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The Switch Whisperer

Posted by Doug Kuntz on Jan 16, 2017 11:53:09 AM

IMG_5555.jpgIt was nearly 20 years ago and I had just started with Nex-Tech, or at that time Rural Telephone Service.  While touring one of our central offices, I was introduced to Ed.  Ed was a seasoned Central Office Tech that had been with the company for what I believed forever.  With a strong German accent, he told stories of “back in da day”.

“Back in da day” Ed may have been called the Switch Whisperer.  You see in the days of stepper switches; network monitoring was often described as simply listening to the switch.  Ed could identify issues just by observing the sounds it generated.  I was even told Ed could nearly identify what number was being dialed just by listening to the switch.

In today’s networks, equipment manufactures each have their own set of tools, providing virtually unlimited data.  In a demo for new equipment, it may have appeared to be the answer to your network monitoring needs.  But once setup and configured, it was difficult to separate the noise from the critical alarms and now all you get is endless text messages or calls with network events.  How long has it been since you’ve enjoyed a good night’s sleep or been able to watch your kids’ game uninterrupted?

If you don’t have a Switch/Network Whisperer on staff, a Network Operations Center (NOC) could be the answer you are looking for.  A NOC can analyze this data and create profiles, filtering out the noise and only alerting you when there is a network event requiring attention.

Let’s face it, in today’s fast paced business world we find ourselves in a constant reactionary state. Wouldn’t it be great if we could predict equipment failures before they happened?  This is another area a NOC can assist with.  By analyzing the noise referenced above, it’s possible to profile, track and predict lasers reaching service thresholds or identify devices that are becoming chatty within the network before they become service affecting.  Often these potential network disruptions can be predicted, allowing for proactive repair within a maintenance window and possibly during regular business hours.

Staffing and managing a NOC 24x7x365 can be challenging for most small to medium service providers, and even large statewide networks.  Outsourcing NOC services to a skilled and experienced team is often times the best solution, but how do you go about choosing a qualified NOC?

There are a lot of companies that claim to be a NOC, but are simply no more than an inbound call center, creating tickets from customer calls or alarms from Network Management Systems (NMS).  This is only a step above what you have today.  A TRUE NOC will have certified professionals on staff, experienced in problem management and root-cause analysis. 

Ed, our Switch Whisperer, has since retired but we do offer an outsourced NOC solution that takes a proactive approach to network monitoring.  You can rely on Nex-Tech to keep your network up and operating at its peak to ensure that you avoid outages, minimize downtime, maintain service level compliance and increase customer satisfaction.

To find out more about how Nex-Tech’s NOC can assist you in being more proactive in your network, contact Doug Kuntz, Carrier Access Manager, at 785-621-2974 or visit



Topics: Telecom Industry

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