Dude, where’s my dial tone?

Disconnected line

NO CARRIER

We’ve blogged about why out-of-band management via an external PSTN modem is not optimal, and noted how these shortcomings are driving the explosive growth we’re seeing in our 3G and 4G LTE out-of-band management solutions.

However there are still sites where cellular may not be suitable, take for example a remote office in semi-rural Scotland managed by one of our network MSP customers.  I’m told this site is at the end of a muddy lane off a couple of B-roads, where their client might get a 2G signal on their mobile phones on a good day, if they wave them around enough.

Before discovering Opengear, the MSP managed to hose their client’s WAN connection in a classic fat finger manoeuvre during routine maintenance.  No bother, activate the contingency plan – that is, dial in to the external modem hanging off the main gateway’s console port and roll back that last config change.

RING

RING

RING

Flash back to the client’s office a couple of months earlier, when Colin from accounts temporarily unplugged the modem line to hook up the old fax machine, and didn’t reconnect it. Way to go Colin! Luckily for our MSP, this incident happened after the client’s close-of-business.  However the 6 hour round trip that followed did leave them searching for a better solution.

That solution came in the form of the ACM5003-M, with three console connections for the managed gateway, switch and VoIP PBX, and an integrated dial-in modem for remote access.

Using Lighthouse 4.2’s new dialpool health testing features, end-to-end dial connectivity for all their PSTN-connected managed sites is now tested and logged nightly.  Any failures trigger an immediate email to their trouble ticketing system, so our MSP can rest assured that dial-in access will be available when it’s needed most, and the next fat finger won’t be punishable by a long drive through the countryside.