How to Implement a Durable Telecom Tower Remote Monitoring Solution

By July 23, 2019 August 19th, 2019 Blog, RTUs
telecom tower

Few pieces of technology carry as much weight in communication as a telecom tower. People rely on them for instant access. Emergency services depend on towers to be online. Operations halt when telecom towers go down. And when that happens, your service goes down.

If you provide service to thousands of customers through telecom towers, you know the importance of keeping your system up and running. 

Whether you have microwave towers in a private network, operate a public broadcasting system, or run a wireless provider, you need a durable telecom tower remote monitoring system to keep your system online at all times. 

Whether you have microwave towers in a private network, operate a public broadcasting system, or run a wireless provider, you need a durable telecom tower remote monitoring system to keep your system online at all times. 

If you need to implement a remote telecom tower monitoring station, you have a lot of factors to weigh. You’ll want to know your options, as you identify and anticipate potential threats, understand the environment you’ll be facing, and procure the right functionality for those conditions.

Considerations for Implementing Remote Monitoring

Quality remote monitoring systems can protect your equipment and extend the life of your equipment, ensuring durability and seamless service for your customers. 

The right network remote monitoring system for your tower should:

  • Be ”rugged telecom gear”—that can handle even the toughest conditions.
  • Address vital telecom security concerns to protect your property from intruders and vandals.
  • Offer attached sensors for monitoring rigid temperatures and other environmental conditions.
  • Report automated alarms for equipment malfunctions or concerns so you can maintain power 24/7.
  • Be reliable and custom-designed specifically for your site.

Your towers carry your communications. With the right telecom tower remote monitoring, you can remain online for your customers.

Why Telecom Towers Need Remote Monitoring

It’s amazing, when you think about it, the sheer amount of things that can go wrong at a telecom tower. Between the weather, accidents, man-made malfeasance, and just bad luck, it’s a wonder that any tower stays online and running. Between physical security, environmental, and equipment technical monitoring, a network of RTUs can protect you from a huge number of problems, including:

  • Security issues: Copper theft is a huge problem at remote towers, especially in rural areas. But you can stop intruders through effective remote monitoring. Door keypads, alarms, and other protective measures can help secure your property from any thieves or vandals. Get alerted when a door opens or an unwelcome visitor comes along. 
  • Environmental issues: Too much heat and humidity can play havoc on sensitive equipment. So can extreme cold. A complete network of RTUs with attached sensors can monitor for all of these conditions and more. 
  • Equipment/technical issues: Your equipment is vital. You should maintain visibility over your telecom towers and equipment and be informed if there are any equipment problems, outages, surges, or glitches that occur. You can get ahead of equipment malfunctions with automated alarms, enabling you to proactively address problems before the crisis stage. 

What Needs to Stay On

The above monitoring tools are vitally important because they make sure that you don’t face any downtime. Durable remote monitoring systems will alert you when something starts to go wrong, sending messages to a central station. There will either be an automatic response or a manual one, enabling you to set priorities as to what to fix. 

Some of the main functions you need to maintain power for include:

  • Lighting. Lights are critical to warn approaching airplanes. You can avoid accidents and FCC/FAA fines for airfield and beacon lighting obstruction by ensuring lights stay on. 
  • Electrical. Your electrical power is vital to keep running so there’s no expensive downtime or FCC penalties.
  • Radio broadcasting. Make sure your transmitter always has a signal and is functioning properly.
  • Microwave and cell tower transmitting. This needs to stay online and transmitting.

Your customers depend on your reliability. And quality, durable remote monitoring and alarm monitoring can help you keep an eye on your operation and ensure 100% uptime. 

What Makes a Durable Telecom Tower Remote Monitoring Solution?

Telecom towers would be a lot easier to manage if they were all in one central location. But…your towers are in all environments, high up in snowy mountains, in baking valleys, and everywhere in between. 

The biggest concern is probably temperature. A standard RTU from the right company keeps you protected and can withstand freezing temperatures up to 130 degrees. That’s helpful, but what if the situation gets worse?

Custom RTUs can be upgraded to withstand even more extreme temperatures, functioning at -40 below zero up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Custom RTUs can be upgraded to withstand even more extreme temperatures, functioning at -40 below zero up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. Couple this with the right functionality, and you’ll be on your way to a durable telecom solution.

Obtaining the Right Functionality

In addition to surviving various conditions, you’ll want to make sure your remote monitoring system devices offer the right functionality. What matters when looking for an RTU?

  • Input Voltage. Most towers don’t have 110 VAC as their power voltage. So a remote monitoring system has to be able to handle what power they do have, usually -48 VDC, or +24 VDC. Of course, often the best way is to personalize the system to fit your existing input voltage. 
  • Inputs. This gets to the heart of your network. How many analog signals are you going to need to monitor, and how many discrete events will you be looking at? You need a power source that can handle all your needs. 
  • Protocol. Your network depends on transport capabilities. In situations where you have many towers to monitor, you may require an alarm master. If your equipment and RTUs are running on older protocols, it’s imperative to convert old protocols for effective operation. You need a machine that can support various protocols, including SNMP, ASCII, DCP, DCPF, DCPX, DNP3, and more, to ensure cohesive communication. 
  • Form Factor. Do you have rack space for RTUs? Sometimes space is limited, and you have to mount on a wall, for example. Ask about custom RTU mounting accommodations.

Obtaining a custom telecom tower remote monitoring solution can offer the right functionality. Now, how do you ensure and implement a custom system? 

Ensuring a Custom Telecom Tower Remote Monitoring Solution 

One thing that people in the remote monitoring business are proud of is helping first responders respond quickly. We’ve set up telecom tower remote monitoring systems for 911 services across the country. These are relationships built on trust. 

But, while the relationship might be built on trust, the system itself must be built on reliable technology. DPS Telecom conducts Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) testing of its technology in a control room ensuring the durability and dependability of its various remote monitoring products.

This ensures rugged engineering—withstanding even the harshest conditions. DPS will help you evaluate all of your remote monitoring needs. Then, we’ll custom engineer and help you implement durable equipment to keep you online—no matter the temperature, and no matter the distance—ensuring your system’s durability, too!


DPS Telecom has the experience and expertise to help companies who need custom-built RTUs. Our technicians can work with you to find the right RTUs for your specific needs. Reach out and get a quote today!

Image courtesy Shutterstock

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson has been building remote monitoring systems for his clients since 2006, both in the United States and internationally. He has been a featured speaker at a variety of national telco, utility, radio, and rail conferences.

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