The Dilemma of Outside Plant Monitoring

If you have remote sites in your network that only have a T1 connection, you probably think that installing monitoring equipment just isn't worthwhile. It can seem tough to justify the cost of monitoring at any site that has relatively little equipment, and not having LAN available doesn't make things any easier. Any solution that you might choose must include monitoring, a T1 interface, and the ability to access site devices. How can you be expected to squeeze an RTU, T1 interface, and terminal services into small outdoor cabinets? That sounds like half a rack of equipment.

After considering all of this, you've probably concluded that monitoring your small, outside plant sites just isn't economical. Achieving monitoring seems like it will require too much rack space and too much budget.

But think of what you're losing by not monitoring properly. If you don't have adequate monitoring at your sites, the list of things you don't know about becomes very long:

  • Are unauthorized intruders entering your site?
  • Did you have a power failure?
  • Did your HVAC fail?
  • Are your generators low on fuel?
  • What is the status of your equipment and gear?

Ultimately, all of these questions have a very real effect on your revenue, uptime, and client satisfaction, but there's no way to know the answers to any of them unless you have adequate visibility.

If you aren't monitoring all of your sites, regardless of size or Ethernet connectivity, you will suffer through network downtime in the future. It's not a matter of "if". It's merely a question of "when".

How many preventable outages would you have to endure before an efficient monitoring solution would pay for itself? Very often, the answer is just one.

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