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Year In Review... Newpoint Technologies

newpoint_sm1210_l The space and terrestrial communications media paid a great deal of attention this year to the global economy, Space Situational Awareness (SSA), major Radio Frequency (RF) Interference events, the growing demand for Satellite Communications (SATCOM), and more. Rightly so, these are important issues.

However, as often is the case, the technology challenges network managers face often went unnoticed — especially when things go smoothly. At Newpoint Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Integral Systems, we worked with satellite operators and service providers around the world to ensure their networks ran at peak performance.

Customer focus was on streamlining operations and increasing the overall Quality of Service (QoS) for clients and in building the revenue potential of the networks. In order to accomplish this, many centralized management of their ground station assets, whether in a single facility or across multiple facilities, into a single Newpoint Technologies’ COMPASS Network Management System (NMS).

This was not limited to centralizing management of the RF equipment components, but encompassed all the station assets: Heating and Ventilation Systems (HVAC), security, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), generators, fueling systems, and more. With COMPASS, operators had complete situational awareness of the true condition of the remote site or network from a single console.

Network operators and service providers also began to look at network management as an enablement solution, as opposed to a passive “monitoring and control” tool. The concept of Service Management was introduced into COMPASS this year, giving operators the ability to immediately identify critical equipment failures and correlate the alarms to the services or traffic that was affected by the failures.

By doing so, operators can prioritize recovery of services based upon established Service Level Agreements (SLA) and recover higher priority services first, maximizing customer satisfaction and network revenues. COMPASS Service Manager also allows operators to automate the set up and tear down of services on the network by allowing them to dynamically store service profiles, which ensures quick and easy network restoration when there is a failure on the network.

newpoint_sm1210_g1 Having a centralized service network management solution with complete situational awareness of the entire network, operators now have the foundation for automating and exchanging information with other software applications and systems used by the network operator. Previously, it was cost prohibitive and complex to integrate a number of disparate systems to these other applications, but now there is only one system that these applications must look to for network status. The network management system can feed important decision making information, such as when a service comes on-line and goes off-line, if a failure occurred while it was running and how long it took to recover the service and more.

Along these lines, Newpoint also introduced two other new modules for the COMPASS NMS in 2010 designed to automate and simplify management of the network. COMPASS Inventory Management System (IMS) and the COMPASS Trouble Ticketing System (TTS) are natural progressions of the network management system.

newpoint_sm1210_g2 COMPASS IMS tracks all the equipment, managed or unmanaged, that comprise the network, or stocked as spares. It maintains the typical inventory items such as make, manufacture, model numbers, serial numbers, contact information, location, usage, status, etc. The system can warn operators when routine maintenance on equipment is required, and allows operators to quickly identify replacement components for failed equipment.

COMPASS TTS allows operators to open trouble tickets either manually or based upon an alarm in COMPASS NMS. They can then assign the trouble tickets to an operator or technician who is emailed the new ticket. From the network management graphical user interface (GUI), operators can see that a ticket is opened and a technician assigned. They can then track the problem from origination to solution, and build a knowledge base for others to refer to in the future when trying to resolve network issues.

newpoint_sm1210_bio Looking forward to 2011, Newpoint expects the fundamental transformation of viewing network management systems as an enablement solution, with a direct tie to bottom line revenue to be fully entrenched throughout the industry. As network demands continue to increase, service management and automated network management will no longer be a nice-to-have-feature, but an imperative part of comprehensive solution.

A solid network management foundation is the only way that satellite operators and service providers can meet increased performance, QoS and SLA enforcement requirements of their customers.