How does Belnet keep its network healthy?

Published on Wed, 03/11/2020 - 15:52

Prevention is better than cure. The same is true of our network equipment. Belnet regularly inspects the equipment in its Points of Presence to prevent all problems. This preventive maintenance is conducted on a systematic basis.

The Belnet network management’s efforts however go well beyond purchasing equipment. An almost equal investment is made in maintenance. This is achieved through maintenance contracts for optical as well IP material with our various suppliers.

Our network engineers, in close cooperation with our suppliers, conduct annual inspection of the network equipment in all Belnet nodes. This general check-up is conducted in pursuance of the “make before break” principle and its main objective is to proactively detect problems and thereby to prevent incidents.

Preventive maintenance has also been highly professionalised since last year. While earlier, maintenance used to be carried out on an ad hoc basis, Belnet has now adopted a systematic approach.

From air filters to access procedures

Equipment such as, among others, air filters and batteries are inspected - and replaced - wherever necessary.

Batteries provide emergency back-up in case of power failure. A generator starts up as soon as a power breakdown occurs at a Point of Presence. The battery back-up bridges the time gap between the loss of power failure and the start-up of the emergency generator. The required minimum autonomy of 4 hours for each battery is also checked.

The air filters are part of the cooling system in our machines. These filters entrap the dust released during air flow displacements. Air filters require regular replacement in order to prevent internal components from overheating.

But the preventive maintenance of our network involves much more than inspections of technical equipment. We also inspect the general condition of the Point of Presence: the cleanliness of the room, the cooling, the ambient temperature but also, for example, the access procedures. Does anyone who needs to enter the PoP have access to it? Are the procedures clearly laid down? All these points are thoroughly checked during preventive maintenance.

More minor problems are also tackled

Although such checks do not bring out any major problems, Belnet does find that there regularly are smaller aspects that require attention.

For example, inspections may reveal an absence of electrostatic discharge tapes in the Points of Presence. These tapes are intended to prevent static electricity from being released when the equipment is touched - this could damage a card, for example.

Preventive maintenance sometimes also reveals wrong labelling of fibre optic cables by third parties.

Although the risk involved in both the above examples is limited, Belnet makes it a point to ensure, in cooperation with its partners, that these points for attention are also properly addressed.

26 Points of presence have been controlled in 2019
Image of an air filter with accompanying text: 26 air filters have been inspected and replaced
Image of an air filter with accompanying text: 26 air filters have been inspected and replaced
The Networks team spent a total of 112 hours on the preventive maintenance, including preparation, support, logistics, analysis and follow-up
Image containing the map of Belgium with text saying "The distance travelled to checked all PoPs is 2000 km"

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