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NV Energy provides power for 2.4 million Nevada residents and the tens of millions of tourists that visit Las Vegas, Reno, and other state attractions annually.
"We use the NetGuardians to poll Comm. equipment - muxes, SONET, and so on."
Alwyn Ranola and Tom Parkes are communications technicians with NV Energy, helping manage a power network that stretches across 44,400 square miles. "We do the field installation and provisioning of the NetGuardian G5s, and we also do some of the programming of the T/Mon in the NOC. We use the NetGuardians to poll Comm. equipment - muxes, SONET, and so on," Parkes says.
Managing a network that size is made easier by the company's T/Mon master station. T/Mon collects alarms from the various monitoring systems deployed throughout NV Energy's network, regardless of protocol. T/Mon can poll the network's newer NetGuardian RTUs in addition to proprietary and legacy remotes. "Badger and Larse systems - we use T/Mon to poll those," Ranola states.
"The NetGuardians are more descriptive as far as alarm points go. And there's the web browser - other systems don't do that,"
Being able to poll equipment across a variety of protocols saves NV Energy the trouble of working across multiple master interfaces or the money and time involved with a full monitoring system swap-out.
NetGuardian RTUs with Features that Make Network Monitoring Easier
Still, T/Mon's ability to poll a wide variety of remotes doesn't entirely mitigate the limitations of older hardware and software. "The NetGuardians are more descriptive as far as alarm points go. And there's the web browser - [other] systems don't do that," Ranola says. As NV Energy upgrades to newer NetGuardian RTUs, they gain access to features other RTUs don't have. Their NetGuardians come complete with full point descriptions and a robust web interface for remote provisioning and monitoring.
"One of the things we've used more recently is temp sensors and analog inputs with voltage sensors," Parkes adds. "It's hot in the desert; if the AC has a problem, we want to know before it's too late, so we set temperature alarms to let us know if a site gets above 85 degrees." NV Energy's NetGuardians are built with integrated, easily configurable temperature sensors, so they can easily monitor temperature at their sites.
The integrated data ports (RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485 - built to order per user specifications) on the back of the NetGuardian can be used for terminal server access to serial only devices. "We can really utilize that. Some sites, where we don't have remote access, that'll be great," Ranola says. Accessing equipment remotely that would otherwise require a trip out to a site helps techs manage their network.
"As far as provisioning T/Mon, I learned a lot more in-depth stuff that it could do," Parkes said. "I had no idea how deep T/Mon goes."
Factory Training Gives Attendees New Monitoring Ideas, Reveals T/Mon's Depth
Ranola and Parkes recently attended a factory training event to learn more about the capabilities of NV Energy's newly upgraded T/Mon and their NetGuardians. "Going to this class, we learned about some features and products we'll probably be introducing in the future. Like, at some of the smaller sites, we can use the smaller, cheaper NetGuardian," Parkes said, in reference to the NetGuardian 216 series RTUs.
The NetGuardian 216 G3, while smaller and possessing fewer alarm inputs than the 832 models that NV Energy has deployed, still supports many of the advanced features of its larger cousin, including an advanced web interface. "We have some sites with space limitations, and we don't need 32 points there. And the 216 still has the web browser," Ranola added.
Factory training at DPS gives clients a chance to learn about T/Mon in a controlled environment. Each attendee has access to their own T/Mon unit, allowing them to work out databasing strategies without consequence to their actual network. "As far as provisioning T/Mon, I learned a lot more in-depth stuff that it could do," Parkes said. "I had no idea how deep T/Mon goes."