Martello BLOG : 2018

If the movie Back to the Future was any indicator, by now we should all be traveling around on floating hoverboards and blasting back and forth through time. We know that reality has not come to fruition – yet. Today in the media, we all hear the term ‘smart cities’ tossed around and we nod our heads and think ‘Yes, I know that is coming.’ – but what does it really mean and how do the business decisions that you are making today impact the Smart City of the future? The recent announcement by BlackBerry and L-Spark about a new autonomous vehicles accelerator offers some insight into how the Canadian IoT leader is preparing for tomorrow’s connected world. 

What is a Smart City?

The term Smart City has a broad scope but at the center of it is the idea to build a community that leverages information and communication technologies to make things more efficient, streamlined and improve quality of life. There are three key elements that contribute to a Smart City:

  • Improved communications technology
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Increase in available data

Imagine a city with public wi-fi areas, integrative public transportation streaming, tap and pay parking spots, autonomous public transportation, libraries that offer online services, live air quality monitoring – the possibilities are infinite as long as your network is ready to handle the demand.

Frost and Sullivan has predicted that by 2020 the smart cities market will be worth $1.5 trillion. 

A Smart City is a Connected City

As cities grow, they have been integrating new technologies at a dizzying pace. As these innovations make life easier for city planners and citizens, the new services are often only as good as the quality of their link to the Internet. With more integration between these various systems, and with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), cities will need to adopt a flexible yet robust network infrastructure to keep up with the demand. Martello’s technology, chosen by BlackBerry as part of its accelerator program, maximizes network uptime across all sites, while prioritizing the applications and types of traffic that matter most.

Building a Network that is Smart City Ready

So how do you keep a Smart City up and running? The most important step is to set up a  business continuity plan and build a rock-solid network infrastructure that includes:

1. Failover and Availability

The key to network performance lies in bandwidth and technology diversification. By using multiple different links from various providers, municipal institutions can avoid being sent back to the Dark Ages. With devices such as Martello’s Link Balancers, all connections can be used concurrently. If one of them goes down, the traffic is immediately redirected to other available paths, preserving active sessions. In the event where a municipal data center goes dark, it’s possible to redirect the traffic to alternate resources such as mirrored servers, either physical, or in the Cloud.

2. Application Control: Security and Uptime

One of the key success factors for a Smart City is to provide dedicated applications and city-wide public Wi-Fi to citizens and travelers. Distributing traffic across multiple sites improves performance, but there’s a limit to what the entire network can handle. This is when controlling what’s happening on the network becomes more important.

Safe Private Networks – Private municipal data and public Wi-Fi sessions shouldn’t share the same network. Find a solution that allows you to split the network into airtight compartments, preventing any leak from one to the other.

Promote City Applications – While cities can’t guarantee the quality of cellular networks, they have more control over the quality of their public Wi-Fi. Using a network performance solution like Martello’s allows you to set priorities for internet traffic. Limiting unwanted traffic or giving priority to city sanctioned applications (e.g. Live bus schedules, snow removal coordination) will give you more control over the quality of public Wi-Fi in smart cities.

Emergency Dispatch Services – Much in the same way, Martello’s technologies can prioritize real-time communications by relying on the company’s extensive experience in unified communications (UC) performance management. This is critical for emergency response, where dispatch centers rely on uninterrupted and stellar communications.

As technology accelerates, expectations for network performance skyrockets. While autonomous vehicles driving around on city streets might still seem like the stuff that you see in movies, the reality is that this is coming much faster than most people realize.  Taking the time now to establish a rock-solid network infrastructure will mean that as the demands of Smart Cities grow, your network will be ready to handle it.

Interested in finding out more? Book some time with our enterprise network experts – let them help you put together the solution that will transform your network.

When managing your network, there are many times when a device is in need of an upgrade or replacement. When this happens, you set it to maintenance mode to avoid the irrelevant alarms you know will come in. Things get busy and often, you forget to turn the maintenance mode off – as a result, the key performance indicators are not collected. To prevent this problem, the latest release of Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA) includes a schedulable maintenance mode feature.This will reduce time consuming problems associated with scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and explaining irrelevant alarms or availability details to customers.
MPA makes it effortless to schedule single or groups of devices into maintenance mode. Using group scheduling, this feature simplifies bulk device maintenance and ensure devices come out of maintenance mode when done. Reports are readily available to show maintenance windows during the period.

Additionally, you can schedule multiple maintenance windows associated to a single device. A device can also be included in a daily maintenance schedule and a monthly maintenance schedule. It is also now possible to manually put individual devices into maintenance mode when needed.

For example, as a network specialist, you are responsible for planning and managing maintenance periods for your company’s devices. With this feature, you can rest easy knowing the devices are placed into and out of maintenance at a pre-determined time.

MPA 2.3 gives the users the flexibility to schedule maintenance mode according to any existing workflow. To see more MPA 2.3 features, take a look at our MPA 2.3 primer or the MPA 2.3 demo video.

Watching a scary Halloween horror movie is not for the faint of heart. These movies often start off slow but as they progress the foolish choices of the characters have you on high alert for the jump-scare that you know is coming!

Network administration can sometimes be the same nail-biting, edge of your seat – ‘oh, what is going to go wrong next?’- experience. So, how can you take the scary aspects out of network administration? First off, when assessing your network, it is always a good idea to identify the ‘weakest link’. WAN links continue to be some of the most critical parts of any IT infrastructure, and in some cases, they are indeed a network’s weakest link. It’s no secret that the growing adoption of cloud services and SaaS-based applications is making them even more critical. As companies move applications to the cloud, bandwidth consumption is being shifted from the enterprise to the Internet, straining the infrastructure at the network edge and impacting the user experience.

Like those scary Halloween movies, you often don’t see the villain coming until its too late. For Administrators, typically the first indication that there is a problem is when users start complaining that their applications are slow or crashing. Just imagine that you are streaming that spooky Halloween movie and in that critical moment, your network drops.

There are many reasons why this might happen:

  • Too much traffic. If too many employees try to access cloud-based applications at the same time, the WAN link can perform more slowly than expected, especially during a “rush hour” when users first log in at the start of a workday.
  • Equipment failures. When a router or modem fails to operate normally, it causes the Internet link to halt operation. This could be a blip or a longer outage, which could impact operations.
  • ISP issues. Problems with the ISP infrastructure, whether a server failure or a cut fiber link, can strain or interrupt service to your business.

Managing the network at the Edge does not have to frighten you – in today’s cloud-driven environment, eliminating potential points of failure is critical to providing services to both employees and customers. The movement to the cloud isn’t going to stop – it’s only growing. Businesses need to meet this trend head-on by deploying flexible bandwidth management solutions that optimize and adjust their bandwidth supply in a cost-efficient way. Balancing Internet traffic across many links allows enterprises to provide better user experience and prevent outages, and at the same time supply the network availability and redundancy that their mission-critical applications require.

This Halloween, pop some popcorn and get ready to enjoy those scary movies!  Be prepared to be scared, knowing that with the right infrastructure in place, your network doesn’t need to frighten you.