Telecom networks' physical infrastructure extends for hundreds or thousands of miles. If any equipment fails, companies can suffer increased repair costs, network downtime, and concurrent fines. Even regulatory penalties are possible.
In order to efficiently keep an eye on the network and prevent impending equipment failure, telcos rely on network monitoring software. This software, powered by a top-level master station, collects and displays alerts from myriad remote unmanned locations. Finding the best network monitoring software helps prevent losses and reduces the overall cost of repairs while improving profits.
Finding the best network monitoring software helps prevent losses and reduces the overall cost of repairs while improving profits.
The physical size of telecom networks drives the need for the best network monitoring software. Unfortunately, the complexity that comes with such scale makes it difficult and expensive to switch network monitoring software solutions. However - as older systems age and new efficiencies manifest in the market - telecom networks will eventually have to upgrade or replace their existing network monitoring software to remain competitive.
Installing new network monitoring software is critical for your network. And, it's important to find the best network monitoring software available before transitioning.
To find the best network monitoring software, telecom networks must carefully compare their options. Because each telecom network has a different physical footprint and constellation of existing alarm masters and remote terminal units - the best monitoring solution is the one which most closely matches the unique needs of each specific network. When considering network monitoring software solutions, ask:
Networks never need replacement of all their equipment at once, and suppliers typically change or update their equipment in yearly cycles. As such, any top-level monitoring solution will need to interface with lower-level equipment from multiple generations.
A top-level solution needs to work with legacy equipment. It also should have the capacity to grow into compatibility with new equipment in the marketplace.
This is a more detailed version of the question posed above. Remote terminal units and low- to mid-level masters can communicate using a broad variety of old and new technologies - including serial, modem, and LAN.
Top-level master stations running network monitoring software must be able to communicate on each type of channel your systems currently use.
In addition to communicating over multiple channels - various lower-level monitoring solutions encode their transmissions using a number of different protocols.
Newer open-standard protocols like Simple Network Management Protocol v3 (SNMPv3) exist to cohere equipment in a way that disparate network protocols cannot. However, equipment which predates or ignored these protocol developments is still in service in telecom networks across the globe.
The right top-level monitoring solution for your telecom network will be able to interpret this profusion of protocols.
Some telecom networks even use equipment which only communicates in proprietary codes, specific to either the network or the equipment vendor. The right top-level monitoring solution for your telecom network will be able to interpret this profusion of protocols. With a multi-protocol remote alarm monitoring platform, northbound alarms will transmit successfully in SNMPv3, DNP3, Modbus, or other modern protocols.
Not everybody needs to see every alert. Nor is each employee best served by viewing relevant alerts on the same platform. Dispatch may prefer desktop browser alerts, while field technicians may prefer text messages on their smartphones.
Effective network monitoring software will be able to intelligently sort and prioritize alerts. And then push them to each device they need to reach - whether it's via a browser, a smartphone, or if you insist, a pager (some people still swear by them as the ultimate in wireless coverage, but service availability is finally fading). Nuisance alerts are filtered out. "Push" composite alerts report up to higher levels of management - while still providing regional visibility to nodal managers and technicians on the ground.
When utilizing network monitoring, it can be helpful to use a system with a graphical user interface (GUI). A GUI will offer visual alarm representation on geographic maps so you can view your entire network. A GUI offering should be Windows compatible - or (even better) web-based - while supporting multiple map layers for viewing specific alarm details.
Similar to the point raised above, not every employee needs to be able to see every alert. In fact, external and internal security concerns for large companies, like telecom networks, recommend compartmentalizing access to important computer systems like network monitoring software.
With access control, you can give individual users and classes of users the ability to only see the alerts they need to see, helping to mitigate risks.
Whether as a result of a physical calamity or natural disaster, or just a mouse chewing the wires, sometimes even the most durable network monitoring solutions can go down. As every minute an alarm system is offline creates significant compound exposure to risk across a large network, having a backup plan in place is essential.
The best network monitoring solutions take this into account and provide built-in backups with secondary hard drives or parallel internal components. Even better, they include a second instance of top-level master station hardware which can start working immediately if the first should fail.
Many of the alerts sent out by remote terminal units resolve by a simple physical action. If it's too hot in an equipment room, for instance, the next step is to turn on the air conditioning unit. When that equipment room is four hours away from the nearest field technician, though, this simple fix becomes costly and time-consuming.
Network monitoring solutions can control remote site equipment and reduce maintenance costs and windshield time. Simple problems are solved automatically, or systematically with a few clicks of a mouse.
By asking these questions and comparing the capabilities of different network monitoring software solutions, telecom networks can narrow down their options to the solutions which work best for them. To decide between similar solutions which offer good answers to all of the questions above, telecom networks should look to the level of service offered by the monitoring solution's provider.
Working with providers who routinely offer training, support, and service for their software solutions positions telecom networks for long-term success.
Network monitoring software should have a long, dependable life. Working with providers who routinely offer training, support, and service for their software solutions positions telecom networks for long-term success. While price can also be a tempting argument in favor of one solution over the other - remember that short-term thinking has long-term consequences in large network management.
DPS Telecom has been a leading provider of network monitoring software for large networks for decades. Our experts have proven experience in finding the perfect monitoring solution for every network's needs. Get a quote today!
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