Be alert for potential protocol mediation issues when planning your network management strategy

Unfortunately, there are no universal standards in remote telemetry protocols. Traditional telecommunications telemetry equipment uses a variety of protocols (i.e. TABS, TBOS, E2A, TRIP, DCPF, DCPX, SNMP), typically transported over serial interface. Some telemetry equipment manufacturers use proprietary protocols that don't readily communicate with other devices.

These protocols work well with equipment they were designed for, but increasingly, network managers need to integrate equipment with incompatible protocols.

You may need to mediate varying protocols for a variety of reasons:

Platform consolidation
Many network managers are seeing the advantages of unifying all their network management on a single Master of Masters system.

Consolidating on one platform makes network management more reliable and cost-effective in several ways: You'll save on costs for equipment, maintenance, and staff training, and your monitoring staff will not have to divide their attention between multiple systems.

Consolidating platforms makes a lot of sense, but it necessarily involves mediating between legacy protocols.

Inheriting legacy equipment after a merger
After a merger, the network managers of the new enterprise often must integrate the incompatible network management systems of the two parent companies.

Full integration of network management after a merger is desirable for both business and technical reasons. The new enterprise will be expected to provide a uniform level of service for all customers. Technical managers will want to have uniform management and visibility of the entire network.

A protocol mediation solution is the most efficient means of integrating the two networks.

Loss of vendor support
Telemetry equipment manufacturers sometimes drop support for their products. Older products are no longer supported; smaller manufacturers go out of business; even large, well-known corporations eliminate their telemetry equipment divisions.

Legacy equipment works well in the present, but it can be a straitjacket for the future growth of your network. When the network expands or new capabilities are needed, legacy equipment must be either replaced or made to work with new masters and remote telemetry units.

Protocol mediation can extend the useful life of legacy equipment without limiting the future development of your network.

Why use a mediation solution
There is an obvious, but uneconomic, solution to all of these network integration problems-select one network management platform, and replace all incompatible equipment.

But replacing equipment that can still be useful is a waste of money. Many companies have thousands or even millions of dollars invested in legacy equipment. Replacing legacy gear with equipment that does the same job is spending money while gaining nothing.

In addition to the costs of new equipment, replacing legacy gear costs the inconvenience, time, and personnel expense of traveling to remote sites across the network's territory.

Mediation solutions
Mediating incompatible protocols is the cost-effective solution to integrating networks while preserving investments in legacy solution.

A modern network management system can incorporate a wide variety of protocols under a single platform, while adding advanced network management features that will increase your network's reliability and security.

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