Cell Tower Monitoring

Application Background                                                                                                                                                            Printer Friendly Version

Cell towers are abundant worldwide. Since they are typically tall structures they pose a threat to low flying aircraft.
There are strict regulations which make sure the cell tower is clearly visible at night to minimize any danger of collision.

There is a regulatory requirement to have appropriate lights (usually flashing red) at the top of each tower. Furthermore, some form of compliance reporting, about the light’s performance, is compulsory. There are heavy fines associated if towers are unlit for any extended period.

Unidata-Mobile Cell Tower Assesment

These regulations are generally the reason why it is important to independently monitor cell towers.

Application Detail

Cell towers have antennae at the top or side of a structure, an equipment enclosure for the communications instruments as well as some form of primary or backup power supply. They also have constant flashing red lights which are used at night.

application note cell tower monitoring 3

A Neon Remote terminal or Module can be set up to monitor important operational and regulation requirements.
It also comes complete with an independent power supply, typically a battery with a small solar panel.

While there is a communications channel available at the cell tower, often authorities consider a different / independent communications system. Additional system provides completely independent monitoring from the actual cell phone network using the tower.
The Neon Remote Terminal or Module may have
– analog and digital inputs to monitor tower light states,
– communications equipment status and primary and backup power system status
Some more complex equipment may also have Remote Terminal Units which come with Modbus registers that can be read routinely and reported, perhaps every 5, 10 or 30 minutes to a Neon Server. As a result, important data, on the overall status of the cell tower, can be displayed on a standard web browser.

Neon Web Telemetry Via Satellite

To maintain network diversity / network independence, it is better to report the status using a satellite communications channel, either geostationary or low earth orbit, so the monitoring does not rely on the actual cell tower being operational.

cell tower watch

The status of the cell tower can be displayed on a Google Map display and a mimic diagram can provide an easy visual representation of the tower and the status of the key monitoring points.

The Neon Server Applications software can display each cell tower on a Google maps interface, with a mimic icon colored based on operational status, green fro normal and amber or red for alarm condition for control room staff to quickly view areas where the cell towers are installed.

Alarms set up on key parameters and on an alarm condition, an SMS Alarm Alert, with escalation, or an email can be sent to key staff alerting them of a failure.

Typical Configuration

Options for Application Specific Instruments / InputsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Analogue Inputs/Modbus RTUCustom PartTelco Provided RTU / Sensor
Options for Neon Telemetry - NRT / RTU / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Cellular RTU 3G2013F-AB03Neon Metering Module 3G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 4G2013F-AB04Neon Metering Module 4G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 3G - Industrial2016F-AB03Neon Remote Terminal 3G with Antenna and Li Battery
Cellular RTU 4G - Industrial2016F-AB04Neon Remote Terminal 4G with Antenna and Li Battery
Low Earth Orbit Satellite Globalstar2015E-AB0Neon Remote Terminal - Satellite Globalstar Modem with Antenna and three Li Batteries
Ethernet2017E-0B0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports
with three Li Batteries
Equatorial Orbit Satellite - Inmarsat2018E-AB0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports
with three Li Batteries
LCD Display2500ENRT LCD Display
NRT Field Termination Strip2103F2015E,2016F,2017E, and 2018E NRT FTS
NRT Firmware Option2303A-8M8M Extended Memory Option
NRT Firmware Option2303A-8M-CAM8M Extended Memory & Serial Camera Option
NRT Firmware Option2303A-CAMSerial Camera Option
Options for Neon Application Software - Customer ServerUnidata Part NumberDescription
Neon Application Software2302ANeon Server Software Licence Incl 5 NAL
Neon Application Software2302A-10Additional 10 NRT Access Licences
Neon Application Software2302A-20Additional 20 NRT Access Licences
Neon Application Software2302A-50Additional 50 NRT Access Licences
Options for Neon Application Software - Unidata ServerUnidata Part NumberDescription
Neon Application Software2301ANeon Data Initial Subscription Setup Fee
Neon Hosting Service2301A-01Neon Data Service Fee for 1-50 NRTs
Neon Hosting Service2301A-02Neon Data Service Fee for 51-100 NRTs
Neon Hosting Service2301A-10Neon Data Service Fee Metering
Options for Conventional Dataloggers / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Standards Starlogger6004D-11Red Logger 512K with Alkaline Battery
Display Starlogger6004D-21Blue Logger 512K with LCD and Alkaline Battery
Prologger7001D-11Green Logger 1M with LCD and Alkaline Battery
Micrologger8010C-EURMicrologger 512K
Starlogger Field Termination Strip6103E6004D FTS
Prologger Field Termination Strip7100E7001D FTS
Starlog V4 Management Software6308A-AUEStarlog V4 Full Licence Key