In a data exchange network, in which various resources, such as hubs, routers, etc., distributed across the data exchange network are remotely controlled from a single point of maintenance, a consistent approach is provided for managing the network hardware resources. A set of consistent displays is provided for remote front panels allowing visual management of remote, heterogeneous devices, while also allowing the display of nongraphical data in a usable form.
A common user interface allows operator control of the network, which may include many disparate types of equipment, supplied by various manufacturers. User definition of each network element is allowed based on a uniform vocabulary of element representations. A network management architecture provides a common development language for describing specific functions and attributes of network elements. Each element includes a protocol module which, in conjunction with a system engine, effects coordinated network control.