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How to use Visual BACnet Site Monitoring

Optigo Networks Visual BACnet Site Manager

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Trying to keep up with rampant device issues, constant network changes, or vendors pointing fingers instead of solving problems?

Visual BACnet Site Monitoring is indispensable on large BACnet networks. Our customers at Penn State University, Princeton University, and many other campuses have embedded it into their workflows, and they’ve seen a steady increase in their network health.

But what is Visual BACnet Site Monitoring, and how can you use it most effectively?

What is Visual BACnet Site Monitoring?

Visual BACnet Site Monitoring is a powerful program that lets you track trends in your network and expose recurring issues.

Simply pull up Visual BACnet and look at the latest Network Health Score. The Network Health Score — between 0–100% — gives you concrete insight into your system’s condition. If you’re in the green, you’re good; if you’re in the red, you’ll have some work to do. You can look at the Network Health Scores at the overall site, area, and monitoring node levels.

  • The site level might apply to your entire campus or many campuses combined.
  • An area level might apply to a single campus, a BMS, or a building.
  • A monitoring node applies to a specific location where you are capturing data, maybe a BMS, an MS/TP chain or a particular IP network.

What are the different parts of Visual BACnet Site Monitoring for?

Use this handy map for understanding how to use the different areas of Visual BACnet Site Monitoring. Download it here!

Optigo Networks Visual BACnet Site Manager

How does Visual BACnet Site Monitoring work?

Each place that you want to monitor in your network has a capture tool. This could be a piece of software installed on your BMS, or our MS/TP or IP Capture Tool connected to a specific subnet. These Capture Tools are scheduled to capture traffic at a certain interval (usually every hour for the whole hour). They passively capture all of the BACnet traffic passing by at that time (similar to how Wireshark captures) and at the end of the capture, they send the file up to a specific monitoring node in Visual BACnet. Here, Visual BACnet analyzes the information using 29 diagnostic checks and assigns a Network Health Score. This monitoring node score feeds up into the aggregate Network Health Score at the areas and sites above it. This way, you can get a big picture or granular view of your system.

From the overall site level you are able to trend how your site is doing and identify problem areas. Here, you can drill into the monitoring nodes that have the lowest scores and dig into that specific file to troubleshoot.

As time passes, your scores will be regularly updated and you will see trends in the graphs. You will also get an email alert  when your network health changes unexpectedly, so you know if a sudden change on the network has had a negative effect.

Optigo Networks Visual BACnet Site Manager

Collaborating in Visual BACnet Site Monitoring

If you have a big team working on your network, you can give them all access to your site in Visual BACnet. Sites, areas and monitoring nodes can all be shared in “admin” or “view only” mode. When a site or area is shared, everything below it is shared with that user.

Many Visual BACnet users have their controls team as admins for the whole site, and their technicians as View Only for the whole site. They then share specific areas with their vendors in view only mode, allowing them to work specifically on their buildings.

How should I use Visual BACnet Site Monitoring?

There are lots of ways to make Visual BACnet Site Monitoring a part of your workflow. We hear from customers who check it first thing every morning, and others who let it run in the background and alert them about problems.

Our customers and long-time beta testers at Penn State University check Visual BACnet Site Monitoring regularly, and have arranged their dashboard by site, area, and monitoring node levels. Watch the interview, from our webinar with Tom Walker at Penn State.

  • Why the Site Manager is so important to Penn State | 1:312:45 and 38:3541:34
  • How to navigate the Site Manager, and some of our favourite features | 2:4612:20
  • How Penn State’s using Visual BACnet Site Manager | 13:0038:12

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