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Key NorthStar Planner Features

NorthStar Planner is an integrated software package that addresses backbone topological design and simulation, as well as maintenance issues using TDM multiplexers, Routers, Frame Relay switches and ATM switches. Several hardware devices are currently modeled.



Capacity Planning Backbone Design, and Diversity Design

  • The impact of adding new demands, or traffic, can be analyzed in a network model before they are placed onto the real network. The software determines whether there is sufficient available capacity in the network and recommend places where capacity should be added.

  • A network can be automatically designed based on end-to-end traffic requirements, starting from an existing set of backbone trunks (“Incremental Design”) or from scratch (“Green-field Design”). Using powerful heuristic algorithms, NorthStar Planner can evaluate whether trunks can be pruned from the network without compromising diversity constraints. Trunks can be optimally added to ensure all traffic is placed under any single element failure (“Diversity Design”). Potential bottlenecks are also easily detected. Further analysis capabilities include load balancing and end-to-end delay and loss calculations.

Failure Simulation

Exhaustive single, double, or triple element failures, interactive or customizable scripted failure scenarios can be simulated to analyze and evaluate a networks' resiliency.

Hardware-Specific Device Library

  • Hardware-specific device models have been developed by through close working relationships with the major device vendors. This ensures the accuracy and precision of the model, as well as the support of many device-specific features.

  • NorthStar Planner includes various data extraction tools to convert network data (for example, router configuration files) into a format readable by NorthStar Planner.

Path Assignments

For an existing backbone network, the optimal layout or path assignment can be determined which satisfies all demand constraints. Demand constraints may include media preferences, diverse paths, hardware bandwidth overhead calculations, and delay/hop constraints. In the case of routers, tunnel constraints may include link attributes/colors and capacity. Available paths can be found even when the actual hardware fails to find a path. If the hardware switch supports user-specified paths, then paths found using the model can be downloaded to the real network.


NorthStar Planner can help reduce private line leasing costs (monthly recurring and non-recurring components) by producing designs that satisfy user requirements and constraints while maintaining a minimal cost. You can specify your own pricing tables which are then integrated into NorthStar Planner suite to price out lines. This is used extensively in the program's heuristic least-cost design algorithms. The savings reaped normally translate to a quick return on investment.

Detailed Design and Analysis Reports

As with all modules, detailed reports are generated to help you to quickly assess and summarize network-related data. These reports include trunk pricing, trunk utilization, and demand paths. Reports can be generated in text format, CSV (comma separated) format, or web-friendly HTML.

Detailed Topology Views

Detailed topology views allow you to view your network nodes and links. These can be placed by geographical location, rearranged by hand, or automatically rearranged in a format that distributes the points to make the network easier to view. Panned utilization, link vendors and other attributes can be viewed by color; hardware devices are represented by various icons. Links can be labelled by a number of attributes including link metrics. From the topology map, popup menus can be accessed by right-clicking on nodes or links, providing quick targeted access to information about the selected network element.