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07/30/2003 - Interlink Advantage Upgrades Connectivity

"Customer service is the highest priority at Interlink Advantage," according to Tim Chapman, Vice President. As an Internet Service Provider to many businesses in Spokane and nation-wide, they are continually adding technology to insure that their customers have all the bandwidth they need and never have interrupted service --- not even if there were a disaster. Their most recent upgrade was an OC -12 fiber line obtained through Time Warner.

With an OC-12, connection speed can be up to 622 megabits per second --- or about two thirds of a gigabit. Interlink's OC-12 is a configured double entry cable on a SONET ring. Services are configured off of the fiber. "It allows us to have extra capacity available when customers need it,"says Kirt Runolfson, Interlink's technical guru. "When we need more capacity, it allows us to provision the resources, and bring them up in very little time."

An example is the local television station whose Web site Interlink hosts. When there is breaking news anywhere in the world, the station channels the information directly to its Web site. This could include streaming video, voice, and photographs, in addition to text. They require high performance from connectivity and bandwidth.

How it all works is quite technical, but simple in essence. The OC-12 ring enters the network operations center from two directions and goes to a Cisco 'box'. Here, the optical is converted to electrical, and the network communications are converted to Ethernet, which is used to connect with the server.

To insure uninterrupted service for their customers, Interlink has both backup batteries and a natural gas fired generator in case of power failure. The generator can be switched to propane if the natural gas fails. Because they are on a SONET ring, if a cable is dug up in the street, they have a second entry. For even more redundancy, Interlink has a wireless T-1 connection through Velocitus, and a copper T-1 line.

Interlink also uses "peering" as a safety measure. This means connecting with an ISP of the same relative size to exchange traffic or reroute traffic when needed. Rerouting could be necessary if a server is off line for maintenance. This keeps local traffic local so that it isn't slowed by being routed to a distant city and then returned.

Interlink has recently added business class DSL to its long list of services. The DSL advantages they offer include line conditioning and technology installation, ISP service, a static IP address, and only one bill. Their service is focused on small and medium sized businesses, and they can easily cover all of downtown. All the client needs is a copper line. A DSL with a 384kbps connection speed would cost about $109 per month.

For more information about Interlink Advantage, go to: .

Billie Moreland
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