The End User

Finally, there is the end user. With end users, here we are referring not to the users of the communication service—to them, network management is invisible; it is simply part of the infrastructure that keeps it all running. We are instead referring to the persons who keep the network running— the network managers. They are the ones who are ultimately the users of the various management systems and applications, and who rely on them as tools to get their jobs done. Collectively, network managers are often also referred to as operators, although, in fact, many different responsibilities and roles can be differentiated, depending on the organization. These roles include network administrators who can configure and tune routers and switches remotely, and who know how to troubleshoot the network when things aren't going right. They include the craft technicians, who are dispatched to fix problems that can't be fixed remotely, or to commission and decommission equipment. They include the help-desk representatives, who take user calls and complaints, and support personnel, who monitor the network. They include the network planners who design the network, plan the topology, dimension links and nodes, and select the network equipment.

In fact, the roles of network managers vary greatly, depending on the organization. In the cases of smaller enterprises, the same person might be responsible for it all and wear many different hats, being a very sophisticated Jack-of-all-trades. In the case of large service providers, an entire army of personnel might be involved in running the network, which results in much greater specialization and myriad roles and job descriptions.

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