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An introduction to Remote Power Switches that will help increase productivity while minimizing costs.

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PDU & VoIP: Decrease Truck Rolls and Assist Techs Remotely

VoIP with AB6 Remote Power Switch App Drawing
A VoIP implementation with VoIP OrderWire and Remote Power Switch AB6 - great for troubleshooting power-related issues in public safety

If you have remote sites, you know that truck rolls are costly - in both time and money. You have to keep your equipment up and running without visiting sites all the time.

When your equipment stops responding, sometimes the solution is as simple as power-cycling it. But you can't have a tech driving for hours just to flip a switch.

Power Distribution Units (PDUs) give you remote power-cycling.

Fortunately, there is a technology that is capable of power-cycling your equipment remotely: an intelligent Power Distribution Unit (PDU). One example is the Remote Power Switch AB6. The AB6 allows you to power-cycle remotely to start troubleshooting right away. Rather than sending a tech 2 hours (or more!) to a site just to power cycle, you can do it quickly from your central office.

The AB6 is three boxes in one:

  • Fuse panel
  • Power distribution unit (Remote power-cycling for up to 8 devices)
  • Remote telemetry unit (remote monitoring & control for 16 discrete alarms, 4 analogs, 2 control relays)

The AB6 is also durable and customizable:

  • Remotely accessible through a secure HTTPS connection in your browser for convenient configuration and monitoring
  • Notifies you of alarm & status conditions (ex. power on/off, input loses power, fuse is blown)
  • Up to 10 user accounts with customizable access levels, so you can decide who controls the power for each device
  • Supports 16 alarms, 4 analogs, and 2 controls for any additional monitoring you need (optional)

Of course, power-cycling is just one step in the troubleshooting process and doesn't always do the trick by itself. For those problems that can't be fixed with a simple power cycle, you will need to roll a truck. Next, you need a way to communicate with your techs when they arrive on-site.

Voice over IP lets you talk to remote technicians.

A VoIP order wire system gives you that capability. It allows your techs to communicate from site to site (and back to the central office), so they can get real-time help while troubleshooting - even when cell service is unreliable or just plain unavailable.

Typical VoIP implementation
Example of a VoIP implementation, complete with multiple sites, and conference call capabilities

Any VoIP OrderWire station should include a phone and a speaker. The better ones support several communication methods:

  • Station to Station: Good for one-on-one support or reporting calls between sites
  • Hoot 'n' Holler: an All Call feature that accesses the speaker in every station; makes a reliable broadcast across every site ("Hey Jim?! Where are you? Pick up the phone. I have a new alarm for you to look at.")
  • Conference Bridging (with Bridge Server): Have a group call with select stations with up to 5 participants
  • Privacy Mode - Station to station (IP mode) communication for secure contact

The VoIP Order Wire system from DPS Telecom is one example that includes these advanced communication modes.

That system also includes OffNet capability. This bridges the gap between VoIP and POTS, allowing your techs to make calls outside of the network. This is great for those times when you're out at a site and you need to contact a vendor for tech support.

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