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Remote access aids investment firm.

Remote network management reduces administrative travel costs.

With so much business traveling across networks every day, securities companies are dependent on data connections like never before. Competing in this business is becoming all but impossible without a network that can move data rapidly and reliably. A large part of that means moving data to and from remote locations far and wide, as well as between PCs on local area networks.

Yet, supporting remote financial networks can require that technicians perform a lot of legwork, such as hopping red-eye flights to distant locations and rushing to one remote site after another. That kind of service can be enormously expensive in travel costs, as well as network downtime.

Taking your network to the next level--trimming the budget, centralizing management, and improving reliability and uptime--hinges on a single decision: whether or not to implement remote network management.

"Remote management is the best possible way for network managers and their technical staffs to monitor and maintain all of their networks from a single place," says Gene Goodman, a Manhattan-area engineer with Wall Street technology consulting firm and distributor Com/Peripherals.

One of the clients Goodman assisted in enabling remote network management is the financial and investment firm Prudential Securities. In the midst of a communications hardware upgrade for a sprawling nationwide network of more than 300 sites, Prudential was also searching for a way to reduce administration and maintenance costs without sacrificing the functionality of the data network it relied on.

"Remote management is geared toward centralized control of network devices--from hubs and routers to digital service units--that form the backbone of data networks," Goodman says.

Remote management allows administrators to dial into these devices to diagnose and repair them, rather than making expensive emergency trips every time remote site problems are encountered. Instead of technicians scattered around at remote sites, companies can maximize their human capital by assembling a "brain trust" of talented systems engineers at a single, central location.

"Prudential came to us because it needed to upgrade its data connections from 56K to a fractional T-1 line, to standardize on Cisco routers and switches and replace some older hardware at each site," Goodman says. "At the same time, Prudential was looking for a way to pull all of its network management into a central location--its IT office in New York."

Providing individual dial up lines to between eight and 10 devices at each of 300 sites can quickly get expensive, however. "We needed a way to access the devices without connecting a modem and a phone line to each piece of hardware," Goodman explains. "We did it with a `remote access switch' from DCB (Data Comm for Business)."

DCB, based in Champaign, Ill., has been providing data communications solutions since 1981--ranging from the design of a unique serial multiplexer that successfully delivered air-to-ground telemetry for a recent Environment Canada experiment, to remote access switches like the ones used in Prudential's network.

DCB remote access switches have an array of serial ports for attaching RS-232-equipped devices. Connecting the switch to a modem allows dial up access to many devices through a single telephone line. "We were able to reach all of the devices at a site with a single modem connection," Goodman notes.

"When there is a problem, a technician dials into the site using the access switch and selects the specific port for monitoring. The access switch we used for the Prudential network allows administrators to store simple English names for the ports, rather than relying on numeric codes. That can be very handy when there are seven or eight connected devices on each switch," observes Goodman.

Even when a router or other hardware fails, remote access is an asset, Goodman claims. "Usually, the administrators at the central office don't even have to leave the desk, but even when they can't fix the problem over the dialup line, the person sent to the site has a much better handle on diagnosis," he explains. "He can simply swap the hardware and leave--instead of spending time troubleshooting and tracking the problem down."

For overloaded network managers, remote management is a great time saver. "For businesses, it means losing less to network downtime, and spending less to send technicians to remote sites. It's something we recommend to more and more clients," Goodman says. Circle 261 for more information from Data Comm for Business
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Title Annotation:Company Operations
Comment:Prudential Securities, a financial and investment firm, decided to upgrade its IT systems to offer remote network management, thus reducing network administration and maintenance costs.
Publication:Communications News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2000
Previous Article:Latest cabling and wiring products.
Next Article:Latest network management products.

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