CenturyLink NAPI

This page is to address the issue with the relationship with MONI to CenturyLink NAPI.

NetLinux is a brand I created 12th August 2007 well before I worked for CenturyLink (2013 - 2016).
I also created a company in 14th October 2008 and the online content was created on a NetLinux private cloud.

Back then I was using a capped, scheduled broadband service for which I was charged during the peak hours.
I needed to see what was being used over this service, so it was then that I got into network monitoring.
A few scripts and some open-source command line sniffing tools ('tcpdump') provided me with the information I needed.

Also as a contractor for many years in the mobile phone and general embedded markets, I honed my skills in producing small form-factor network-based solutions.
I had also previously worked at a company where they were building rack mount 1U units based on Intel platform ITX motherboards (which were cheap) and using Linux for VoIP.

As well as this, I worked for some well known brands including Siemens and Sony, where I learned about the importance of robustness testing when
providing solutions on which you need the customer to rely for many years after the product is released.

When I joined CenturyLink it became clear that I could expand my "broadband monitoring" solution to diagnose issues on their networks.
The problem was that CenturyLink did not have any compute facilities in their network on which you could install any software to do monitoring.
So this is where the cheap ITX board solution I used before would probably work for this.

So I found a small, cheap Intel-based ITX motherboard unit which was a "thin client PC" from Jetway. I set this up with my "broadband monitoring" which was developed on Linux.

For the purposes of recognition which I learned while I was working at Sony and the BBC I thought it would be good to give the project a name.
Since it felt like we were wet nursing some people with providing this solution, I decided (and for a laugh really) to give it a name which distorted the word nappy into an acronym.
This is where I called the project "Network Application Performance Inspector" or NAPI for short.

So NAPI is not some propriety CenturyLink technology which existed before I joined them.
Nor is NAPI a unique piece of technology which I created due to the environment which CenturyLink provided.

NAPI is a project I created at CenturyLink using years of pre-existing experience in other companies and my own projects.
It was created because I could see CenturyLink had issues with networks which I had seen elsewhere, so decided to re-use that for them to help them.
I was not required to create it, nor was it any part of my job as a support engineer.
I did it to help CenturyLink and their relationship with their customer whose account I was hired to support.

NAPI itself was not very good really.
It was prone to dropping packets and the stats it provided where not very accurate.
It did, however, provide a good enough insight to the problem of drops due to overuse of bandwidth on carrier connections.
It also provided me with enough information to tell the customer what level of bandwidth they needed to fix their problem.

Every time there was this problem, I fixed it using NAPI and the customer could see the benefit.
Also CenturyLink and their customer made more money as the bandwidth upgrade meant more income.

I was internally promoting NAPI as a solution because the customer was expressly very impressed with the solution I provided.
Which means it had exactly the effect I set out to achieve.

For 2 years I attempted to get CenturyLink to support this project.
The reality was that the management were not prepared to do this, to the point were I was being disciplined for continuing the project.

Now, NAPI was just an experiment, more of a market analysis to see customer reaction to this kind of equipment.
It was an obvious and resounding success in that aspect.

But what was needed was something which NAPI was not: Something which WAS accurate and captured every packet.
I decided to leave CenturyLink having got my market analysis for a new product.

That product is MONI.