A network storm is a quantity of data, typically excessive and undesired in nature, that can lead to issues such as disruption of data communication and a decline in network equipment performance, which may affect other networks if not properly contained.
The potential repercussions of an unmanaged network storm in a dynamic positioning (DP) system can be severe, unpredictable and may lead to loss of position or heading of a vessel.
The purpose of performing testing, using specialist equipment, is to ensure the design, protection and monitoring functions are fit for purpose. This includes detection and checking for network storm warnings, identification of systems vulnerable to network storms and verification of new and existing systems. Together, these enable containment of a network storm within a single network.
The latest generation tool from VT means marine technical personnel, equipped with DPSSNet hardware, can carry out robust testing of vessel systems without the need to call out a service engineer, reducing downtime and costs. The DPSSNet is customized to meet the needs and requirements of each vessel and updates can be provided remotely.
The second-generation tool has at least four times more computational power and much greater automated functionality than its predecessor. It also can collect and graph all data in conjunction with additional hardware.
David Milne, Managing Director at VT, said, “Network storm management is an area of increasing focus as there is greater awareness and greater understanding of the potential effects of network storms on DP systems and the serious consequences that might result. Vessels using the DPSSNet Generation 2 will have greater independence because they are no longer reliant on manufacturers to carry out network storm testing on their behalf. This gives vessel operators more flexibility in their day-to-day operations, secure in the knowledge that the testing they carry out is in accordance with the IMCA document.”