IRTMS Integrated Remote Test Management System
A web enabled, state of the art EMS
IRTMS is a web enabled, state of the art Element Management System used to maintain over 10 million circuits across the world. It has a consistent northbound interface and controls a variety of different test and access control hardware. It has been designed to offer better than 99.99% availability.
IRTMS is a sophisticated element management system (EMS) designed to efficiently manage many different types of remote telecommunications test equipment on a large scale.
The earliest version of the “Integrated Remote Test Management System” (IRTMS) has been in continuous use since the 1990s and is responsible for the testing of all T1, E1 & nx64 international private circuits operated in the United Kingdom.
IRTMS has been extended to incorporate complex multiple test-point circuit testing functionality and more recently IRTMS has been further developed to become a capable and efficient voice testing system used to diagnose faulty telephone circuits, where testing speed, reliability and accuracy are of the greatest importance.
Hardware manufacturer neutrality
CCL works with a number of manufacturers (notably Anritsu-Wiltron, Hewlett Packard, Harris, FlukeNetworks and Spirent) to make IRTMS an integrated and consistent EMS for diverse remote test units.
Although we now offer our own remote test units (the CCL XTU) we remain manufacturer-neutral. This neutrality allows IRTMS clients to incorporate the best available or pre-existing Remote Test Units (RTUs) for the purpose at hand.
IRTMS is currently deployed to support testing in the following domains:
- IRTMS for International Private Circuits (Analogue & Digital)
- IRTMS for Analogue Private Circuits.
- IRTMS for Switched Voice Circuits.
- IRTMS for Broadband and NGN services (current in progress roadmap).
IRTMS is designed to have a very high operational availability factor better than 99.95%.
The system and database designs have been made as future-proof as possible. New test equipment can be incorporated and can be represented and controlled in an efficient and consistent manner.
All the capabilities of the managed test hardware are supported such as intrusive testing, hitless monitoring (depends upon capability of test hardware), QOS (Quality of Service) metrics and interactive testing.
IRTMS is used to maintain in excess of 10 million circuits. The IRTMS EMS is capable of handling more than 50 completed test request/results per second. More than 10,000 Remote Test Units can be supported by IRTMS.
The objective of IRTMS
The objective of IRTMS was to construct an open, extensible, scalable and highly efficient EMS for test and measurement hardware which would be able to:
- Fully manage all test access and test measurement hardware
- Provide administrators helpful system diagnostics enabling ;problems with the test equipment to be identified and resolved as quickly as possible
- Perform circuit tests as quickly as possible and deliver the test results to the users as fast as possible
- Provide the user with the best diagnostics results possible;
- Record all configuration changes
- Record all test results in Oracle database tables
- Provide a highly efficient and fast lightweight client (web) based testing for circuit testers in addition to a fully featured North Bound circuit test interface
- Provide a comprehensive administrator’s user interface to provide full control of the power of the IRTMS EMS
- Provide full control of the features offered by the user interface to its users through the customisation and allocation of Roles and Privileges to individual users or groups of users
- Adopt open interfaces wherever possible to make the task of adding support for new instrument types / exchange hardware as straightforward as possible.
- Help our customers preserve the considerable investment they have made in their existing test and measurement infrastructure and to provide a way to migrate forward using alternative test & measurement hardware.
- Guarantee uniformity of presentation and reduce the need for costly training on multiple EMS from many manufacturers
- Reduce support costs – one support costs package per EMS
The decision to incorporate a new piece of test equipment can be based entirely on the capabilities of the test equipment selected without being encumbered by unsuitable EMS systems.
Hardware independence and open architecture
IRTMS has been designed to be a scalable open EMS, which can bring together new and old testing technologies and processes in a coherent and consistent manner.
IRTMS uses ORACLE 10gR2 and has access to a wide variety of communication protocols utilising, a wide range of I/O hardware to connect to remote test equipment.
State of the art database technology and application design has produced a high performance system with a scalable architecture that is capable of running thousands of complete circuits tests every minute.
The core of the system is based on a high performance real time software suite, which adds negligibly small latencies to the hardware test execution times. The time taken to dispatch a circuit test, recover the test results, perform any extra analysis and store all requests, resource allocations and test results is accomplished extremely efficiently with almost no overhead.
The system design is such that many different types of test equipment and circuit switch access equipment can be managed effectively and controlled very efficiently in order to yield the highest possible test efficiency.
Results post processing
Results generated by the test hardware can optionally be fed into a results post processing engine for a more detailed and comprehensive analysis. The analysis can incorporate previous benchmark results on a circuit by circuit or circuit type basis.
This analysis sub-system can access related information, such as cable compositions, routing and sizes, from other disparate systems operated by the telecoms company. The interfaces are open and easily extensible.
The result post processing can be tailored to suit individual Telco requirements and can be extended to be significant components of a fully automated test facility.
CCL has considerable experience in producing large-scale automated testing and diagnostics systems and has been doing so for over 10 years.
Northbound interfaces & SNMP
The IRTMS northbound interface can be either supplied as a CORBA compliant interface or can be provided as JMS 1.02b compliant. There is no reduction in system performance as a result of using the northbound interfaces and the full power of the test engine is made available to the northbound client systems. All types of circuit testing, batch and interactive testing are supported using the existing northbound interfaces.
The system is designed to self diagnose its hardware components according to a schedule setup by the system administrators. The self diagnostics sub-system can report problems detected with the system hardware and/or associated remote test hardware and exchange switches to a SNMP manager for problem rectification and alarm handling.
IRTMS is well established as a major private circuit testing system handling multiple test points; it is also a feature rich voice testing system, which can manage many different types of exchange test equipment and test equipment types.
IRTMS supports the latest technologically-advanced test heads to offer IP data level testing, VoIP and IPTV/MSTV testing and related QOS facilities.
IRTMS is already a multiple test point test management system and can easily support complex circuit tests where different items of circuit test hardware can be used at different locations (test points) on a circuit to co-operatively diagnose circuit faults conditions.
CCL is prepared to interface other types of test and measurement hardware and exchange circuit switches into IRTMS to satisfy specific customer requirements. We are also prepared to interface IRTMS to any other Inventory Circuit database as may be operated by the telecoms company.
Main business benefits
IRTMS is a cost effective solution which enables telecoms companies to maintain the value of their investment in test hardware without having to obsolete their entire test system just because the original manufacturer no longer wishes to support the original testing OSS or because the original test equipment has become obsolete.
With IRTMS new test hardware can be incorporated and managed in unison with older more traditional test hardware. This feature and because of IRTMS independence with respect to test equipment hardware manufacturers ensures that IRTMS is future proofed.
The major benefit of IRTMS is that the telecommunication company is not tied to a single test hardware or computer hardware manufacturer.
IRTMS already supports different test equipment from manufactures such as Anritsu; Wiltron; Spirent; Hewlett Packard; GPT; Harris; FlukeNetworks, and circuit switch manufacturers such as AT&T, Siemens, Alcatel, Ericson, GPT etc.
The IRTMS EMS treats the different types of test and switch hardware in a consistent and uniform manner to extract the test instruments best performance.
IRTMS has been designed to be an open EMS, which can be readily adapted to control and manage other types of test and measurement equipment together with the associated circuit exchange/access equipment.
CCL has over 24 years experience with many different types of interface technology encompassing both the very latest technologies and some old and obscure interface standards.
IRTMS is available for use on Sun SPARC or AMD based hardware. Connectivity to the exchange and access control hardware is achieved using a number of different control mechanisms e.g. IP, Leased Line, Dial up Modem, X25 (X.3 PAD or Raw X.25) or Voice signalling control protocols (DTMF for example).
We normally recommend that communication hardware is installed under Microsoft Server running in a Sun AMD machine or equivalent. This gives an enormous range of different hardware connectivity options as most manufacturers provide good support under Microsoft operating systems. The specialised analysis processing and database components are hosted under Solaris on Sun systems.
Circuit testing is available via JMS as a fully functional Northbound testing service, an Active Directory authenticated Web testing service and through the administrators GUI tool (the IRTMS Task Browser). IRTMS is fully administered using the Task Browser, installed onto Microsoft based systems. Circuit Testing is also supported via 3G Web access.