Martello BLOG : 2016

Harrow SchoolIf you follow tech industry news, you know that billions of devices will soon need to be connected – from a simple toaster to the most complex hospital equipment performing lifesaving surgeries. It’s the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT, and research guru Gartner says that 6.4 billion ‘things’ will be connected by the end of 2016, hitting 20.8 billion by 2020.  For most of us, it’s an interesting future to look forward to, but for network administrators supporting large scale unified communication systems it’s a looming concern.

So what’s the big deal about the IoT? Well, as more and more ‘things’ require consistent AND constant connectivity, demands on the network skyrocket. This growing demand can lead to network instability, the potential for unexpected downtime and service quality inconsistencies.  Preparing your network for growth means that your organization can reap the benefits of the IoT, including increased revenues, a boom in internal productivity an overall increase in end user satisfaction due to the growth of connected devices.

Monitor, Monitor, Monitor…

So how can you stay ahead of the curve? Knowledge is power and a network that is monitored using fault and performance management tools generates detailed data that can be transformed into a powerful asset to prevent problems associated with the IoT. Using fault and performance monitoring software ensures that as demands on the network grow with the IoT, you have end-to-end visibility to monitor, track and analyse the status of the network in real-time.  This leaves no gaps in performance and availability monitoring of both the private and public devices that make up the network allowing you to quickly detect, diagnose and resolve network performance problems – before they impact the end user.

As the IoT grows, so do the sprawling and complicated networks required to support it. For most organizations, moving to cloud based applications and spreading out network locations is the only way to sustain growth going forward. A network that is nimble and can scale quickly is essential. Think tank IDC has predicted that by 2017, 90% of enterprises will have adopted new business models to accommodate the IoT.

Crystal Clear Visibility for Voice Network Success

Today’s business communications networks are a complex mix of cloud-hosted and on-premise PBX systems, third party devices, multi-vendor routers, switches and servers. To prepare voice networks for the demands of the IoT, network visibility is the key. A monitored network sends real-time alerts that warns of  impending network issues that could negatively impact voice service. This helps reduce the problem-to-resolution window and avoid downtime.  Managing a network in the virtual darkness leaves your team firefighting issues brought forward by unhappy end users and finds you patching up issues as they arise.  When increased demand starts to tax the overall system, you’ll be scrambling to scale.  With network performance management tools you can leverage analytics to collect data on the health and performance of your network. This comprehensive data helps you plan, predict and forecast for network growth and management.

The IoT is coming – some say it’s already here. Network administrators must prepare to maintain and scale for the additional requirements of increasing connected devices.  The only way to effectively do this is to know exactly what is happening on your network – with the crystal clear visibility that fault and performance management software gives you into your network with around the clock monitoring.  Will your organization be ready to reap the rewards of our increasingly interconnected world? The time is now to prepare your organization.

Founded in 1572, Harrow School is one of Britain’s leading independent schools. Steeped in tradition, Harrow’s distinguished uniform includes, morning suits, top hats and canes, boarded in ‘Houses’  there are timeworn school customs that include the carving of pupils names onto house boards, the usage of a traditional slang language and complicated football type game.

Harrow SchoolNotable alumni include statesmen like Sir Winston Churchill, Nobel Prize winners, Earls, noted writers and even kings . The school has an enrollment of 824 boys, spread across a campus that includes twelve boarding houses, and a communications infrastructure supporting telephone service from the Headmaster’s board room to the Admissions office call centre to payphones in student residence. Despite the school’s commitment to tradition, it recently undertook a technology upgrade with a managed private cloud business communications system from Mitel, and with help from partner Arden Telecom. With a state-of-the-art telephony infrastructure now in place, Harrow School chose a managed, proactive monitoring and support service powered by Mitel Performance Analytics to keep it all performing reliably.

By moving from a legacy ISDN 30 to new SIP trunks, Harrow Schools achieved cost savings from reduced line rental and call costs. This best-of-breed solution gave them a future proof, high performance communications system that Harrow now relies upon to conduct business and keep students connected each day. Partner, Arden Telecom recommended its proactive managed monitoring and support service to Harrow, which uses Mitel Performance Analytics. Harrow SchoolMitel Performance Analytics monitors Harrow’s entire network around the clock, alerting their support partner in real-time when a problem is detected. The software-as-a-service gives Arden Telecom the tools to find the source of a problem quickly, and then use remote access to address it before it becomes a problem for users at Harrow School: “The proactive monitoring service, powered by Mitel Performance Analytics protects our investment in leading edge telephony”, said Dr. Christopher O’Mahony, IT Manager of Harrow School. “We know that problems like poor voice quality won’t impact our users, since MPA will help our support partner to address the problem very quickly”.

Hours of training and sacrifice. Adversity overcome. The excitement of this summer’s Olympics in Rio is contagious and has most of us glued to our TVs, laptops, tablets or phones. However, while we might think of Olympic watching as a leisure activity, it has an impact on businesses – in particular, on corporate networks. Rio 2016It’s causing a sharp increase in bandwidth usage as employees stream their favourite events while they go about their tasks. This strain can result in problems for voice networks sharing the IT infrastructure. That’s why businesses should take steps to ensure their network can handle these high volume periods, and that problems can be detected and fixed before voice communications suffer.

By its conclusion, it’s expected that more than 6,700 hours of coverage will have been streamed from the 2016 summer games in Rio.  Streaming is a heavy draw on bandwidth, typically using 5-7 megabits per second, and most business networks are only set up for intermittent streaming. Multiple users simultaneously streaming Olympic events, along with typical business activities like email, voice calls and web browsing can spell disaster for your voice network.
Rio 2016
It’s Not Really About the Olympics

The Olympics are just one use case for preventive measures when it comes to performance of your network. The reality is that every business has its high volume periods – for retail, it’s the holidays, for schools, the first week of September. Your network should be designed to handle peak volume without sacrificing voice quality. One way to anticipate and mitigate problems stemming from bandwidth congestion is to monitor usage and performance.

Get a Handle on Usage and Performance

Mitel users have an easy path to manage performance under high volume conditions. Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA), available with a Premium Software Assurance subscription, monitors the routers, servers and switches in the IT infrastructure – in addition to your Mitel gear. It alerts you to problems at an early stage – so you can take corrective action before users experience voice quality problems or downtime. It also gives you visibility into call volume and usage – making overall capacity planning more accurate.

Volume spikes don’t have to be a strain on voice networks. With the right tools to manage usage and performance, you’ll be ready for the 2018 PyeongChang games and whatever else might be coming next.