Are the days of the showpiece NOC office display gone forever?

Dave Cohen craetdave at
Wed Dec 16 21:01:44 UTC 2020

Frankly, I think the days of the "showpiece NOC" being relevant ended a
while before COVID. I worked at a Tier 1 for >10 years in a customer-facing
capacity, largely dealing with "serious" enterprise customers. The number
of customers who toured the NOC in that time was less than 5 (i.e much less
than 1%), despite generally offering it up to new and quickly-scaling
customers. I actually spent more time visiting customer NOCs over that time
than I did my own with customers (and some of theirs were more impressive

Now, I did spend a lot of time coordinating calls between the NOC and
customers, some of which was in the break-fix, mea culpa sort of vain, but
also a lot of "spend time getting comfortable" types of conversations too,
especially with customers considering their first service. So it wasn't
that folks didn't care about what was going on there inasmuch as they
recognized (quite rightfully IMO) that they weren't going to get any value
being there that they couldn't get meeting the folks and learning about
operational procedures, etc. over a conference call, so why waste the
time/money to travel for that sort of thing?

I don't know if I have a biased sample or if this is reflective of the norm
these days, but the "NOC Tour" was something that didn't get executed on
very often.

On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 3:51 PM Eric Kuhnke <eric.kuhnke at> wrote:

> With the covid19 situation, obviously lots of ISPs have their NOC
> personnel working from home, with VPN (or remote desktop) access to all the
> internal tools, VoIP at home, etc.
> In the traditional sense, by "showpiece NOC" I mean a room designed for
> the purpose of having large situational awareness displays on a wall,
> network weathermaps and charts, alerting systems, composed of four or more
> big flat panel displays. Ideally configured to be actually useful for NOC
> purposes and also something impressive looking for customer tours.
> To what extent potential customers find that sort of thing to be a
> signifier of seriousness on the part of an ISP, I suppose depends on what
> sort of customers they are, and their relative degree of technical
> sophistication.
> Are the days of such an environment gone forever?

- Dave Cohen
craetdave at
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