A Network Operations Centre (NOC) is a centralized location where operators directly support the efforts of remote monitoring your network and responding to potential problems. It forms the core of most medium or large-scale network monitoring efforts.
Having a NOC means that you might have a vital link between the detection of a network problem and the implementation of a solution - usually in the form of a technician dispatched to the remote site.
However, having a NOC is an investment, and just as any other investment it will bring you some pros and cons.
So, let's take a look at what these advantages and drawbacks can be.
Starting with the pros that a NOC can bring to your business, we have three major points.
Continuously Monitor your Remote Sites
When it comes to maintaining high availability and top performance, your network operations centre might play a key role. A NOC's responsibility is to ensure stability, security and functionality by constantly monitoring and maintaining your network infrastructure. A capable and well-equipped NOC can be key to ensure a successful remote monitoring system.
Focus Only on Your Tasks
Having a NOC to keep an eye on your remote monitoring devices means that you can focus on your other duties. This can, ultimately, improve productivity, add better response times and proactive actions when it comes to dealing with alarms at your remote sites.
The Number of Alerts Can be Overwhelming for One Person
Especially if you have a large network, the flood of notifications can be overwhelming for only one person - or for a small team. Having a NOC with a larger number of staff available 24/7 can solve this problem. Another efficient way to solve this issue is, of course, having an efficient alarm master with nuisance alarm filtering capabilities.
On the flip side, here are two major pitfalls in terms of having a Network Operations Centre.
NOC costs can increase rapidly when we're talking about tools, processes and personnel.
In order to assure the best visibility possible of your remote sites, monitoring equipment need to be upgraded as newer technologies come around. And this means having to constantly train technicians on the skills needed to understand and operate these systems.
If you have a small or even medium company, setting up and operating an efficient NOC can be an expensive - challenging task.
While many NOCs are open 7x24x365, this isn't always the case.
Some companies are in a transitional phase of growth. Their network might be large enough to have warranted an investment in NOC centre construction, but they can't quite yet justify the expense of staffing it outside of regular or possibly extended business hours.
One way around this issue is having a monitoring equipment capable of sending alarm notifications (to email or phones) during after-hours to alert on-call technicians of alarms in the network.
Whether you have decided to make the investment on a dedicated Network Operations Centre for your company or not, it's important that your staff have access to monitoring tools with all the following capabilities:
Power failure monitoring
Root cause analysis
Problem alerts for your key personnel
Escalating notifications that are forwarded to supervisors after user-defined time limits
The only way to obtain these capabilities - with or without a NOC - is to deploy an advanced alarm monitoring system. This system will provide you with important alarm alerts, while also tracking alarm histories to help you tackle the source of frequently occurring problems.
Alarm monitoring is an integral component of your NOC (as well as of your company overall, even if can't afford to have a dedicated NOC). Without it, you won't know about problems in your network until it's too late, and by that time your customers have already lost service - and a good deal of patience with your service levels.
A good alarm monitoring system provides your staff with important real-time info they need about problems throughout your network. You or your NOC staff will be able to look at this alarm info in a variety of ways, enabling you to dispatch technicians to your various remotes sites.
To deploy the most effective alarm monitoring system for your business, you need advanced remote telemetry units - RTUs - as well as a modern alarm master. The most advanced gear will provide you with the best alarm collection and reporting.
The RTU's job is to handle the alarm collection portion of your network monitoring. These remotes can monitor a number of devices at a remote site.
After collecting an alarm, these remotes will then report the data to your alarm master. This alarm will be displayed within your NOC (if you choose to have one), as well as in emails to your appropriate techs.
If you decide to have a NOC or already have one, your alarm master is going to be the core of it. It aggregates alarms from remotes and gear across the network, notifying NOC personnel and field technicians of all problems that arise. NOC operators can specify how the alarm master displays this information, customizing their system to make their network operations centre as efficient as possible.
The bottom line is that a NOC can bring you many advantages as well as drawbacks, and having this center in your company depends solely on your unique scenario.
However, to efficiently manage your network operations, you need cost-effective advanced alarm monitoring capabilities. To get the functionality you need to provide the visibility you absolutely must have, deploying the T/Mon monitoring software is the answer.
You deserve to enjoy peace of mind and know that your alarming is taken care of, so don't wait until an easily preventable problem festers into a major outage. Take a proactive approach and give us a call, you can make informed decisions to start increasing your network reliability today.
There is no other network on the planet that is exactly like yours. For that reason, you need to build a monitoring system that's the right fit for you.
"Buying more than you need" and "buying less than you need" are real risks. You also have to think about training, tech support, and upgrade availability.
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