Network Resource Management
The ability of a business to provide services requires deploying its resources to meet a need. Network service providers manage incredibly complex systems and resources in order to provide service to their end users. Providing a single POTs line may require the interaction of a TDM voice trunk, last mile copper, voice switch, and distribution frame, all of which are examples of physical inside and outside plant elements. These are then overlaid with the logical circuits which rest upon them.
For most providers, managing these resources is a largely manual process. A service qualification for a business may generate an email to a Sales Engineer to ask that they review the current availability and capacities of a multitude of equipment and circuits in order to determine whether a service may be sold. The equipment required to provide service may have separate interfaces for provisioning, requiring an engineer work with each separately. For many companies, the relationship between these systems is a highly trained, experienced staff member using knowledge that they alone may have. At best, this may lead to duplication of effort and data, but too commonly this leads to inconsistencies, delays, and even missed expectations and due dates.
With Vision, we reduce the reliance on the knowledge of specific employees, and narrow the gap between requirement and result, by placing the management of Physical and Logical Resources, as well as business rules and automation, in a single unified system.
The foundation of Vision™ is geospatial location (see graphic). Upon location, we layer Resources which we define broadly as People (Leads, Subscribers, Technicians, etc.) and Assets. Of Assets, the most critical to any Service providers are its Network Resources, which we divide into Physical and Logical Layers.
To the Physical we assign assets that take up Physical space. These include cable, hardware, splice closures, or anything you can touch, upon which your network relies. Even though you cannot touch wireless spectrum, it is also part of this physical layer as it is the “connection” between a transmitter and receiver. These physical elements have relationships and connections to one another, which make up Master Circuits. Two fiber optic cables, for example, may connect to one another via fusion splice within splice closure. An ethernet switch may have connections to Category 6 cabling via RJ-45 ports.
To the Logical layer, we assign circuits. Services provided to subscribers ride on these circuits. Circuits are further categorized as Middle Mile and Last Mile. Last Mile circuits connect premises with their distribution point, while Middle Mile circuits are those to which many Last Mile circuits may be assigned to obtain their service. The connection from a DSLAM to an ADSL modem is an example of a Last Mile circuit, while the SONET ring on which the DSLAM sits is an example of a Middle Mile circuit.
This loosely approximates the standard Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, but with some specific differences as it is modeling not only hardware and software but also business practices. The Location layer is the basis of all of the information in this system. In essence, it is a subset of layer 1 but completely abstracted from the other physical layer components. This not only allows, but requires, that all other physical layer objects include a location. Logical circuits then also have a location since they are built upon the physical layers. Finally, even services have a location since they are built over the logical circuits. This arrangement of items through space provides a flexible foundation upon which a service provider can build a more efficient, more resilient and profitable network. The examples which follow, common to any service provider, illustrate the value of the Vision™ Network Resource Management platform.