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NorthStar Application UI Overview


NorthStar has two user interfaces (UIs):

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

  • NorthStar Planner—for simulating the effect of various scenarios on the network, without affecting the live network. The NorthStar Planner is currently in transition from a desktop application to a web UI. Until the transition is complete, both the full-featured desktop application and the in-development web UI are available and documented separately.

UI Comparison

Table 1 summarizes the major use cases for the NorthStar Controller and NorthStar Planner.


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


A subset of the Planner functionality shown here is currently available in the NorthStar Planner web UI.

Table 1: Controller Versus Planner Comparison

NorthStar Controller (web client)

NorthStar 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 table shows live status of nodes, links, and LSPs.

Network information table 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.

Browser Compatibility

For accessing the NorthStar Controller web UI, we recommend Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers for Windows and Mac OS. We also recommend that you keep your browser updated to a recent version.

The NorthStar Login Window

Connect to NorthStar using a recommended browser.

Your external IP address is provided to you when you install the NorthStar 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 login window is displayed, as shown in Figure 1. This same login window grants access to the NorthStar Controller (Operator) and both versions of the NorthStar Planner (Planner for web UI, Planner Desktop for desktop application). Make your selection from the Access Portal drop-down menu. For Operator and Planner, enter your username and password, and click Sign In.

Figure 1: NorthStar Welcome Window
NorthStar Welcome Window

If you select NorthStar Planner Desktop from the drop-down menu, the window changes as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: NorthStar Planner Desktop Welcome Window
NorthStar Planner Desktop
Welcome Window

Click Download. Depending on the browser you are using when you initiate the download and launch the NorthStar Planner desktop application, a dialog box might be displayed, asking if you want to open or save the .jnlp file, accept downloading of the application, and agree to run the application. Once you respond to all browser requests, a dialog box is displayed in which you enter your user ID and password. Click Login.


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 application needs to confirm that you have the authorization to continue.


To avoid a Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS (BEAST) attack, whenever you log in to NorthStar 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 NorthStar.

Accessing the NorthStar Planner from Within NorthStar Controller

You can launch the NorthStar Planner desktop application or the NorthStar Planner web UI from within the NorthStar Controller by navigating to NorthStar Planner from the NorthStar Controller More Options menu as shown in Figure 3:

Figure 3: More Options Menu in the NorthStar Controller Web UI
More Options Menu in the
NorthStar Controller Web UI

If you select Planner Web, the web UI opens in a new tab in your browser, so you have one tab for Controller and a second tab for Planner. If you select Planner Desktop, the separate NorthStar Planner application launches, without affecting your NorthStar Controller browser window.

User Inactivity Timer

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 NorthStar after the specified number of minutes. By default, the timer is disabled. To set the timer, navigate to Administration > System Settings in the NorthStar Controller web UI.