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Real-World Troubleshooting At InteropNet

The InteropNet brings together network infrastructure and management equipment from a variety of vendors to provide network connectivity for Interop’s exhibitors and attendees. It’s a real-world example of product interoperability in a production environment. It’s also a learning and teaching environment where attendees can tour the NOC and take classes.

In a recent post we heard from an InteropNet volunteer who’s helped bring the InteropNet together for 19 years. Today’s post is from one of our partner vendors, PathSolutions, a network monitoring company. CTO Tim Titus discusses how the company is trying new things to ensure that InteropNet runs at top speed.

This year PathSolutions was selected to help build the InteropNet for both the Las Vegas and New York City shows. In early May, I blogged about my Las Vegas experience and the role that PathSolutions’ software (and some of our key employees) played in monitoring the performance of the InteropNet.

Well, we’re back working on the Las Vegas sequel—Interop New York. While (IMHO) we did a pretty thorough job of identifying network problems and issues at Interop Las Vegas which, in turn, helped the ITM team rapidly get problems identified and resolved, we decided that at the NYC show we needed to go deeper.

For New York City, we took advantage of the wealth of information that Avaya switches provide and added another network monitoring capability. All of the Avaya switches support a great deal of intelligence on the smart SFPs that are used to power all of the fiber-optic connections.

At the Hot Stage in Brisbane, Calif., where we build out and test the InteropNet network, we made a configuration change that gave us complete visibility into the transmit and receive power for all fiber connections at the show.

In other words, if a fiber connection has nominal receive power, and someone accidentally disturbs the cable and causes receive power to drop, it will be immediately detected.

To my knowledge, this capability has never been implemented wide-scale in a network before, and it seems fitting that the first “use case” would be InteropNet—after all, it is the showcase for interoperability between vendors and a spotlight for the latest network technologies.

To see this capability in action while you’re at the show, just stop by our booth (#650) or attend my session on Gaining Total Network Visibility on Your Network in the InteropNet classroom, Oct. 3 at noon.