Our Blog


Building a 530 km ‘Glass Highway’ from Regina to Saskatoon

“FlexNetworks is excited to play a part in the Connect to Innovate program and help transform the lives of thousands of Canadians and businesses. Partnering with the Government of Canada will enable us to build a fibre-optic network that will give Saskatchewan families and businesses access to high-speed services, which are essential to communicating and being competitive.”
 Jacques Taillefer, Executive Vice President, FlexNetworks

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Connectivity Issue

From our viewpoint we’ve found that the three biggest issues related to poor connectivity in the workplace are:

  1. Staff productivity reduced by a slow network,
  2. Real-time applications negatively impacted by unreliable and instable consumer-grade services with ‘best-effort’ SLA’s, and,
  3. Delayed implementation of new technologies.

Do any of these resonate with you?

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What is Dark Fibre? Why would I want it?

A little Telecom 101 today.

I’ve been asked this question a few times recently, and like most telecom-lifers, I’ve made the mistake of assuming everyone knows:

Dark Fibre is a strand of fibre optic cable that has been installed between two locations but is not connected to a larger, Carrier network. It’s a private link that the user is required to “light up” with their own optical network gear. Its extremely secure and bandwidth throughput is only limited by the electronics attached to the ends of it.

In most cases, the user leases the strand of fibre from a Carrier on a long-term basis (usually 10 or more years) though larger operations (Hydro Utilities, Universities and Municipalities, for example) may self-install because they have the staff in-house and own the ‘Right-of-ways’, poles and underground conduit required to do so.

Most Carriers have stopped providing Dark Fibre for purely economic reasons; its more financially lucrative for them to sell managed or ‘lit’ services on their network. Fibre Optic Infrastructure is a finite resource; Carriers only install so many strands of fibre in their networks and know its costly and time-consuming to expand ‘fibre-counts’ along established routes.

When you sell a single-strand of Dark Fibre, that circuit carries one service. A single strand of fibre that is part of a Carrier’s managed or ‘lit’ network can carry multiple, bi-directional signals, increasing the capacity of that network ten-fold and most importantly, maximizing revenue. This is also why Dark Fibre is considered a Premium product – priced higher than a managed service and offered for longer term lengths.

FlexNetworks is pleased to offer Dark Fibre (FlexDark) connections, along with our other core products of Internet (FlexIP) and Ethernet Private Line (FlexNet), within our two operating territories of Saskatchewan and Ottawa.

To check feasibility and get a quote, please contact Sales@flexnetworks.ca.

What is Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (or SD-WAN/SDWAN) and how can it help your business?

SD-WAN (SDWAN), or Software-Defined Wide Area Networking, is technology applied to Wide Area Network (WAN) connections that connect enterprise networks over large geographic distances. It moves network control into the cloud using software, simplifying the management of a WAN. 

Gartner defines SD-WAN with four key requirements: 

  1. SD-WAN supports multiple connection types: MPLS, broadband, Internet, LTE Wireless etc.
  2. The SD-WAN solution must perform load sharing of traffic across multiple WAN connections efficiently and dynamically.
  3. SD-WAN must simplify management, configuration, and orchestration of WAN solutions.
  4. SD-WAN must provide secure VPN and integrate into firewalls, WAN optimization, and other network services.

How SD-WAN can benefit your business 

Cloud-based applications make the business world go around. How your corporate network is designed directly affects your ability to access and properly utilize business-critical applications, share data, utilize social media services, connect via video conference, and more. 

But applications aren’t uniform; they all don’t need the same level of speed, latency and performance from a network. By boosting network capacity exactly where it’s needed, SD-WAN ensures the quality of application delivery. SD-WAN’s dynamic path selection also avoids congestion points and diverts traffic to less-travelled routes. This kind of responsive load balancing lets IT easily perform the high-quality data transfers that are needed for high-performance applications. 

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What is Net Neutrality and how does it impact us in Canada?

Like me, you were probably vaguely aware of a debate taking place in the U.S. on something called Net Neutrality. I knew it had something to do with keeping the Internet an ‘open’ place; meaning no government or corporation could control it, regulate it or operate it. Once I started investigating it more deeply, however, I quickly came to realize how Net Neutrality could impact us here in Canada, too.

The FCC, America’s version of the CRTC, recently repealed Net Neutrality rules in the United States (New York Times Net Neutrality Repealed), allowing their mega ISP’s, think Verizon and Comcast, to gain control of the Internet. How? By giving them the ability to throttle traffic, based on a multitude of factors.

Essentially, they are now free to create an Internet highway with multiple lanes, each with different speeds and permitted applications – you pay for the super-fast lane, you get high-speed/unlimited data transfer plus Facebook, YouTube and Netflix. You pay for the slow lane, you get a lot less.

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Closing the gap on the ‘digital divide’ in rural Saskatchewan

Think about this for a second: when was the last time you picked up a landline telephone somewhere in Canada and didn’t get a dial-tone? I can recall maybe one or two times in the distant past when I got a ‘fast-busy’ signal instead of the tell-tale drone of dial-tone.

The geographic disparity of our vast country did not stop each of the provincial telephone companies nor the Federal Government from investing the billions of dollars required to build out both the provincial and national phone network, to the point that we have achieved 99% dial-tone coverage across Canada. It is and continues to be a universal right that all Canadians, regardless of their location, have access to landline dial-tone.

Broadband internet access, however, is another story.

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