FCAPS is a model created by TMN to be used by Network Operators and Service Providers to compare capabilities and features of Management & Monitoring Systems. The FCAPS model is used for Element Management Systems (EMS), Network Management Systems (NMS) and Operation Support Systems (OSS), it is therefore a universal model.
Not all management and monitoring solutions are equal, and users have definitely preferences. Monitoring & Management systems users need a reference model to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.
Thus, the FCAPS model has been recognized early on as a simple method, as it allows users to describe and categorize features in the following areas: Fault Management, Configuration Management, Accounting, Performance Management, Security.
This article provides a list and description of the FCAPS features that should be provided by a Monitoring & Management solution, to allow a Network Operator or Service Provider to efficiently monitor and manage networks/infrastructure and systems.
The FCAPS definition
The letter F in FCAPS represents Fault management (FM).
FM is about collecting alarms, maintaining accurate and current lists of alarms, visualizing alarms and network state.
The letter C in FCAPS represents Configuration management (CM).
CM is all about auditing the network / infrastructure / system to discover what it contains and then configuring the managed resources, including network equipment or services .
CM is also about synchronizing the management information in the network with management information in management applications, backing up network configurations and restoring them in case of failures, as well as managing software images running on network equipment.
The letter A in FCAPS represents Accounting management (AM).
AM is all about recording the activity of the monitored network/infrastructure/system. A good example to understand AM is Telephony Digital Exchanges that record in transactions the call of each user, with duration, destination etc.
Based on these AM transactions, a billing system can charge the user accordingly.
The letter P in FCAPS represents Performance management (PM).
PM is about performance metrics and performance analysis.
The letter S in FCAPS represents Security Management (SM).
SM is about security of Management (Systems & Network) but also about management of security (of devices).
In the following paragraphs, lets focus more on the functions that are key to the network operators.
FCAPS – Fault Management
Fault Management detects, isolates and resolves problems in order to keep the supervised network running
optimally, provide a measure of fault tolerance and avoid any possibility for downtime.
Users can monitor alarms in real-time, while active and historical alarms are stored in the relational database. Alarms are presented with additional views that provide extensive filtering and exporting capabilities.
The Fault Management features include:
- Alarms collection in real time and synchronization.
- Trap anti-flood protection.
- Availability monitoring through management heartbeat.
- Alarms reduction through classification (severities), filtering, maintenance mode, top level graphical view.
- Alarms troubleshooting through historical alarms, context-sensitive menus and photo-realistic equipment views.
- Alarm notifications through email and SMS.
FCAPS – Configuration Management
Configuration prepares and sets the network devices for operation. Configuration Management provides centralized device and network configuration, also offering:
- Initial configuration of the network elements and of their components.
- Monitoring and synchronization of network configuration parameters.
- Massive configuration with templates.
- Configuration of advanced parameters, such as VLANs, QoS, radio protection, etc.
- Configuration backup and restore.
Discovery is a key Configuration Management feature. A Management or Monitoring system should allow users to carry out a deep discovery of their network, in order to discover not only all managed Network Elements (NEs), but also their “contained” objects, inclusive of cards, ports, connections, etc.
Discovery can be performed:
- Manually: One-by-one addition of domains, Network Element (NEs) and topological links.
- Massive: This is typically done by import of a file containing the configuration of the whole network. This feature is very useful, especially when upgrading the network
- Scheduled: This is the automatic discovery of the pre-planned network based on user-defined schedules. In this case there is no need for prior NOC notification in case of network rollout (e.g. installation of a new NE).
Topology is very useful for large, distributed networks
[. Topology allows users to monitor the operational status of their network, in real-time, through an integrated graphical mapview.
Network Topology is supported through configurable background maps – vectored or images – where domains and
managed elements are represented graphically. Advanced drill-in /out and zoom-in /out functions, as well as photo-realistic interactive equipment views, enhance the real-time alarm and operational status monitoring and are strong points of some of the monitoring tools available.
The topology features typically include:
- On-map graphical alarm & operational status monitoring with real-time indications, which are color-coded – status is propagated to domains and sub-networks.
- Ability to execute actions directly (configuration, performance, faults, etc.).
- Photorealistic equipment views.
CM- Software Management
Software Management simplifies Network Maintenance. Configuration also includes the capability for Software Management.
Software Management enables remote and centralized software updates for the managed elements in order to keep the
network elements up-to-date, or to add new management features.
FCAPS – Performance Management
The Domain Manager constitutes a means of measuring the quality of several operational parameters in real time.
Performance Management ensures that the supervised network operates as expected and that the available network resources are efficiently allocated.
Indicatively, the parameters that can be monitored include:
- Radio parameters (RSL, RSSI, CNR, etc.).
- Ethernet parameters
PM- Test Management
Test Management localizes faults and detects possible trouble spots within the managed network.
The testing capabilities, which include BER tests, setting of loopbacks, etc., are provided for all managed elements.
The Domain Manager or the Element Manager manages test execution and progress, while test results are presented in real-time.
Although this is a long article, it barely touches the surface of the FCAPS. Following articles will focus on each of the FCAPS areas.
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“With the Domain Manager, Network Operation Centers are able to remotely configure, provision and monitor Network Elements, and ensure the timely rollout of networks and their reliable operation. “