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

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Using Dual Master Stations For Superior Network Reliability

Between ever-expanding networks and increasingly strict uptime requirements, keeping your network online is as crucial as ever. At the heart of your network's reliability is your remote monitoring system - providing you with instant and comprehensive information about your network.

While it's easy to take for granted, just think for a moment everything your NOC is doing for you. What would it mean if it wasn't there when something happens? It's not pretty.

First of all, you'll get calls from the boss asking "How could this happen?!" and to "Fix it fast!". Next, you have to go back to your customers telling them about your issues. Isn't avoid all of these problems the reason you got monitoring in the first place?

Redundant T/Mon master station application drawing
Deploying redundant master stations is the industry best practice for improving network reliability.

When you take a step back and look at your entire network, do you have redundant communication paths? Power systems? Transport systems? HVAC? So, isn't monitoring just as critical to maintaining proactive service?

Your master is only one piece of hardware with a lot of devices feeding into it, but because it is the central piece, losing it will leave you blinded to your network status.

Unfortunately, too many companies "skate by" with only a single master - ultimately costing them big in the long-run. There are typically three times when a company chooses to deploy redundant alarm masters:

  1. From the start, following industry best practices. These companies are proactive - not reactive - and take reliability seriously. They are not willing to risk disrupting service or losing any visibility. They understand that one prevented outage can pay for the secondary master.
  2. After an event where visibility is lost - significantly impairing operations. Way too many companies deploy alarm masters because of this reason. Deploying a redundant master after a devastating event is better than not doing it at all - but so much lost time and money can be avoided with proactive monitoring from the beginning.
  3. As budgets permit. Not every yearly budget can fit in a redundant master - but when it can, it should be a top priority. Getting additional reliability into the budget is a proactive way to save money down-the-road.

Redundant Masters Help Avoid Costly Downtime

Downtime is expensive. By deploying redundant T/Mon masters in your network, you're protecting yourself from an unexpected problem impairing your network visibility. T/Mon is reliable, but any equipment can potentially fail for reasons outside of your control (natural disaster, electrical damage, vandalism, etc.).

A dual-T/Mon redundant setup involves the T/Mon NRI Automatic Synchronization Module. This module:

  • Automatically synchronizes between a primary and secondary T/Mon - so the secondary takes over with current data
  • Transfers acknowledged alarms (so you avoid acknowledging recent alarms again after the secondary takes over monitoring)
  • Stores up to 100,000 entries for data synchronization
  • Immediately cuts over to the secondary T/Mon when the primary goes offline - maintaining continuous visibility and notifications

Creating a Geodiverse Contingency Backup is the Industry Best Practice

Because events like natural disasters can have such devastating effects, a common best practice is to have a geographical separation between masters. This means that the primary and secondary masters are kept in two different locations - providing ultimate protection against a natural disaster, vandalism, etc.

Additional reliability application drawing
Network reliability can be further improved by utilizing alternate reporting paths and redundant power supplies.

Even if you've been one of the fortunate ones to get by with only one master, it's simply too risky to continue gambling with your uptime. Also, if your single master happens to be a T/Mon, it's a very straight-forward process to add redundancy.

Be Proactive: Get a Quote

At DPS, we receive many urgent quote requests after an earlier "Do Nothing" decision comes back to bite you. You have no reason not to be proactive (and maybe you'll manage to impress your boss).

Call us. Chat with an expert for 10 minutes. We'll email you a detailed quote with a custom application drawing. We'll even include a summary of business benefits you can use to justify your project budget.

Call 1-800-693-0351 now for your quote, or send us a quick online message instead!