By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
Internet outages are a fact of life. But local InfoWest customers are about to see a great improvement in the reliability of their internet service.
Historically, InfoWest customers in the Logandale, Overton, and Moapa areas have received service through a link to a receiver on Beacon Hill that came from St. George. If anything happened to the St. George equipment, such as the incredible amounts of snow that buried the equipment and interrupted service this last January, valley customers would have no internet service at all until the St. George end was fixed.
Long before the recent outage, InfoWest officials had already recognized the potential for problems. So they have recently finalized a deal to use a currently existing fiber link running to Beacon Hill from Las Vegas as a backup, also known as a redundancy, for local service users. InfoWest Marketing Manager,
“The snow incident with Rocky Mountain Power brought some weaknesses in our system to our attention,” said Infowest spokeswoman Catherine Corpus. “We wanted to correct these. We’re all about redundancies. We want our customers to have the best internet experience possible.”
The link from St. George is still the primary link, Corpus explained. But in the event the link fails or the traffic becomes too heavy, the fiber link from Vegas will automatically switch over and pick up the traffic seamlessly.
Corpus was quick to clarify that the fiber upgrade does not extend into each customer’s home. In other words, the addition of the fiber redundancy from Las Vegas does not affect individual home usage or equipment.
“We have many customers calling us excited about speed upgrades and so forth with the fiber,” she said. “We want to stress that the fiber runs only to the tower on Beacon Hill. We are a point-to-point wireless broadband and customers still have to have an antenna on their roof with a clear line of sight to the tower.”
InfoWest Chief Technical Officer Cassidy Larsen further explained, “”The new fiber connection into Moapa Valley has given InfoWest extra capacity and redundancy to provide improved connections to our service area. In the event something happens to either connection, traffic will automatically route around the downed connection within seconds and with no manual intervention required.”
Local InfoWest representative Adam Hardy is very excited about the upgrades. He explained that the switch to the fiber system was finalized in February and has been tested with great success.
“I’m happy it’s done because we were needing a backup and it’s nice to have that comfort so we don’t have events like we had in January,” Hardy said. “The fiber connection is working well and we have had quite a bit of traffic diverted onto it already as crews have begun working on the St. George link to West Mountain.”
Larsen said that additional system upgrades are in the works. The company is working on yet another upgrade incorporating the lastest generation of Cisco equipment.
“Within the last year, InfoWest has heavily invested in improving our network in Moapa Valley by adding more access points, tower sites, and additional licensed backhauls, in addition to our current upgrade project,” Larsen said. “InfoWest customers will continue to see many more improvements coming in 2017.”