What if you could reduce an eight-hour outage… to no time at all?
That’s exactly what Peoples Telephone Cooperative did. Faced with sudden equipment failures, they started monitoring their network… then went one step further to automatically fix the outages. Now this savvy telecommunications service provider saves countless man hours, makes sure technicians get a full night’s sleep every night, and keeps customers happy.
The Challenge: Equipment Failed Without Warning
In certain parts of rural Texas, people can only get internet through fixed broadband wireless. Peoples has been providing high-speed internet, plus other quality communications and technology services, to customers like these since 1952. Unfortunately, when wireless gear at cell sites would fail, their company only received notification when customers called to report a service outage.
These calls often came after business hours, when wireless technicians had gone home for the evening. In the best-case scenario, the on-call employee would receive the notification. “We used to get called in all the time,” said Derek Davidson, Director of IT at Peoples. Employees then had to remotely access the base station, troubleshoot the issue, and, depending on the severity of the issue, either reboot the equipment remotely or drive to the base station to fix it manually.
In the worst-case scenario, the technicians wouldn’t find out about the outage until the next morning, when they received the customer’s ticket. The internet could have been down all night by then.
As any telecommunications provider knows, customer satisfaction is everything. Peoples knew they risked losing customers if they couldn’t address issues more quickly.
The Solution: A Network Automation Tool
For years, Peoples has used network monitoring software from Intermapper to keep tabs on critical devices and links, power systems, A/C outages, battery voltage, and cabinet temperature via SNMP monitoring. With Intermapper on the “big screen” in their network operations center, their entire team can immediately see when devices go down or a fiber cut occurs.
Peoples has also created Intermapper maps for their premium fiber customers so they can see all their nodes and circuits for easy self-service monitoring. And outside of IT, their sales team uses Intermapper to know exactly when premium customers have maxed out their bandwidth.
After learning about Automate for Intermapper, a network automation tool add-on of Automate that interfaces seamlessly with Intermapper, Peoples realized they’d found a solution to prevent unexpected outages.
Davidson says they used a ping probe to monitor sectors at rural cell sites. When a sector locked up, Automate would remotely access the base station and reboot the sector—without any human intervention.
Now customers don’t even notice service interruptions. The internet is back up again in a minute or less.
“With Automate, we were able to get those times down so quick that customers never called us,” said Davidson. “It works really well.”
And as a backup, if a site doesn’t recover within five minutes or less, Intermapper sends a notification via email so the wireless team is aware and can take a closer look.
The Results: Outages Are Fixed Instantly
Now eight or more hours of service downtime have been reduced to minutes—or less. Customers aren’t aware of service outages, resulting in greater satisfaction and retention. And what used to require manual employee activity has become just another automatic process.
Without automation, network monitoring is only half of the solution. By monitoring—and automatically remediating—network issues, Peoples can continue to provide the reliable internet services their customers depend on.
Take a Step Toward Automation
When you start a free, 30-day trial of Intermapper, you also get an instance of Automate to try our network automation tool. You, too, could cut remediation time from hours to minutes