Axia is an "operator of operators," providing broadband connectivity to service providers and provincial government customers throughout urban and rural Alberta, Canada. Axia designed and operates "the Alberta SuperNet", a broadband superhighway that stretches across the province. Using this state-of-the-art IP network, Axia connects 429 communities and provides direct, high-speed connectivity to more than 4,200 government, learning, health, library, and municipal facilities.
With such a vast territory, effective alarm monitoring was particularly important for Axia. The company separates themselves from other broadband providers by delivering guaranteed levels of connectivity. Meeting this exceptional guarantee requires exceptional network visibility.
A Connectivity Guarantee Required Advanced Monitoring and Building Access Control
Jim Cann is a Network Analyst at Axia. To meet his uptime goals, Cann knew he needed an advanced monitoring solution. Not only did Axia need to receive detailed environmental alarms, but their business model also necessitated robust building access control. Because broadband user companies and subcontractors require access to SuperNet sites, Axia needed a way to control and monitor site access across the network.
On top of the site visibility and access control Axia needed from a monitoring system, they also needed to find an especially durable monitoring gear. "Our most Northern sites can get as cold as 46 degrees below zero... Celsius! Generally, equipment does not do well at those temperatures," Cann said with a chuckle.
"It's been a very positive experience..."
Axia Finds Effective and Durable Remotes
To provide for their extensive network monitoring needs, Axia deployed a fleet of NetGuardian RTUs and an IAM. NetGuardians carry industrial temperature ratings, making them capable of operating in extreme Alberta climates.
In addition to being very durable, the NetGuardians provide the detailed alarming that Axia must have in order to satisfy its guaranteed connectivity levels.
Axia Brings its Alarms Together With the IAM Alarm Master
With the IAM master, Cann is able to bring in alarms from Axia's sites and view them on a single screen. The IAM also mediates alarms from various protocols as SNMP traps to Axia's SNMP manager.
DPS technicians visited Axia's Network Operations Centre to help them deploy their new monitoring system. "When we initially got the IAM system, they came out and helped us set up the unit and taught us how to use it," Cann said.
NetGuardians Reduce Costly Windshield Time by Controlling Wireless Gear Remotely
Remote control of equipment has been key in reducing costly windshield time at Axia. "In several cases, we've used NetGuardians to switch our wireless gear over to protection mode without having to send somebody to the site," Cann said. "In the event of a radio failing on our primary path, we are able to switch them over to the protection path remotely before we lose connectivity."
Axia Leverages its Monitoring System Investment with Integrated Building Access Control
Cann is able to use the NetGuardian devices for more than just troubleshooting communication losses and fiber cuts. With the integrated Building Access System, Cann leverages his IAM and NetGuardians to control access to Axia's POP sites, which goes a long way toward ensuring that mission-critical equipment is secure.
Axia's system provides full individual code access on a POP site basis. "We've developed a tiered access system with users assigned to groups and groups assigned to companies," Cann said. "If we have technicians that contract out to more than one of our service providers or broadband users, they can gain access based on which sites their service providers can access."
In a network like SuperNet, individual technicians from many different organizations must have individualized access permissions. Fortunately, the DPS Building Access System provides this kind of user-level access control. "Everyone has their own code," Cann said. "It's worked really well for us."
"I'm happy with the NetGuardians. They've saved us an immense amount of windshield time..."
Detailed Access Logs Provide User-Level Granularity
Because every technician has a unique access code, Axia's building access logs are extraordinarily detailed. "We know who went in, where they went in, what time they went in, and what time they went out," Cann said. "We track that directly, so we can call somebody if a tech leaves a site and something is broken. We can recall that technician back to the site right away."
Responsive Tech Support Keeps Axia's Monitoring Running Smoothly
A monitoring system is only is good as the support behind it, and Cann has had very good experiences with DPS Tech Support. "It's been a very positive experience," Cann said. "They're always there, and they're always good about helping us."
Advanced Alarm Monitoring and Building Access Control Support Axia's Connectivity Guarantee
Axia's investment in advanced monitoring and building access control plays a big part in upholding their connectivity level guarantee.
By deploying an advanced monitoring solution with integrated access control, Axia has protected revenue and reduced costly site visits. "I'm happy with the NetGuardians," Cann said. "They've saved us an immense amount of windshield time."
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