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Proactive Network Troubleshooting

26/07/2023

Why is there nothing scarier than an unidentified beep in the night?

It's night, and you wake up to a low beeping sound. It occurs only once every minute or so, but in the middle of the night, it's incessant enough to be annoying. Grumbling, you limp out of bed, careful not to turn on the light and disturb your sleeping partner. You listen intently and stumble towards the direction you believe the sound is coming from. However, as soon as you approach what you think is the source, you realize that it's actually behind you. In the stillness and darkness, the directionality of your hearing seems lost.

After a few minutes of investigation, the sound abruptly stops. Shrugging your shoulders, you return to bed. But the minute your head hits the pillow, the beeping starts again. Frustrated, you make a few more laps around the house before giving up, jamming the pillow over your ears, and desperately hoping to fall back asleep. You lack the mental tools and energy to track down this particular alarm.

In the morning, you wake up to find a puddle on the floor. The freezer has defrosted, and all the food is spoiled. As if groceries aren't expensive enough, now you have to buy them all over again.

***

A proactive network troubleshooting

This scenario is familiar enough, especially if you're a network engineer. In fact, it serves as a perfect metaphor for troubleshooting network errors. It feels like stumbling around in the dark, relying on vague and intermittent clues, hoping to identify and resolve the problem before it escalates. Much like the unidentified beeping, the issue could originate from various sources like the fridge, fire alarm, or computer. The only solution is to examine each element one by one, which is tedious, time-consuming, and ultimately ineffective.

Moreover, this approach not only frustrates individual engineers but also hampers the organization's overall business strategy. When engineers are constantly firefighting, they have less time to engage in proactive projects that can enhance effectiveness, efficiency, and competitive advantage.

The central problem with a firefighting strategy is that it usually means something is already on fire. Chasing down errors implies that errors have already occurred, potentially affecting the audience. In an environment with abundant choices and minimal switching costs, it takes very little to lose an audience member or subscriber. On the other hand, if engineers save troubleshooting time and focus on developing the network effectively, they can dedicate their efforts to activities that improve the ultimate audience experience, driving retention and fostering network loyalty.

Undoubtedly, when it comes to network errors, proactive management is the only sensible strategy, as opposed to reactive troubleshooting. But how can engineers achieve this? This isn't a rhetorical question, and the answer lies with Sencore. They offer a solution, perhaps even the answer.

***

In networking, as in life, 90% of success comes down to having the right tools for the job. At Sencore, we believe we've delivered exactly that with our new holistic Network Management and Monitoring Solution: VideoBridge paired with Centra.

Today's broadcast workflows often involve a combination of on-premise and cloud-based systems in many IP networks. In these cases, especially with IP video networks, the systems can be black boxes, making it difficult for engineers to identify and react quickly to problems, let alone address them proactively.

VideoBridge and Centra play a crucial role in providing network engineers with a comprehensive understanding of their network. By collecting all the elements and sources, they offer top-down and intuitive insights into the network's structure. This accessibility extends even to those without deep networking knowledge.

However, it's not just a static picture. Sencore's network management and monitoring solution provides dynamic insight into the network's real-time activities. If the network happens to be engaging in unwanted behavior, it's quick and easy to identify it. There's no need to hunt for problems by systematically checking each component; the information is readily available, offering visibility into every mile of video transport.

Centra takes it one step further by simplifying problem identification. Through its active monitoring and analysis tools, it constantly keeps an eye on the entire network, flagging a wide range of potential error types. It also provides historical analytics for a more strategic assessment of network performance over time. By monitoring through exceptions, the solution promptly notifies users, streamlining the path to rectification and connecting them to the correct department, site, engineer, or required solution.

***

With VideoBridge overseeing on-premise networks and Centra monitoring cloud-based workflows, one might wonder what Network Engineers will do now. The answer is simple: they will utilize their time more effectively to proactively and strategically manage network development. This approach aims to increase performance, lower operational costs, improve audience experience, and deliver a lasting competitive advantage. However, they might still need to figure out where that strange beeping noise is coming from at home, as Centra can't handle everything. Yet.
LINK: https://www.sencore.com/proactive-network-troubleshooting/...
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