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In T/MonXM, alarms are grouped into categories called "windows." Alarm windows are a flexible interface element that can be used to organize your alarm information into highly usable, easily understood alarm displays. Here are some tips on optimizing your T/MonXM window layout.
Windows are the top-most level of the T/MonXM database, and the primary element seen by system operators monitoring the system. In the alarm summary screen shown here, each labeled rectangle represents an alarm window. A window is simply a defined list of alarms that is displayed as a unit. Windows can be defined by geographic area, alarm priority, equipment type, security restrictions or other criteria.
An alarm point can belong to several different windows, defined in different ways, and be displayed in every window to which it belongs. For example, a fire in a generator room in Seattle would be displayed in the All Alarms window, the Critical window, the Fire window, the Power window, and in a Site Alarm window for that location.
DPS Telecom recommends that you use the first page of your Alarm Summary Screen (Windows 1-30) to create a single at-a-glance network status screen. This screen will summarize the entire network, so that if anything goes wrong anywhere in your network, you'll see it here first.
To create this one-stop network summary screen, use Windows 1-30 only for severity windows (Critical, Major, Minor, and Status), equipment windows (power, tower lights, microwave, etc.), and alarm type windows (fire, generator fail, door, etc.) Don't start listing your site windows until Window 31, on the second page of the Alarm Summary screen.
Having a single network summary screen will do a lot to minimize the greatest danger facing telecom networks-human error. You can have the most advanced technology monitoring your network and still suffer a catastrophic failure if there's any possibility that a human operator will miss an alarm notification. But if your entire network is summarized in one screen, there is very little chance that an operator will miss an alarm. The last thing you want in an emergency is a confusing interface where operators must hunt for the information they need.
You may find that after defining your severity, equipment, and alarm type windows that you still have many empty windows on page 1 of the Alarm Summary screen. In that case, we still recommend beginning your site window listings on page 2. This will leave you room to accommodate the growth of your network. If you ever need to add new types of equipment to your network, you can list them in the empty windows on page 1. This will preserve your single network summary screen.
Also, leaving space to add windows later will save you from ever having to change your windows. A small change to your window definitions can entail extensive point modification, which may take hours, depending on the complexity of your network.
Windows can also be used to conveniently sort alarms for reports. If you regularly need reports on a diverse group of alarms that don't fit into a pre-existing category, they can be assigned to a special reports window and be automatically collected for you. In our next issue, we'll talk about what you can put into a reports window and how to set it up.
Do you have a system for organizing your alarm monitoring data into a cohesive and convenient windows layout that ensures system operators can see the problem clearly? Share your expertise with the growing family of T/MonXM users. Tell us about it!
Are you having technical issues and need support?
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