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Remote troubleshooting tips from a network test expert.

Network support personnel today

< are continually facing tougher

problems and must resolve them faster and with less resources. I know--that's my job! I work at Hewlett-Packard's escalation

< center in Atlanta, and I use test equipment daily in my job. The escalation center solves customer < problems critical to the continued operation of their business. My focus is data communications and network software. I get involved when the customer's or our local HP field network troubleshooting resources are unable to diagnose and solve the specific network problem. My responsibilities cover the entire United States and, frequently, the international realm. Most of the time, problems are solved

< without me ever knowing about them. When I do get involved, the problem can often be very gnarly! Time is of utmost importance, both for

< the specific customer getting his network back up and running, and for me since I must quickly be available for the next problem site that may come my way. By virtue of my specialized focus, I am able to use my in-depth training and accumulated real-situation experience for the next problem. Since I can't be everywhere at once, the < new ability to remotely connect, through modem and WAN links, to sites where communication problems are occurring is key to my efficiency. This mode of troubleshooting provides the benefit of a specialist's knowledge, experience and expertise, with no time-to-travel delay and related expenses. Specifically, I have been using HP's

< remote troubleshooting software with my HP 495X protocol analyzer for over a year now. This capability has increased productivity


100% on escalations wherever a protocol analyzer is called into action. The remote software has also saved express mail charges for shipping analyzers and traces to and from the center. The escalation center must provide

< quick resolution to tough problems that have eluded other support personnel. The HP 18275A remote troubleshooter software allows me to do this and to strengthen my support services. I no longer have to ship a protocol analyzer to a problem site and then have the unit returned to me in Atlanta. I can either remotely retrieve the data < or the data can be taken to the local office where it is transferred to a PC and sent within minutes to me via electronic mail. When remotely attempting to capture < a problem, one helpful hint that I have found to be of great value is to collect data at the remote site, upload the data to my PC and resume capturing data with the analyzer. I then look at the data using my PC

< decodes. If I have not captured enough data, I can easily return to the remote unit and upload additional data captured as I was using my PC decodes. This increases my productivity because the analyzer continues to run and I do not have to wait for additional data to be collected. Productivity is the buzzword of the


90s, and the remote troubleshooter software has improved productivity like no other when it comes to wide area networking. For on-site problem resolutions I travel < with a portable computer that now contains the remote troubleshooter software. While on site I monitor or trap data with an HP 495X protocol analyzer, store the data on a disk and use my portable computer for analysis. I am no longer confined to the site location for analysis and I have full transfer and printing capabilities from any remote location with the flexibility of my portable PC. The remote protocol decodes are extremely

< flexible and complete. I can easily customize the level of the analysis to suit my needs. I can view raw data with or without lead changes and expand it to decode almost everything according to the CCITT recommendations. For example, X.25 can format level 2,


3 and 4 in ASCII or HEX and decode the packet type and facility fields. This flexibility allows me to customize

< the format quickly for the type of decoding needed. I highlight problems by formatting and printing traces for customers and third-party vendors which has made it easier to explain the problems to them. A helpful tip when trying to explain a

< complex problem long distance is to dump a data trace to an ASCII file. You can then use any ASCII text editor to add your own notes to clarify the data, print out the file, and fax the data plus your explanations to the equipment vendor. This helps to eliminate confusion generated

< by verbal problem descriptions. I am sure that the network support

< escalations I face at HP are similar to those encountered by many other companies that support networks. These companies have the same types of network support needs and will find that a tool that formats, transports, analyzes and prints data is very valuable. This type of tool will allow network

< support organizations to diagnose and provide quick problem resolution to their customers.

COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Data/Voice Test Equipment; use remote network diagnostic software
Author:Iburg, Steve
Publication:Communications News
Date:May 1, 1992
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