What is a Network Operations Center (NOC): Importance, Equipment

The role of a Network Operations Center (NOCs) has become crucial in a digital landscape where businesses rely on seamless communication and uninterrupted video conferences. This center also monitors, manages, and protects the intricate web of networks that power our modern world.

Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or a business owner, understanding how a Network Operations Center works is essential for maintaining an organization's network infrastructure. Keep reading to learn more.

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What is a Network Operation Center?

The telecommunication industry and the technologies of communication among private people and industrial entities are emerging rapidly. Large communication networks have been implemented all over the world to serve the need for data and voice transfer by mobile operators. Such complex networks may serve an entire country, and so must have a Network Operations Center to supervise and manage such operations.

Generally, a Network Operations Center (usually called NOC) defines a centralized location from which network monitoring, controlling, and management are exercised by operation staff 24/7.

They supervise these networks, servers, databases, firewalls, and any related services or performance issues. Examples can be mobile phone operator’s service, management of a large communication network of a large operator or country, traffic control centers, network of emergency services, or utility providers.


Network Operations Center: why and where do we need these?

NOCs are implemented by business organizations, public utilities, or government agencies that require highly available telecommunication services with complete and reliable supervision. Network Operations Center personnel are responsible for monitoring large communication networks for certain conditions that may require special attention for reliable operation to avoid degraded service. In telecommunication environments, NOCs monitor power failures, communication lines, communication alarms, and other performance issues that may affect reliable network operation.

Why do we need a video wall in a NOC?

Efficient and reliable operation must be backed by easy-to-process statistical illustrations, displaying data collected from the fields. NOCs are usually equipped with a central video wall display and to share data among all the operators sitting in rows of desks in front of the video wall. These operators are facing the video wall, which typically shows details of general network performance, statistical data about operation, ongoing incidents, or significant alarms.

Technicians usually have several computers and monitors on their desk for the supervision of certain parts of the operation. The NOC must be equipped with the video wall, operators with different responsibilities, and a professional telecommunication network supporting interaction of operators with each other and with information over the video wall.

What happens within the NOC?

Within a Network Operations Center, various activities occur to ensure the smooth operation of network infrastructure and address any issues that might arise quickly. Below is a brief overview of what happens in the Network Operations Center.

  • Monitoring network infrastructure: One of the primary functions of a NOC is to continuously track various parameters such as network traffic, bandwidth utilization, server health, and device connection. Advanced monitoring tools provide real-time insights into the performance of different components within the specified network.
  • Incident detection and alerting: NOC teams detect and identify potential incidents that could disrupt network operations. When an anomaly is detected, automated systems trigger alerts to the operators. Teams can then assess the problem and find a solution when applying patches and rerouting traffic.
  • Communication and collaboration: Constant communication ensures everyone is on the same page when resolving incidents and de-escalating issues with higher-level support teams in the Network Operations Center.
  • Proactive maintenance: Optimizing network performance is an ongoing task in the NOC since the operators continuously improve network configurations, adjust resource allocation, and implement the best practices for optimal performance during peak times.


NOC: What components and equipment are needed?

Well-operated NOCs need a complex system of different equipment that must support the supervision of reliable operation. The video wall is the central information board for the staff to supervise and to share information with each other. The large surface of the video wall can be implemented by different technologies.

  • These days, an array of TFT LCD monitors with a rather thin bezel are mostly used. The information over this video wall must be displayed in any size and any position, regardless of the monitors’ borders. The usual TFT/LCD monitors must have high brightness and be protected against burn-in during constant operation. The monitors deliver FHD or UHD resolution.
  • The monitors must be fixed to a system of stands that support video wall build and even precise alignment of neighboring monitors.
  • The LCD wall is an emerging technology that is composed of LCD modules that have no gap between the modules. The pixel pitch of such modules limits the total resolution of the wall, but they support the building of rather large walls.
  • Rear projected cubes represent an older technology but still have a role in mission-critical control rooms as they have very small bezels and support 24/7 operation. The laser technology ensures a long lifetime and high color uniformity.
  • The operators usually have multi-headed operator PCs displaying network information and control layouts. These PCs use standard Windows operating systems for general compatibility with all the operators and the video wall processor.
  • The display and information management over the video wall is implemented by the custom video wall controller. This is connected to the operator PCs and to the external network that drives the video wall. The video wall controller is the critical central element of the NOC and provides outstanding services for the operator’s cooperation and reliable information management.
  • Complex and reliable local area networks must be applied for the interconnection of the operator components, the video wall controller, and the external world. Hierarchical operator rights and sophisticated network security must be implemented by routers, HDBaseT Extenders, and firewalls.
  • Usually, an uninterruptible power supply system must ensure continuous operation of all the components of a certain NOC in case of power cut. The stable power supply must have external batteries or even a generator that is capable of generating the mains power in case of a longer interruption in the operation.

Network Operations Center: How to control video wall information?

A customized AV solution needs to be installed to control all crucial aspects of a 24/7 operation without any issue in order to manage a given video wall in such an environment. The video wall controller needs to be able to display and share the following input data and information over a video wall:

  • Screen content of any operator workstation’s screens
  • Live video of satellite receivers or Blu-ray players
  • Graphics information through locally run web browsers
  • Display graphics of local Windows applications rendering statistical data

The operators’ screens contain critical information for the center’s audience and so the application windows can be drawn to any position or any size over the video wall. Additionally, real-time scaling must be applied for the perfect visual experience of the audience. Leading edge of unlimited scaling and real time display of directly connected video information is a must have in such installations.

Network Operations Center

Examples of Network Operation Centers

TIM Italy NOC, Rome, Italy

This is a success story about the replacement of an outdated video wall which was aging 15 years. TIM management entrusted DEXON Systems to integrate DXN5200 to control LED monitor systems with ultra-light frames and outstanding signal management. Dozens of operators can take advantage of a video terminal that stands out on the front wall on an area of almost 50 sqm, to be used in the most varied ways to facilitate successful operation daily.

The control and signal management has been entrusted to a well-known and widely used device, the DXN5200, which in addition to the management of the LED wall is notoriously capable of performing various functions, thanks to the ability of processing and displaying multiple analog or digital inputs, SD or HD, local or remote video inputs, 4K inputs, IP cameras and, workstation monitor images.

T-Mobile NOC, Warsaw, Poland

This is an installation example of an actual progress of installing the largest video wall in Poland with its grandiose size of 92 square meters and our DXN5200 controller was customized to this project.

This is a real mission critical control room providing complex services for reliable operations. With its 3x34 monitor layout serving 92 square meters, this video wall operates 24/7 to enhance efficiency and quality of telecommunication services in the entire country. Four different departments use the large area of 40-meter-wide video wall employing altogether 150 operators who are responsible for different aspects of operation.

What kind of solution does DEXON Systems offer?

DEXON Systems’ video wall controllers drive multiple screens to form a large Windows graphics desktop where graphics and live video overlay windows are displayed in real time. This enables an easy-to-use user interface to all operators. Graphics application windows, direct signal inputs and network-based information can be managed by remote operators through this professional platform for centralized supervision in network operation centers.

The layout management must be able to handle this huge area and must be able to control, save and recall previously defined layouts. By just a few mouse clicks the full layout can be changed, displayed or saved. Such a rather complex system works with several different layouts that must be changed on frequently changing requirements during daytime or during the night. Some mouse clicks and the wall content must be changed to a brand-new layout within a fraction of a second.

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DEXON Systems’ advanced video wall controllers give a strong base for any NOC installation and so they generate real value for people. DEXON Systems is a video wall controller manufacturer supplying mission critical control room equipment for system integrators all over the world. The company develops and integrates advanced hardware and software technologies to its products. Operating in around 50 countries the company supplied thousands of mission critical control rooms to make people’s lives more and more comfortable and secure.

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