NTAS: FAQs

What’s the difference between a problem investigation and a health check?

The objective of our problem investigation service is to determine the root cause of a performance problem or error/fault that is defined by a specific symptom. A health check determines the health of a network from the data you provide. The health check looks at issues such as error rate, load vs. capacity, latency/jitter and protocol issues. Using health check techniques to determine the cause of a specific problem is very unreliable, but it is a good way to determine priorities for general service improvement.

How long does it take to complete the analysis?

Assuming that we don’t need to ask for additional data, our targets are:

  • Problem investigations – 3 to 5 working days
  • Health Check – 4 to 8 working days

These times are from the point where the project status changes to Ongoing meaning that an analyst has been assigned to the project.

We are conscious that you may need answers quickly. If a problem investigation takes more than one working day we will issue a status report at the end of the first day with any provisional information we are able to give.

Why do I have to upload the data before getting a commercial quote?

Our fee structure is based on volume of data. After you upload the data, we determine the amount of data to be analysed and from this we are able to generate a commercial quote.

What if my team uploads the wrong data?

After you have uploaded the data we assess its quality by performing checks that:

  • Confirm the data contain the expected flows
  • Confirm the data covers the time period of the problem
  • Confirm that the data contains markers, if they were sent

If the project is a problem investigation, we also confirm that the problem description is appropriate, and relates to the uploaded data.

If the data fails to pass the quality checks, we send you an email describing the problems with the data and suggest ways to correct them.

These are basic checks. Once we start analysing the data we may determine that additional data is needed. If so, we will explain why and how you can capture the additional data.

What do you mean by markers?

Markers are simply uniquely identifiable packets that are generated at the time of a problem. A marker can be a ping of a certain length, or an HTTP GET for a unique page (even if the page doesn’t exist). Matthew York presented an excellent session covering markers at Sharkfest – see here.

I have a complex multi-tiered application. From where should I capture the packet data?

Take a look at the guidance here.

How can Advance7 help us capture the correct data?

There are two ways we can help:

  1. Diagnostic Capture Plan Assistance – We work with you to create a Diagnostic Capture Plan (DCP) that will describe exactly how the data should be collected. DCP Assistance details here…
  2. On-site Assistance – We provide a complete on-site service to help you capture the correct data, even for very intermittent problems. On-site Assistance details here…

For complex and multi-tiered problems we recommend that you engage us through our REACT service. REACT details here…

What if Advance7 or we realise that we need to upload more data?

You can upload more data at any time during a project. The fees for the project are re-assessed and any additional fees are payable based on the revised quotation.

If more data is needed, can I decide not to proceed?

Yes, that’s not a problem. As we will have already worked on the data, all fees paid to that point will remain payable, but there will be no additional charges. If you decide not to proceed we will feedback what we have found from the data to hand.

Can I get you to liaise with other members of my team?

Yes, you can nominate two separate groups of people:

  • Team – One or more people who will provide information and data relating to this project.
  • Stakeholders – One or more people who should be copied on all reports generated.

You, as the project initiator and project owner, will automatically be copied on all communications. You may decide to selectively copy emails to others, and we will Reply All to emails within that thread, but we will not automatically add others to the copy recipient list on other threads unless they are specified as members of the Team or a Stakeholder. This ensures that we don’t copy someone into an email conversation that you didn’t intend to be copied.

Do you guarantee your work?

Provided you are able to provide the data we need, we guarantee to determine if a problem is or is not caused by a network (IP/Ethernet) or transport (TCP, UDP, etc.) issue.

Our REACT service guarantees to find the root cause of performance and stability problems, even if it is not caused by a network issue. We can provide a quotation for a REACT investigation within hours. REACT details here…

Can I cancel a project and receive a refund?

Yes, you can cancel before the project enters a status of Ongoing. This is the point where we start to work on the data and so all fees are payable after this point.

Why is the service only available in the UK?

In short, due to legal differences and consequential impact on our insurance policies. We also need to consider coverage for other timezones. We are keen to launch the service in other countries around the world and we are already working on this.

Is there some way I can use the service outside of the UK?

If you have a legal presence in the UK, you can use the service provided that:

  • You register your account with us using an organisation name and address in the UK
  • You accept that the legal contract will be between Advance7 and your UK entity
  • Your organisation accepts our quote in UK pounds sterling (GBP)
  • You accept that the invoice we generate will be addressed to the UK name and address you give
  • All work and interactive communications (conference calls, WebEx, etc.) take place during the UK business day
  • You accept that the data you upload will reside in an AWS data centre in the EU region