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After surveying the market and looking at how telecom companies had modernized their alarm monitoring, Hofmann decided that an T/Mon NOC running the T/Mon Remote Alarm Monitoring System best met his objectives.
"T/Mon met all my requirements, while other systems didn't actually meet them all," said Hofmann. "Other systems might be able to do a page, but the notification wouldn't give you any alarm detail. Or they wouldn't expand to do some of the other functions we needed, like SNMP."
Since the T/Mon was installed, it has met all of Hofmann's objectives:
"The main source of our alarm notification is via email or paging," said central office tech Richard Bell, who now is the primary manager of the T/Mon system. "We don't need to have someone physically watch the T/Mon screen all day, and afterhours and weekends, we depend completely on paging."
Legacy E2A Support
UBTA-UBET ordered its T/Mon unit with the optional E2A Interrogator software module and a 202-to-RS232 converter shelf. With these additions, "T/Mon supported the E2A shelves right out of the box," Hofmann said.
Dispatch Center Alarm Access
"The dispatch center can get into the T/Mon system and check alarms every 30 minutes, and make sure that the technicians are working on the problems," said Hofmann.
"The notification of alarms and the detail it gives you is the best thing T/Mon can do for you," said Bell. "Before we had the T/Mon, if a tower light went out, Qwest would call us and all they could say was 'You have a tower light out.' They didn't know where the tower was - there was no way of knowing. Now, when T/Mon pages you, it tells you it's this tower light, at this location, with this longitude and latitude, and then it gives you the FAA's phone number. And with our service area, which is 180 miles in diameter, you want to know what's wrong without wasting time or going on site."
ASCII and SNMP Support
T/Mon's ASCII and SNMP capabilities are helping UBTA-UBET move to a more modern system and monitor more network elements. UBTA-UBET now monitors its switches using T/Mon's ASCII alarm processing, which provides much more detailed alarm notification than major-minor discrete alarms. UBTAUBET is also gradually implementing SNMP trap processing for new equipment.
After two years UBTA-UBET has used T/Mon, the company's alarm handling has substantially improved, said Hofmann. "The T/Mon has given us better notification, and I think it's made us a lot more responsive to alarms," Hofmann said.
Hofmann and Bell said they plan to use T/Mon to extend UBTAUBET's alarm monitoring capability further in the future, expanding T/Mon coverage to all of the company's network and implementing analog monitoring of environmentals.