In our previous post, we discussed one of the major reasons you'd want real time network monitoring (the ability to detect network damage before outages occur.) While that's certainly one of the main draws for the service, it's not the only reason to consider protecting your network.
While detection of errors is the obvious reason you'd want network monitoring, let's examine two of the side benefits:
2) Archive OTDR traces to Preserve Historical Data
Having a repository of OTDR traces on a span shows you how that span changes over time. Aside from the "good" baseline trace technicians will use to find errors, this is also important in network planning. With potentially thousands of traces over multiple years it quickly becomes tough to keep track of them in a three ring binder; this makes a computer assisted archive essential.
Not all networks are going to behave exactly the same way but if you have lots of past data you can determine exactly how a certain splice will affect your signal. This is especially important when looking at temporary repairs.
Aside from just storing the files in a mish-mash on your hard drive, asset management systems such as FiberBase by Corridor Technologies usually maintain these repositories. Having them in a database is much better than keeping flat files, since you have the benefit of GIS Mapping and the network Topology for any given trace.
3) Detect Periodic Outages without The Need for Manual Scans
Sometimes outages occur at seemingly random intervals and mysteriously "fix themselves." Truck rolls are the single most expensive part of network maintenance, so sending them on a wild goose chase is bad for business. Events such as water freezing and causing a bend, temperature changes, and machinery driving over a route can cause a problem temporarily. By the time you get a technician out there to scan for it, the event has passed. Continuous scans help you detect these problems before they cause any real damage.
Even though it didn't make my top 3 list, these systems are also one of the best ways to detect fiber tapping (intrusion detection.) Since the only way to find out if somebody has messed your fiber is to perform an OTDR scan, a system like this is the only economic way to do it all the time.
If you're interested in hearing more about FiberSentry, our hosted network monitoring solution drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!