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

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The Art of Notification: Get Better Notifications from Your RTUs and Master Stations

Receiving detailed notifications from your network monitoring system is your first line of defense - you can't prevent a critical network outage without the right information.

Your monitoring system isn't complete without the capability to send detailed and actionable notifications. Vague and unintelligible alerts won't help you prevent network problems - meaningful notifications will. You'll send the right person with the right tools to the right location.

Not All Notifications are Created Equal

In order to get the most out of your notifications, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Does your system provide you with sufficient detail?
    It's simply not enough to just receive a notification that an alarm has been triggered. You need an alert that includes meaningful detail, so you're able to adequately respond. Vague alerts like "Alert: Alarm Point #3" only leave you guessing about what to do next. Is this a simple update that can be ignored or a critical problem that requires immediate attention?
receiving great alarm notifications
The right RTU (NetGuardian 216 SMS, for example) will send you meaningful alerts with details like: alarm severity, description, location, date, and time. This degree of detail allows you to quickly respond to network emergencies.
  1. Does it tell you when an alarm clears?
    Your notification system should also alert you when an alarm has cleared. This is especially useful if you're on your way to a distant remote site and the alarm clears, notifying you en route that there's no longer a threat. This way, you can turn around and head back, instead of wasting time and resources going all the way to the site for an alarm that has already cleared.
monitoring system with notifications about alarm clears
Receiving an alert when an alarm clears can save you time and money when you're on your way to a distant remote site.
  1. Do your notifications escalate and are they flexible?
    When an alarm goes off in your network, you need to be absolutely sure that there's someone to respond. With escalating notifications, you'll have a list of people to be notified if an alarm is not acknowledged. If the first person on the list is unable to respond (because they're too busy, too distracted, or too deeply asleep) then the next person is notified (and so on down the list). With an escalation list, you'll never have to worry about a single person missing an alarm for hours at a time.
flexible alerts and escalation lists
A good RTU/Master Station will be able to notify multiple people in case the first person notified can't respond. It should also be able to alert your team in a variety of ways - to give you true flexibility.

You also need notifications that are capable of reaching you no matter where you are or the time of day. 24/7 notifications could be the difference between an outage and network uptime. Look for a monitoring device that's capable of giving you this flexibility via email, SNMP traps to a master, pages, or voice dial-outs to your phone.

  • What notification devices does it support?
    How can your notification devices alert you? Numeric, alpha numeric, text page, email, voice out? There is no one right answer. It depends on many factors, not the least of which is the notification devices deployed.

With better notifications, you'll enjoy economic benefits as well as better work logistic coverage. Better notifications lead to better awareness, which means you can respond faster to network problems. You'll be able to improve service reliability and avoid preventable outages - which will save you in the long-run.

At DPS, there is a perfect RTU for you with the notification method you need. Also, you can find accessories to add additional notification methods you need to your existing gear. If you want to add voice out to your NetGuardians, for example, you can use the SiteDialer accessory. Call DPS to learn more about the SiteDialer and other notification accessories.

Devices that Send You Great Alerts

NetGuardian RTUs and T/Mon master stations will be able to send you notifications directly. If you have just a handful of sites to monitor, then an RTU can send notifications directly to you. If your network is larger, then you can have a T/Mon master station send you notifications. T/Mon users enjoy several benefits, like centralized network monitoring, on-call scheduling for the entire network, and better alerts with grouped and derived alarms.

If you're ready to start receiving quality alerts from your network devices call us at 1-800-693-0351 or email sales@dpstele.com.