August 2015

Adding Mobile Network Visibility for a Rail Network

Managing a network can be a complex and often expensive operation, especially for industrial networks. Being able to monitor and manage devices is essential in ensuring that the network is running smoothly. However, with evolving business operations, administrators are often on the move, making it difficult to stay informed of or quickly respond to any status changes in the network.

In this article, we will share our experiences of helping network operators monitor the network status even when out of the control center, and how the mobile visibility helps network operators minimize system downtime, and achieve higher operational efficiency in everyday work.

Details of the Railway Application Networking

A high-speed railway operator—and Moxa customer—built a fiber Ethernet backbone for data transmission between its Operation Management Center and other railway stations to ensure high network availability. The customer used about 30 Moxa industrial rackmount switches (IKS-G6524) to connect to the pre-existing Layer 3 networks, and used the MXstudio industrial network management suite across the network management lifecycle, including installation, operation, maintenance, and diagnostics.

For example, the rail operator used the MXconfig industrial network configuration tool for initial mass deployment. Instead of manually configuring the MAC address of each switch and assigning IP addresses one by one, MXconfig allows users to configure IP address, VLAN, and redundancy protocols for a batch of switches at one time. MXconfig’s "Link Sequence Detection" function makes mass configuration easy by using the physical proximity of each switch to the computer to assign IP addresses. In this way, it's easy to tell which switch belongs to which station, reducing the amount of time engineers need to configure their switches.

Adding Mobile Visibility of the Network

Since the customer is already using MXview industrial network management software to monitor and manage the networks, Moxa invited the railway operator to be among the first users to try out the new MXview ToGo mobile app. The railway operator's network administrators recounted that they sometimes need to leave the control room for patrol inspection within and around the stations. MXview ToGo allows them to easily check the latest network status from their mobile phones. In addition, the customer mentioned that the simple and neat dashboard design of the app makes it easier to tell whether the network is operating under Normal, Warning, or Critical conditions. In one notable incident, an IT engineer received a push notification about a downed link, used the app to determine that the broken link was located between stations 5 and 6, connected to the MXview server to determine the cause, and then contacted the staff at stations 5 and 6 for onsite troubleshooting. Thanks to the app, they were able to find the root cause quickly, and get the network link back up and running in no time.

Conclusion

The use of effective network management applications can help network administrators accomplish tasks efficiently at different stages in the network management lifecycle. With changing business environments and improvements in mobile device technology, a mobile app for network monitoring allows administrators to be efficient, effective, and responsive when monitoring and maintaining an industrial network.

Using MXview ToGo app, administrators can view device and network status and receive real-time alerts on their mobile devices while on the move.In addition to mobile monitoring, the MXview ToGo supports smart device search and identification function. When in the field, automation engineers can read detailed device information, and can find a specific device among the racks quickly, effectively shorten the operational hours. Administrators can use the locator feature to quickly locate devices, improving service efficiency and minimizing system downtime.

  • Learn more about Moxa’s industrial network management software here.
  • Scan the QR code below to download the app and experience the smart way to monitor networks.

 
 
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