Situated on the east coast of Central Florida, more than 500,000 people call Volusia County home.
The entire county depends on their radio system for emergency communications, so it's absolutely critical that their network is functioning properly without downtime.
Tim Boring, the Radio System Technical Coordinator for Volusia County, is responsible for the county's radio system. "We are responsible mainly for the radio system, the RF network for Volusia county here at Daytona Beach, Florida," he said.
Since their radio system needs to support one of the largest counties in Florida, having a dependable monitoring system for their remote sites is vital to maintain their operations up and running.
Monitoring their microwave sites wasn't always an easy task, though. Before deploying a dedicated monitoring system, they used another method to monitor their sites.
"We've had a product that we used years ago, it was basically a telephone interface that was a dial up modem essentially," Tim explained. "Whenever we got discrete inputs it would come out on our hard line telephone and a dial up modem would send us a message to our phones through our modem circuit."
"We use NetGuardian 216 G3 RTUs at 14 tower sites throughout our county... And we also integrated the T/Mon Master Station a few years ago and it has been an excellent product so far."
In order to have a more dependable network, Volusia County decided to invest on a specialized monitoring system from DPS Telecom.
"We use DPS Telecom NetGuardian 216 G3 RTUs at 14 tower sites throughout our county to monitor our facility alarms, high temperature, door alarms, generators, and so forth. And we integrated the T/Mon Master Station a few years ago and it has been an excellent product so far," Tim said.
"The NetGuardian gives us a lot more reliable alarm reporting through the Internet and any Ethernet connections at our tower sites, so it's a lot more reliable."
Instead of using a dial up modem, NetGuardian RTUs report alarms via LAN, which is a more dependable transport.
"Whereas the NetGuardian gives us a lot more reliable alarm reporting through the Internet and any Ethernet connections at our tower sites, so it's a lot more reliable."
After deploying a dedicated remote monitoring system for their radio sites, County of Volusia noticed that they were able to detect small, secondary problems before they could evolve into bigger network threats.
"My NetGuardian stopped polling at a site and it essentially helped me find another issue with my network connection," Tim explained. "The microwave had lost the T1 that fed the router that fed the switch that fed the NetGuardian, so the NetGuardian told me that I had a problem with my microwave system through a roundabout way essentially."
"Well, one huge benefit is being able to diagnose and know what the issues are before we even have to deploy techs or maybe not having to deploy techs at all, which saves the county a few costs, time and allows us to be a lot more efficient in our day-to-day operations."
Being able to detect problems only during normal business hours is not enough. Keeping public radio up and running means that remote monitoring systems need to operate 24x7.
"A majority of time I can, even on the weekends, know what's going on at a site before I even leave the house or sometimes it keeps me from having to leave the house," Tim said. "I can access the T/Mon remotely from a VPN connection at the house and be able to diagnose, for instance, an air conditioner issue."
The ability to remotely access their monitoring devices allows County of Volusia to avoid wasted truck rolls and all the costs that come with it.
"Well, one huge benefit is being able to diagnose and know what the issues are before we even have to deploy techs or maybe not having to deploy techs at all, which saves the county a few costs, time and allows us to be a lot more efficient in our day-to-day operations," Tim affirmed. "A couple weeks ago, I had an air conditioning fail at one of my sites and I was able to diagnose the high temperature issue from the house and call our facility maintenance guys on weekends and get it repaired."
Since DPS engineers develop the clients, custom products and are the ones providing tech support, they can offer a different support experience than the industry norm. Tim particularly values the ability to grant DPS Support remote access to his T/Mon when needed.
"Being able to remotely access my PC that is running the T/Mon, you guys are able to go in there and diagnose issues and check the log files and do a lot of stuff," Tim explained. "I can sit here all day and tell you 'Click on the upper right hand corner', and 'I don't see it', but being able to see my PC and see what I'm doing, I think it helps you guys and helps us as well."
Now after several years using NetGuardians and T/Mon, Tim doesn't hesitate to contact DPS tech support.
"We are extremely pleased with DPS products. The support is amazing."
"We are extremely pleased with DPS products. The support is amazing, anytime we call you guys are always willing to help. If you don't have the answer right away, you guys get back to us on a timely manner," Tim said. "I can't really complain about any issues or about the technical support from DPS Telecom. Anytime we call there's always someone willing to help and to come to a resolution of any concerns or improvements that we'd like."
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