In Their Own Words


Real-World Advice From Network Managers

What's the real value of network monitoring? What are the important maintenance and support issues telecoms face today? When you're selecting new network monitoring equipment, what do you expect your vendor to provide?

To get a real-world perspective on these questions, we went to the people who deal with this issues in their everyday work-the network managers of some major telecom companies. We got their candid perspective on network monitoring and the role it plays in the operations of their networks.

Roberto Zamuco

Roberto Zamuco is Senior Manager of National Transport Engineering for XO.

Roberto Zamuco
Roberto Zamuco
Senior Manager
Nation Transport Engineering for XO

Why network monitoring is important
"When the customer calls you with an issue, it's really too late. My goal with our network monitoring system was to enhance alarms and remote connectivity so that before an outage happens, a NOC technician is already looking at it before customers call. It's the best thing to be able to tell your customer, 'Yes, we know there's an issue, and we're working on it, and this is our estimated time of repair.'"

Reducing windshield time
"Reducing windshield time is all about knowing what the issue is before you actually dispatch. Repairs are a big challenge when you have a small staff, and it's even more complicated if you have to send a technician to the remote site only to find out the problem is something you could fix remotely. Or if you find that you don't have the right equipment and you have to go back and get it. That hurts you. So it's really ideal if you can get remote connectivity, analyze what's wrong and then dispatch. Then you already have the problem diagnosed and when you send the technician out there you know that he can fix it."

The role of network monitoring in business
"I'm sure this applied to all telecom companies: your alarming budget, your NMS budget, or your telemetry group is viewed as a cost center and it's not perceived as directly related to generating revenue. That attitude is also reflected by the equipment manufacturers, because their primary concern is getting a box that telecoms can use to produce service, without putting too much thought into how the telecom is supposed to maintain service for their customers."

Choosing an equipment vendor
"I highlight the items that make a product special, its cost benefit versus other products. The DPS units have a lot of features that some boxes don't. DPS is very good to work with, and their technical support is top-notch. If I have a question, they respond right away. I have nothing but praise for DPS's technical folk. If you are looking for an alternative to what you're using right now for alarming, you should definitely give them a look."

Rob Walsman

Rob Walsman is senior support engineer for Level 3.

Rob Walsman
Rob Walsman
Senior support engineer
Level 3.

Why network monitoring is important
"Our biggest issue is how to cut costs and finding ways we can cut manpower, finding anything that can be done to increase the efficiency of people. If there's a way you can reduce windshield time that's stupendous. We have good alarms because of our work with DPS Telecom. We know pretty much what's going on in the hub before we send a tech, and that helps."

What builds network reliability
"We have very high reliability. It's because we have good telemetry in the field so we can find things before we send a tech."

The value of custom engineering
"Custom engineering services is something that keeps me going back to DPS Telecom whenever I can, because it's hard to find. They have a good base of products and then it's just a matter of doing some tweaking. That really makes a big difference.

"We talked with another vendor to see what they had. They weren't willing to work with us when we said, 'Boy, that would be a great system if it only did this.' They said, 'Sorry, it doesn't do that.' Whereas with DPS Telecom, when we said, 'It would be a great system if it does that,' they said, 'Let me think about that. We can probably do it.' And they did it! "

Bill Russell

Bill Russell is network operations manager for Texas Lone Star Network

Bill Russell
Bill Russell
Network operations manager
Texas Lone Star Network

Reducing windshield time
"Windshield time is very important to us, because most all of our member companies don't have after-hours coverage. We are their after-hours coverage, and small as these companies are, they don't have a lot of technicians experienced in surveillance. We can isolate the trouble using the DPS equipment and call the right person in to the right location. With T/MonXM we can pinpoint the problem and have a single truck roll instead of someone searching up and down the highway."

Choosing an equipment vendor
"We started from scratch. Our general manager and senior managers went over several vendors' equipment specifications and abilities and they decided on DPS. DPS was cheaper and better. It was half the price of another vendor's platform and it would do at least as much, if not more.

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