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Agilent automates network troubleshooting

Posted: 02 Apr 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:agilent technologies? network troubleshooting center? network analyzer? oss system? arpu?

Agilent Technologies recently released its Network Troubleshooting Center (NTC) - a tool designed to integrate critical information needed to troubleshoot network problems in a single location.

The company said the NTC would enable service providers and network operators to test all major applications such as voice, mobile, and data for LAN and WAN networks and provide real-time network troubleshooting capabilities.

The NTC utilizes Agilent's collection of network analyzer products by slashing the time needed to troubleshoot various problems on different networks in a single location. It is also suited for remote network troubleshooting - essentially 'bringing the problem to the engineer instead of bringing the engineer to the problem'.

Van Negley, manager of Network Systems Test Division at Agilent, said that "the NTC and the Network Analyzer family are focused on data-communication networks. It gives broad and scalable solutions for network problems."

Agilent's solution goes against the old conventions of network troubleshooting where a single tool is designed for a specific technology. "Products such as the network analyzer are now able to troubleshoot multiple technologies and multiple services in a single device. There was a time when you had to buy a different protocol analysis tool for every technology in the network. That is no longer a practical solution given the wide variety of technologies that exist in the network today," said Negley.

Detailed troubleshooting analysis

NTC controls and manages the network analyzers that would allow a technician to 'drill down' into detailed troubleshooting analysis. By the combination of data that is already on the network and the detailed troubleshooting that the tool provides, the NTC can tell what is wrong with the network in order to apply the right equipment or the right technician on the problem.

While portable troubleshooting devices have been around for quite a while, Agilent boasts that the NTC's ability analyze the data and integrate the results from a central location is the banner feature of their tool. As Negley stressed, "Portable troubleshooting tools have been around for a long timebut there's always been a gap in our ability to troubleshoot complex problems quickly from a central location."

"The OSS view has always been available from a central location but didn't give us all the tools we needed to do detailed network troubleshooting from that same central location," Negley added.

Reduction in operating costs

While the average revenue per user (ARPU) of service providers and enterprises continue to stagnate, the demand for increased revenue escalates due to the price collapse triggered by excess network capacity.

Automating certain tasks (especially one as expensive and as wasteful as a technician going out on the road two to three times to solve a single network problem) will certainly lower operating and maintenance costs. However, automation and remote troubleshooting can adversely affect the workforce of companies who would not need as many technicians as it once did.

Negley said, "Telecom operators my choose methods to reduce their operating costs by centralizing some of the functions done in the field. That could lead to reductions in workforce or it may allow technicians to carry out different functions in the organization - for instance, deploying new services or doing things other than maintaining the network."

- Mark David

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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