Network Operations

The ARE-ON network is engineered to maintain a high standard of operational resilience and integrity. Redundancy, quality, risk management, and security are the focus of network operations, protecting the backbone and its members from unnecessary interruptions in service. ARE-ON’s highly reliable network provides scalable, adaptable, and secure applications that support mission-critical endeavors in education, research, and telemedicine.

Network Operations Center

The ARE-ON Network Operations Center (NOC) provides 24x7x365 monitoring and trouble assistance to the ARE-ON network and its member institutions.  The NOC is staffed on behalf of ARE-ON by Indiana University's GlobalNOC, a professional service that provides customized monitoring of all ARE-ON network and physical resources and a full time service desk that ARE-ON members may call (1-877-398-0012) or email (noc@areon.net) to report on problems or to request assistance with problems or concerns about their ARE-ON service.  ARE-ON's network engineers are on call 24x7 on a rotational basis for any problem that the NOC's service desk is unable to resolve on its own.  The NOC also takes service requests, such as DNS updates for members using ARE-ON's DNS services.

Redundancy

Network redundancy is crucial to providing reliable and consistent service. Building and maintaining multiple routes through the ARE-ON backbone and providing multiple connections to members reduces the potential for "hard" outages. By being able to route traffic around affected network segments when there is an issue, ARE-ON reduces the number of required operational staff and the time-critical aspects of problem resolution. ARE-ON's contingency plans also provide members with fallback and alternate means of connectivity in the event problems occur.

Quality

ARE-ON's network is truly "carrier class," a designation used in the telecommunications industry to describe highly reliable networks resilient to breakdown and failure. ARE-ON maintains this level of reliability through constant review of engineering and construction processes and strict adherence to the highest quality standards in design, materials, equipment, and implementation. 


2012 02 23 Fayetteville Cox Fiber Testing

Risk Management

When implementing any highly complex technology project, a certain amount of risk is acceptable, but full network outage risks can be managed and minimized through redundancy and risk management practices. ARE-ON manages risk through careful planning and scheduling, maintenance and service contracts, contingency plans, and reserve capital to cover unexpected expenses. ARE-ON reduces the risk of equipment failures, fiber cuts, and power outages through:

  • Effective network design
  • The use of carrier grade equipment
  • Pervasive redundancy in electronics, fiber optical cabling, and connectivity to service providers
  • Power protection through battery backup and on-demand generators
  • Geographically diverse backbone routing/switching cores
  • Advance notifications and coordination with members for scheduled network maintenance

ARE-ON also maintains a disaster recovery plan that enables staff to quickly react in the event there is a large service-affecting outage.

Security

Network security is a priority. ARE-ON's security standards include and extend beyond state guidelines and involve controls on access to all network elements, including password controls, appropriate levels of access for technical and management personnel, and encryption of sensitive communications.

Physical security controls, such as locked entries and appropriate vetting of personnel with access, are implemented wherever ARE-ON backbone equipment is located. Background checks are also performed as part of the employment process for ARE-ON staff.