Remote site management in the telecom industry is complex. To be successful, managers must keep their communications equipment continuously operating. Any network downtime can be an extremely costly failure. At the same time, constantly staffing each site is cost-prohibitive. Sites are typically located far from one another, which creates a significant lag in personnel response times.
Without workers onsite to prevent, diagnose, or repair problems, minor issues can become major costs. Environmental conditions or unauthorized site access can also pose major problems.
To prevent this, telco managers rely on remote monitoring technology. Remote terminal units (RTUs) installed at telecom sites monitor equipment status, environmental conditions, and site security. Master stations gather information from RTUs, making it available to employees via a secure central browser. When employed correctly, remote monitoring systems can ease the difficulty of effective telecom site management.
Common Telecom Site Management Issues
While each situation is different, several common difficulties complicate telecom site management. Semi-autonomous equipment must be deployed over large areas with minimal upkeep, yet constantly operate over long periods of time.
Remote monitoring systems alleviate issues, by enabling managers to watch an entire network from a single computer screen.
Equipment Performance Monitoring
Keeping an eye on equipment performance is essential to maintaining system uptime. Primary and auxiliary systems including transmitters, receivers, batteries, power generators, and HVAC equipment are all needed to ensure constant uptime.
A problem with one aspect of the system will lead to dysfunctions and breakdowns throughout the operation. A vigilant eye is needed to detect problems in time to correct them before they become even more difficult to address. Yet personally monitoring each telco site is not cost-efficient.
RTUs solve this problem by monitoring equipment performance remotely. From a single desk at a local or regional office, employees can track equipment performance indicators via their browser.
Any time a problem is identified, maintenance personnel can be scheduled to repair it. This responsive maintenance strategy gets the right technicians to the right place at the right time. Simple.
Telco sites necessarily host expensive equipment, not to mention copper wire. On top of theft, they may also be targets for industrial sabotage or vandalism. And, they’re located far from help.
While low-level physical security measures like fences and door locks are typically present, these measures do more to delay or deter unwanted visitors than to stop them. There aren’t many unmonitored fences in the world a determined teenager can’t get past, let alone a full-grown adult bent on some destructive mission.
Remote monitoring significantly increases deterrence and detection and may help thwart intrusions in progress.
Door alarms and motion sensors immediately call out intrusions. Video cameras can help identify any trespassers. The simple fact of video surveillance creates more effective deterrence than any fence, particularly for low-level offenders like teenage vandals or small-dollar thieves.
Capturing a face on camera can lead to apprehension and prosecution after the fact. Dispatching security personnel in response to a door or motion alarm may help catch suspects in the act, preventing theft or sabotage and ending in arrest for the perpetrators. Integrating remote monitoring into site security simplifies both deterrence and response to unwanted intrusions.
Remote sites take a long time to get to. Often, technicians must drive an hour or more from their office or warehouse to reach a site. Each drive costs gas, employee time, and vehicle maintenance.
If technicians are responding to an urgent or emerging issue, this windshield time can become costly equipment downtime.
Without accurate information, windshield time can quickly balloon. If a crew arrives on-site but doesn’t have the tools they need to repair the problem, they have two options: go back, or call another crew. Each option increases the cost and delay involved in the repair. Remote monitoring obviates this issue by providing accurate, real-time equipment information.
Every time technicians do have to make a drive, they can do so equipped with the tools and information they need to accomplish their tasks.
Telecom is not new, and neither is remote monitoring. Most telcos operating in the U.S. have been in operation for many years. Over the course of those years, they’ve installed monitoring equipment from different generations and manufacturers. This poses a paradox.
Upgrading an entire network with new equipment at once is cost-prohibitive and will eventually lead to the same problem. Yet continuing to operate on the same equipment becomes less and less tenable as it ages.
The solution is to install new monitoring equipment that can communicate with older, legacy equipment. Master stations that can understand many outdated, obscure, or proprietary protocols as well as modern protocols like SNMP bridge the gap. They continue to:
- Find value in old equipment
- Allow a network to modernize incrementally
This also simplifies operations. Instead of navigating a patchwork of separate systems, employees only need to negotiate the single, current, total system.
Telco networks are large, and there are complexities involved with their size. Planning strategic investments and long-term, large-scale resource allocation requires both a broad overview of a company and granular knowledge of its details.
Remote monitoring systems gather enough continuous data on-site equipment and conditions to provide a detailed record of an entire network. This data can be analyzed to reveal useful, actionable patterns and trends, informing wise strategic decisions.
Modern remote monitoring systems are essential equipment for telco sites. The data they provide reduces equipment downtime, improves efficiency, and lowers maintenance and security costs. The strategic insights remote monitoring systems help generate allow telecom managers to view the entirety of their complex network at once, simplifying decision making.
DPS Telecom has been simplifying telecom site management with remote monitoring solutions for decades. Our experts can upgrade your legacy systems with modern, effective RTUs and master stations. Reach out and get a quote today!
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