Wireless Remote Monitoring Basics

Technological advancements in wireless communications equipment have allowed for increased efficiency and improved security in remote site monitoring. Being able to effectively monitor any changes in status across a network from a centralized location means that when issues do arise, technicians and personnel will be prepared to respond in a timely manner with the correct reactions. From a power-outage at a radio repeater site to an intruder alert from a remote server base, the ability to send alarm updates back to the NOC is of utmost importance. When a wireline connection from your monitoring equipment to your master station is unavailable, there are now many options to prevent the need for excess windshield time in order to save time, profits, and customers by preventing any catastrophic system outages.

Wireless remote monitoring devices allow for a range of solutions that are highly versatile in terms of applications. Depending on your needs, data may be sent to your LAN using a variety of data transmission methods as a proxy.

Cellular

Almost all cellular service providers now have some form of data plan that is available to consumers and businesses alike. With the regularly expanding coverage of GSM and CDMA networks, the ability to transmit signals over these systems has become commonplace in industrial applications. Simple tasks such as alerting a technician or sending alarm statuses to the NOC can now be handled efficiently via SMS or direct internet connection with the use of a data package, though the former option usually is less costly in the majority of applications. While constantly increasing in popularity, this method does come with its inherent drawbacks. In order to use the direct internet link, many remote site monitoring tasks would require a hole to be placed in a network's firewall to allow free-flow of communications. This also creates an access point for malicious acts that would make most IT professionals squirm. While SMS is relatively more secure since it circumvents the firewall by having individual phone numbers for the sending and receiving devices, the effectiveness of this method is heavily limited by the availability of a cellular signal and the current network loads.

Wi-Fi

With many remote monitoring tasks being handled over the internet now instead of through devices on a LAN, utilization of wi-fi solutions is steadily increasing. The ability to link equipment together over an invisible network is advantageous in remote solutions. This allows an entire site's worth of gear to be linked together and communicate freely, just like your laptop and router at home. While not a readily viable option in most cases due to a lack of signal that allows network connection, in situations where a direct link is available, wi-fi proves to be a viable option. The ability to seamlessly integrate a wide array of devices into a single network without a mess of cables running everywhere can ease the headaches of a technician searching for a fault in the system.

Radio

Even though the technology for radio communications has been around for well over a century, when it comes to monitoring the status of the gear, there is no alternative for extreme remote situations. As long as a line-of-sight can be maintained between the transmitter and receiver, radio communications can be sent across great distances with extreme reliability. Due to the low power-draw, the ability to extend a signal's range with the use of a repeater, and the nearly unlimited amount of data transfer capabilities, radio signals have proven themselves to be a cost effective network monitoring solution.

Satellite

For those instances when no other form of communications will suffice, satellite networks allow for a continued connection with your NOC using a system of data transfer that does not require a wireline, internet service provider, or line-of-site connection. As long as the sky remains visible from your site, satellite services can be used. Through a broadcasted signal that is sent into space, your encrypted data is received by one (or more) satellites in orbit. When the receiver determines what to do with your signal, it is directed back towards your NOC through a variety of methods. This could be through a transmission beamed directly back to your satellite dish, or transferred to your LAN with the utilization of the internet.

If your remote site monitoring abilities are hindered by your lack of a communications system, wireless technologies may very well be the answer. If you feel that these options are worth further exploration, then please get in touch with our highly-educated client support team through one of the various methods below.


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