The Network Operation Center (NOC) interacts with the Network through the User Interface of various Network Management Systems (NMS). Thus, the importance of the User Interface cannot be underestimated as it can simplify the daily work of NOC operators and help minimize costs by allowing faster network roll-out, identification and restoration of network and service issues.

This article identifies and analyzes the characteristics that make a User Interface provide a better user experience to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the NOC.

Read below to understand the importance of these User Interface characteristics, to help you select the best NMS for your needs.

Drag n’ Drop

Drag and drop user interface

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature a drag ‘n drop user interface, where the user can re-arrange the network model with simple actions, using the network tree view or map topology view. With simple drag n’ drop actions, the user must be able to:

  • Add managed devices to domains and sub-networks.
  • Add sub-networks to domains.
  • Transfer domains under domains, creating hierarchical structures.
  • Transfer managed devices from domain to domain.

 

Tabs

tabs in user interface

 

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature a tabbed user interface that helps users manage the way they browse their system reports, inclusive of reports for domains, managed elements, physical terminations, performance, faults, configuration, etc.

Users must be able to drag ‘n drop tabs in and out of the main window in order to make them independent windows, thus supporting the usage of video walls in NOC premises.

 

Context Sensitive Menus

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature a click n’ go user interface that is implemented through the utility of Context Sensitive Menus. These menus must appear when the user right-clicks anywhere on the User Interface, including:

  • A managed object in the Network Navigator.
  • A module / port in the Topology (Graphical View).
  • A record (e.g. an alarm or a performance measurement) in
  • a tabular report.

 

The context-sensitive menu that appears must provide options adapted to the selection the user has made. Using a context-sensitive menu, on the selected entity, the user must be able to carry out network configuration, monitoring, performance analysis, etc. with a one-click action.

 

Real Time Updates

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature real-time updates of the user interface with user-customizable update frequency. This automation minimizes the number of clicks required for monitoring and allows the real-time monitoring of events, faults and performance of the network.

User Interface with real time updates

 

Visualization on Maps

Network Visualization on maps

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature the capability to allow users to create geographical and administrative domains in order to group discovered devices and also create the connections and links between these managed devices. In this way, the network topology can be visualized, greatly increasing the NOC capability to monitor the status and performance of the managed network and its elements.

With the Google maps service available to everyone for free, users have been educated to use mapping features such as zoom-in / zoom-out and drill-in / drill-out, and expect to find them also in the User Interface of the NMS.

Thus, visualizing the topology is only the first step. User Interfaces must display on Google maps the status and performance of the network color-coded, to provide the NOC user a new level of visualization .

Photo-realistic Equipment Views

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature photorealistic equipment views that are “live” in the sense that they display the alarm, operational and administrative status of the managed devices in real-time.

photorealistic equipment view

In such photorealistic equipment views, alarms can be represented with colored rectangles:

  • The rectangle’s outline color to indicate the severity of the alarms, which exist in this object.
  • A blinking outline to indicate the existence of unacknowledged alarms in this module or port.

 

Customization & Personalization

A Network Management System (NMS) must feature the capability to:

  • Fully customize the viewing workspace (desktop) at run time.
  • Display multiple reports (e.g. Inventory / Status / Alarms / Configuration / Performance) in one screen, synchronized.
  • Customize the menus to add new reports and navigators that give quick access to network domains.

The Network Management System (NMS) must feature the capability to make the above changes personal, i.e. apply them only to a selected user.

Conclusion

A Network Management System (NMS) must support the following characteristics to provide a good user experience and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Network Operation Center (NOC):

  • Drag n’ drop
  • Tabs
  • Context sensitive menus
  • Real-time updates
  • Visualization on Maps
  • Photorealistic equipment views
  • Customization & Personalization