Granite Telecommunications is a communications service provider to multi-location business and government entities in the United States and Canada. The company provides solutions for voice, data, internet, wireless, video and secure-network options to a number of globally well-known retail clients and many Fortune 500 companies.
In order to demonstrate proof of performance, all moves/adds/changes work undertaken by Granite requires test reports in PDF format. With cabling installer and technician teams working all over the U.S. and Canada, it is important that installers have access to the correct technology and equipment to enable transfer of the test data from the jobsite.
“Faults can occur from post-installation damage or changes,” says Dan Puffer, project management supervisor for Granite. “Referring to test reports at the time of installation is essential to prove work was completed correctly and helps to steer troubleshooting in the right direction.”
To prove performance at the end of a job, customers receive a network traffic performance test report to IEEE 802.3ab standard for the installation. However, in the past this information could sometimes be delayed while waiting for the test reports to be sent to the central office by the field technicians. On average, test reports would take three days to arrive, delaying work tickets from being closed out and preventing the job from being invoiced.
To complicate matters further, the installers and technicians were using various equipment from a total of eight different tester manufacturers. Therefore, to create the customer reports, the software for each type of tester had to be installed on a PC so that every set of results could be read and formatted, and a final report could then be compiled.
To eradicate the issue of inconsistent test result files and formats, over the past 12 months Granite has provided all 17 of their MAC and installation work technicians with the SignalTEK NT, a fiber and copper network transmission tester from Ideal Networks. This ensures that the PDF test reports provided at the end of each job are consistently formatted, thereby allowing customers to receive their promised verification reports sooner.
“We realized that consistency of data was key to improving our process, and this was best achieved by investing in the right equipment for the job,” says Puffer.
To ensure that technicians have the ability to quickly share PDF test reports from the jobsite, SignalTEK NT supports the free Ideal AnyWARE app. Once tests have been performed using SignalTEK NT, users simply activate the app and transfer the test data to their mobile device. To make this hassle-free and time-efficient, there is no need to connect to a local WiFi network, as Ideal tester such as the SignalTEK NT act as a WiFi hotspot.
Once transferred, test reports can then be sent on via email or file-sharing apps in a few clicks. This means that installers and technicians can share test data with colleagues based off-site without delay, improving collaboration, troubleshooting capabilities and job-completion times while removing the need to transport testers.
Granite Telecommunications project management supervisor Dan Puffer explained how his cabling installer and technician crews’ use of SignalTEK NT and Ideal AnyWARE have improved Granite’s business in the areas of affordability, operating costs, time saving, ease-of-use, and customer satisfaction.
Affordability—“We originally thought we would need to buy expensive certifiers for the work we were undertaking. However, we realized that the SignalTEK NT was more than sufficient for creating reports to demonstrate good Ethernet connectivity, which was what we needed to show customers. It was also far more affordable, meaning we have been able to invest in more equipment and can have one on every truck.”
Reduced costs—“In the past, sometimes test results could be lost or overwritten as technicians moved on to other jobs before they had a chance to send in the data. This resulted in occasions when we had to re-test, which incurred unnecessary costs. Being able to use the Ideal AnyWARE app to send the reports straight away has significantly reduced the need for re-testing and has also meant that our technicians are available to get on with other paying work.”
Time saving—“Previously, technicians would have to conducts the tests, then download the results to a laptop or PC at a later time before emailing them to the office for collation into the customer report. The Ideal AnyWARE app has completely transformed the way we work at no additional cost. It almost feels like we receive the test data in real time—which in turn means we get our deliverables back to the client much more quickly.
“Using the built-in WiFi hotspot of the SignalTEK NT with the Ideal AnyWARE app, PDF test reports can be sent back to the office on the same day the job is completed, a time savings of three days per job. Due to quick receipt of the required PDF test reports and the lack of retesting, work tickets can be closed out more quickly.”
User-friendliness—“The equipment was really easy to get started with and that saved us a lot of time. Although we are planning to have more in-depth training soon to ensure we are using the technology to its fullest, a two-hour internal training session was enough for our technicians to be able to familiarize themselves with the tester and get up and running straight away.”
Client satisfaction—“Customer reports are an agreed deliverable for each job, so the ability to get this information to them several days more quickly than before is a real benefit. Customers can not only see the evidence that work has been finished to the standards agreed upon, but can also be assured that the job has been completed in a suitable timeframe. The improved reporting process has removed the inconvenience and delay of re-testing, both of which could cause client dissatisfaction in the past.”