Excessive windshield time is caused by a lack of information. The more you know about your alarms before you dispatch, the more certain you can be that you're sending the right technician to the right site with the right tools and supplies. Here are two tools for T/Mon NOC and T/Mon SLIM that can give you the detailed alarm information you need.
If you get an alarm page at 3 a.m., can you go back to bed or do you have to go to the remote site? The answer depends on the quality of your alarm monitoring.
If you get a highly detailed alarm page that tells you exactly what the problem is and how serious it is, you know for certain you can get your sleep - or if you do have to make a site visit, you know that the emergency is worth the trouble.
Unfortunately, you can't get that kind of detailed visibility from a lot of your most critical equipment. Switches, SONET gear, channel banks and most older telecom equipment only provide vague major/minor summary alarms.
Summary alarms just tell you that there's a problem and you've got to go. You don't know whether the problem is really worth incurring major overtime. You don't know what tools to bring, or whether you need spare parts.
What's worse, major/minor alarms don't mean the same thing on different systems. For some equipment, a major alarm is no big deal - and for others, a major alarm can mean a serious service outage. Even the best network tech will be tempted to ignore a page if he's been repeatedly hassled by nuisance alarms … and then you might not catch the problem until it's already caused thousands of dollars of damage.
But there's a better way to monitor your critical equipment, and if you're a T/Mon user, you might already have this powerful tool.
T/Mon's ASCII Alarm Processing software module provides detailed alarms that can locate the problem right down to the level of what device, what shelf, even what card has the problem.
With ASCII processing, you can get all the alarm information you need to plan your technician dispatch before the first truck roll.
Best of all, most telecom equipment supports ASCII alarm processing, even devices whose visible front-end interface is just a handful of summary alarms. If it can print, you can monitor it - and you'll get an incredible amount of alarm detail.
Most telecom devices have some kind of ASCII interface, usually in the form of a printer, logger, craft or admin port. These ports were originally intended to print detailed text logs of switch activity - a record of every event that happened with the device.
Some common types of equipment that generate ASCII reports are channel banks, PBXs, SONET equipment, digital switches, logging devices, RTUs, routing platforms, DSUs, CSUs, and NIUs.
If you don't know if your equipment generates ASCII, look for an admin, craft, logger, or printer port. These ports can be connected to any device that can display, print, or process ASCII text.
This optional T/Mon software module enables your T/Mon SLIM to receive traps from SNMP devices, so you don't have to maintain a separate SNMP manager to view SNMP alarms. The added advantage is that SNMP traps are processed with the full power of T/Mon, instead of the bare-bones alarm presentation of the typical SNMP manager.
T/Mon NOC will give you better visibility and control over your entire network. 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.
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