Packet Pushers: Detect, Diagnose, And Act Podcast

Packet Pushers: Detect, Diagnose, And Act Podcast


Podcast: Download (46.2MB)
Keith Sinclair, CTO and progenitor of NMIS, joins Greg Ferro on Packet Pushers

They discuss:

  • What NMIS does and how it works
  • Protocol support including SNMP, WMI, SSH, RESTful APIs, and more
  • The persistence of SNMP
  • Opmantek’s approach of detect, diagnose, and act
  • Automation capabilities
  • How NMIS uses dashboards, portals, and maps

Optimising Your Network Experience for Video Conferencing

Optimising Your Network Experience for Video Conferencing

Over the last month, more and more businesses have found themselves working in predominantly online modes. Working from home, i.e. teleworking, is now the new normal. That means we have all had to be creative about how we structure our work days, build our work spaces and how we interact with our colleagues. Virtual meetings and video conferencing is now a standard part of daily life for many organisations. However, not all organisations are appropriately equipped to utilise this technology to its full potential. There is no use holding online meetings if the sound and video is jumpy, or the connection times out half way through. Ensuring your network is optimised for video conferencing is vital to your organisation’s ongoing success during these uncertain times.

The differences between streaming video and hosting a live conference are vast. When streaming a standard cat video from say YouTube, the video downloads in small parts in advance, which mitigates any network instability during playback. When you host live video, data must be received consistently in real time so that the content is clear. On average, businesses need to account for around 100 users sharing the internet, with each making 5 to 6 calls and accounting for at minimum 5 percent of the concurrent bandwidth overhead utilisation. Add another ten percent if you are using online conferencing due to the additional buffer strength required.

It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. That’s why we have put together this handy guide on how you can optimise your network experience for video conferencing to tackle the nuances of this format.

First things first

Whether you are just starting to use video conferencing, or are using it more with more users, it is integral that you scale up your network bandwidth to meet the demands placed on it. The transmission capacity of a connection is an important factor when determining the quality and speed of a network or the internet connection. Ask yourself if your service provider is giving you full bandwidth? One way you can tell is based on the quality of your video conferences. Meetings with the appropriate bandwidth will be stable and seamless. If the video and/or audio is sluggish, there might be a synching problem between motion and audio. Or, content sharing could be experiencing a delay. There is a range of equipment, including Opmantek’s opFlow, that will help enhance your overall video call and conference experience.

How opFlow can help with video conferencing?

When conducting a video conference between two users, about 2Mbps of upload and download bandwidth is used for both users. This is the minimum requirement to ensure the conference is smooth and clear with high quality audio and video. Opmantek opFlow gives valuable network insights that allows companies and users to see how much of the network is being used, by who and in what way. This is vital information for troubleshooting any issues caused by bandwidth availability. Further, opFlow rapidly identifies any bottlenecks occurring affecting bandwidth so that they can be quickly rectified. It produces summary reports to provide the greatest possible transparency on usage.

Traffic and security analysis is another important factor to consider when looking at bandwidth related interruptions. opFlow identifies any abnormalities in traffic patterns, and detects security threats to allow for the prevention of issues before they arise. This includes managing congestion, checking areas of high data usage and honing in on suspicious behaviour. When it comes to navigating the future of daily operations, infrastructure planning and capacity management is vital. Building video conferencing into plans is easy with the key information provided through opFlow – for both planning and network capacity management. There is also the capability for reduced downtime through the rapid change impact identification feature.

For added convenience, opFlow is extremely affordable and is compatible with multiple vendors and protocols including:

– Cisco NetFlow
– NetFlow-Lite
– NSEL
– Juniper J-Flow sFlow and IPFIX.

In summary

Now is the time to diversify and embrace the evolution of new business practices and standards. For many, this is leading to positive change organisation-wide. For more tips on optimising your network, network management, or to find out more about how Opmantek’s opFlow low-cost features can help you start managing and analysing your Netflow, contact us today.

How the COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformation in telehealth

How the COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformation in telehealth

What is Telehealth

Telehealth is a system that allows patients to receive high-quality healthcare services from the comfort of their own homes via the use of telecommunication technology. Telehealth services normally consist of a smart hub that allows patients to enter their personal health data, including vital signs, either manually or automatically via the use of various medical devices, such as blood glucose monitors, pulse oximeters and blood pressure readers. The data collected is then sent to either a non-clinical or clinical monitoring service that monitors the patient’s health or alerts the appropriate health provider.

 

Who benefits from Telehealth services?

A Telehealth system is particularly useful for patients with long-term health conditions, patients who live in remote areas, or for patients who are self-isolating during the current coronavirus pandemic. Telehealth technology can improve patient access to specialist healthcare services while eliminating the need to travel for medical advice, therefore allowing patients to remain more independent, self-manage their conditions and limit the strain on GP and primary health services. Telehealth systems can also offer education and peer support services to health professionals while providing patients with mentoring and coaching services via a series of questions and answers.

 

How COVID-19 has fast-tracked the healthcare system

Before the coronavirus outbreak, there was a degree of progress in Telehealth technology, but the pandemic has lead to renewed evidence of the value of Telehealth, as public health officials are encouraging healthcare providers to expand their Telehealth services to smartphones and other tools to make them more accessible. 

Telehealth technology is helping to reduce the strain on public health services by virtually communicating with patients and triaging them, reducing widespread panic by assuring patients that they do not possess any of the coronavirus symptoms and are not required to visit already overcrowded hospitals. Telehealth technology also has the benefit of limiting human contact and preventing the spread of the virus.

New tools and technologies in Telehealth services such as live video consultations are proving to be a huge asset to healthcare providers to connect patients with doctors while remaining isolated. Other services such as instant messaging for therapy services, secure emails for ongoing communications and informed telephone consultations are also proving to be useful. 

Other promising tools include the use of chatbots and symptom trackers to interact with patients and refer them for in-patient care, as their technology is designed to evolve as more information is gathered about the coronavirus. Medical tricorders and home monitoring is another promising approach to at-home patient care. Currently used in the management of certain chronic health conditions, remote patient monitoring uses consumer devices such as smart TVs and smartwatches to provide remote examinations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created renewed awareness of the benefits of Telehealth services and is bringing them to the frontline of patient care, which is expected to reshape the future of public health services.

 

How Opmantek can improve healthcare efficiency

Opmantek’s Network Management Information System (NMIS) is designed to monitor the performance of an organisation’s data network. It can be used to monitor device health and bandwidth. It can be used to resolve issues before they become problems and provide valuable information for planning infrastructure changes.

With the renewed awareness of the benefits of Telehealth, an efficient and patient-driven online healthcare system is becoming essential. Opmantek’s Network Information Management System can streamline digital outputs for hospitals and make them more efficient to improve patient care. Adding Opmantek’s commercial software provides additional insights and automation capabilities through to performing traffic analysis better enabling bandwidth management. And for a truely large scale operation the distributed polling capabilities to improve scalability.

 

opFlow

Opmantek’s opFlow, is designed to gather network insights to analyse the network. For instance it can with location of attack vectors and pick up on network errors so that they can be resolved quickly, leading to reduced downtime for everyone including hospital networks.

For more information about how Opmantek’s products can help you set your business or healthcare organisation on the path to digital transformation, get in touch with our team of experts today.

Why networks are essential for real-time healthcare

Why networks are essential for real-time healthcare

Many healthcare providers have begun to transition to a highly connected, patient-driven, real-time healthcare system (RTHS). Such systems typically combine digital and cloud technologies allowing healthcare professionals and patients to communicate, collaborate and streamline their workflows more effectively.

But as providers roll-out new data-intensive applications capable of connecting multiple sites and devices, more strain is placed on already congested networks. If left unchecked this can lead to many challenges which can undermine the reliability and effectiveness of real-time healthcare systems.

 

What challenges do today’s healthcare providers face?

Network reliability – Healthcare professionals need to access Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and critical real-time data wherever they are on site. Many legacy systems are simply not capable of providing reliable access to the volume of data today’s real-time healthcare systems demand.

Quality of Service (QoS) – Healthcare providers have unique requirements when it comes to implementing QoS. Different applications, data and services must be prioritised according to their importance. To do this effectively organisations need the ability to differentiate and prioritise data in real-time.

Security – The confidentiality and security of patient data is paramount, but with the accelerated adoption of public and private cloud technologies come increased network and data security risks. Healthcare providers need the ability to monitor users if they are to manage the risks effectively.

Scalability – As more medical devices and applications are connected to the network, the more data needs to be transmitted between them. This creates issues for legacy network equipment which is already struggling to cope with the volume of data being transmitted.

If the efficiency and productivity benefits of RTHS are to be realised, healthcare organisations need to ensure the above challenges are met without compromising patient confidentiality and the ability to effectively monitor healthcare systems.

 

Solving today’s healthcare system challenges

There are several measures healthcare providers can take to help overcome these challenges. The most important thing is to make sure the network is designed properly from the ground up. Secure private WANs should be created to connect major healthcare sites and hospitals, with smaller sites.

Larger sites should also look at implementing private/hybrid services leveraging the existing network infrastructure with new cloud networking technologies. This can help create a more agile and cost-effective solutions without compromising the control or security of the network.

 

Intelligent network management software

But network infrastructure is only part of the solution. Organisations should also look at implementing robust and integrated network management software to manage and monitor the network in real-time. Such systems should be capable of monitoring infrastructure at scale and providing active data management to prevent outages, reduce bottlenecks and maintain QoS.

By implementing a solution such as Opmantek’s Network Management Information System (NMIS), network admins get real-time information about the current state of the network infrastructure and the data transmitted on it. Information about the health of specific devices can then be relayed to engineers allowing them to see precisely what impact a single device failure is having on the wider network.

But NMIS goes much further than basic monitoring. With automated health live baselining, the software can monitor the availability and response time of devices and compare that with a previous baseline period. This gives network admins early warning of impending failures allowing them to fix issues before they impact network performance.

 

Distributed poling for easy scalability

As with the underlying network infrastructure, any network monitoring solution deployed should also be capable of scaling to meet the demands of an ever-expanding number of devices. With more on-demand services and internet of medical things, (IoMT) devices and the number of nodes on the network is  increasing. So, any network monitoring solution deployed must be capable of seamless scalability.

To prevent such issues Opmantek’s opHA with NMIS uses distributed polling, this allows for infinite scaling while also adhering to stricter security policies that may be in place. Using distributed polling allows network admins to move from monitoring single devices to gaining a full picture of the entire network infrastructure on a single pane of glass.

Opmantek software is also designed to be a plug-and-play solution, in normal networks no configuration changes are required after the initial setup. The software currently supports more than 30,000 vendors with new devices automatically identified and added to the system without the need for coding.

Harnessing network efficiency across hospitals, clinics, data-centers and offsite facilities is crucial for the healthcare system to transition into a real-time model. By leveraging network management solutions like Opmantek, your organisation gain agility and flexibility without having to glue together monitoring systems. In providing the opportunity for clinicians and healthcare administrators to gain greater visibility into their operations and resources, they will be better equipped to improve patient care quality – do more with your data.

Extending NMIS with Opmantek’s Modules

Extending NMIS with Opmantek’s Modules

NMIS has long been one of the most widely used open-source network management systems in the world, but what many users don’t know is how easy it is to extend the core with the suite of add-on modules that replace other network tools and allow businesses to save on licensing costs and increase overall network performance visibility through system expansion and consolidation of applications.
OMK Product Wheel - 700

Building Solutions with NMIS Modules

By combining NMIS with various other modules, Opmantek is able to provide software solutions to suit many different enterprise needs – here are a few of the popular combinations that are delivering strong results and allowing our customers to roll several stand-alone applications into one single NMIS licensing bundle.

 

Network Performance Management and Diagnostics

NMIS, opCharts and opReports

This combination of modules will provide you with the full NMIS capabilities for monitoring network health, capacity planning and event management and alerting, presented in interactive dashboards and reports that can be customised for user groups so that business users can see relevant performance information and engineers can see more detailed operational and information.

 

Configuration Management Database:

Open-AudIT Professional and opConfig

Looking to replace your CMDB?  This combination of modules is saving organisations thousands of dollars in licensing fees each year by automating device discovery and audit, storing configurations, monitoring changes and pushing configuration changes out to sets of devices.

 

Network Configuration and Compliance Automation

NMIS, Open-AudIT Professional/Enterprise, opConfig and opEvents

Save time and money on network administration by using process automation to manage inventory, remediate known issues, consolidate and deduplify events, automatically gather network information, detect and roll back configuration and file changes and more.

 

Traffic Management

NMIS and opFlow

This combination replaces other network monitoring and Netflow tools to give you a consolidated view of flow data including heat maps that visually indicate areas of congestion.

 

Anomaly Detection, Event Prediction and Remediation

NMIS, opTrend and opEvents

Identify issues and threats before they impact your business by leveraging the device and network data gathered by NMIS along with advanced machine learning to determine minute by minute standard baselines for your environment that can help you to identify new threats, unusual behaviour and escalating problems before they impact operations.

Remote Monitoring and Management

NMIS, opHA, opEvents and opCharts

For Managed Service Providers you can replace multi-million dollar RMM systems by combining NMIS with opHA and opCharts.  opHA allows you to increase the performance of applications and deliver high scale and high availability environments, including geographical distribution of the system and overlapping IP address ranges, while opCharts provides a single pane of glass and tiered user views, so that engineers can drill down from a full view of all managed customer equipment to a single device in a remote location, while customers can view their own sites privately and in real time.

 


 

There are a lot of options to improve your network, however, the easiest way to start is with our Virtual Machine. The VM comes preconfigured and is operational in under 5 minutes, Download the Virtual Machine and activate free 20 device licenses of each of the modules that interest you or request a demo from one of our engineers.