Network Testing Service

Network Testing Service hedgesst

While OPLIN's responsibility for Internet connection management ends with the OPLIN router placed at the library end of OPLIN-provided circuits, it is not uncommon for libraries to have internal network issues that affect the throughput capacity of their Internet connection. These problems sometimes come to light in conversations with libraries or in the course of monitoring OPLIN network performance, and over the years OPLIN staff have more and more frequently assisted local library IT staff with some problem solving. OPLIN wants to be sure local libraries are able to take full advantage of the bandwidth OPLIN provides to them.

In April 2013, the OPLIN Board expressed an interest in formalizing this practice and providing free network testing for libraries that seem to be having internal network problems. This document provides a description of this new OPLIN service.

When will local network testing be provided?

The need for network testing will be identified by contact with local library IT staff who report slow network response time while OPLIN monitoring tools indicate that a significant portion of the OPLIN-provided bandwidth is not being used. OPLIN staff may also identify a potential problem based on the characteristics of the data flow over the library's OPLIN circuit, and then initiate contact with local library IT staff. In either case, once the library has agreed to allow OPLIN testing of their internal network, OPLIN staff will perform the testing within two months.

What will the network testing provide?

OPLIN will provide local library IT staff and/or consultants with data about their internal network and help them interpret the meaning of the data. This data will consist of:

  • A diagram or description of the topology of the high-level network devices in the library that connect to the OPLIN router
  • The bandwidth throughput from:
    • the OPLIN router to the OPLIN core at the SOCC
    • the internal library network to the OPLIN router

With the possible exception of simple physical changes, OPLIN staff will not take action to remedy any identified problems; that responsibility remains with the library IT staff and/or consultants.

How will the network testing be done?

OPLIN staff will travel to the library where the OPLIN router is located and use various software and hardware tools to test the network and gather data. This will involve connecting computers to the OPLIN router and to various points in the internal library network. It will be the responsibility of the library to provide safe physical access to the network devices and cabling. Once testing data has been gathered, OPLIN staff on site at the library may verbally discuss network issues with library IT staff and/or consultants, but in all cases a written diagnostic summary will be sent to the library after the testing data has been processed and analyzed at the OPLIN office.

How much will the network testing cost?

This service will be provided free of charge to any OPLIN participant that appears to have internal network problems.