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

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An Introduction to the Humidity Probe in IT Environments

*The TempDefender G2 is a more advanced model than the TempDefender IT shown below. This video should still prove useful as a TempDefender G2 reference. They are similar in design. "G2" refers to it being the second generation.

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A humidity probe is used to measure the relative percentage of humidity at a specific location. Inside of each humidity probe is a an onboard electrical circuit that measures the air's water vapor proportional to the average temperature. Because of their reliability, humidity probes are useful devices for technology, construction, meteorology, and health.

Humidity and Your Telecommunication Infrastructure
Weather can be very volatile. Rapid fluctuations in temperature often cause unexpected variations in humidity. Electronic equipment is especially susceptible to abrupt changes in our environment.

A high percentage of humidity causes increased levels of condensation in the air, which in turn permeates electronic devices and short circuits motherboards. Thick amounts of water vapor also interfere with electronic signals and obstruct wireless communication.

On the other hand, a low level of humidity creates an increase in static electricity. Elevated amounts of static electricity lead to electrical discharges that create spontaneous malfunctions. Extremely low levels of humidity weaken electronic materials and lead to cracked plastics and fragile circuit boards.

Digital and Analog Humidity Probes
When building your humidity monitoring system, you have the choice between two distinct styles of humidity probe. A digital, also called "discrete," probe monitors humidity to a single specific limit. The humidity probe then notifies you once the humidity level reaches that limit. For example, a company using a digital probe-based monitoring system could alert a technician once humidity levels reach 50%. Digital probes are simple and reliable, but not necessarily ideal.

Analog humidity probes are far more advanced. Analog probes monitor humidity levels within a specific range, meaning that these devices can provide you with an exact percentage of humidity. This style of measurement allows analog probes to give you continuous readings of your site's humidity levels and notify technicians of multiple alerts - all with a single probe.

Using an RTU with Your Humidity Probes
Humidity probes are a useful part of network alarm monitoring. However, humidity probes are only a portion of the complete system. In order to get functionality from your humidity probes, you need to connect it to an RTU. RTUs process the data from your probes and allow you to perform advanced functions such as customized alert thresholds, backup power support, and 24/7 system access.

RTUs, or remote telemetry units, interface the data from your probes so you can monitor your network from any location. Advanced RTUs allow for in-depth customization so you can integrate new devices into your system and adapt equipment to fit your environment.

Selecting the Right RTU for your Humidity Monitoring System
With so many available choices on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right RTU for your system. Be sure to find an RTU that will provide you with the perfect balance of capacity, interface, and features so you can efficiently monitor your network infrastructure.

When deciding on an RTU, it is important that you consider your current needs in relation to your future monitoring goals. Try to avoid RTUs that limit you to a proprietary protocol. In addition, it's usually more advantageous to buy from companies who specialize in network monitoring. Many non-specialist companies mass-produce and under-test, leaving you with cheap and unreliable equipment. Try to find an RTU manufacturer that quality-tests their products and protects their hardware with a durable metal case.

If you're interested in RTUs, a great option to look at is the NetGuardian 832A from California-based DPS Telecom. The NetGuardian supplies a ton of advanced features, including:

  • A web interface, including live analog monitoring, so you can monitor your humidity probes from anywhere at any time
  • Customized alerts via SMS, email, and pager
  • Detailed notifications describing your alert
  • Detailed alarm history
  • SNMP support and ping alarms so you can consolidate all of your monitoring onto a single RTU
  • Inputs for up to 32 discrete alarms (expandable to 176), 32 ping alarms, 8 analog alarms, 8 controls, and 8 serial ports

A humidity probe can be a very useful device for protecting your infrastructure. Combining a probe with an RTU is the most effective way to manage your network systems and protect your revenue. No matter what you choose, be sure to look for high-quality products that will offer advanced features and customized integration.