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NorthStar Controller UI Overview


The NorthStar Controller has two user interfaces (UIs):

  • NorthStar Controller Operator UI (web)—for working with a live network

  • NorthStar Controller Network Planner UI (Java client)—for simulating the effect of various scenarios on the network, without affecting the live network

UI Comparison

Table 1 summarizes the major use cases for the Operator and Network Planner UIs.


All user administration (adding, modifying, and deleting users) must be done from the web UI.

Table 1: Operator Versus Planner Comparison

NorthStar Controller Operator (web client)

Network Planner (Java client)

Manage, monitor, and provision a live network in real-time.

Design, simulate, and analyze a network offline.

Live network topology map shows node status, link utilization, and LSP paths.

Network topology map shows simulated or imported data for nodes, links, and LSP paths.

Network information grid shows live status of nodes, links, and LSPs.

Network information grid shows simulated or imported data for nodes, links, and LSPs.

Discover nodes, links, and LSPs from the live network using PCEP or NETCONF.

Import or add nodes, links, and LSPs for network modeling.

Provision LSPs directly to the network.

Add and stage LSPs for provisioning to the network.

Create or schedule maintenance events to re-route LSPs around the impacted nodes and links.

Create or schedule simulation events to analyze the network model from failure scenarios.

Dashboard reports shows current status and KPIs of the live network.

Report manager provides extensive reports for simulation and planning.

Analytics collects real-time interface traffic or delay statistics and stores the data for querying and chart displays.

Import interface data or aggregate archived data to generate historical statistics for querying and chart displays.

Groups and Privileges

Users are created into two different permission levels, called groups—Full Access group and View Only group. A user’s group determines the privilege level the user is allowed, either full-access privilege or view-only privilege. Full Access group users can log in with either full-access or view-only privilege. View-only group users are restricted to view-only privilege.

In the Operator UI, users logged in with full-access privilege have provision and modify actions available to them in the NorthStar Controller application, while users logged in with view-only privilege do not. The default privilege is view-only. You must click the Enable Full Access checkbox on the login window to request full-access privilege.

Only Full Access group users have access to the Network Planner UI; View Only group users do not. In the Network Planner, users can delta provision, add planned elements, and run design.

Full-access login is granted when requested if:

  • The user belongs to the Full Access group, and

  • The permitted number of logged-in full-access privilege users has not been reached.

A maximum of 64 view-only users and ten full-access users can simultaneously log in to the NorthStar Controller. Because full-access users can log in to either the Operator UI or the Network Planner UI, this means there can be a total of ten full-access users combined between both UIs. If a user attempts to log in with full-access privilege when all of the full-access slots are occupied, an error message is displayed. For the web UI, the user can still log in, but with view-only privilege, assuming there are view-only slots available.


A single user can log into the NorthStar Controller multiple times from different devices, each login occupying one user session slot.

The Administrator Role

The NorthStar Administrator is a special user type, belonging to the Full Access user group. The Administrator (Admin) can log in with either full-access or view-only privilege. When logged in with full-access privilege, the Admin is the only user who can access the User Administration functions. The Admin can always log in to perform admin-only functions, even when all user session slots are occupied. The Admin can also selectively disconnect user sessions.

The NorthStar Controller Login Window

You connect to the NorthStar Controller using a modern web browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or later versions of Internet Explorer.

Table 2 shows the Internet browsers that have been tested and confirmed compatible with the NorthStar Controller web UI.

Table 2: Internet Browsers Compatible with the NorthStar Controller Web UI



Windows 10

  • Google Chrome versions 55, 56

  • Firefox version 53

  • Internet Explorer version 11

Windows 7

  • Google Chrome versions 58

  • Firefox version 53

  • Internet Explorer version 11

CentOS 6.8/6.9

  • Google Chrome versions 56

  • Firefox version 53

Mac OS

  • Google Chrome versions 58

  • Safari version 10.1.1

Your external IP address is provided to you when you install the NorthStar Controller application. In the address bar of your browser window, type that secure host external IP address, followed by a colon and port number 8443 (for example, The NorthStar Controller login window is displayed, as shown in Figure 1. This same login window grants access to the Operator UI and the Network Planner UI.


If you attempt to reach the login window, but instead, are routed to a message window that says, “Please enter your confirmation code to complete setup,” you must go to your license file and obtain the confirmation code as directed. Enter the confirmation code along with your administrator password to be routed to the web UI login window. The requirement to enter the confirmation code only occurs when the installation process was not completed correctly and the NorthStar Controller application needs to confirm that you have the authorization to continue.

Figure 1: NorthStar Controller Login Window
NorthStar Controller Login Window

To avoid a Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS (BEAST) attack, whenever you log in to the NorthStar Controller through a browser tab or window, make sure that the tab or window was not previously used to surf a non-HTTPS website. A best practice is to close your browser and relaunch it before logging in to the NorthStar Controller.

NorthStar Operator features are available through the web UI. NorthStar Planner features are available through the Java Client UI.

A configurable User Inactivity Timer is available to the System Administrator (only). If set, any user who is idle and has not performed any actions (keystrokes or mouse clicks) is automatically logged out of the NorthStar Controller after the specified number of minutes. By default, the timer is disabled. To set the timer, navigate to Administration > System Settings.

Logging In to and Out of the Web UI

To access the NorthStar Controller web UI, enter the username and password provided to you when you installed the controller application. Optionally select the Enable Full Access check box. Click Log In.


You will be required to change your password after logging in for the first time.

To log out of the web UI, click the User Options drop-down menu (person icon) in the upper right corner of the main window and select Log Out. Figure 2 shows the User Options drop-down menu.

Figure 2: User Options Menu
User Options Menu

Logging In to and Out of the Java Client Network Planner UI

To log in to the Java Client Network Planner UI, ignore the Username and Password fields on the NorthStar Controller login window, and just click NorthStar Planner at the bottom of the window. The NorthStar Planner login window displays the default memory allocation. There is no Enable Full Access check box for the NorthStar Planner, so simply click Launch.

Depending on the browser you are using, a dialog box might be displayed, asking if you want to open or save the .jnlp file. Once you respond to any browser requests, a dialog box is displayed in which you enter your user ID and password. Click Login.

To log out of the NorthStar Network Planner UI, select File>Exit to display the Confirm Exit screen. Click Yes to exit.