Six pillars of a robust network management system: Part II

Network management systems and processes are broken, which is bad timing for an industry undergoing such tremendous transformation. Innovations that address scale, automation, and intelligence are emerging, but they must be implemented with the big picture in mind. This picture must include the essential and data-rich environment of the outside plant, and must be powered by a management system that is capable of facilitating the desired transformation and promoting increasingly efficient business operations. 

In this three part blog series, we’ll be diving into what components of a network management system we believe to be paramount to achieving this goal and how 3-GIS has implemented each of them into our own solutions. In the first post we covered the first two pillars: services accessed on-demand via web browser, and represents geospatial location and the attributes of physical assets. Be sure to check out part one here if you missed it.

3. Ensures recoverability, searchability, traceability, and connectivity

Traditional network management systems treat networks as a system of individual components. Each component is connected to another component, which is connected to another and so on from one location to another. Records for these individual components contain information about the components they connect to, and these records must be updated individually to maintain an accurate representation of any network path.

Data VeracitySingle Database-1

The 3-GIS Network Solutions system is based on connections rather than individual components. As a network is connected, 3-GIS establishes a collection of geospatial features and table records representing the path a signal takes from source to end, called signal paths. Attribute information is populated along the signal path automatically, ensuring all connected network elements are properly identified, preventing the opportunity for error introduction, and enabling faster outage detection and restoration. When changes are made to a Signal Path, tools included in the application check the path from A to Z for a complete data set and inform the user of any issues to be corrected. 

4. Promotes data integrity and operational simplicity

To mitigate the risk of breaking relationships between databases, help ensure the entire team has access to the same available records, and promote accurate data and reporting, 3-GIS uses a single database as the established system of truth. 

In traditional management systems, graphics were stored in one database as CAD or other graphic files, while attribute and location information was stored in a separate database. Changes in one database had to be manually replicated in the other or the graphics and data would no longer match. A large amount of redundant work was required to make sure the databases were in sync, and two databases doubled the threat of human error. By storing both spatial and attribute data in a single location, 3-GIS eliminates both duplicated effort and the risk of introducing errors.

Because more than one database was involved and changes were not always properly passed between databases, finding anything, such as a path through dark fiber, required querying both databases and sifting through the records to find each individual unused strand. Establishing a diverse route could also be significantly more complex. The time and effort required to continuously trace a network places a huge burden on a multiple-database system, and to propagate that information every time a change is made compounds that time and effort. 

By maintaining all network data in a single database, 3-GIS links operations so that a change to one network component is carried through to related components throughout a signal path, promoting stronger data integrity, allowing faster tracing, and reducing maintenance overhead.

Want to learn more about the six pillars? Check out this episode of our podcast, Fiberside Chat, to hear what the 3-GIS President, Dustin Sutton, has to say.

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