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Your hardware is the core of any electronic system. Because these devices are so critical to your business, it makes sense to monitor their condition and protect them from environmental hazards. Depending on your location and climate, humidity could pose a significant threat to your equipment.
The Problem With Humidity
Some of us in dry climates often associate humidity with tropical vacations and foreign places. However, for your electronic equipment, humidity is no paradise. High humidity means increased moisture in the air that can seep into your devices and short circuit their hardware. Increased condensation can disturb electronic signals and complicate wireless communication.
Low humidity can be just as bad. Circuit boards and plastics become brittle, and crack. Less moisture in the air means increased static electricity. Static electricity creates spontaneous electrical discharges that can unexpectedly take down networks and destroy electronics.
The Solution May Be A Humidity Controller
A "humidity controller" is the easiest solution for preventing humidity damage. Humidity controllers can automatically monitor your equipment, allowing you to focus on the important areas of your operations. Humidity controllers provide a piece of mind - by monitoring your network's equipment, you ensure the quality of your overall network.
Digital vs. Analog
There are two distinct styles of humidity meter: digital and analog. Both of these devices connect to an RTU in order to form a complete humidity controller.
A digital humidity controller monitors levels of humidity with regard to a single specified limit. Once the humidity reaches that limit, a digital sensor will send an alert. For example, imagine you are using a digital humidity controller to monitor the level of humidity within a remote server room on a far away island. Let's say that you want to keep the humidity below 50% at all times. So, once the humidity in your server room reaches 50%, you want the digital controller to automatically turn on your dehumidifier. If there is a problem such as extreme heat - and the dehumidifier does not completely alleviate the humidity - there will be no other option for your equipment.
Analog humidity controllers are more advanced. An analog controller can monitor humidity within a set range, thus providing you with an exact and continuous percentage. An analog controller can perform the same functions as a digital controller, but multiple times and within a single sensor. Using the same example, imagine that you were using two analog sensors. Using control relay output on the RTU, your analog humidity controller would turn on that same dehumidifier at 50%, but could also turn on a second dehumidifier at 60%. In addition, an analog humidity controller would allow you to view the exact percentage of humidity in your home (i.e. 50%, 51%, 52%, etc.).
Digital sensors would only tell you that both rooms are above 50%. Analog sensors allow you to assess the complete situation and respond more efficiently.
RTU: The Brain of a Humidity Controller
No matter which type of meter you choose, an RTU, is the most important part of your humidity controller. The RTU, or remote telemetry unit, takes the input from the analog and digital devices and uses that information to perform advanced monitoring functions. The RTU is responsible for notifying other equipment to respond to changing humidity levels. With a good RTU using analog meters, you can view the humidity percentage at your sites, from any location in the world. The most advanced RTUs even provide email, text, and voice call notification to alert you of emergency situations.
Finding the Right RTU
Because there are so many different types of RTUs, choosing the right product can be difficult. In our experience, it is best to look for RTUs that will work with your current situation but also provide functionality for your long-term goals. Try to find an RTU that is a perfect mesh of integration, interface, and size.
In addition, watch out for large manufacturers who use cheap plastic cases and fail to individually test each of their products. When choosing an RTU, quality is much more important than quantity. The RTU is the brain of your humidity controller so it's important that it's reliable and efficient.
No matter what humidity controller you choose, be sure to consider what is best for your system. DPS Telecom's NetGuardian 832 G5 is a popular choice if you are looking for a medium-sized unit with SNMP protocol and all of the advanced functions. The NetGuardian supports customized alerts (via text, email, voice call, ...) and provides an integrated web interface (via your web browser) to view your equipment from any location. In addition, the NetGuardian is a nice option because it's quality-tested, created with a durable metal case, and customized to fit the exact needs of your system.