Internet Performance is Key
To ensure the success of the smart cities project, it is essential to invest in building a strong foundation that can support the increased dependence on the Internet infrastructure in the country.
The stakes for the government and all solution and service providers are skyrocketing. Just like eCommerce businesses have been struggling with inadequate Internet infrastructure and poor connectivity across devices, smart cities too are expected to grapple with similar issues that could significantly slow down their creation.
With this background in mind, Internet performance becomes a critical element in ensuring that multiple services connected within smart cities are always reachable, fast, and secure. Internet performance is an approach to improve the availability, security, speed, and costefficiencies of your Internet infrastructure by providing insight into Internet conditions so you can respond effectively. What this essentially means is:
1) Always Reachable: Once implemented, users will expect automated services to be reachable: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 and one quarter days a year!
Reachability and availability are closely related, but different. Reachability means a user can get to the service/ website over the Internet. Routing and DNS are two key components of reachability.
Availability means the service/ website is actually there (up and running) when a user gets to your web servers!
2) Always Fast: The Internet is constantly changing. In the eCommerce segment, three seconds can be the difference between a loyal customer and a lost customer. Hence, essentials like the ones mentioned below are a must:
Improve website performance: As every user’s first experience of the service will start with multiple DNS queries, avoid making them wait for the service to load by resolving DNS queries faster and routing users to the most optimal endpoint for performance.
Create a seamless omnichannel experience:
Whether users are accessing the service from home on their computers or on the go with their mobile devices, ensure that they always experience the same great performance.
Stay on top of Internet trends:
Use Internet performance tools to intelligently monitor and analyze current Internet conditions and make important infrastructure decisions to improve the overall performance of the service.
Remain consistent across borders:
Geolocation load balancing allows to route users based on their location (for example, country, state, or province). With a global network, users can expect to receive the same performance from the service whether they’re at home or traveling abroad.
3) Always Secure: A security breach is absolutely unacceptable and can lead to a loss of user confidence in the services and ultimate the service providers.
Traditionally, entities have focused their security efforts on securing their network or datacenter perimeter with security infrastructure such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPSes). However, very little focus has been directed toward extending security beyond—or outside—the firewall which is where the point of entry for the breach usually is.
Avoid ‘Death by Retry’
When we are dependent on services that are out of our control, we have to be conscious of two things: They may stop working at any point; we will have no control whatsoever over when they will start working again. Therefore, we have to architect systems to handle this failure.
From a smart cities perspective, once a failure state is known, it would be essential to share that knowledge across any elements of the system that depend on that service and put in place a measured policy for attempting retries. It is best to not create a ‘death by retry’ situation where the system is brought down by constant attempts to connect to an unavailable system.
A good architectural practice is to route all requests through a central point of connection. If the functionality provided by the third-party system is key, then consider having a replacement system in place and automatically failover to it.
Another option is to capture all the details of the request for processing offline when the system returns. This is valid for systems for payment processing or appointment bookings.
The Last Word
As smart cities evolve, there are two important factors that need to be considered. One is the physical creation of the smart city with its infrastructure, employment, housing, etc. The second is how it will be self-sufficient, generating its own (prosperity) economy and wealth—here it will be important to ensure the Internet infrastructure is designed not for today but for the future and it is with the use of agnostic suppliers. The Internet infrastructure is what will be the connection of people, content, and commerce within the city, as well as the rest of India and the world.