When you visit OneNet, one of the busiest places you will find is our Network Operations Center (NOC). OneNet’s NOC is a state-of-the-art network monitoring center that serves at the brains behind our network. A team of dedicated network engineers go above and beyond to ensure our customers stay connected and our network is both stable and reliable.
The first thing you will notice in the NOC is the impressive monitoring display that blankets one half of the NOC area. The display not only commands attention, but plays a vital role in the stability and reliability of our network. This fully integrated system of network monitoring tools provides real-time information for monitoring network security, backbone utilization, maintenance and outage alerts and even the weather, which can affect connectivity.
Access to these advanced visualization systems equip our network engineers with fast-changing data for proactive network management. The bandwidth monitoring tools allow our engineers to identify areas reaching maximum utilization and plan ahead to increase bandwidth in those areas. Other tools monitor equipment alerts and provide up-to-the-second outage information, allowing the NOC team to alert a customer of a potential issue before the customer even realizes there is a problem. The engineers also utilize security alerts to keep an eye on customers’ networks and provide information on possible attacks to their networks.
Not only do our engineers constantly monitor the network, but they also are responsible for network design. They have designed our network for reliability, performance and advanced capabilities, including multiple layers of redundancy to prevent outages. A key component to this design is redundant physical fiber pathways and routing protocols to ensure customers’ data can be rerouted if one area of the network experiences an outage. In addition to redundant pathways, network equipment has redundant power sources to keep everything running.
“It is vital to keep our sites connected, so the network can perform at the greatest capacity,” OneNet Director of Network Services Robert Nordmark said.
The NOC team also stays up with the most advanced and leading-edge technology, so we can continually offer more to our customers. They partner with vendors and site technicians to keep all sites as up-to-date as possible. The engineers routinely program routers and switches and run tests at all levels of the network to ensure each site exceeds industry standards and best practices.
The NOC currently has a partnership with the Global Research Network Operations Center (GRNOC) at Indiana University. The GRNOC is the nationally recognized network operations center in the education and research community. Their team works as an integrated unit with the OneNet NOC engineers to provide complete network operations support. The team offers 24/7/365 support, and customers can always reach a live person for assistance. GRNOC provides fast problem resolutions for our customers, allowing our NOC team to focus on more complex issues, work on cutting-edge projects and stay on top of maintenance.
While our NOC team’s focus is advanced network management, their work doesn’t stop with our network. NOC engineers also go above and beyond to provide support for customers’ networks. They provide router management services, trouble-shoot internal issues, assist with network design and consult on long-term planning. Our engineers even make “house-calls” when issues can’t be addressed over the phone, offering customers access to high-level on-site support at no additional cost.
The NOC team recently had the opportunity to assist Butner Public Schools with their internal network. The school district received a grant to purchase a set of iPads, but was not equipped with the infrastructure to support wireless devices. OneNet Network Engineer Josh Turner recognized the need and worked with the school’s on-site technician to create a working option. Turner brainstormed ideas, drew up diagrams and continues to help manage the mobile hotspot supporting the iPads. Shortly after installation, the school’s staff realized their current bandwidth would not support the additional traffic created by the iPads. OneNet was able to upgrade their 4.5 MB connection to a 50 MB connection at a lower cost, saving them money.
“Josh went above and beyond working with Butner Public Schools, not only did he help them with a current issue but he also helped them for years to come,” Nordmark said.
Our NOC team is committed to providing the service and support our customers need to be able to fulfill their personal organizational missions. Our engineers continually look for ways to go above and beyond to offer the resilient, stable and highly available network we pride ourselves in.
“At OneNet our priority is our customers, and we try to do everything to ensure that they are successful and that they are continually satisfied with our services,” Nordmark said.
—Story Contributions and Photo by Katie Kastl, OneNet Outreach Intern, Fall 2013