We received a lot of great responses to the first issue of QuickTips, but the article that got the most mention from readers was our story about DPS support technician Chris Hower helping a client monitor Badger remotes. The story drew a lot of notice because it touched on one of the hottest subjects in the industry right now - legacy support.
Looking for smooth migration paths
Increasingly, network operators are looking for a smooth migration path to new monitoring technology that will make the best use of their legacy gear. The reason is simple: legacy equipment represents a substantial investment that will be wasted if the equipment is replaced before its working life is over. At the same time, network operators also need the advanced monitoring capabilities of a modern master.
Many manufacturers have dropped support
The legacy support issue has gotten worse because many manufacturers drop support for their older remotes. Utilities, telecoms, and local governments are facing the stark choice of replacing their entire monitoring system or being stuck with monitoring that can't grow with their network.
New support for Badger, Larse, NEC 21SV
But legacy gear doesn't have to be a stumbling block to getting the best protection for your network. At DPS Telecom, we've successfully adapted our T/Mon NOC telemetry monitoring master to collect alarms from many legacy RTUs. This year we've added support for the Larse 1200 series, the Badger 1200 series, and the NEC 21SV.
So, to everyone who emailed us about Chris's article and said, "I didn't know you can do that," I just want to say, "Yes, you can!"
DPS Telecom Technical Support
P.S. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed us in response to the first issue of QuickTips. We want to keep this informational resource relevant to your interests. Please take a moment to answer our reader survey question, or respond to this e-mail and tell us what you'd like to see in future issues.
DPS Telecom tech support chief Ron Stover recently turned a client's technical difficulty into a learning experience. When Bill Seaton of Teton Telecom called Ron for help with his ASCII alarms, Ron not only solved his problem, he helped Bill learn more about how ASCII processing works.
In ASCII alarm processing, the monitored device emits a stream of raw ASCII text, which contains a rich amount of data about the device's operations. The T/Mon NOC then processes the text in a two-step process: first the IAM-5 matches on message headers that indicate an alarm message, and then it extracts the alarm data and maps it to T/MonXM's standard alarm format. After that, all of the processing, tracking, and notification capabilities present on a regular alarm point are available for the ASCII alarm...
Often, in telemetry monitoring, the information you most want to see is a simple positive confirmation that your monitored devices are up, running, and connected to your collection master.
This is no problem if you're using one of the many alarm monitoring protocols that support polling, in which the master actively verifies communication between it and remotes. But there are many widely used protocols, like SNMP and SCADA, that don't support polling.
In these protocols, communication between remotes and the master is initiated by the remote only if it has an alarm to report. Silence from the remotes usually means all is well but sometimes it means the communication lines have broken down completely. How do you tell the difference?
Are you still running an older version of T/MonXM? The new Version 4.2 includes over 50 separate improvements, including new capabilities and time-saving user features. Software upgrades are free to T/Mon Gold Plan subscribers, just one of the many benefits of the T/Mon Gold Plan.
The 8 serial ports on a NetGuardian are hardware limited to 38400 baud. The Craft port is not limited in the same way and is capable of speeds up to 115200 baud. If you have a device that requires a 57600 or 115200 baud connection, there is a solution. To accomplish this you can use one of the 8 serial ports on the NetGuardian as your new Craft port, freeing up the front Craft port to use as a proxy agent. Follow this procedure to create your 57600 or 115200 baud proxy agent...
Freeing up the Craft port for high speed proxy...