Here are a couple of what we call “campfire stories” – interesting applications of Uplogix developed by customers to meet their unique needs. Both examples today involved using their out-of-band network automation platform (Uplogix!) to also manage some aspect of their physical infrastructure, bringing the same monitoring, alerting and action-taking abilities of the Uplogix platform to a challenge at a remote site.
Using Uplogix to automatically lower a satellite antenna
When the rough environments common in satellite deployments meet a sensitive piece of equipment, sometimes the best solution is to remove the human element through automation
Many of our customers deploy mobile VSAT solutions—both as the primary operator and as managed service providers. These deployments have many different configurations, from a 48″x48″x48″ palletized cube with a stabilized antenna to a 53’ semi trailer with an auto-deploying fixed antenna. One of our customers with truck-mounted kits had unusually high repair bills for their self-deploying antennas. When they investigated the problem they found that technicians weren’t properly stowing the antenna prior to trailer movement. In the most drastic case a non-stowed antenna struck and was damaged on an overpass. The other cases all dealt with technicians forcibly stowing the antenna (in some cases with a forklift!) for transport and damaging actuators in the process.
Uplogix was asked to help out with some automation to stow these antennas in the proper manner. The first step was to identify that the stow command was a URL sent to the antenna controller. Next, Uplogix needed to identify a trigger to send the stow URL. Then using a wall wart power supply connected to a Local Manager serial port, the Uplogix Rules Engine was able to monitor the power output of an AC outlet in the trailer. When AC power was cut to the trailer in anticipation of moving it somewhere else, Uplogix sensed the circuit open state and sent the URL to the antenna controller thus stowing the antenna gracefully. No forklift necessary.
Monitoring I/O sensors with Uplogix
Blending physical infrastructure monitoring with network management to know exactly what is happening at a remote site—whether the network is up or down
Our customers not only rely on the performance of network infrastructure to ensure they can meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with their customers, they also must rely on physical security to safeguard the hardware. Often remote network facilities are only visited by humans when an outage occurs, which makes them inviting targets for thieves and vandals.
Additionally, the physical security of a site might be limited to just a padlock. An Uplogix customer asked us if their Local Manager could be used to strengthen physical security of their remote facilities.
The easy answer was, “Sorry, we’re a network management platform.” But with a little more thought and collaboration with the customer, Uplogix helped them develop a solution that strengthens their physical security plan through the use of the patented Uplogix Rules Engine. The requirement was to identify and alarm when any door at the facility was opened. This isn’t a difficult proposition—most of the time. Most of the time the WAN to the facility is up and passing telemetry. However, when that WAN fails the systems providing telemetry also go down.
This is where the integrated out-of-band funcationality comes into play. Uplogix was able to monitor the door sensors for a change in state. When the Local Manager detects the door sensor circuit open, it sends an alarm to the NOC. If the WAN is down, the Local Manager automatically detects the WAN failure and re-establishes itself on the customer network using an alternate command and control network—in most cases across a cellular path.
The Uplogix Rules Engine provides an easy
logic-based way to customize network,
and potentially physical, infrastructure management.