Network incident simulator analyses real world impacts

Cebit, March 4-9, 2008 --- Today at Cebit, NetworkMining launches an innovative network incident simulator for telecommunications carriers. Using actual transport layer inventory databases, the tool propagates a failure condition throughout a network and documents its impact, to provide operations teams with the means to plan maintenance or perform risk analysis based on real world information. NetworkMining will integrate the tool as required — such as with equipment inventory packages, and spatial databases containing geographic and duct information — to ensure the accuracy of failure simulations.

"The way that telecommunications network management software has evolved has meant that today many carriers manage their operations using a number of discrete and disjointed tools," said Bart Stuyckens, CTO of NetworkMining.  "As a result, critical management functions such as planned maintenance or risk analysis can be based on out-of-date or inadequate information, and disruption to customer service can be caused unwittingly.  This new module provides a highly accurate fault simulation solution."

The incident simulator is a new application module within NetworkObjects, business intelligence query, reporting and analysis software that provides a carrier's network engineering decision makers with on-demand maps, documentation and analysis of the transport layer infrastructure. 

The software enables service providers to simulate the impact of single or multiple network failures. It determines the full set of trails and paths that are routed over the failed assets, such as links, equipment or complete sites, or arbitrary combinations. The incident simulator determines the impact of any failure by propagating the fault and its knock-on effects though the network using a technique called discrete event simulation. Various protection mechanisms are modelled (SNCP/UPSR, MSP, MS-SPRing/BLSR, D&C etc) at various layers (cables/ducts, optical, SDH/SONET, Ethernet). For rapid interpretation, simulation results are displayed according to the impact of the particular failure(s), with trails and paths that will go down as a result of the failure(s) showed first, followed by trails and paths that will experience protection switching, and paths that will experience a reduction in throughput — such as Ethernet links.

"Quality of service is a crucial business differentiator in an increasingly competitive world, yet it's still fairly commonplace for planned maintenance work to cause unforeseen disruption," adds Stuyckens.  "This tool provides engineering teams with a purpose-designed simulation that we believe delivers the most accurate and comprehensive analysis of transport layer failures available to date."

In addition to analysis of individual failure scenarios, the simulator can generate a network-wide reliability analysis. Such an analysis considers all possible examples of a given failure type and generates a database against which further queries can be made. Examples of such queries might include a ranking of all possible single link failures points to find those with the most impact, the identification of circuits that are labelled as protected but in reality might share a weakness such as routing through the same duct, or being part of the same WDM system. 

Before its public release, the new incident simulator module has been field proven over more than two years, with more than one carrier.