Get Your Checklist for Implementing a Telecom Site Automation Solution
Successful telecom operators worldwide are investing resources in ensuring that their communication networks are performing at all times, regardless of the potential negative impact of factors like severe weather conditions. With more than 30 years of experience in developing telecom site automation projects globally, Asentria can help you understand and implement a telecom site automation solution to improve the efficiency and resilience of telecom network.
Here is a short checklist of the main action points you should consider when you decide to automate your telecom site.
Step 1: Identify Pain Points and Areas of Inefficiency
In practice, telecom site automation projects most commonly originate because a telecom operator is trying to solve a problem related to the resilience of their network. This is often after their network was impacted by weather or other natural disasters. Hurricanes, flooding, ice storms, and wildfires have often been drivers for telecom operators beginning to look for telecom site automation solutions. Another common driver for searching for solutions is that a telecom operator’s network may include sites that are extremely remote and are problematic to access and manage. In other cases some internal initiatives concerning green-house gases or energy savings may drive a need to make the network more energy efficient.
Useful to know!
- Managing diesel generators is the most common problem cited after managing natural disasters.
- Remote visibility and remote reboot are the most common solutions for very remote sites like mountaintop locations or sites only accessible on a seasonal basis.
- Energy initiatives in larger telecom networks are the most common drivers of efficiency solutions like HVAC management.
Step 2: What Are Other Telecom Operators Doing?
Once a telecom site automation provider is engaged, it is important to have a broader conversation of what telecom site automation solutions can accomplish. Almost every function that a telecom site automation solution can solve was once a problem for a different telecom network operator at some time in the past. If you are going to go to the effort to install any kind of solution, you should be aware of the other problems that such a solution could also solve.
Useful to know!
- A single telecom site automation solution could solve problems related to power, security, environment, and remote access and reboot at a telecom site.
- Site appliances are field upgradeable, so even if you don’t use a function immediately, you should be aware they exist for consideration in the future.
- Telecom site automation has evolved due to years of solving other operator’s remote site problems. We commonly create solutions if no solution currently exists.
Step 3: We Have To Do a Site Trial
What telecom site automation is possible is heavily dependent on your site.
- Site Type – Cabinet, Shelter, or something else.
- Make and model of site equipment.
- Business model – Mobile networks, towerco’s, public safety, utilities, or others
Telecom site automation solutions are extremely flexible. Solutions adjust to match telecom sites. One of the most important steps in a successful telecom site automation solution is in coming to an understanding between the solution provider and the telecom operator of what solution is possible, and what are the business needs of the telecom operator.
Useful to know!
- A towerco’s business model might place a premium on being able to remotely gather AC power data from a site for the purpose of billing site tenants, something a mobile network operator would not be responsible for.
- A mobile network operator might wish to remotely reboot radio equipment at a site, radio equipment that a towerco has no responsibility for..
- A utility telecom operator might wish for functions related to DNP3 protocol, something no other operator type is likely to care about.
- A public safety network operator may value network resiliency differently than some other networks operator.
- What software will the site appliance integrate to, something already in place, or a new software?
Frequently during a trial, we will want to provide the maximum solution possible. We will interface to every logical sub-system at a site, just to show the data and control that is possible, even if it isn’t thought that the ultimate solution would include all those items.
Step 4: Evaluate the Trial and Prepare for Deployment
The trial is a chance for experimentation, so in this phase it is time to decide if a maximum solution is what is needed, or if it is desired to reduce the scope of the solution to the most valuable functions. It is time to define the exact telecom site automation appliance to be used, the associated sensors and accessories, and what central software (if any) will be integrated with.
Useful to know!
- Telecom site automation appliances, the devices that go in telecom sites, vary in size from small cost-effective single application devices, all the way to full site controllers.
- For larger roll-outs, typically a full method of procedure (MOP) document would be produced to outline installation procedures.
- Installation trials. It can be a good idea to go trial your installation procedures to test instructions and see if the equipment and layout of subsequent sites is as expected.
- Once the site appliance is defined, more complete integration to northbound software can be outlined and completed.
- Train the trainer is the most common model used, utilizing skilled technical people from the telecom operator to train other users.
Step 5: Roll Out
Typically site appliances are either installed as part of a dedicated program of installation, or are deployed by site technicians on the next scheduled visit to a site. Dedicated installation is available from the telecom site automation provider in many cases, or from a local integrator resource.
Useful to know!
- It is common for further integration to occur as a roll-out proceeds, as possibly unexpected equipment or circumstances are encountered.
- It is common for site appliances to be integrated directly into cabinets by cabinet vendors as part of new network rollouts.
- Is the new telecom site automation equipment able to expand or adapt to changes that might appear at your site over time?
If you operate a telecom network anywhere in the world, we’d be very interested in speaking with you regarding how telecom site automation can help you increase up-time in your current network and in upcoming projects. Take the time to explore our website, case studies, white papers, and product guides and if you have any questions about the work we do, we’re only a click away!