The second installment of our two-part blog on network management, we look at why small broadband service providers— such as tier 2/3 telecommunications providers, electric co-ops, and public power utilities—might choose to outsource their network operations center (NOC) rather than setting up and operating their own.
A Little NOC Refresher
In case you missed Part 1, the NOC is the network’s command center. It houses the personnel, equipment and processes necessary to monitor and manage network operations and respond to issues in the field as they occur. The NOC is also responsible for maintaining and implementing a disaster recovery protocol in case of a catastrophic network failure. For this same reason, each network is typically supported by two NOC facilities to ensure full redundancy.
Some of the critical functions of
the NOC include:
- Network monitoring and incident response
- Monitoring and managing SLAs to ensure
compliance with performance and quality standards
- Managing hardware and software version updates
- Maintaining uninterrupted power supply,
redundant fiber paths, and sufficient network capacity
- Securing the network with firewalls, intrusion
prevention systems, threat analysis, and antivirus filtering
As discussed in
Part 1, creating, staffing and equipping a full-service NOC capable of 24×7×365
monitoring and response can quickly become cost-prohibitive for smaller broadband
service providers. The alternative is a contract with a third-party provider
for outsourced NOC services.
Outsourcing NOC Services to a Managed Services
NOC typically involves the managed services partner’s redundant centralized
remote facilities connecting to your network via highly secure, redundant
high-speed connections. Each of the partner’s NOC facilities is equipped with
the personnel, equipment and processes needed to provide complete network
monitoring, incident/fault response, field service help, and disaster recovery procedures.
the obvious upside of not having to build and run your own redundant NOC, a third-party
arrangement offers other attractive benefits:
of scale: A provider with the resources and capacity to deliver managed
NOC services to multiple customers can enable cost savings and performance
improvements that you can’t achieve operating on your own.
utilization: A third-party arrangement enables you to allocate your in-house staff
where they are most needed.
and control: Third-party managed service providers generally have extensive
technical expertise and resources, giving them greater ability to customize
solution designs and configurations precisely for your network.
risk: The certified NOC engineers employed by a managed services
provider have breadth of experience and knowledge that ultimately reduces your
Understanding Your Managed NOC Service Options
Providers of managed network
operations offer an array of choices that let you get the biggest bang for your
buck. It’s worthwhile to allow yourself time for comparison shopping and
At one end of the spectrum is a
full-service contract that offers 24×7×365 monitoring and response, with full
NOC facility redundancy. If you’re thin on qualified personnel, this may be the
right option that more than justifies the price tag. Even if your NOC services
provider is “handling everything,” you’ll typically retain control over many
areas, such as reporting requirements, thresholds for elevating service
At the other end of the spectrum, highly
customizable NOC management plans allow you to control pricing by picking and
choosing the capabilities you need. Most plans provide a basic set of services
and capabilities that you can supplement with value-added or customizable
service selections. Your service provider might, for example, enable you to
build a NOC management plan around back-office functions, such as performance
and alarm monitoring, after-hours support, and disaster recovery.
Typical add-on managed NOC services
parts management: Onsite replacement of hardware within four hours
systems: Monitoring, ticketing and management dashboards
operations: Fault management, performance optimization, and cybersecurity
hands: Experienced technicians deployed onsite for installation, testing
Tips for Creating an Outsourced Program that Works
Regardless of the range of choices available, the most important choice
is a program and provider that works best for you. Making the right
choice of provider and plan begins with having a clear understanding of what
your needs are. With that in mind, here are a few tips for selecting the right
provider and service.
- Define your
short-term and long-term goals. Examples might be managing for the best
combination of co-op growth, for technology migration or for financial
- Map your
existing skill sets, operational processes, and resources against the complete
list of needed roles and responsibilities to identify gaps.
- Target and
prioritize areas to be outsourced.
- Select the
provider and level of partnership that most closely aligns with your needs and
- Expect a high
level of ongoing involvement and communication from candidate providers and
ensure they fully understand your needs and challenges.
By using a fully vetted NOC provider, along with a strategically designed and customized service plan, smaller broadband service providers can manage their next-generation networks for growth and revenue without breaking the bank.
Fujitsu Managed Network Services offers
quality and reliability, plus the peace of mind that comes with dependable
protection. We work with you and within your budget to align our end-to-end capabilities
with your specific needs. For more information on our NOC management services,
visit the Network Services section on the