Read part 1 to see the problems that 3 Rivers telephone faced.
3 Rivers was able to detect and resolve the fiber cut so quickly because of prompt, detailed notification from the T/Mon Alarm Monitoring System and its ASCII Alarm Processor Software Module. 3 Rivers uses T/Mon's ASCII Alarm Processor to monitor its Alcatel fiber terminals, AFC digital loop carriers, Nortel DMS-10 switch, Nortel DMS-MTX switch and wide-bank multiplexers.
"If we didn't have T/Mon ASCII processing, all we'd get is a summary alarm," said Jacobson. "Then we'd have to log in to the fiber terminal to see what the alarm really was. But with ASCII, we got a very detailed alarm within seconds, showing which fiber ports had lost their connection. So there wasn't any doubt what was happening."
The ASCII Alarm Processor, an optional software module for the T/Mon Alarm Monitoring System, extracts highly detailed alarms from a huge range of telecom equipment - fiber optic gear, telecom switches, SONET equipment, channel banks routers, and even email, FTP and Web servers.
For most of these telecom devices, the official, manufacturer-supplied alarms are just a handful of major/minor summaries that don't give enough information to diagnose problems or make quick dispatch decisions.
ASCII alarm processing gives you a better way to monitor telecom devices. Most telecom devices are designed to print extensive, detailed activity logs. These logs are outputted through the device's printer port as a stream of ordinary ASCII text.
A T/Mon equipped with the ASCII Alarm Processor Software Module continuously scans the ASCII text stream for alarm messages. When an alarm message is detected, the text is extracted and presented through T/Mon as a detailed, real-time alarm.
For Jacobson, the fiber cut was a perfect illustration of why it is important to have alarm monitoring. "Alarm monitoring speeds up how quickly we know where the problem is and how to handle the problem. I don't think you can ever totally stop network outages, especially where we operate in rural Montana, but alarm monitoring helps us get the jump on trouble.
"With alarm monitoring, we communicate faster, we respond faster - it's helped us to prevent some network failures, and it gives us better quality of service to the customer," Jacobson said.
"Just to give one example, we supply some critical communication services to the government. Thanks to alarm monitoring, we've been able to detect problems and start fixing them before our government clients have even seen any degradation in service," Jacobson said.
Jacobson added that T/Mon's ASCII Alarm Processor has been a great tool for getting finely detailed alarms. "Since we started with ASCII, I've expanded on what we're filtering, and now I'm getting much finer alarms. I've got it down to where I can tell if the problem is a T1 card or a DS3 card, and that makes quite a lot of difference."ASC
T/Mon NOC will give you better visibility and control over your entire network. Monitor ASCII and 20 other protocols on one screen. T/Mon's standard pager and email alerts, easy-to-use Web interface, nuisance alarm filtering and multiple remote access options will make your alarm data more useful - reducing both windshield time and the threat of service outages.