Ottawa Regional Contact Centre Association Presents 2014 Quality Forum

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An effective quality program provides a mechanism for recognizing excellence and sustaining continuous improvement. A leading quality program also motivates employees and improves customer satisfaction

Come and meet your community of Ottawa’s quality champions to learn about emerging practices from each other, collect ideas on how to effectively address your organization’s opportunities and explore innovative quality approaches together.

The Quality Forum will begin with an introduction and calibration on quality to provide a framework for you to actively engage with others. Relevant themes and topics will be explored in a round table discussion.

Book early to reserve your space!

Date: Thursday, June 12, 2014
Location: Nepean Sailing Club
3259 Carling Ave, Ottawa
Parking: Onsite public parking
Time: 8:30 am to 9am. – Registration and Networking
9:00 to 11:30am – Introduction and forum discussion
Cost: Free to ORCCA member
Non-Members – $30.00 in advance payable by Visa or MasterCard

RSVP to info@callcentres.org. Register early, space is limited.

If you do not receive a confirmation, please email your registration to sandra.freeman@sympatico.ca

Ixia Network Visibility Solution Troubleshoots Availability Problems

New Packet Capture Module helps customers quickly resolve network issues by capturing targeted packets for rapid resolution

 

Ixia introduced its Packet Capture Module (PCM), the newest addition to its Visibility Architecture, which provides network engineers with the ability to capture and quickly analyze packets associated with service outages and establish root cause. Designed to take advantage of the single plane of glass user interface (UI), the packet capture and decode capabilities enable users to troubleshoot performance, security and availability problems. This combination results in a faster mean time to resolution (MTTR) when problems occur.

The PCM is a 48 x 10GE interface card designed for Ixia’s NTO 7300 network packet broker. The PCM enables users to capture traffic manually or to specify a trigger event for network recording, and its circular buffering window automatically retains a configurable amount of packets that both precede and follow any trigger point. The captured files are then stored on the chassis and can be opened on the user’s PC using a third party decoder, or securely transferred to an external location. The UI also offers a built-in decoder allowing users to quickly view and recognize network problems and events without exiting Ixia’s user interface.

“Users expect more from their network every day. Being able to identify and resolve network availability problems is critical to ensuring user quality of experience,” said Scott Register, Senior Director of Product Management for Ixia. “Ixia’s new Packet Capture Module provides network engineers with the ability to quickly capture and evaluate symptomatic traffic for a faster mean time to resolution.”

Key Features:

  • Packet capture capability at full 40 GbE line rate with built-in decode functionality.
  • Total storage capacity of up to 84GB.
  • Individual capture capacity of up to 14 GB.
  • Sliding sampling window is buffered to capture pre-event information.
  • Onboard and off-board PCAP storage options.
  • Feature enabled by drag and drop in the NTO GUI
  • Role-based access to packet capture is automatically assigned.
  • Packet captures can be initiated manually, via API, or event triggered.
  • Extensive list of trigger fields including MAC address, VLAN, Ethernet type, IP address, MPLS label, IP Protocol, TCP control and Layer 4 port.

About Ixia’s Visibility Architecture

Ixia’s Visibility Architecture helps companies achieve end-to-end visibility and security in their physical and virtual networks by providing their tools with access to any point in the network. Regardless of network scale or management needs, Ixia’s Visibility Architecture delivers the control and simplicity necessary to improve the usefulness of these tools.

About Ixia

Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic, connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia’s customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.

Thanks to Ixia for the article.

Xplornet Secures Capacity On Echostar XIX, Viasat-2 Satellites

Xplornet Communications, the Canadian rural broadband specialist, has committed to a lifetime lease for all of the Canadian satellite broadband capacity on Hughes Network Systems’ Echostar XIX, a next-generation high throughput satellite due for launch in mid-2016. In addition to satellite capacity, Xplornet will take delivery of satellite gateways, operational and support services and consumer user terminals in a programme that is expected to be worth around USD200 million. Built by Space Systems Loral, EchoStar XIX will have over 160Gbps throughput, approximately 50% more capacity than EchoStar XVII which was launched in 2012, and is the primary platform supporting over 916,000 HughesNet users across the USA. The new satellite should have a lifetime of at least 15 years.

Earlier in the month, Xplornet contracted with ViaSat for all of the residential capacity covering Canada on the ViaSat-2 satellite. Already offering high speed satellite internet on ViaSat-1, Xplornet announced that it will be able to offer faster speeds and more data throughput for its customers with the doubling of bandwidth efficiency expected from ViaSat-2, which is scheduled for a mid-2016 launch. The commitment is for the life of the satellite and the value is up to USD275 million depending on options.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

SDN Is Like “A Road Trip Without A Map”

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Software-defined networking, Unified Communications assessed in Network Instruments’ seventh annual survey

A good map is essential whenever you want to travel uncharted territory. But many network professionals compare their foray into software-defined networking (SDN) to going on a trip with no map at all. And their uncertainty shows.

The 241 network professionals surveyed for Network Instruments’ seventh annual “State of the Network” delivered an earful about SDN, Unified Communications, organizational bandwidth, 40 Gb adoption, BYOD and more. This year’s survey, which NI published on Monday, provides a detailed snapshot of how network managers and engineers view their main challenges.

While 12 per cent of respondents regard SDN as critical, the rest seem divided on just how important it is. Eighty per cent say it’s unimportant or that they’re just waiting for the hype to die down.

Forty per cent say SDN can’t be defined at all, but about a third figure it can be defined as “Automated Provisioning of Network Resources.” One in five of organizations surveyed plans to have SDN rolled out by the end of the year.

The top drivers behind SDN adoption are the need to improve the network’s ability to dynamically adapt to changing business demands (48 percent) and to deliver new services faster (40 percent). Others indicated lowering operating expenses, decreasing capital expenses, improving the ability to provision network infrastructure, and designing more realistic network infrastructures as motivators.

While network departments are investigating and adopting SDN and 40 Gb Ethernet networks cautiously, technologies such as Unified Communications UC and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are approaching the threshold of mainstream adoption, with more than 50 percent implementation slated by year’s end.

Network bandwidth is booming. By 2015, 25 percent of organizations expect their bandwidth demand to grow by between 51 percent and 100 percent. Twelve per cent predict growth of more than 100 percent. By the end of next year a quarter of organizations will have implemented 40 Gb data rates in their enterprise networks.

As applications and networks grow in complexity, the ability to resolve performance problems degrades. Seventy-four percent of respondents said their biggest application troubleshooting challenge was finding out whether the source of network performance problems was the network, the system or the application. That’s a six per cent rise over last year’s results.

UC apps, notably videoconferencing, have hit the big time. Two-thirds of respondents have implemented videoconferencing this year’ only a quarter had done so in 2009. Seventy-one per cent have now deployed voice-over-IP (VoIP), compared to 45 per cent in 2009, and nearly half use instant messaging, while only 27 per cent had done so in 2009.

Still, the end-user experience with UC is unclear to network management, with adoption of application monitoring proving to be very slow. Over half said lack of visibility into the user’s UC experience was their top UC management challenge. Difficulty assessing bandwidth usage was a problem for 39 percent, and an inability to assess UC deployment impact was a challenge for 38 percent of respondents.

“As with any emerging technology, IT management is grappling over the definition of SDN, as well as its benefit and importance to the organization,” said Brad Reinboldt, manager of Product Marketing for Network Instruments.

“As network professionals come to terms with SDN and its relevance, they continue to juggle multiple major initiatives including Big Data, UC, BYOD and 40 Gb deployment. As IT continues to roll out bandwidth-hungry applications to keep pace with the needs of a global, mobile workforce, they lag in the visibility and troubleshooting technologies needed to monitor their burgeoning networks.”

Thanks to IT World Canada for the article.

 

Wind Blowing Hot In Customer Growth Terms, But Vimpelcom Ready To Storm Out

Canada’s Globalive Wireless (Wind Mobile) acquired over 100,000 net new mobile users in the twelve months to the end of March 2014, including 26,000 added in January-March, to end Q1 with a total of 702,000 customers, of which more than 55% were post-paid. The performance compares well with Canada’s three large national mobile operators, Rogers (which lost a net 71,000 wireless users in the first three months of 2014, while gaining 56,000 year-on-year), Bell (minus 16,000 quarter-on-quarter, up by 90,000 in a year) and Telus (up 11,000 in Q1, up 115,000 in twelve months), albeit Wind has significantly lower ARPU and post-paid subscriber percentage than all three incumbents. Meanwhile, TeleGeography estimates that similar-sized cellular operator Videotron added around 25,000 net mobile customers in the quarter and about 107,000 in a year for a total of approximately 528,000 at 31 March.

Despite Wind’s promising growth statistics, parent Vimpelcom – which owns its indirect majority equity stake via Egypt-based Global Telecom Holding (GTH) – is impatient to exit Canada, as the government has blocked the Russian-backed group from taking voting control of Wind for unspecified reasons, while on the other hand preventing any of the three nationwide operators from acquiring the cellco under federal spectrum trading policy. GTH has fully impaired its assets in Canada (by USD619 million), due to the ‘challenges’ the company is facing in the country, and ‘the lack of clarity’ on the best course of action regarding spectrum acquisitions needed to achieve long term growth (which caused it to abstain from the recent 700MHz 4G auction). Rumoured interest in Wind from US giant Verizon also came to nothing, and re-investment from original Egyptian financial backer Naguib Sawiris is unlikely after Ottawa blocked his takeover of nationwide business network operator Allstream for reasons related to ‘national security’ (following which the tycoon said he was ‘finished’ with Canada). Bloomberg quotes Vimpelcom’s CEO Jo Lunder as saying it is looking to either sell Wind or ‘swap it’ for a stake in a ‘larger operator’ in Canada; this statement could be a reference to a potential merger with quadruple-play cableco Videotron, which has acquired 700MHz licences covering three provinces allowing it to expand its mobile network outside home market Quebec, although the Quebecor subsidiary is yet to decide whether to press ahead with expansion or to stockpile the frequencies for future sale.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

Ixia Advances Network Visibility with Real-Time Network and Application Intelligence

New Application and Threat Intelligence Processor delivers smart contextual metadata to monitoring tools enabling customers to make better decisions

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Ixia introduced its Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) Processor, which enhances the network, application and security insights IT organizations get from their existing monitoring tools.

This is the first product of its kind and provides Ixia’s Visibility Architecture with the ability to provide real-time information about users and applications in any format needed – raw packets, filtered packets or metadata. With the number of valid and malicious applications rapidly increasing, this unprecedented visibility intelligence helps IT organizations within large enterprises and service providers to identify, locate and track network applications – including proprietary, mobile and malicious traffic.

News highlights

Ixia’s new ATI Processor for the NTO 7300 brings a new level of intelligence to the network packet broker. Distinct Application Fingerprints and a patent pending dynamic identification capability for unknown applications give network managers a complete view of their networks, including application success and failure tracking. By combining rich contextual information such as geo-location of application usage, handset or device type, operating system and browser type, the ATI Processor helps to identify suspicious activity such as unauthorized BYOD usage or business connections from untrusted locations.

Ixia customers can now leverage their monitoring tools in conjunction with the enhanced information provided by the ATI Processor to spot trends in application usage, user behavior and quality of service with more speed and accuracy. This unique insight can also resolve security concerns such as rapidly spotting Command and Control (CnC) traffic from infected systems and policy infractions from BYOD usage. Previously, IT administrators would have to piece together many independent streams of information in a tedious and error-prone process.

The ATI Processor is backed by the same industry-leading ATI program that fuels Ixia’s test equipment, which includes more than 245 applications and 35,000 malicious attacks and combines frequent Application Fingerprint updates with support of user-defined applications. The specialized hardware employed in the ATI Processor optimizes visibility performance by offloading DPI and metadata extraction, improving tool performance and delivering richer insight into network usage, problems and trends. This functionality delivers greater overall value to our customers.

ATI Processor features include:

  • Dynamic application intelligence capabilities to identify known, proprietary, and even unknown network applications.
  • Enhanced insight including geo-location, handset type, operating system, browser and other key user data.
  • Empirical data generation to identify bandwidth usage, trends and growth needs delivered via API or Ixia’s IxFlow extensions to NetFlow.

For more information watch the video describing the new ATI Processor.

Industry commentary

“The importance of understanding application performance, service quality and security integrity from the network perspective has been steadily rising in both enterprise and service provider settings,” said Jim Frey, EMA’s Vice President of Research, Network Management. “Such visibility is essential for timely assurance and protection of complex applications despite growing traffic volumes and increasing diversity in how end users and subscribers access applications and services. Options for DPI processing and identification at the packet access layer, such as Ixia’s new ATI Processor offering, means valuable flexibility for establishing and sustaining effective visibility.”

“Ixia’s ATI Processor takes the functionality and benefits of a network packet broker to a new level by providing WildPacket’s Network Analysis and Recorder appliances with not just packets, but rich data on applications, geography and users.” said Tim McCreery, president of WildPackets. “By offloading these vital CPU intensive tasks, WildPackets can provide even more real-time visibility into the entire network while recording high-speed traffic for advanced forensics. The joint solution allows customers faster troubleshooting, reduced time to resolution, and shorter network downtime.”

Thanks to Ixia for the article.

StableNet® Enterprise- Automated IT Management & Business Service Assurance

Infosim StableNet EnterpriseBusiness Critical IT

Current and reliable data is a crucial for making solid strategic and operational decisions. This data is the foundation for budgeting, forecasting, analyzing, reporting and lastly improving your business. Intelligent solutions are necessary to drive cost reduction, enhance resiliency and raise user experience. Solutions must work seamlessly across enterprises as well as business units.

Three Solutions – One software

StableNet® incorporates Fault Management, Performance Management and Configuration Management on a single platform. Not only this reduces the total costs of ownership (TCO), but also increases synergy effects between the three solutions, and it shortens the time to value and market.

StableNet® Enterprise provides end-to-end visibility into the IT infrastructure. This guarantees smooth and stable network operation. Bottlenecks can be localized and eliminated proactively so that link overload and connection losses can be avoided. This leads to an improvement of network efficiency and a reduction of costs at the same time.

Three Solutions – Various Applications

StableNet® provides game changing economics . It is a one-stop solution to virtually manage all needs of your organization:

  • Network Management
  • Server Management
  • Application Management
  • VoIP Management
  • Business Process Management
  • Report Management

StableNet® integrates Fault Management (FM), Performance Management (PM) and Configuration Management (CMBD) on one single platform. This innovation reduces capital and operational expenses. StableNet® Enterprise facilitates the optimal utilization of your network’s capacity at the highest possible level of stability. Infosim solutions integrate seamlessly into existing network management systems.

Real Time & Long Term Reports

StableNet® includes an advanced service level management (SLM) and reporting system for networks, servers and applications. This provides network operators the flexibility to collect and report the KPIs that are most important to them and their customers.

StableNet® runs 24/7 and identifies and reports on IT infrastructure performance and events on a real time basis. In addition, the software performs historical reporting to identify long-term trends.

  • Understand the quality of service provided to end users
  • Increase business revenue by reducing outages that directly affect business operations
  • Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by ensuring that services used directly by consumers are responsive and available whenever required
  • Plan proactively to meet future business requirements including workload volumes and necessary service levels
  • Increase ROI on IT assets by balancing workloads and obtaining the highest levels of component utilization while still meeting service level requirements
  • Reduce or eliminate penalties associated with contractual commitments to meet specified service levels

StableNet® provides a highly flexible reporting engine. All reports can be fully customized to best meet specific requirements. A graphical report designer is included, which allows the creation of reports in simple point-and-click fashion. StableNet® supports PDF and HTML formats. Reports may be forwarded on schedule, i.e. with hourly/daily/weekly/monthly output or on-demand as desired.

SLA Reports

SLA reports document the network operator’s delivery against contractual obligations. They are often less detailed than performance reports and only show performance at the service layer; lower layer information such as the underlying transport network are usually not included.

Usage Reports

Usage reports show utilization, volume and throughput with baselines, top N, and trends. Going beyond monthly totals to provide time lines can help users understand peak and off-peak loads. In addition, it assists in sizing the network correctly to meet actual demands.

QoS Reports

QoS reports help the customer understand performance and usage per Class of Service (CoS). This is important in converged networks like IP based RANs. For best performance results QoS reports include information necessary for correct classification as well as application traffic tuning.

Root-Cause and Impact Management

StableNet® provides automatic root cause analysis (RCA) and service impact management for networks, systems and services. Hereby, engineers can focus on service-affecting events and prioritize them at the same time.

StableNet® uses a combination of threshold monitoring, SNMP trap processing and syslog processing to perform authentic problem analyses in real time. Events are correlated by the buit-in RCA subsystem without the need to write and update correlation rules. Alarm dashboards and notifications are enriched with business and service information. This provides NOC engineers with understandable and actionable information.

Extensive reporting capabilities provide invaluable data for network planners and network managers.

StableNet® integrates with existing management applications and 3rd party applications. For example, if a trouble ticket application is used to track problems and resolutions, StableNet® integrates with the application to open a trouble ticket upon failure detection and close it automatically upon clearance of the failure.

  • Correlates root cause events automatically without coding or updating rules
  • Enriches alarm information and dashboards with business impact information
  • Provisions alarm monitors for all relevant KPIs of all network assets automatically
  • Supports integration with SMS, pager, email, trouble ticket and script execution on alarm events
  • Provides best-in-class event reports and statistics
  • Provides a real-time status dashboard of all assets and services

Configuration Management

Accurate inventory is essential to any IT department. However, accurate inventory depends on a single trusted repository. StableNet®’s discovery capabilities have powerful and flexible tools that allow you to determine exactly what to be monitored, and how the sub-elements will be labelled and grouped. These capabilities make it possible to initiate automatic data collection, threshold monitoring and reporting on discovered elements.

StableNet® performs topology discovery in the managed network. During the discovery process each managed device is probed to determine its configuration and its relationship to other managed elements. StableNet® creates instances and dependency models with this information. This simplifies event correlation: there are no rules to be programmed and the event subsystem guarantees that critical problems are always identified.

The discovery automatically finds network devices and network topology. The discovery consists of two layers, the device discovery and the topology & network discovery.

The StableNet® activation module (AM) is an incorporated provisioning engine and a pluggable orchestration layer. The built-in provisioning module uses XML JOBs to create, read, update and delete (CRUD) configurations on networked elements. The pluggable orchestration layer gives users the flexibility to optimize the AM according to their project and site-specific particularities. The optimization can be of technical nature, relate to business processes or be budgetary.

The key benefits of device configuration XML JOBs is to allow the predefinition of JOBs for recurring tasks in XML format. The actual JOB may be configured with respective parameterization using a dynamically generated graphical user interface (GUI).

StableNet® & ITIL®

Businesses prioritize service delivery, support processes, and they define the appropriate workflow to gain competitive advantages. The standard guideline for this is ITIL®. Hence, StableNet® supports various ITIL® processes in the configuration management and service delivery sector.

The two critical core sectors of ITIL® are Service Support and Service Delivery. The first one, Service Support, focuses on daily operational management and support, and consists of these six processes:

  • Service/Help Desk
  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Configuration Management
  • Change Management and
  • Release Management

However, Service Delivery focuses on the delivery of IT services from a long-term perspective. The sector consists of the following five processes:

  • Service Level Management
  • IT Financial Management
  • Capacity Management
  • Continuity Management and
  • Availability Management

StableNet® Enterprise contributes to cost savings and increases your IT departments ability to respond to changes in the business environment efficiently by supporting ITIL® processes such as fault detection, reporting and performance monitoring. The table below shows ITIL® processes in comparison to the StableNet® Enterprise feature set.

Thanks to Infosim for the article.