Network Instruments- Picking The Right Application Monitoring Solution

Networks Instruments Picking the Right APM SolutionWith network engineers discovering their reality now includes managing and troubleshooting applications, you’ve probably heard the term application performance monitoring (APM) as much as other buzzwords like cloud. Okay, maybe not as much as cloud. But like it or not, you need to be prepared. With everyone touting their application monitoring expertise, how do you choose the right APM solution?

First, let’s discuss what APM means. For many, APM is understanding application response time. In reality, there is a lot more that goes into ensuring applications are delivered on-time and meeting user expectations. APM is a comprehensive process of measuring, quantifying, and reporting all relevant metrics related tot he the IT infrastructure performance. This would be include the network itself and anything connected to it; routers, switches, servers, clients and storage appliances are examples. Successful application mornitoring requires views of all facets related to delivery.

For more info, download the white paper here.

Orange studying Canadian MVNO market

Orange Horizons, a division of French giant Orange Group, is examining a potential entry into Canada’s mobile market, reports the Globe & Mail. Representatives of the French telecoms group recently held ‘exploratory talks’ with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Industry Canada and Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service about the potential opportunity for market entry, the newspaper said. Sources added that Orange is considering launching a Canadian mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), and is not looking at acquiring its own wireless spectrum or radio network.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

MTS offers international LTE roaming alongside nationwide service

Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) has launched 4G LTE roaming for its customers across Canada as well as in several international locations, including most major urban centres in the US. MTS president Kelvin Shepherd announced: ‘MTS customers can connect to LTE in over 80 locations in Canada, and we are one of only two Canadian carriers to announce the launch of international LTE roaming.’ MTS launched its LTE network in Winnipeg and Brandon in 2012, and expanded the service to Victoria Beach, Grand Beach, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach and Ste. Anne this year, under a plan to cover more than 90% of Manitoba’s population over the next five years.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article

CRTC introduces model municipal access agreement

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last week announced that municipalities and telecommunications companies can now refer to a model municipal access agreement to facilitate negotiations regarding the installation of telecoms infrastructure. The regulator’s chairman Jean-Pierre Blais stated: ‘Telecommunications companies often need access to streets and other municipal property to install, upgrade or maintain their facilities, which include fibre-optic cables. The model agreement will help municipalities save time and money in their negotiations, and enable telecommunications companies to provide high-quality services to Canadians.’ The watchdog’s release added that the model agreement was developed, at the CRTC’s request, by a working group that included representatives from municipalities and the telecoms industry. Certain terms will need to be negotiated between the two parties, which will allow the final agreement to accommodate unique needs and circumstances. The CRTC expects that the model agreement will streamline the negotiation process and reduce the prospect of disputes between municipalities and network operators.

Telecom Decision CRTC 2013-618:

Model municipal access agreement:

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

Spectracom’s Master Clock

2 problems need to be solved in any time-related application:

(1) Which clock is used as the reference for all other clocks
(2) How to transfer the time from the reference clock to all other clocks

The solution to time as a reference is a master clock. The method by which the accuracy of the master clock is transferred to another, slave, or secondary clock, is known as synchronization. Spectracom offers a variety of master clocks, synchronization clocks, and master clock systems to meet the requirements for your application of accurate time. Typically, GPS satellite signals are utilized for synchronization to ensure accurate time, but other references may be used such as case of local atomic clocks or other time standards.

What is a master clock?

Master Clocks normally take one or more precise timing reference signals as inputs, then convert and distribute those timing references to other devices so their clocks are almost as accurate as the master clock.

Master clock systems are used in a wide variety of applications and industries including aerospace and defense, broadcast, radio, and telecom, network systems, financial services, emergency operations and call centers, and healthcare — essentially anywhere reliability of data and signals are paramount.

Network master clocks distribute their timing references over local or wide area networks. Master clocks with wireless transmitters enable synchronization of devices (like display clocks) without having to run wires between them for the synchronization signal. There are also highly accurate master clock solutions that utilize copper or fiber connections for signal distribution of precise analog and digital signals such as IRIG timecode, and HaveQuick and STANAG timecodes.

Master clocks can also differ in the source of their timing reference. It is a rare case for a master clock to be free-running and not synchronized, or at least compared with, an external reference continuously or regularly. So a core feature of all master clock systems is that they are accept precise timing references signals as inputs. Spectracom’s SecureSync modular time and frequency synchronization system can accept over 14 different signal types to discipline its local clock that can generate a similar number of signal types to synchronize other devices. In case of loss of the external reference (or more than one for redundancy), the local clock maintains timing accuracy until the reference(s) can be restored. Several different local clock oscillators are offered depending on the accuracy required during the “hold over” period.

spectracom-securesync Synchronize to a variety of time and frequency signals, maintain and process that time very accurately, and generate a wide range of time and frequency signals and protocols including IRIG, STANAG/HaveQuick, NTP, PTP and many other precise analog and digital signals for virtually any device that requires a high degree of synchronization.Learn more about flexible SecureSync Master Clocks

Other Rackmount Instruments, Display Clocks, Plug-in Cards, OEM Boards & Modules.

In addition to the SecureSync synchronization system, Spectracom offers synchronized time display clocks and systems, GPS NTP network time servers, and application specific rack mountable instruments. It also offers PC cards, OEM boards and modules that can be used as master clocks in other devices.

spectracom-WiSync-wireless-clocks Use a master clock source from GPS, a network master clock, or other time source to ensure display clocks throughout a facility are synchronized.Learn more about Synchronized Clocks and Time Displays

Common Uses of Master Clocks

Spectracom master clocks offer Legally Traceable Time to all time-keeping functions in any enterprise network. Over 4,000 NetClock master clocks are in use to record 9-1-1 events to improve response times and to settle legal disputes. Commercial enterprises can benefit from the same synchronized network operations for records accuracy, troubleshooting, security, and to enable time-sensitive applications to the extremely high levels of accuracy.

spectracom-netclock9489 Synchronize enterprise networks and critical operations such as 9-1-1 call centers by distributing legally traceable time from a built-in GPS receiver and other sources via IP networks through protocols such as NTP or PTP. Slave clocks in computers and other hardware may be running client synchronization software that is more reliable than built-in time clients.Learn More about Network Time Servers

Hospital Clocks: Let’s Get Synchronized

hospital clocksWhen every second counts, buyers of hospital clock systems time and time again turn to Inova’s OnTime Ethernet clocks. Ok, so maybe there are too many puns in that opening sentence, but there are absolute truths buried in there. Take, for example, a hospital system in Indiana that needed around-the-clock support. (Ok, I’m done now) But seriously – when Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana purchased 450 Inova OnTime™ Ethernet clocks, they did so to fit their existing technology footprint.

Reid Hospital had previously made an investment in Cisco Power over Ethernet switches back in 2007. According to the clock purchaser, the clocks helped to justify the investment in the PoE Cisco switches.

In healthcare facilities like Reid Hospital, synchronized time is critical to daily operations, whether it’s checking on patients or delivering medications. When shift workers’ schedules are in sync, patients can count on uninterrupted care whenever they need it.

Here are some commonalities we’ve seen from hospitals that rely on OnTime for timekeeping:

  • Hospitals depend on PoE devices like OnTime because they’re CE-marked for low RF emittance. Compared to wireless clocks that require A/C power or batteries, our network clocks are powered by the network itself, and don’t transmit or receive radio frequencies. This is an especially important consideration when purchasing clocks that will be located near sensitive medical equipment.
  • Hospitals are the biggest buyers of our stainless steel 6-digit clocks for emergency rooms and operating rooms. Inova is the only manufacturer of a stainless steel clock that matches the décor of OR facilities. Inova OnTime is also the only clock that features three-quarter-height seconds, meaning that it’s easy to read and distinguish between full-height hours and minutes and three-quarter-height seconds.
  • Hospitals love the look of our analog clocks in patient rooms because they don’t emit light, which could detract from a darkened room environment for sleeping. Because they’re synchronized to the network, doctors and nurses can trust the times shown for medication administration and other time-critical tasks.

Thanks to Inova Solutions for the article.

A Network Guide for Videoconferencing Rollout

The Biggest Videoconferencing Challenge?

Real-Time Performance Management

Did you know that according to Enterprise Management Associates EMA analysts, 95 percent of organizations have VoIP on their network- and more than half have deployed videoconferencing? IP videoconferencing has strong appeal to businesses through its promise of significant cost and time savings.

But how simple is the transition to video? For end users, video communications are expected to be smooth, seamless, and simple. For the network team, although there’s an expectation that video will be similar to VoIP, they need to be prepared for several challenges unique to video. This article explores key video requirements and monitoring strategies to ensure the technology meets end-user expectations.

Managing in Real Time

The primary challenge that differentiates videoconferencing performance management from other applications is the real-time nature of the service. Even minimal quality issues can be incredibly disruptive. As a result, every effort must be made to ensure the network is clean and ready to support live IP-communications sessions. This requires a concerted effort by the networ team to test, characterize, and pre-qualify the network as ready for videoconferencing. It also means finding ways to recognize problems as they happen. Efforts to identify and troubleshoot performance quality issues will also require the ability to reconstruct and study inicidents in detail.

QoS is a Necessity

A significant differnce between VoIP and videoconferencing is the amount of traffic generated. This means network Quality of Service (QoS) class definitions and bandwidth allocations must be reevaluated before deploying videconferencing.

Organizations often find that setting aside 10 percent of bandwidth for VoIP is sufficient, but to accommodate even moderate rates of concurrent videoconferencing sessions will require 30 percent or more. The potential negative implications go well beyond bandwidth consumption-providing latency-sensitive video traffic with increased precedence raises the likelihood of contention among other applications for remaining network resources.

“With Observer, not only can I look at QoS Layers 2 and 3 to see that packets are being tagged correctly, but I can also look into the protocol to understand how the application interprets the information”

-Everett McArthur, Enterprise Network Engineer, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

To see more, download white paper here

Use TAP and NPB for Advanced Threat Protection

“Protecting the network has evolved from an activity into an emergency.”

One of the focus area in network security is APT – Advanced Persistent Threats

In the past (at least IMO) APT were associated with government-like agencies but in recent times, it looks like organized groups are developing APT capabilities. APTs target organizations in industries that handle data with high value data. Such organizations include banks, Credit Unions and other financial institutions as well as Government agencies and any company that has valuable intellectual property.

To optimize network security, we have pioneered the Network Packet Broker (NPB) market. NPB devices provide a superior model for leveraging network monitoring and security tools to control larger and more complex environments effectively and efficiently since they optimize network defense so that only actionable “data of interest” should go to each security tool. Amazing as they are, security tools cannot do their jobs if their ability to monitor and measure performance is not at peak. Adding NBPs lowers the complexity of managing information sub-optimally, while improving insight via total Visibility.

This visibility is the key to ensuring optimal function and value for tool investment; it’s also essential to managing threats proactively and staying ahead of those who would invade and damage the network.

I was very pleased to find specific NPB and Tap recommendations when I read “Advanced Threat Protection For Dummies®, Blue Coat Systems Special Edition” booklet. The booklet is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is used as a good source for market education:

For large enterprises and government agencies, deploying a Big Data Security Analytics solution is a little more involved. Fortunately, high-end network TAPs called network packet brokers (NPBs) enable users to aggregate traffic from multiple switch SPAN ports (or basic TAPs) and direct that traffic to a single Big Data Security Analytics appliance (or server) at speeds up to 10 Gbps.

Using network TAPs and network packet brokers (NPBs) to aggregate traffic from multiple network segments and direct it to your Big Data Security Analytics appliances

Use network packet broker devices (high-end network TAPs) to aggregate traffic from multiple-switch SPAN ports into a single Big Data Security Analytics appliance (or a group of load-balanced appliances). This technique broadens visibility and also saves money in the long run because you don’t have to purchase more Big Data Security Analytics appliances when you run out of available network interfaces.

Thanks to Net Optics for the article.

Lorette latest FTTH location for MTS

Canadian provincial telco MTS has announced the latest expansion of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Manitoba, with the launch of high speed fibre triple-play services in Lorette, the twelfth community outside of the Winnipeg area to receive coverage. Branded as ‘MTS FiON’, the FTTH service includes MTS’s IPTV packages under the ‘MTS Ultimate TV’ brand, featuring over 420 channels, Video on Demand (VoD), and the ability to pause and rewind live TV from any room in the house with the Whole Home PVR. Since 2010, MTS has launched the MTS FiON network in Selkirk, Steinbach, Dauphin, Thompson, The Pas, Neepawa, Carberry, Minnedosa, Killarney, Beausejour, Lorette and selected areas of Winnipeg and Brandon, and plans expansion to over 20 communities in Manitoba in due course.

Thankis to TeleGeography for the article.

Use it or lose it, Moore tells 2300MHz, 3500MHz licensees

Canada’s Industry Minister James Moore has issued a statement that companies holding under-utilised frequency licences intended for rural fixed-wireless broadband services must return the spectrum and will not be allowed to renew their concessions. Licences in the 2300MHz and 3500MHz bands auctioned in 2004-2009 are scheduled for renewal in March 2014, and the minister stated: ‘Our government will only renew spectrum licences for those holders that have met all conditions of licence. Those that have not used the spectrum will lose it.’ Licence stipulations vary from region to region, with minimum population coverage levels ranging from 15% in rural areas to 50% in urban areas.

Xplornet Communications, Canada’s largest rural broadband service provider, praised Industry Canada’s decision to deny applications for extensions of 3500MHz spectrum licences where rollout conditions have not been met. Xplornet president Allison Lenehan said: ‘This Minster is listening to the needs of rural Canadians by ensuring that Industry Canada applies the rules fairly to all telecom services in Canada. Hundreds of thousands of rural Canadians access the internet through fixed-wireless networks that operate on spectrum. Today’s announcement is a clear signal that spectrum designated for broadband use should be used for that purpose so that rural Canadians can experience the full benefits of broadband technology.’

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.