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Monitoring Alarms with SNMP: A 5 Step Guide

Network alarm monitoring is an essential, yet commonly overlooked, part of maintaining network uptime. In the IT, telecom, and utilities world, it's becoming increasingly important to make sure your network and infrastructure are up and running at all times. In order to achieve 100% uptime, you have to have the tools in place protect against preventable outages.

What kinds of tools am I talking about here? One of the more popular, and effective, methods of achieving network visibility and reliability is to deploy SNMP for monitoring alarms.

Industry examples of SNMP applications
Examples of industries where SNMP is applicable. Don't let your companies take the unnecessary risk on free SNMP software.

However, implementing SNMP in your network takes quite a bit of planning. At least if you want to avoid stretching your project over time and over budget. To help you get started planning for SNMP in your network, here is a brief 5 step guide to put you on the right track:

  1. Plan your SNMP Reporting

    This first step involves taking a much closer look at your network to understand how SNMP reporting will bring everything together. Is your entire network centralized at a single NOC or do you have alarm masters at multiple sites? Or do you want to feed multiple master stations into a single Master of Masters (MOM)?

    It's important to understand how you want your alarms to be reporting before you start deploying SNMP equipment. Making these decisions on the fly can lead to mistakes, delays, and lots of wasted money. To prevent these costly pitfalls, understand your network and your needs up front so you can plan accordingly.

  2. Survey Your Existing Equipment

    You'll need to know exactly which gear you want to monitor. You'll also need to know how much of your current network gear supports SNMP, so you'll know which pieces of equipment can stay, which need to be upgraded, and which need to be replaced. The overall goal of Step 2 is the same as Step 1 - to understand your existing network so you can systematically plan the upgrades you need for SNMP alarm monitoring.

  3. Assess Your Data Transport

    It's pivotal that you make sure you have enough bandwidth for SNMP traffic transporting through all of your remote sites and throughout your network. You'll want to know, before you spend budget money and time, whether or not any adjustments or upgrades will be needed to your data transport.

    There are multiple viable options, but the ideal transport is LAN (10/100/1000 BaseT are all acceptable transport options), but you can also use fiber or T1. Not every site is going to be connected via LAN, T1, or fiber, so you'll have to evaluate other means of providing connectivity to these distant sites. Understanding the telemetry map of your network is a key part of appropriately planning your SNMP implementation.

  4. Collect MIB Files for Your Equipment

    Once you understand which equipment you're going to monitor and how you are going to transport that information across your network, you'll need to be sure you have the correct Management Information Base (MIB) files for all of your equipment. The MIB file is like a code book that is used to interpret SNMP messages. Each device will have its own MIB file, which enables an SNMP manager to interpret SNMP trap messages from these devices.

    With the correct MIB files you'll be ready to connect your devices to a centralized alarm master for interpretation and processing of SNMP traps. You don't want to be stuck mid-project when you find out you don't have the MIB files for half of your equipment. Collect these files up front, so you can ensure a timely completion for your SNMP project.

  5. Plan Your Budget

    Here is where you bring it all together. By planning properly, you'll be able to identify which areas you can leave alone and which areas must be upgraded. With all of the right information before you plan your budget, you'll be less likely to encounter unwanted surprises during your SNMP deployment.

How to guarantee that you'll do it right
You've realized the need to be monitoring alarms across all of the sites in your network. Leaving them unmonitored can be a costly error that comes back to bite you when you least expect it. By deploying SNMP in your network, you can truly protect yourself from preventable outages that leave you with massive repair bills, tons in lost revenue, and throngs of angry customers ready to take their business elsewhere.

Can you imagine how satisfied your customers will be when they know that you're a proactive company that isn't willing to cut corners when it comes to providing top-notch and reliable service? Not to mention how much easier your job will be if you receive alarms alerting you of potential threats to your network uptime. Monitoring alarms across your network is a win-win scenario.

You don't have to deploy SNMP and monitor alarms across your network alone. DPS Telecom offers the free SNMP Implementation White Paper to help you deploy SNMP the right way. These 5 steps are just a brief introduction - this White Paper contains more detail and more information to get the job done right.

You can also call (1-800-693-0351) or email (sales@dpstele.com) the monitoring experts at DPS Telecom for a free expert consultation. The best way to ensure you deploy monitoring alarms right is to have expert guidance.

Or, if you'd like, you can use the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch with Mac Smith, who will provide you with a fast response and help guide you with deploying alarms for monitoring your network.

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