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An introduction to Monitoring Fundamentals strictly from the perspective of telecom network alarm management.

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Telemetry Department

A telemetry department, in the telco or utilities industries (not to be confused with medical telemetry), typically handles installing, maintaining, and repairing various kinds of telemetry equipment. Telemetry departments play a critical role in maintaining high levels of uptime.

There are a lot of benefits to maintaining 100% uptime, the most important being satisfied customers. Service outages inconvenience users, creating dissatisfaction with the service they're paying for, and sometimes causing them to switch providers.

Outages Can Cost You a Fortune
Outages generally cost a telemetry department (and an entire company, for that matter) lots of money that could be used elsewhere. First, you'll have to pay extra to have the equipment repaired and service restored, which, depending on the time of day, could cost a lot in resources.

Telemetry Department Application Drawing
Use remote telemetry monitoring to provide superior network visibility.

Second, it's common for a company to have a service-level agreement to follow. This means a telemetry department needs to deliver a formally defined level of service. A company could face some hefty fines if their uptime drops below this defined level. Outages are simply bad news, for both your bottom line and your customers.

Telemetry Departments Can Prevent Outages
Many companies overlook some simple steps that can be taken to protect themselves from outages. By remotely monitoring the status of critical equipment and environmental conditions, it's not uncommon for a company to prevent outages which reduce costs. It's simple, the best way to avoid preventable outages it to proactively monitor important equipment.

Unfortunately, you can't just buy the first monitoring system you see and call it a day. While a good monitoring system will provide you with numerous benefits and pay for itself several times over, a bad monitoring system will only give you a false sense of security. You think you're adequately protecting your network, but in reality, you're not.

What Does a Telemetry Department Need for Monitoring?
There are a couple features that a monitoring system must have in order to be truly effective. Here are the 3 key features:

  1. Complete, precise alarm descriptions - A basic and limited monitoring system won't record the location, time, severity, or a precise description of alarm events. This leaves technicians and staff members working in a telemetry department guessing about what really happened, instead of quickly fixing the problem. This kind of information plays a big role in preventing outages.
  2. 24/7 notifications - A monitoring system isn't going to get the job done if it can't forward alarm notifications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The most effective alarm monitoring systems can send alarm notifications to you no matter the time of day.
  3. Discrete and analog sensor technology - It's hard to get complete monitoring coverage without using both discrete and analog sensors. Discrete sensors can detect "on" or "off" data and are great for sending alarms about binary/digital information (for example, if A/C power fails). Analog sensors, on the other hand, are capable of more detailed information. Analogs give you live values and are a better choice for things like temperature, humidity, battery voltage, etc.

It's important to find the right system that delivers the exact results you need. With these 3 features, you'll have a solid foundation to build a robust and effective monitoring system.

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