Network Management System

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A Network Management System is a set of hardware and software used to manage and administer computer networks. Cisco is a vendor that offers an array of Network Management tools and solutions. For purposes of this paper products for small businesses will be discussed. This include; Cisco OnPlus, Cisco Configuration Professional and Cisco Configuration Assistant.

Cisco OnPlus offer network management services through cloud-based solutions which simplify the maintenance, monitoring and management of network. It comes in two versions namely the Cisco Onplus Scanner (See figure below) which is a browser based solution, and the Cisco OnPlus ON100 Network Agent which is appliance based (Paquet, 2009).

Cisco OnPlus enables visibility without need of buying and maintaining dedicated systems from anywhere using cloud-based solutions. it elevates accuracy assessments through automation of network devices. it integrates with remote Monitoring and Management tools for provision of in-depth management and monitoring while streamlining IT management operations. OnPlus Scanner enables fast prioritization and identification of product upgrade and replacement. OnPlus ON100 Network Agent improves productivity and responsiveness by managing and maintaining networks. It allows add on applications enabling and enhancing advanced capabilities which include monitoring and optimization performance, management of network security, and managing wireless networks (Paquet, 2009).

Cisco OnPlus enables these features through easy-to-do setup and affordability by offering the OnPlus Scanner and OnPlus ON100 Network Agent free of charge and can be assessed anywhere. Cisco OnPlus service can be accessed anywhere with any connected device, including a Smartphone, tablet, or laptop, to proactively track network status, troubleshoot issues, and perform configuration changes. Users can receive alerts, check site or device status, read log files, back up configurations, and view network topology. OnPlus offers the best experience with supported Cisco devices (Paquet, 2009).

Cisco Configuration Professional (CCP) is a management tool for access routers that simplifies router, WAN, LAN, firewall, VPN configuration. It enables router status monitoring, security auditing, WAN and VPN trouble shooting. It also offers single click router lockdown.

CCP incorporates advanced configuration and smart wizards for WAN and LAN interfaces, IPS, Network Address Translation (NAT) and Cisco Network Admission Control policy features among others.

The easy to use smart wizard the application offers step-by-step guide of router configuration and systematic configuration of LAN and WAN interfaces, IPSs, firewalls IPsec VPNs. The smart wizards detect wrong configuration and suggest fixes. The application integrates online help to enable you access background information and step-by-step procedures.

With the tool you can carry out security audits (Figure below) to assess the strengths and weakness of router configurations to fine tune them to your needs. It enables fault management, troubleshooting and monitoring (Sankar, 2005).

With CCP you can set up Cisco IP telephony system by setting up Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express and Cisco Unity Express voicemail. You can easily configure dial plans, phones, extensions and voice system such as conferencing, paging groups, and intercom and so on.

CCP offers improved network eliminates configuration errors.Cisco Configuration Assistant provides network management support with all-inclusive configuration and deployment.

It has easy to use wizards that setup IP addressing functions, e.g. WAN IP address and VLAN IP address, with options such as localizations, automated attendant, business schedules.

Streaming video setup is easy with the video monitoring wizard from a Cisco video surveillance camera such as the WVC2300 or PVC2300 to a Cisco SPA525G2 wireless IP phone.

Cisco Configuration Assistant interacts and configures voice applications and devices and is setup and configures phones and system’s phone users by accessing the phone icon on the Cisco Configuration Assistant dashboard.

Firewalls and security features such as Network Address Translation (NAT) are activated by Cisco Configuration Assistant. Other security features such as URL filtering, voice over IP (VoIP) and intrusion prevention system (IPS) go through the Cisco SR500 Series Secure Routers which can be configured as VPN client (Paquet, 2009).

Cisco Configuration Assistant enables users to view device status and monitor network through the System dashboard, Front Panel View, or the Topology View. Topology View auto discovers using Bonjour protocol Cisco devices and other third-party devices (See figure below).

The Network Management tools discussed offer a wide range of features for network management in a small business setting. The tools are design for easy setup and configuration offering best user experience and security. Cisco also develops tools for network management in enterprises, data management centers and service providers which was not discussed in this paper. In general Cisco offers tools for better and simpler management and optimization of networks (Sankar, 2005).

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