How To Get The Best Possible Value From Your NetGuardian

NetGuardian remotes are loaded with functionality that allows you to customize your monitoring system to meet the exact needs of your network. With them, you can reduce costs, protect revenue, and make your job easier.

The New NetGuardian 832A G4

After much interaction with our user base, we've discovered that a significant portion isn't using the NetGuardian to its fullest capacity. In most cases, they simply "didn't know it could do that." Others didn't have access to the unused function because it was added in recent firmware updates. Read on to learn how several underutilized features of the NetGuardian can positively impact your network reliability.

Secondary Notifications

In addition to sending alarms to a primary SNMP master, NetGuardians can also be configured to send alarms to a backup master, email address, pager, and more. These secondary notifications get important alarm information to the people who can best solve the problem; turning a potential long-term outage into a quick and easy fix.

For example, open door alarms could be sent via pager to security personnel, while ping alarms and other system issues could be emailed to the appropriate technician.

Event History

NetGuardians store the 100 most recent alarm events in the Event Log. This log is easily accessible via the Web browser or TTY interfaces. Accessing your event history is useful when a problem is identified at the site of a particular NetGuardian, especially when monitoring without a master.

Alarm Point Grouping

The key to alarm point grouping is flexibility. By assigning your alarm points into as many as 8 distinct groups, you can tailor your monitoring system to the unique needs of your network.

Alarm Point Grouping enables you to:

  • Assign alarms more quickly, an entire group at a time
  • Send alarms to more masters than otherwise possible
  • Send different types of alarms to different departments
  • Filter by group in the event log
  • Group alarms by severity
  • Create customized SNMP functionality

Network Time Protocol (NTP) Support

NetGuardian support for NTP eliminates the need to enter the date and time into the unit. Simply specify the IP address of an NTP server on your network or the Internet. The NetGuardian will periodically synchronize its internal clock with the designated NTP server, ensuring a consistently accurate date and time setting.

Accumulator

The Accumulator function of the NetGuardian is designed to provide a timer and an optional second notification after an initial notification. When an user-designated alarm is sent out, the accumulator timer begins. This current value of the time can be check at will. A threshold can also be set so that the NetGuardian will send a second alarm after a certain amount of time has elapsed since the first alarm.

One DPS client has used the accumulator function to estimate the level of generator fuel remaining at remote sites. When the tank is filled, the accumulator begins and is used in the future to gauge the remaining fuel level.

Derived Alarms

Derived alarms are based on analysis of multiple incoming alarms, and they allow you to create a truly intelligent alarm monitoring system. As a simple example, you might have two separate minor alarms for "Generator Down" and "Bad Battery". When both of these minor incidents happen simultaneously, however, the situation becomes far more serious. With a derived alarm, your NetGuardian can be prepared to analyze this situation and instantly page the appropriate individual(s) with a critical alarm notification.

Derived Controls

Derived controls are like derived alarms that automatically take corrective action when a problem arises. There are two types of derived controls: echo and formula.

Echo derived controls establish a one-to-one relationship between an alarm input and a relay. For example, if your monitoring device senses that a tower light has gone out, it can automatically latch a relay to turn on a backup light within seconds.

Formula derived controls analyze multiple inputs according to a user-defined formula and respond accordingly. Taking the derived alarm example of power sources one step further, the formula for a derived control might be written as follows:

If ( (generator=down) AND (battery=bad) )
Then ( (page=technician) AND (backupGen=start) )

This example formula watches for simultaneous battery and generator failures. Within seconds of such an occurrence, the NetGuardian automatically activates a backup generator and pages a designated technician with a detailed alert message.

With the power of derived controls, NetGuardians can automatically prevent revenue-reducing outages.

Analog Alarms

Analog input is one of the most useful capabilities of the NetGuardian. Analogs supply much more robust information than discrete alarms and are excellent for monitoring temperature, power voltage, humidity, and a variety of other variables.

NetGuardian analog inputs generate alarms when any of four user-defined thresholds are crossed (minor under, minor over, major under, major over). Analogs can also be polled at any time to get accurate, real-time information about your remote sites.

NetGuardians also support data scaling to turn input voltages into instantly recognizable information. For example, data for temperature can be displayed as degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius instead of input voltages that require interpretation by the user.

Consolidated Communications recently installed the new NetGuardian 216T and is now using its analog monitoring capabilities to monitor internal and external temperature at remote sites. Also, when Hurricane Rita struck in 2005, Consolidated used the real-time power voltage information provided by its NetGuardians to deliver backup generators to the sites that needed them most.

Other functions that are underutilized include Alternate Path Reporting, Dual NICs and Test Sets.

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