Remote Monitor and Control Systems in a NOC Environment
From Radio World International , May 23, 2018, by Doug Irwin
WORLDCAST NMS MANAGER
Another option for those that need to monitor a network of remote transmitter sites is WorldCast’s NMS Manager.
WorldCast’s U.S.-based engineering rep Tony Peterle discussed the basic hardware requirements with me.
“With WorldCast Manager it depends on the scale of the operation. The operating system is Ubuntu server — I think it’s version 10.8 right now. We find that the OS is very light and efficient, and if you’re connecting 50 units or 100 units, you could probably get away with some fairly insubstantial hardware. If you need to go into the hundreds or thousands of units for monitoring then you might want to invest in something that’s more typical server hardware, with robust dual power supplies.”
Worldcast’s NMS Manager shows sites and status on a live map or other graphics, events and user tickets below.
For those who have used Audemat Control, or Relio before that, note that WorldCast Manager is designed to work with many different devices, not just remote controls also made by WorldCast. “One of the significant things about WorldCast Manager is we determined from the onset of the development of this new platform that we were going to be vendor-agnostic,” Peterle said. “In our previous network management software we paid attention to both the Audemat side and the APT side for the codecs. We were very brand-specific.” He continued, “This time we wanted to do something that was much more open and easier to configure and now we have already integrated into the software 350 to 400 devices from all different manufacturers all over the world. It’s very easy to integrate anything that speaks the SNMP protocol.”
Before getting systems such as the Cortex 360 or WorldCast NMS manager to “read” far-end devices via SNMP it’s necessary to pick out “objects” using what is known as their Object ID. These OIDs are identified by the user from a text file known as a MIB (short for management information base). Once the appropriate OIDs are identified, the system addresses them via “gets” and controls them via “sets.” Once a user becomes more familiar with this process, it isn’t hard to identify the OIDs needed.
If that sounds a bit complex to a beginner, WorldCast can help out. “That’s something that we can do for the customers free of charge — or if the customers have the tools to do that themselves so they can specifically adjust the software to give them the information deemed most important,” said Peterle.
“The other significant thing is that SNMP is not the be all and end all of the WorldCast Manager. We can speak other protocols as well like Modbus and CANBUS. We also have, both from our own catalog products and from the world market in I/O, a large set of edge devices that can convert older units that don’t support SNMP to systems that do,” said Peterle. “We have hardware that can convert data points like door sensors and smoke alarms into something that we can more easily network with and integrate into the overall monitoring scheme of the WorldCast Manager.” I asked Peterle about connectivity requirements for use of WorldCast Managers. “It’s fairly limited. SNMP is a pretty lightweight protocol and the software gives the customer the opportunity or the ability to adjust the polling rate,” he said. “The WorldCast Manager can receive alarm messages from equipment in the field using traps or it can operate as an active polling device and just query parameters at certain intervals. The customer can adjust how often polling occurs, on a site-by-site basis, to compensate weak spots in the network.”
Finally, WorldCast Manager provides userconfigured customized displays so that the user can see the status of your network, and to drill down to the critical issues when you do have problems. It’s important to note that control capability (i.e., “set” commands) will be available in WorldCast Manager in Q3, delivery in September.
Sources: Radio World Magazine , 23 may 2018