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Indiana utility links diverse LANs.

INDIANA UTILITY LINKS DIVERSE LANS

Maintaining electrical service over two-thirds of Indiana is a challenge that Public Service Indiana is meeting with a distributed Automated Mapping/Facilities Management (AM/FM) system which increases productivity and maintains up-to-date records.

The distributed network includes DEC VAX equipment; Ethernet LANs; Vitalink Ethernet bridges; and Fujitsu LN 19.2 kb/s modems and FMS 1000 network management system.

The network connects scattered district and division offices that lack computing capacity to store records of their service areas.

The AM/FM System speeds up the process and improves accuracy.

Public Service Indiana (PSI) district offices plot the electrical service and related facilities of each customer on DEC VAX station 2000 graphics workstations.

'Helicopter View'

If someone from an outlying office needs information, this "helicopter view" of the area is available to view or plot hard copy, via modem over microwave or leased lines.

PSI has used graphics for about eight years but only began to distribute processing last summer.

When fully operational, the network will have up to 30 locations.

"Previously, the outlying locations had some microfiche and blueprints, but no graphics," explains Steve Oschman, manager of network operation systems.

"We would ship the hard copy maps back and forth, usually by courier, which was very time-consuming.

"It was difficult to keep the records up to date."

Now, when a district changes distribution or transmission facilities, it updates information on the computer and sends it via modems.

It is then available to the sites when needed.

"This network enables us to more easily keep the data up to date," Oschman says.

"That has real implications for our customers.

"Accurate data assists in speeding up service."

Each outlying location, with a staff of 20-30 people, has a small Ethernet backbone network.

The corporate office uses a Vitalink Ethernet bridge to connect this wide-area network.

There are bridges and Fujitsu's LN 19.2 modems on each end of the network.

Remote Reboot

"We're using the modems in an unusual--and highly productive--way," Oschman says. "If we make a change in the network, it won't go into effect until the Ethernet bridge is rebooted.

"We're using the external-control output on the Fujitsu modems to reboot the bridges.

"One of our locations is about three hours away; some of the bridges and modems are located at microwave sites, separate from the offices. Without the ability to remotely reboot, someone would have to go out to physically reboot the bridges. The modems save us a trip."

The modem network is monitored with the FMS 1000 management system.

It can configure, poll, diagnose, report, and present alarm information.

In one case, the FMS 1000 documented a problem Public Service Indiana was having with a leased telephone line, notes Oschman. It would have taken a while to pinpoint it otherwise, he says.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Public Service Indiana, local area networks
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:469
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