Inveneo NOC Archives

How Will Inveneo Monitor 100 Internet Sites in the Future?

  1. Posted by Inveneo on February 10, 2015 in the categories: News

Inveneo has been incredibly busy this past month gearing up to create 25 distribution points that will connect 100 sites with solid, reliable Internet connectivity. As part of the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) project, these new Internet connections will be used by Ebola medical centers or NGOs in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Once these connections are made, how will they be managed? Inveneo is already well underway to answer this question: by creating a NOC (Network Operations Center) that will be located in Accra, Ghana.

Our Inveneo Certified ICT Partner in Accra is TechAide, and this past month our team member Bob Marsh travelled to Accra to begin preliminary training for TechAide technicians who will eventually run the NOC. Kafui Prebbie, the current CEO of TechAide, brought several team members to be part of the training: Selassie Anku, TechAide’s main backup engineer, Courage Anku, its primary NOC engineer, and Godfred Prebbie, TechAide’s CTO.

BobNocTraining1TechAide’s engineers and Bob Marsh spent the first day of training focusing on the theoretical and organizational aspects of the Ebola Response program and the hardware configurations that are deployed in the field. The participants worked on exercises with Ubiquiti equipment, concentrating on how to resolve issues. Eventually Inveneo and TechAide will be using a set of sophisticated cloud-based software tools to manage the NOC.

The engineer’s next steps are to read all the elements of the curriculum materials from the training to further their learning. Bob Marsh was excited to see the enthusiasm of the participants, and our current joint effort is to the make sure the NOC is fully operational by March 4th, 2015. In addition, Inveneo’s Project Engineer Eric Zan will be traveling to Accra in mid-February in order to offer more NOC training before he joins other Inveneo workers in Sierra Leone. Inveneo’s Samuel Perales will also provide follow-on operational training and coaching when he returns to Accra from Sierra Leone in early March.

The NOC has been created to offer our 100 newly connected sites:

  1. Monitoring performance to see if there is a problem.
  2. Responding quickly to a reported problem. This may be fast enough that users in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will not be aware of any issue.
  3. Diagnosis and dispatching after a problem is reported. Those working at the NOC will figure out if they can fix the issues remotely or not. If they are unable to fix it from Accra, they will contact the Inveneo ICIP that is geographically closest to the problem.

The NOC in Accra, Ghana will constantly monitor all connected sites. For three months after the NOC launches, TechAide workers will work 8 hour shifts and 6 days a week to ensure any problems are quickly dealt with and Internet access is maintained. We certainly applaud all the hard work and time that they will be putting in! Many thanks to TechAide for their partnership and the great work they are doing to keep an eye on the ERCI program’s 100 Internet-connection locations!

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Network Monitoring on ARM-Based Equipment in West Africa to Fight Ebola

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 26, 2015 in the categories: News, Relief

The Inveneo team has partnered with NetHope, EveryLayer, Cisco, and Facebook to extend broadband connectivity to medical centers fighting the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Our team is implementing the most relevant pieces of technology on the market, and often we rely on ARM-based products. For the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI), the Inveneo team plans to use the BeagleBone Black Rev C, a Linux computer the size of a credit card. It is a “heart beat” technology that Inveneo will heavily rely on throughout the ERCI project to monitor the broadband network health.

The ARM-based Beaglebone with its energy efficient, yet powerful processing power, offers the project real-time analysis through its AM335x 720MHz ARM® processor. The project will place Beaglebones in strategic points in the network for monitoring using SmokePing software.

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A BeagleBone Black

SmokePing works by sending many tests within a small period of time called pings and then calculates the median. Inveneo found that this open source program SmokePing is the single most useful measure of network performance, with a single graphic showing both latency and packet loss. The data then is displayed graphically in a Network Operation Center (NOC) being established in Ghana. By using this approach, the NOC staff can be proactive in addressing network outage, bandwidth issues, and overall network reliability.

In addition to SmokePing, our team will be using Zabbix, which will be installed for network monitoring. Zabbix is a free, open source program that monitors the radios and networking hardware over various protocols, including SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), which is a standard protocol for network monitoring. While SmokePing monitors the quality of the connection through packet loss, round trip time, and jitter, Zabbix collects a lot more information, has a very good user interface, and generates alerts via email when a device is performing poorly or is offline. Finally, it reports to the cloud so one can use a web-based front-end that can be assessed from any location (as long as there is an Internet connection).

Our team will use BeagleBones because they run the Ubuntu operating system and also provide access to other command line tools which are useful for monitoring the network that would be used/ran directly by a human. By adding Smokeping and Zabbix, our software will be constantly running in the background and will be accessible from the cloud for access by the NOC.

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An example of the SmokePing layout.

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An example of the Zabbix layout.