Westell Technologies, Inc., founded in 1980, is a mature company with the heart of a startup. Because of its experience, the company understands the importance of understanding its customers’ remote tower site monitoring. And it knows how to support its clients as their businesses grow.
“Our broad portfolio of hardened products solves the challenges our customers face,” said Amy Walther, Westell Vice President, Sales and Business Development. “We pride ourselves on making a very robust device. It’s going to be a workhorse. It’s going to work for a long time, and it’s going to pay for itself in a short timeframe.”
Westell designs solutions that are scalable. It has the hardware for small, medium and large deployments, whatever fits the customer’s project scope and budget. Knowing how to guide its customers’ growth is Westell’s secret sauce. The company advises its customers every step of the way as their monitoring approaches become more sophisticated.
“I talk with customers to understand how they currently want to monitor their sites, but I like to educate them on the possibilities of increased remote monitoring that maybe they weren’t aware of,” Walther said.
Remote Site Management
Westell provides a comprehensive Intelligent Site Management Solution for service providers and tower operators facing new challenges due to rapidly growing wireless networks. Many times, the staff recommends the Remote RMX-4000 next-generation site management platform, which enables site alarm monitoring, intelligent protocol conversion, wireless device aggregation, and equipment connectivity, acting as a smart extension of the Operations Support Systems.
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“The Intelligent Site Management Solution can be extended to all cell sites (new and existing) to monitor, troubleshoot, and correct problems efficiently and securely,” Walther said.
Westell provides an array of Site Management Accessories to monitor and control all the devices at the edge, including generators, tower lights, HVAC systems, power supplies, and environmental alarms. For example, the generator can be started and stopped remotely, the maintenance run schedule can be changed, odometers can be read and generator activity can be monitored. Additionally, security can be monitored remotely with sensor alarms for open doors and fuel or copper tampering, plus web-based cameras.
Something Old, Something New
Westell understands that tower companies may have a variety of equipment in the field, purchased at various times. Westell’s flexible solutions include monitoring for these devices, no matter their age. Westell software translates the data coming out of the devices into the alarms and measurements that the customer needs.
“We have many different ways to connect to old and new devices,” Walther said. “We can normalize that information for the customers so that they can get a good view inside all their sites.”
Customers also come to Westell for economic reasons. Truck rolls cost time and money. With fewer technicians available and more sites for each technician to manage and maintain, tower services companies look to remote site monitoring to eliminate truck rolls.
“Armed with the information provided from monitoring, they will know if they need to send someone out to the site, the technical skills required and what type of equipment or parts they need to take,” Walther said.
Westell can be integrated with its customers’ existing system, or provide VantEdge® comprehensive monitoring, management and control of network site infrastructure from the user’s desktop or Apple® iOS device. Additionally, Westell can provide a hosted management system.
“We can show the detailed information coming from the equipment, providing a full view of everything that is happening at the site,” Walther said.
Westell has customers around the globe and they each have different issues regarding theft. If the fuel is draining faster than it does on a typical load, it will trigger an alarm that tells them they have fuel theft. Sensors can also alert them if their fuel tanks are not being completely filled. Alerts can be triggered in the case of copper theft or unauthorized entry into the compound.
Solutions That Fit the Customer
Westell has customers with a few tower sites and customers with 30,000+ tower sites. As the wireless industry changes, so do the needs of the tower industry for IOT site monitoring. As needs change, Westell takes the time to ensure their solutions are designed to fit their customers’ budget, form factor, number of sites and information requirements, with room to grow.
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor