Why Legacy Alarm Equipment Is A Problem

How long can you keep a network alarm monitoring system in the field? Companies that use telecom networks, mainly utilities, are holding on to their old systems up to the very last minute of their working lives. Maintaining these older systems is becoming a huge problem.

If you have to work with an older monitoring system, you're likely all too aware of the doubts of upper management to finance large-scale swap outs of network gear. But what you likely don't realize is how common the problem has become.


"The biggest issue is uncertainty about deregulation and restructuring affecting technology investments. Automation systems are being kept running longer, and system-wide deployments of automation are being deferred."

In most of the industries that use telecom networks, financial decision-makers are known to be unwilling to spend on new alarm monitoring gear. Telemetry is wrongly seen as a cost center instead of an key safeguard to network reliability.

But in the electrical utility field, the problem of legacy gear is really harsh. The 2003 Electric Utility Study by Newton-Evans Research found that utilities simply are not making investments in new network infrastructure. This is because utilities don't know whether they'll keep their networks under deregulation.

"The biggest issue is uncertainty about deregulation and restructuring affecting ownership and operation of operational IT and automation assets, affecting technology investments. Automation systems are being kept running longer, and system-wide deployments of automation are being deferred," the Newton-Evans study reported.

But you can't keep your legacy alarm system forever

But keeping your network monitoring system forever is not a viable option, for several reasons.

  1. Your legacy monitoring system will breakdown at some point.
  2. You can't keep your network monitoring frozen in 1980s tech.
  3. Your legacy system can't be merged into a modern network management system.