An inside view of the ICN’s Broadband Information Center.
DES MOINES, IA–A desktop computer screen can only give an operator at the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) so much room to monitor the more than 8,000 miles of fiber-optic and copper cable. The cable is a crucial component for the ICN’s telecommunications network infrastructure–which supports all of Iowa’s government, education, public safety, and healthcare sector IT needs.
The rack of Christie Phoenix Nodes driving the video walls inside the Broadband Information Center.
As a result, the department decided to move away from their current “bullpen type” configuration of broadband monitoring to a more open, “command and control” room-type setting which the network dubs the “Broadband Information Center” (BRIC). “I wanted to create a visual operations center for the advanced layer support of our operations network, but we didn’t have a suitable place to monitor and do it in a way that I felt was carrier-grade,” said Ric Lumbard, executive director for ICN. “Establishing the Broadband Information Center came out of that desire.”
To accomplish this, ICN hired CCS Presentation Systems, a Scottsdale, Ariz. -based system integrator, to design the BRIC. The new room includes 12 Christie FHD552-X 55-inch flat panels, all driven by nine Christie Phoenix nodes, arranged into two separate setups: the main video wall, which consists of eight flat panels in a four by two arrangement; and a second setup, using four flat panels arranged in a two-by-two configuration.
The new, larger displays add visibility, allowing operators to more quickly respond to network outages from security issues such as cyber-attacks, according to Lumbard.
“The Christie flat panels are an excellent tool for our operations staff to view situations at the same time, instead of crowding around a small computer monitor,” he said. “The functionality allows the team to work together, make decisions, and implement real-time solutions when monitoring Iowa’s statewide fiber optic network.”