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How to Protect Your Network with a Humidity Monitor

When operating a telecommunications network, it is essential to stay informed on the status and condition of your telecom infrastructure. Humidity and temperature monitoring systems have become fundamental tools for managing and protecting your business. Contemporary humidity monitors are advanced, reliable, and customizable devices. They regulate and enhance your network security.

The Dangers of Humidity on your Network Systems

Fluctuating levels of humidity can have drastic effects on telecommunication, construction, meteorology, and healthcare. An increase in humidity can cause high levels of condensation, heightening the possibilities of water damage and electronic short-circuiting. In a humid environment, moisture often permeates devices and leads to electronic malfunction. Excessive humidity can also thicken the air, tampering with electronic signals and hindering wireless communication. Believe it or not, low humidity can also pose a threat to telecommunication infrastructure. At levels below 5%, low humidity promotes the buildup of static electricity, which often results in electrical discharge and spontaneous shutdowns.

What to Look For in a Humidity Monitor

The quality of your humidity monitoring system will enhance the overall efficiency of your telecommunications network. By choosing the right humidity meter, you will instantly safeguard your network and secure your revenue stream. With so many different selections available, it can be difficult to choose the right options for your business. Here are several qualities to look at when deciding on the best humidity monitor:

  1. 24/7 System Access
  2. Customized Alert Notifications (Text, email, voice call...)
  3. Adequate Sensor Coverage
  4. Analog or Discrete Humidity Monitors
  5. Advanced Battery Support for Individual Humidity Sensors
  6. Integrated Monitoring Technologies

24/7 System Access

When it comes to managing the status of your systems - and therefore protecting the quality of your network - you need to have up-to-date readings on the condition of your remote sites. Having the ability to easily access this information from any location is necessary for saving you time and money. Finding a humidity monitor that updates your information within seconds, through several easily-accessible interfaces, is the most efficient way to manage and protect your business.

Advanced humidity monitoring systems offer several options for accessing your remote site data. Some systems provide a menu-based interface, operating from software installed directly on your computer. Other systems offer web-browser interfaces that are accessible from any computer with Internet access (through an IP address). The most advanced forms of these interfaces provide detailed geographic information, including alarm locations, history, and repair analysis.

There are several solutions for getting up-to-date information on your environmental values. Let's take a look at a product called T/Mon from California-based DPS Telecom. T/Mon is an alarm master system known throughout the telecommunications industry for its efficiency, reliability, and advanced standards.

T/Mon maps all remote alarm monitoring data into a single interface that can be accessed with your computer or cell phone. I like T/Mon because it allows you to digitally monitor the details of each of your network sites with interactive maps, pictures, alert history, and repair information. It's efficient, simple to use, and keeps you informed on the specific humidity conditions at various geographic locations.

Your Humidity Monitor Needs Customized Alert Notifications (Text, email, voice call...)

Your humidity meter needs to provide you with important updates on the condition of your network. Due to climate, weather, and natural disaster, levels of humidity can rapidly fluctuate and destroy your telecommunication infrastructure. With customized alert notifications, you can choose the conditions of your alerts and instantly stay informed on important developments in the status of your systems. RTUs, or remote telemetry units, collect input from the individual humidity meters and convey that information directly to you. Look for RTUs that provide a wide range of options, including alert emails or voice and text messages sent directly to your cell phone. If humidity levels rapidly rise, a custom alert notification could be the only solution for quickly notifying you of your site's status and helping to save your network devices.

There are a number of good RTUs for monitoring humidity levels. The NetGuardian 832A G5 provides pages, email alerts, and text messages with customizable alarm content. If you don't need so much size but still need advanced functions, the NetGuardian 420 is another RTU that provides all of the same advanced alert functions but is engineered for smaller sites. Both options provide a web interface, D-Wire compatibility and expendable alarm capacities make them great options to consider when purchasing an RTU.

Adequate Sensor Coverage for Your Humidity Monitor

Without adequate sensor coverage, you could incidentally neglect an area of your infrastructure and sustain devastating network losses. The most advanced sensors cover a wide range of temperatures, come in different lengths of probes, and can be chained together to cover all of your telecommunications infrastructures. Look for humidity sensors that can adapt to your environment and provide complete coverage for all of your telecommunications hardware.

Certain technologies, like D-Wire, allow you to connect a chain of up to 16 sensors from a single port. This is the next stage of technical routing and is great for ensuring that all the devices at your site are being adequately monitored and protected.

Difference between Analog and Discrete Humidity Monitors

Perhaps the most important decision when selecting a humidity monitor is choosing between analog and discrete humidity sensors. Discrete, or "digital," sensors provide the ability to detect whether an individual condition is present or not. Basically, a discrete input is ideal for monitoring conditions set to a specific limit. For example, a good RTU with a discrete input could alert a dehumidifier to begin running once humidity levels reach 55%.

Sensors with an analog input are more advanced and provide the ability to measure specific values within a range, as well as within a specific limit. With an analog input, your humidity monitor provides the exact percentage of humidity at your site. With this technology, analog inputs can be programmed to provide consecutive alerts as humidity levels reach certain thresholds. For example, if humidity at your site reaches 40%, you can program your RTU to send minor alerts directly to your email so you can be informed the next time you open your inbox. On the other hand, if your humidity reaches 60%, you can program your monitor to send urgent text messages directly to your cell phone, alerting you at all times of the day.

No matter what you choose, whether analog or discrete, a good RTU can make all the difference. If you are unsure on what type of sensor to decide on or plan on using both digital and analog, many RTUs contain ports for both analog and discrete inputs. The NetGuardian 832A G5 has room for 8 analog alarms and 32 discrete alarms with the ability to expand to 176.

Advanced Battery Support for Humidity Monitors and Individual Humidity Sensors

The majority of humidity monitoring sensors run off of power, with a protected battery plant connected to the RTU and other critical equipment in case of unexpected power failure. But often, these devices fail to integrate the back-up energy support within each sensor. When the power fails, all sensors that are connected to the main power supply also cease to work. The most advanced humidity monitoring systems connect their individual humidity sensors to emergency battery support via the RTU, ensuring that your sites are constantly covered even in the direst energy situations. Always choose humidity sensors that have reliable back-up power sources to ensure continued monitoring for all your telecommunications infrastructure.

Integrated Monitoring Technologies

Many humidity monitoring devices are limited in function. Advanced devices are capable of integrating multiple monitoring technologies into a single unit. For example, depending on your business, it may be more efficient and cost-effective to look for a technology that integrates temperature sensors into your humidity monitoring system.

However, depending on your RTU, it becomes easy to incorporate multiple alarm systems for things such as doors, battery voltage, AC power, climate, smoke, floor water, fuel tanks, and more. Many RTUs are limited in the ability to incorporate multiple monitoring systems within a single device.

No matter what product you choose, integrating monitoring technologies is an effective way to maximize your network protection. With over 80 discrete alarm points, 16 D-Wire sensors, and 16 ping targets, the NetGuardian 480 is a great example of an RTU that can utilize a lot of alarms.