Telecom Site Automation Solutions Overview
Asentria SiteBoss products are Linux-based hardware appliances designed to manage and help automate remote communication sites for telecom operators. As SiteBoss products have evolved from doing simple alarming, the new emphasis is to provide more abilities to do automation and control of power (eg. Generator/ATS control), security (eg. RFID card physical access, cameras), and environment (Direct HVAC control) at remote sites.
Common Applications of the Siteboss Unit
Power – Generator/ATS Control
The SiteBoss can centralize control and management of generators across all makes and models. We can provide operational data on fuel levels, detect fuel theft, and remotely or autonomously start and stop the generator. Application examples include remotely exercising all generators to search for generators that fail to start prior to hurricane landfall, measuring diesel after a storm event to prioritize re-fueling, or checking on backhaul availability to determine whether to run generator or not. Automation can be created to extend site life when site is running on diesel fuel.
AC Power Monitoring
The SiteBoss can be integrated to most power meters. See chart below for particular power meter integrations. One use is billing of AC charges in a multi-tenant site.
AC Power Sensing
Simple ability to sense presence or absence of current on a 120V/240V AC circuit.
DC Current Monitoring
Ability to measure DC currents on circuits through use of current transformers
DC Rectifier Integration
Access and gather data from DC rectifier “smart controller”.
Fuel Sensor Monitoring for Generators (Diesel or LP)
Measuring fuel levels using float, pressure, or ultrasonic fuel sensors, or by directly interfacing to an intelligent generator.
Gas Pressure Monitoring for Generators
Measuring presence or absence of natural gas for natural gas powered generators common in roof-top site applications.
Ability to shut-off DC circuits to extend site life when AC power is lost.
Site Access Control and Monitoring
In some cases, without a method of measuring variables at the site, theft or damage could occur and not be known about until a crisis caused a site to fail. A simple example of this would be diesel fuel theft, with no knowledge of the low fuel condition until the generator fails to start when needed.
Indoor/Outdoor Door Sensors
Simple monitoring of doors opening and closing.
Simple Motion Detectors
Simple monitoring of motion within a site.
Door Access Control
- Simple control of door strike – Control door strike via a relay to allow access.
- RFID Card Interface – Custom solutions to manage Wiegand controllable card reader access controllers
Tower Lighting Alarms
Interface to tower light control systems for alarming.
IP Camera Integration
Integrate to any IP based camera.
Several simple important variables can be measured, but the most interesting applications relate to the SiteBoss taking over network-wide control of the HVAC regardless of their make or model.
Smart Controller Interface
Interface to intelligent HVAC controllers to provide access and control of the smart controller.
Direct HVAC control
Replace old thermostats directly with functionality within the SiteBoss. Enables many advanced HVAC control functions, as well as allowing centralized control of HVAC from the NOC.
Monitor temperature via Asentria’s own pre-calibrated sensors
Monitor for presence of smoke. Uses Asentria-provided smoke detector.
Monitor for presence of water. Uses Asentria-provided water sensor.
Monitor for presence or absence of airflow. Uses Asentria-provided airflow sensor
Scripting and RESTful API Solutions
Many of the most interesting applications relate to the SiteBoss’ onboard scripting language, and the new RESTful API. The SiteBoss is connected to all major site sub-systems, and can make decisions based on complex logic. Two brief examples are listed below, but there are many new possible applications using these functions.
- Site Hardening – SiteBoss recognizes AC main power is lost to a site. SiteBoss doesn’t start generator unless battery charge is below a certain level, and temp is above a certain level, extending diesel fuel and site life.
- Energy Efficiency – A SiteBoss with integrated HVAC card is controlling HVAC at sites. Using the RESTful API, network wide changes to set points can be made, and even made continuously, to optimize HVAC at sites and across the network. Via the API, telemetry data on HVAC performance across the entire network can be retrieved and analyzed.
Telecom Network Growth
A common problem in mobile network networks is a lack of Ethernet ports at the site or IP addresses on the network. A SiteBoss can be equipped with a four-port or eight-port Ethernet Layer 2 switch. This solves several problems:
More “smart” controllers are being added to sites and site routers don’t have the physical ports to accommodate them. The SiteBoss adds additional Ethernet ports for expansion at the site.
IP address management is complicated by the addition of networked devices at sites. The SiteBoss provides a separate network for attached devices with IP addresses served from the SiteBoss by DHCP. Only the IP address of the SiteBoss needs to be added to the network.
Many operators have network security concerns, and the SiteBoss can perform as the single approved secure device on the network, with non-approved devices on the separate network created by the SiteBoss.
Network Secure Remote IP Access
The primary methods for secure remote IP access are listed below. This function most often enables someone within the NOC to communicate securely to the SiteBoss unit, and then pass through the SiteBoss unit to communicate to other equipment at the site.
Ethernet to Ethernet (or Serial)
In some cases intelligent devices (eg. HVAC, generator, or rectifier smart controllers) are not considered secure enough to be placed directly onto a network, and can be directly connected to the internal Ethernet or serial ports on a SiteBoss for access.
Wireless Modem to Ethernet (or Serial)
A wireless modem option can be used to connect to the SiteBoss, and then connect through the SiteBoss unit to any attached Ethernet or serial based device.
- SNMP Traps
- SNMP OID Creation
- SNMP Proxy
- SNMP Trap Capture
- SNMP Polling
Legacy Alarm Upgrade and Support
Asentria can provide support as an upgrade path for legacy alarms. Asentria can create custom cables or adapters to enable an easy way to move legacy contact alarms to the SiteBoss. This is common where alarm contacts have been terminated from a punch-down block to a legacy device (eg. Badger RTU, or 2G/3G RAN that is being decommissioned). The SiteBoss can simplify the removal of legacy devices by taking over these alarms with a minimum of new cabling labor.
Asentria has a range of abilities to directly reboot or shutdown DC circuits. The two most common applications are listed below. The SiteBoss can switch 10A, 30A, 60A, and 90A circuits (@ 48V) depending on configuration.
This application most commonly involves a wireless modem as well. If the primary communications path to the site is disrupted, the wireless modem can be used as an alternate out-of-band method of communicating to the site. Troubleshooting can occur over this connection via the SiteBoss, and devices (eg. Microwave) can be re-booted to re-establish primary communication and prevent a truck roll.
This application most often involves the SiteBoss detecting a loss of AC power to the site, and taking independent action to reduce power usage at the site by shutting down controlled equipment at the site.
Done less often than DC based reboot. In some cases the SiteBoss has been integrated to intelligent AC PDU’s to control them through the SiteBoss interface.