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An introduction to Monitoring Fundamentals strictly from the perspective of telecom network alarm management.

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Accelerate Your Monitoring with These T/Mon ASCII Enhancements

The DPS Engineering Team has just put the finishing touches on several new T/Mon ASCII improvements. These new features make working with ASCII easier and more efficient. You will be able to build ASCII rule blocks more effectively, train new operators quickly, and navigate ASCII menus faster with powerful new shortcuts.

A Brief Introduction to T/Mon Auto-Databasing ASCII Processing
T/Mon ASCII processing is highly adaptable. Just about any text message can be parsed and converted to a T/Mon alarm point. The ASCII Processor applies user-created rules to an incoming message to uniquely identify its format and extract alarm data. If an alarm has not been received before, T/Mon will automatically database it.

Checking Your ASCII Rules with Sample Messages is a Recommended Best Practice
It is always a good idea to test any newly created matching or extraction rules against a sample ASCII message. This ensures that your rules operate as intended and will extract the appropriate data from real-world ASCII text.

Traditionally, testing your ASCII rules involved connecting a PC with ASCII simulator software to T/Mon, typing a message, sending it to T/Mon, and watching for the intended result (typically a T/Mon alarm). Although this was effective, remembering which samples correspond to which ASCII rule sets became quite difficult as your number of ASCII devices grew.

Sample Messages May Now Be Saved Directly in T/Mon
To make working with ASCII easier, a sample message may now be saved for each set of matching rules. Although this is a fairly simple concept, it provides several powerful benefits:

  1. It's impossible to forget which message format your rules were built for because you always have a sample available for reference.
  2. If you make a change to one of your rule sets, you can see if it still parses the sample message correctly.
  3. Training new technicians is easier because they have instant access to message examples and rule sets.
ASCII Rule sets
You can now assign sample ASCII messages with your rule sets.

Now you'll never struggle to remember which message formats correspond to your rule sets. You'll always have single-keystroke access to a sample message stored right with the rule itself, saving a lot of time and frustration.

New Hotkeys Allow You to Jump Directly Between Important ASCII Screens
T/Mon ASCII Processing is a powerful tool, and now you can manage it more efficiently. New hotkeys have been added to T/MonXM, allowing you to get where you need to go faster. You can spend less of your time worrying about the mechanics of menu navigation and more of it on valuable databasing tasks.

What used to take several keystrokes now takes only one:

Hotkeys make 7 steps into 1 step

From the ASCII Key Map Definition screen (used with Auto-Databasing ASCII), select a string type and press F2 to define expected values for that string.

ASCII Keymap Definition

From the ASCII Device Definition screen, press F4 to reach the ASCII Rules screen. You may alternatively press ALT + F4 to bring up the ASCII Devices menu.

Finally, you may now reach the Auto Definitions menu by pressing F7 from any Device Rules screen. Previously, the F7 hotkey would perform this function on a "Rule" screen only.

ASCII Device Definition hotkeys

The most commonly used hotkeys are listed for reference on the bottom line of almost every screen in T/Mon. You also have the option to press F9 (Help) from almost every T/MonXM screen to view a list of all available hotkeys, as well as additional context-sensitive information.

T/Mon Gold Plan Owners Can Request a Software Update
Many of these ASCII improvements were put into place after T/MonXM 5.0A, but they're so handy that we couldn't wait until the next major software release. If you are a T/Mon Gold Plan Owner and would like to take advantage of these new features, please call DPS Tech Support at 559-454-1600.