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An introduction to Remote Power Switches that will help increase productivity while minimizing costs.
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One of the primary functions of remote site management is remote reboot control. It is essential that your remote site equipment be housed in a controlled environment. This includes: a continuous electricity supply, the right temperature and humidity, and physical security from intruders, fire and flood.
However, it should come as no surprise that providing such a controlled environment is not an easy task. Remote sites are typically unmanned and located in isolated places. This makes them vulnerable to all forms of external and internal threats. It is also imperative that you are able to preserve your remote site environment without leaving the NOC. This is to ensure that your windshield time costs do not get out of hand.
Monitor, protect and control everything that affects your remote sites.
Power failures produce both immediate and long-term damage. The most essential factor to monitor at your remote site is your power supply. Power outages are the most common cause of remote site failures. The result of such outages, include: network downtime, lost revenue, and frustrated customers who won't hesitate to shift their business to another provider.
While those are some of the short-term effects, power outages also cause long-term damage that lasts even after power is restored. For example, low-voltage shutdowns can cause very expensive damage to telecom switches and other transport equipment.
Power failures also take a chunk out of your operational budget. Dark sites mean technician visits, windshield time and overtime pay. None of these items look good on your balance sheet. Having the ability to remote reboot in case of power outages allows for much more flexibility in your network operations. By eliminating a site visit to push a single button, remote reboot cuts downtime and costs.
Effectively monitoring remote site power with remote reboot control
While it is common knowledge that you should monitor commercial power and provide a backup power system, unexpected power outages and site failures still occur when we least expect them. It is often the case that you simply assume that your backup power systems will be there when most needed. A backup system is as likely to fail as a primary system. Simply monitoring only commercial power isn't enough. You have to monitor every level of your power supply chain:
As your power supply is dependent on so many different factors, you've got to monitor all of them- the foolproof systems as well as the primary systems. You most likely have more unmonitored batteries and generators than you realize, and it's worth it to conduct a site survey to see how much of your power supply equipment is actually being monitored.
Important information on battery, temperature and other analog monitoring
In order to adequately monitor battery voltage, temperature, and other analog inputs, your alarm system needs to support true analog alarms. There are some alarm systems that simulate analog alarms with "threshold" alarms. However, such alarms only provide the bare essential information.
Electronic equipment, even carrier-grade telecom gear, can be severely damaged by excessive heat It is essential to continuously monitor temperature at your remote sites with four-threshold and live value analog alarms. Excessive heat also damages other equipment. Heat dramatically shortens the useful life of batteries. For example, a lead-acid battery that would last 10 years under ordinary conditions will last only a year if it's consistently operated at temperatures over 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, it is important to monitor the HVAC systems that maintain your remote site environment. If you can catch an air conditioning failure early, you can intervene, start repairs and restore the remote site environment before equipment goes into thermal shutdown or the site goes dark.
It is also essential for you to provide a secondary power supply for HVAC systems. An often-overlooked danger of power outages is that the telecom equipment will continue to run on backup power while the air conditioning, connected only to commercial power, is out. What occurs in this case is that the equipment keeps running, the heat keeps on rising, and the temperature forces a thermal shutdown. Site management that incorporates remote reboot would avoid any consequences if such an event were to occur.
Intrusion, Vandalism and Fire
As remote sites are usually unmanned and often in isolated locations, they are highly exposed to vandals and intruders. Incidents such as short circuits and small electrical fires at your sites can become disasters if you don't have any way to detect them and intervene in time. Your facility monitoring should begin with at least monitoring open doors and fire alarms. For additional security, you may want to consider integrating an electronic building access control system and video surveillance to your alarm system.