08 December 2023

How FirstWave’s NMIS Could Have Mitigated the Optus Outage

How FirstWave’s NMIS Could Have Mitigated the Optus Outage

Recently, Optus experienced a catastrophic network outage affecting 10 million Australians. This incident underscores the importance of advanced network management solutions in preventing such crises.

How FirstWave’s NMIS Could Have Mitigated the Optus Outage

In the wake of the catastrophic network outage experienced by Optus, which affected 10 million Australians, it’s crucial to analyze how advanced network management solutions could have potentially mitigated such a crisis. Thanks to its innovative features and capabilities, FirstWave’s Network Management Information System (NMIS) is uniquely positioned to address such challenges.

Proactive Monitoring and Response

One of the critical features of FirstWave’s NMIS is its real-time monitoring capability, which enables quick response to critical network events. By setting up proper thresholds and alerts or enabling defaults based on best practices for speed of deployment, the system could flag unusual behavior or performance degradation that might precede an outage.

In the case of the Optus outage, this feature could have identified unusual behaviors or performance degradation caused by the firmware upgrade, triggering immediate alerts. Quick detection is crucial in preventing a full-blown network crisis, and NMIS’s fast data refresh rates could have played a pivotal role in ensuring network stability and continuity.

FirstWave’s NMIS can manage and back up device configurations. Before a change to a network device, the system could ensure that there are recent and reliable configuration backups that could be quickly restored if the new firmware causes issues. Using our products can ensure that the same tested configuration will be rolled out to production.

Integrating change management processes can help track and evaluate the impact of changes like firmware upgrades. This could involve pre-change assessments and post-change evaluations to ensure the network remains stable.

 Scalability and Handling Massive Incidents

Given the magnitude of the Optus outage, a network management system’s ability to handle large-scale incidents is vital. FirstWave’s NMIS is designed to scale horizontally and vertically, meaning it can efficiently manage a vast number of devices and simultaneous incidents. This scalability is crucial in large networks like Optus, ensuring that network management does not become a bottleneck even during extensive outages.

The products can assist in determining the root cause of the outage, whether it’s a firmware issue or a BGP misconfiguration, which is essential for resolving the underlying problem and not just the symptoms. Network engineers can begin working on a resolution by identifying the issue swiftly.

Depending on the configuration, NMIS could execute predefined automated responses to certain types of incidents, including rolling back recent changes or rerouting traffic.

Post-Outage Analysis

 Incident Reporting: After resolving the outage, our products can provide detailed incident reports that can be used to prevent future occurrences. These reports would include timelines, affected systems, and recovery actions taken.

 Performance Metrics: Analysing performance data leading up to, during, and after the outage can offer insights into how similar incidents can be prevented or mitigated in the future.

 Communication Tools

Notification Systems: Effective communication is key during an outage. Our products can be configured to send out automated alerts to stakeholders and customers, informing them of the issue and expected resolution times.

Integration with Other Systems:

Our products could be part of a larger ecosystem of network management tools, working in tandem with other systems like traffic analysers, intrusion detection systems, and more to provide a holistic view and response to network health.

No network management product can guarantee the complete prevention of outages, especially those caused by complex issues like upgrade and configuration changes affecting BGP routing. NMIS and our other network management products could significantly reduce the risk of such outages and minimize downtime when they do occur. We achieve this through proactive monitoring, automated alerts, rapid fault identification, and detailed post-mortem reports that help in understanding and preventing future incidents.

Customised Solutions for Diverse Environments

FirstWave’s NMIS is rich in features and offers a comprehensive set of capabilities, allowing for tailor-made solutions suited to specific network environments. This adaptability is crucial in complex networks like a telecommunications provider where a one-size-fits-all approach is inadequate. Customisation could have helped in better assessing the risks associated with the firmware upgrade and understanding its potential impact on the network’s unique configuration.

Unique Benefits of FirstWave’s NMIS

While the aforementioned features of NMIS are directly relevant to mitigating network outages, FirstWave’s NMIS also boasts other benefits that, while not directly applicable to the Optus scenario, are crucial considerations for network management:

Streamlining Implementation and Maintenance

Efficient network management isn’t just about handling crises; it’s also about preventing them. NMIS’s design focuses on ease of implementation and maintenance, delivering the fastest time-to-value in the industry. In the context of the Optus incident, having a system that’s easy to implement and maintain means that network changes, like firmware, configs or peering updates, could be managed more effectively, potentially averting disastrous outcomes. Operational process automation also plays a key role in maintaining network integrity and protecting critical intellectual property.

Cost-Effectiveness and Simplified Licensing

FirstWave’s NMIS offers significant cost savings and a lower total cost of ownership, making it an economical choice for large-scale network management. The straightforward licensing per Node/Device, instead of the more complex interface-based licensing, simplifies the cost structure for customers, ensuring that they can manage their networks without worrying about prohibitive costs.


In summary, FirstWave’s NMIS offers a unique and powerful solution for network management challenges, demonstrated in scenarios like the Optus outage. It combines lower costs, rich features, fast implementation, operational process automation, scalability, and fast responsiveness in handling network incidents. While not every feature may have directly impacted the Optus scenario, the comprehensive capabilities of NMIS make it a versatile and essential tool for modern network management, ensuring preparedness for a wide range of potential network challenges.

FirstWave, with its innovative approach and commitment to excellence, is poised to lead transformational change in IT operations and cybersecurity. The integration of advanced network management with our recent acquisition of SaiSei real-time network visibility, analytics, and control technology places us at the forefront of addressing the complex challenges faced by modern networks, ensuring operational continuity and resilience in an ever-evolving digital landscape.