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Network monitoring

Service providers constantly monitor their networks in order to meet regulatory requirements and customer expectations for capacity and responsiveness. Network monitoring also helps to shape future investment decisions.


Challenges

The challenge for service providers has been to cost-effectively monitor their network while not impacting performance. Historically, this has meant deploying monitoring software on a subset of network components or purchasing a limited number of hardware probes that are then shuttled around the network. The immediate problem is that while network equipment can be configured to perform network monitoring, with the purchase of additional software from the equipment manufacturer, this comes at the cost of overall network performance since it requires resources normally dedicated to call connection and control. The use of hardware probes often introduces latency and in many cases requires communications to be temporarily interrupted to install the equipment. Both solutions, hardware and software, have often been single purpose in nature, merely increasing the costs of operations with no additional upside.

The long term problem though is that by only capturing the performance of a sub-set of the network at any given time, the service provider has no big-picture understanding of the current state nor the ongoing evolution of the network. As a result, potential business opportunities are missed and capital investments poorly allocated.


Additional opportunities

The use of a network monitoring device provides additional business opportunities over and above performance management. Some additional applications made possible are:

  • Mobile network optimization
  • Lost call message collection
  • Billing reconciliation (via call detail record validation)
  • Fraud detection
  • Roaming detection and welcome


TelcoBridges and Network monitoring

Schematic showing network monitoring with TelcoBridges' family of Tmonitor devices

The TelcoBridges Tmonitor family of products (TM1000 for T1/E1/J1 networks; the TM3000 for STM-1 networks) provide a high-performance network monitoring solution that can be cost-effectively deployed to provide a big-picture view of the network and thus support business operational and investment objectives.

The Telcobridges Tmedia family of products also have the ability to perform network monitoring (at a lower density than the TM1000 and TM3000).

Tmonitor devices perform non-intrusive, full-duplex monitoring, filtering, and analysis of traffic such as SS7 and ISDN signaling, HDLC frames, as well as raw traffic on T1/E1/JI or STM-1 interfaces at line speed, providing up to 100% packet capture. It features highly configurable on-board packet filters so that only relevant information is captured from traffic streams and stored.

Unlike software-based solutions running on the base station controller, Tmonitor devices impose no additional overhead on the core network equipment. Unlike a hardware probe, Tmonitor creates no additional latency and therefore no performance hit.

One important note: The very same Tmonitor hardware in place at a service provider used to to perform network monitoring activities can be used to provide location-based services and respond to lawful intercept mandates. This allows service providers to maximize their investment by achieving additional business objectives and, in the case of location-based-services, actually monetizing the data generated by network activity.

Integration of Network monitoring in Toolpack

Starting with Toolpack 2.9, the Tmonitor TM1000 can be integrated in the Toolpack framework, which provides easy-to-use APIs to control monitoring, and also provides protocol analyzer classes.

For more information about integration of monitoring functionalities in Toolpack, please refer to the following documentation: Toolpack Monitoring