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February 3, 2011
As I sit here on the West Coast, I'm watching a 2000-mile-wide storm carve a path of destruction through the Midwest and Northeast. I hope everyone in these areas is staying warm and safe.
This massive winter storm is causing serious problems in multiple industries. Wired and wireless phone networks are being inundated with calls, and many tower sites have lost commercial electricity. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power. Thousands of airline flights are being cancelled every day.
Seeing the storm's impact reminds me of the precautions many of our clients have taken by deploying monitoring tools. Interbel Telephone in Montana monitors their generator propane tanks to keep sites powered during snowstorms. Startec Global uses a multi-protocol master station in New York to keep their international network online. ATC Microwave got better visibility of equipment that's simply unreachable in the winter.
I publish these articles on the DPS website as a resource for you. In our modern world, lives depend on telecommunications. Networks must stay up, 911 services must be available, commercial power has to stay online, and all types of transit need to keep moving. Storms quickly become lethal if our infrastructure isn't resilient. Remote monitoring and control of telecom networks, therefore, can really be a life-saving technology.
So that everyone can be prepared for future storms, would you please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) the techniques you use to keep your network online during extreme weather? (You can also submit your advice using the form below) How do you detect impending failures? How do you manage backup power generators and battery strings? What do you control remotely to avoid dangerous site visits in heavy snow?
Please share with me so that I can share with others. Send me email (email@example.com) with your tips and advice for high network uptime during major storms. I'll publish what I receive, so your ideas will help other people around the world to protect life-saving telecommunications.
Best regards (and stay safe),