help keep these phones online during power outages. But the fact that the PSU within the switch could also fail was overlooked by many—but not by Phybridge.

Phones are critical lifelines that are expected to be running at all times. Most of the time, when power outages occur, people need phones the most because of the extenuating circumstances surrounding the outage. And that’s precisely why Phybridge’s PoLRE family of switches was designed from the ground up with power redundancy and hot swappable power supplies to ensure operational continuity of IP phones in the event of a power supply failure. The PoLRE switches that incorporate PowerWise technology are the only products on the market that include such redundancy as a standard feature.

In an aircraft, everything that has to do with power is doubled up so that if one fails, the next takes over. For example, aircrafts feature dual ignition, meaning that if the primary ignition failed mid-flight, the second ignition would be triggered automatically. Furthermore, there are two spark plugs in each cylinder of a piston engine aircraft. Such aircrafts are fitted with two magneto systems which each supply power to a separate spark plug in each cylinder so that if one system goes down, the plane remains operational.

Taking all of that into consideration, Emmanuel realized the importance of redundancy and was inspired by his love of flight when crafting Phybridge’s innovative switches. Such redundancy was built into the foundation of the switches, whereas other companies offer it as an add-on.

Simply put, much like an aircraft cannot afford to lose power, Phybridge understands that phone systems are not operational without it as well. Failure is not an option. If power fails on one of the company’s switches, the other switches will then kick in and your systems will remain online.

Power is a critical component of strong communications infrastructure—and one that is often overlooked. When it comes to redundancy, UPS is just a piece of the puzzle. Phybridge, on the other hand, offers a complete power management solution (PowerWise). Much like an aircraft has dual magnetos to ensure the engine stays operational , a combination of UPS, hot swappable power supplies and power and load sharing ensures businesses are able to attain 5 9s reliability.

Even the most sophisticated telephony infrastructure cannot operate without power. Thanks to his experience at the controls of many an aircraft, Emmanuel knows the importance of power. And because of that, Phybridge does too. 




Edited by Alisen Downey
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