As an internet service provider, Business Only Broadband (BOB) provides carrier-grade Metro Ethernet and Internet solutions to diverse industries and businesses of all sizes. BOB is one of the largest fixed wireless broadband providers in the greater Chicago area as well as in the Milwaukee and New York City metropolitan areas. To its broad customer base, BOB offers carrier-grade Service Level Agreements, a resilient design with Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) architecture, and diverse Tier 1 Internet peering points.
Tim Huffman, Director of Engineering at BOB, faces the significant challenge of maintaining one of the largest wireless networks in the country. Made up of more than 2,500 devices, the network requires constant monitoring; even the smallest issue with a device or bandwidth impacts customers directly.
Monitoring Made Easy
After struggling to maintain real-time awareness of the network using other network monitoring software (NMS), Huffman turned to Intermapper. Its mapping, monitoring, and alerting capabilities, combined with its capability to probe any device with an IP address, gave Huffman and his team the power they needed to monitor and maintain BOB’s network.
“We chose Intermapper for a variety of reasons, one of which was the ability to develop customized probes. We use a wide range of devices, including more than 20 different wireless radios, and I have written probes for many of them,” Huffman said.
Huffman has implemented a series of alerts and notifications that keep his team abreast of network issues. “Being able to create custom notifications based on events and thresholds that we determine is big for us,” he said. “I get all of the notifications, but the custom thresholds help me take the day-to-day troubleshooting off of engineering’s plate and give it to the front-line phone guys because it is easy to do.”
Using Intermapper’s powerful mapping capabilities, Huffman has created physical and geographical maps of the network. This lets him quickly identify issues. “Mapping the network and drilling down to maps of specific locations and connections allows us to quickly pinpoint issues,” Huffman said. “If a router in New York is acting up, I can instantly see the problem, where it is located, the impact it can have on the network, and what we need to do to fix the issue.”
Intermapper’s scalability is also invaluable to Huffman’s team. They use Intermapper to monitor thousands of devices, including core Cisco routers, switches, access points, radios, and Metro Ethernet switches. “We’re constantly upgrading and adding to the network, so we need a solution that can keep up,” Huffman said. “Intermapper has handled everything we have thrown at it.”
Intermapper also allows Huffman’s team to ping routers and devices at custom intervals to pinpoint issues before they impact the customer. “By adjusting our polling intervals, we can look at a device’s interface utilization and create a quick graph that shows us what is going on in real time. If we see an anomaly, such as micro bursts of traffic that max out a connection, we can pinpoint the issue and take steps to address the problem. We use this feature quite often to prevent issues that may impact our customers.”
“With Intermapper, it is very easy to look at an individual device to make changes and create graphs of usage on the fly. This is very useful when a customer calls with technical issues. We are able to see exactly what is going on with their devices in seconds.”
Huffman also uses Intermapper Remote Access to maintain around-the-clock knowledge of the network. “Remote Access makes it possible for my team to monitor the network from home or on-the-go. This is vital to address issues that occur after hours,” Huffman said.
Tremendous Value Straight Out of the Box
In all, Huffman has been very pleased with Intermapper’s performance and its value. “I am an engineer so I try to stay as far away from the money as I can, but I would say that trying to duplicate all the things that Intermapper lets us do would cost three to four times as much with another vendor,” Huffman said. “We’d also be looking at spending many man hours trying to make another NMS meet our needs. Intermapper does that right out of the box.”
Deliver Exceptional Service with Intermapper
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