Setting up a network generally means configuring a router, a UPS, maybe a NAS appliance and a few access points… Just a few pieces of equipment to serve hundreds of users’ devices. And for the most part network administrators can keep track of inventory and IP addresses with simple spreadsheets.
But what happens when your network is a bit larger? More devices, additional bandwidth providers, long distance links, tower relays… These are challenges common to Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs). Spreadsheets run out of steam quickly, and the only options available are expensive enterprise packages designed to run global telecom providers. Sadly, there’s been no middle ground.
Looking to solve this network management issue, San Francisco-based Inveneo has developed a network management application called TowerDB, and for the first time it’s been made available for download on GitHub. The software was developed as part of Inveneo’s Broadband for Good initiative, with substantial support from Google. Initially built as a tool to help support a single project in Haiti, TowerDB has grown to a full-fledged application built to aid in the design and management of large-scale wireless networks.
“TowerDB fits this sweet spot between designing a network, showing operators the equipment in their network, keeping track of configurations and monitoring the health of the network in real-time,” said Clark Ritchie, Inveneo’s chief software engineer. “We’ve built TowerDB on top of some amazing graphical tools that let you visualize how your towers are connected, making it easy to onboard new engineers and quickly add capacity to your team.”
Tower DB has evolved to support a great number of features, too many to detail here. Listed below are a few of Tower DB’s major capabilities.
- Multi-project support
- User authentication and authorization, with three permission levels (configurable by project)
- Graphical depiction of a network on a map
- Configurable site states (configurable by project)
- Link wireless radios by SSID
- Support for Point-Point and Point-Multipoint radio configurations
- Lightweight integration with OpenNMS for network monitoring
- Support for a diverse array of site meta-data
- IP Address planning and management
- Support for variable types of radios, routers, switches, antennas
- Work order generation
- Device configuration file generation
- Produce site-specific equipment lists for deployments
- KML import/export
- Extensive configuration for items such as radio bands, SNMP versions, tower types, and so forth
- Report generation
TowerDB is currently managing several high-profile networks including wireless networks connecting islands in the South Pacific and a multi-carrier network covering 25% of the surface of Haiti.
“Our NOC operators in Haiti are able to look quickly at a map and understand where things are breaking down,” said Ritchie. “Engineers live and die by the network diagram, either for onboarding or the hit-by-the-bus scenario, and having this easy graphical tool is critical. Ultimately, TowerDB gives our guys in the field the info they need to keep the network running.”
For more information or to download your own copy of TowerDB today visit https://github.com/inveneo/