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NetEvidence’s Highlight provides details of VPN network usage to levels of detail not provided by BT, and so optimises network use
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TelMe Farebase, a leading supplier of e-commerce solutions to the travel industry, has selected Highlight, an independent network performance reporting service from NetEvidence, to monitor usage and availability of its virtual private network (VPN), supplied by BT.

Highlight is an independent, outsourced service that provides easy-to-understand performance reports for all network types, including Internet Access circuits and VPNs on leased lines, xDSL, frame relay, multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), Ethernet and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM).

Highlight provides a single service assurance portal offering key network information in real time, across multiple networks technologies. This enables corporate decision makers to be both proactive about planning business needs and IT resources, as well as reactive when issues occur.

TelMe Farebase develops online solutions for the travel industry. It has combined its technological expertise and travel industry experience to build a suite of online productivity tools to help travel companies win new business, reduce their cost base and increase efficiency.

Gareth Simpson, customer services and technical support manager for TelMe Farebase said: “We were familiar with the benefits of using Highlight as it is a service offered to us by UUNet (MCI), but it wasn’t offered to us by BT, which provides our VPN. BT provides a good service but its statistics aren’t detailed enough for us: we would get reports saying that there was 98% use a week – as a technical support manager keeping an eye on a large volume of network traffic I need more visibility and control than that. I need specifics.”

TelMe Farebase has a BT VPN with two fixed sites with 2MB servers and six asynchronous digital subscriber line (ADSL) sites that connect into the VPN, three of which are 512KB connections and the other three 1MB connections.

“With ADSL you have to keep in mind the implications of the upstream and downstream traffic speeds. We have an upstream speed of 256KB so we need to ensure that we are aware of the network traffic and can optimise our network,” said Simpson. “Highlight allows us to do that with real-time reports. This means we can understand how upstream and downstream traffic is affecting the health and response time of the network.”

Highlight is already being used by a wide range of companies to ensure the optimum performance of their virtual private networks (VPN) and hybrid voice and data networks. The service has been praised by analysts such as the Butler Group for its user-friendly and intuitive interface, including its distinctive colour-coded presentation. It is already used by major service providers including MCI, IXEurope, Sirocom, PSINet/Telstra and Energis.

“Highlight is incredibly user-friendly. It’s been designed with careful consideration for how fast users need relevant information,” said Simpson. “Deployment work was minimal, which is
good as we’re a busy IT department, and its web-based interface allows us to view essential information within two clicks. Highlight has changed how we manage the network. We have a more holistic view now: if there’s a problem we’ll know about it from using Highlight and we can use Highlight to dig deeper and find the route of the problem. Before Highlight we would think ‘let’s buy a switch’ whereas now we can look at usage and identify problems rather than just throw hardware at them.”

TelMe Farebase uses a POP connection from Cambridge which it accesses in Great Yarmouth. Relying on information retrieved by Highlight the IT team at TelMe Farebase went to the management board and explained that they needed to double their 2MB internet access. Highlight also revealed patterns in the internet browsing of TelMe Farebase’s 350 users which allowed it to optimise its network use.

Scott Wylie, operations director for TelMe Farebase, said: “The beauty of Highlight is that it allows us as a business to understand exactly what is going on in our network rather than having to rely on the ‘best guess’. We can pinpoint specific places and points in time and identify if there has been an outage and why. We trust Highlight to always give us informed answers to any questions about our network.”

In the future, TelMe Farebase will be upgrading its VPN. “We’ll know when to upgrade – Highlight will tell us,” concluded Simpson.

Andi Willmott, NetEvidence business development director, said: “It’s not unusual for a company that has been using Highlight through a service provider to request it direct from us – it takes the guesswork out of managing networks so technology and business managers really miss it when they go to a service provider that doesn’t offer it yet. You can’t run a business on a poorly performing network or on network services that you cannot manage. Highlight provides total visibility of network performance in real time.”

About NetEvidence
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NetEvidence offers network service providers an outsourced service, Highlight, which monitors customer network performance and provides a continuous, at-a-glance view of network traffic, trends, availability and health. This data is presented in a clear and graphical way, letting non-technical sales and service staff easily identity sales opportunities and proactively manage customer relations for greater retention.

More information is available at www.net-evidence.com

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