What is a SiteBoss and How Does it Work?
Several years ago, I was involved in the start-up of a fixed-wireless Internet service provider company. During the initial years of the start-up, the biggest capital expenditures (CAPEX)s were the infrastructure components (e.g., towers, networking gear, radios, antennas, leases, construction costs, etc.). However, after a few years of expanding the network’s footprint, the CAPEX significantly decreased. On the other hand, the network’s expansion drove maintenance, and problem resolution costs up. Unfortunately, in those early days, the network did not have a remote monitoring and control solution. That factor resulted in unnecessary truck rolls, a waste of personnel’s time, added stress, and unnecessary costs.
The above anecdote illustrates why it is essential for network operators to implement a remote monitoring and control system on their networks. Asentria’s SiteBoss is such a system and will provide measurable benefits for network operators. A strong RMS like Asentria’s SiteBoss will minimize downtime and reduce truck rolls. In turn, it will enable operators to conserve time, eliminate unnecessary hassles, and save money.
What is a SiteBoss?
Asentria’s SiteBboss is an intelligent Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) device designed to improve the efficiency and resilience of telecom sites and networks. It is an advanced device that has the ability to monitor, control, and automate multiple variables at a base station. Asentria’s SiteBoss family of products includes nearly a dozen different models, and they are versatile enough for integration into small, mid-sized, or large-scale communications networks.1
It is helpful to think of Asentria’s SiteBoss in two overarching categories: its form and function. Functionally, the SiteBoss provides two critical network services. It acts both as a “sensor” and as a “controller.” However, those two functions may be widely configured by utilizing over 40 modular-based cards. These cards are capable of centralizing all the data from an assortment of different makes and models of peripheral equipment and sensors at sites, thus giving both visibility and control of those systems to remote site operators.
Why is a SiteBoss Important?
Asentria’s SiteBoss adds quantifiable value to any telecommunications network. Its modular design cost-effectively interfaces with many combinations of power, security, and environmental subsystems at remote sites. Its Linux-based system is easy to set up, and it uses open protocols like SNMP, RestFUL API, a browser-based UI, and a user-accessible scripting language. The SiteBoss’ scripting feature can, as one engineer said, “do specific additional functions needed such as interfacing with other devices, keeping logs of certain values, complex alarm conditioning, building-specific web pages for certain functions or many other functions.2”
Another particularly helpful feature of the SiteBoss is its remote accessibility and control. Network operators are able securely to log into the unit itself either through a VPN connection, SSH, or out-of-band access via an optional wireless modem which connects to one of several mobile telecommunications providers’ networks. The wireless modem expansion card supports the same features as connecting directly to the host unit’s interface: including Telnet, FTP, SSH, and so on. It also supports PPP routing, Port Forwarding, or a secure access ethernet card (SAEC), which allows communication with devices connected to one of the local Ethernet interfaces.
Benefits of a SiteBoss Site Controller
Although the features of any technological product are important, its benefits are what matters to operators and business owners.
Enhances a Network’s Quality of Service (QoS)
It does so by anticipating outages, providing physical security to sites, and by ensuring that maintenance protocols are followed. The SiteBoss also improves QoS by allowing operators either quickly to intervene before a major outage occurs or to coordinate fixes in the event of a mass outage.
By optimizing energy sources, reducing truck rolls, increasing the productivity of site technicians, “de-averaging” maintenance periods, and by providing a mechanism for testing new operational improvements.
By mitigating over-provisioning of sites can lead to a reduced CAPEX. For example, because of the units’ granular, real-time monitoring read-outs, operators can conserve on rectifiers and batteries, as well as saving fuel per site or by site type. Analogous to “just-in-time” inventory, this benefit permits “just-enough-provisioning.” Additionally, the SiteBoss’s monitoring capability helps extend HVAC life at remote sites.
In addition to reducing power consumption at remote sites, the unit also facilitates regulatory compliance with its precise and customizable generator scheduling and testing settings. The SiteBoss reports aggregate energy metrics, while at the same time, reducing truck rolls and thereby carbon emissions too.
SiteBoss Appliance Case Studies
In the technical case study, “Extending Diesel Fuel Levels for 300 Sites in a Middle East Public Safety Network,” explains how the automation feature in the SiteBoss watched site temperatures and battery discharge levels, thus enabling operation on batteries as long as the state of charge of the batteries was high enough and the temperature was low enough. Before this process was implemented, the generator would run until the batteries hit a high state of charge, and the site was sufficiently cool. As a result, this cycling enabled diesel fuel levels at a remote site to be extended and, therefore, decreased the sites’ fuel costs.
Discover more case studies and white papers here.
Asentria’s SiteBoss family of products gives telecommunication professionals the ability remotely to sense (monitor) and control a wide array of telecommunications devices in both smaller and larger infrastructural contexts. If network operators want to automate their remote sites and eliminate hassles, save time, and reduce costs, then Asentria’s SiteBoss family of products is a capable solution.
1“Remote terminal unit.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_terminal_unit. Accessed 14 Oct 2019.
2“Scripting: Introduction to Adding Automation to Telecom Sites.” Asentria, https://www.asentria.com/blog/scripting-introduction-adding-automation-to-telecom-sites/. Accessed 19 Dec 2019.