Service assurance for a wide range of integrated technologies
Connectivity technologies are constantly improving and evolving, providing higher speeds and greater flexibility in more places in the world. What remains constant though is that businesses require high-quality, fast and affordable connectivity to trade and compete, demanding the right service at the right price for each of their locations.
The service providers that succeed in this highly competitive market are those that have both a wide range of connectivity technologies in their portfolio and have the managed service to get the absolute most out of these technologies. The Highlight Service Assurance Platform has been designed from the ground up to support this endeavour.
Highlight incorporates visibility of a large range of constantly expanding technologies
Dedicated access and MPLS
High quality, expensive connectivity comes with high expectations from enterprise customers. Dedicated access includes high service levels and quick response times from the telecoms company, but that doesn’t mean the service provider can sit back! If the customer needs high availability, they also need high performance and exemplary service.
Highlight’s Link Health, Class of Service (CoS) and Performance test features are designed to provide businesses and services providers with the visibility and assurance they need to truly trust their network is working. Link Health focuses on the core dedicated access service, exposing stability, load and health issues.
CoS builds on that by drilling down on the application prioritisation that’s provided on many dedicated access links. Finally, performance tests constantly probe and evaluate the performance of the network, including the prioritisation, giving an end-to-end, user-to-application view of how the network is performing.
SD-WAN is new and exciting technology that can make wide area networks more reliable, performant and secure, but like all networking technology it requires expert management to get the most out of it. SD-WAN vendors typically provide visual dashboards, but they lack the focus and simplicity required to provide or consume a managed service and are only focused on the SD-WAN vendors technology.
Highlight provides a single pane of glass view of the whole network, underlay connectivity, overlay SD-WAN and LAN / WiFi Technologies, focusing on the service rather than the technology. Highlight integrates with the SD-WAN controllers to bring in data and translates that into visibility of the overlay VPN stability, load, health and performance.
This information combined with the underlay network provides a valuable overview of the whole Wide Area Network, quickly highlighting performance issues with supporting information to track down and resolve the issue.
Copper and fibre Broadband
Broadband technology has revolutionised mass-market connectivity to the internet, providing high-speed and low-cost access for homes and businesses the world over. The speed and low headline cost of broadband is very appealing for businesses, especially those with lots of smaller sites like retail, but broadband includes technical compromises that can make connections less reliable and performant, especially those in remote locations.
Highlight includes functionality to closely track the connection speed of copper broadband connections, called Broadband Clarity. Broadband connections can drop in speed for a variety of reasons, but when the speed drops it’s vital to be aware of when it happens so something can be done about it. Broadband Clarity provides graphs for the historic broadband speed and includes an intelligent threshold and alerting functionality that learns the stable speed of a broadband connection and sends an alert if this speed drops a significant amount.
Beyond the connection speed, broadband networks can also suffer from slowdowns within the network, commonly called congestion. Highlight’s performance tests can be used to identify when and where broadband congestion is occurring, giving IT managers and service managers the confidence that the broadband network fits their needs.
3G, 4G and 5G Cellular
Modern mobile networks are not just for mobile phones and tablets. 4G technology significantly reduced the performance and reliability gap between fixed line and mobile connectivity, with 5G now so fast it frequently outpaces the fixed line broadband alternatives.
Unfortunately though, the connect anywhere flexibility that’s so important for mobile connectivity is the main downfall of cellular networks when used in fixed locations. Radio technology requires a strong, clean signal to perform at its best, and there are many factors that can impact this signal strength, temporary factors such as weather and obstacles, and more permanent factors such as mobile masts being moved or discontinued.
Highlight’s Cellular Clarity collects data on cellular signal strength, mobile mast ID, network and radio technology and combines this information into a clear and simple picture of what’s happening with a given connection. Sites with deteriorating signal strength can be identified through our heat tiles and alerting and dealt with before connectivity is lost. Mobile networks can also be expensive to pass lots of data over. Highlight tracks the data passed over cellular networks, and our extensive reporting system can be used to tally total usage and ensure billing from the cellular telcos is correct.
Identifying application network traffic provides insight into how an enterprise network is being used. Knowing where, when and what application traffic is flowing through your network is the key to controlling costs, as well as letting you spot the appearance of new applications both authorised and unauthorised.
Getting the most value from your business-critical applications and infrastructures is greatly empowered by seeing clearly applications and the resources they consume. Only with visibility can the performance of these applications be assured. Highlight can collect application information either using Cisco NBAR technology or more widely using the NetFlow/IP-Fix standard.
LAN switching and WiFi
WiFi is ‘critical infrastructure’ for most organisations, connecting static and mobile devices and is expected to support real-time applications like IP Telephony and Unified Communications. Wireless networking is a complex environment, and a common cause of business performance issues and complaints. Highlight’s WiFi monitoring is integrated into our unique single pane of glass, covering wide-area networks, applications and other IT, providing alerting through heat tiles and emails with real-time status, as well as enabling historical trending for capacity planning.
In addition to WiFi, Highlight’s LAN switch visibility provides a fast, detailed picture of how your switches are performing. Highlight shows traffic levels, health issues and outages on every port, all presented in a simple clear format. You can designate specific ports as ‘critical’ (for example, server connections). Critical ports can change the colour of heat tiles and send email alerts if there’s a problem.