The problem with wireless technology is most of it is not wireless. Wireless service providers deal with managing connectivity over miles of cable and fiber. According to a Gartner Group study, 59 percent of unplanned network downtime occurs in the physical layer and 28 percent of outages are caused by employees mistakenly making changes in the physical layer.
Typical industry outages that involve cabling last more than one hour, Gene Malone, product manager, Infrastructure Configuration Manager (ICM) software solutions, TE Enterprise Networks, told AGL Bulletin. Without a diagram of the cabling, 90 percent of that time may be spent trying to find and diagnose the problem.
TE Connectivity will announce the availability of an app this week that speeds a technician’s ability to find and troubleshoot a problem in the maze of cables that make up one of today’s wireless systems. The app, known as ICM software, creates an automated, real-time physical layer management system that maps all the connections of the network, resulting in a schematic of every cable connection and the length of each cable.
“When we refer to connectivity, it is the physical layer of connections where the cables plug in. We start with documenting the entire cable plant, forming a data base of the organization’s information and breaking out regions and campuses, buildings, and floors down to the wall plate or actual wiring closet itself,” Malone said.
With a managed connectivity system in place, diagnosis time goes down more than 60 percent, according to Malone.
“The number one return on investment of maintaining documentation is reducing your physical plant-related outages, which means more uptime and more productive technicians,” he said. “If a vehicle hits a box with a number of cables connected to it, you would have all the information needed to build and connect a new box. It can be shipped preconfigured. Without documentation, restoration typically takes four times longer.”
ICM software also issues and tracks work orders and network events.
“Using the ICM productivity app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, technicians can view and conduct work orders, view and respond to alarms, and report completion of network tasks, boosting productivity and improving communications between technicians and the network operating center,” Malone said.