Cell Tower Monitoring

Application Background

Cell towers are abundant worldwide and they are usually high and as such, can be a threat to low flying aircraft. There are strict regulations which make sure the cell tower is clearly visible at all times to minimize any danger of collision.

In Australia regulatory requirements for tall structures and hazardous plume, sources are managed by Airservices Australia in conjunction with Geoscience Australia. Any company/person that owns, controls or operates tall structures need to report:
• gaseous effluxes with a velocity of more than 4.3 m/s
• the construction, extension or dismantling of tall structures if the top is 100m or more above ground level
• structures that are 30m or more above ground level – within 30km of an aerodrome or 45m or more above ground level elsewhere

Furthermore, there are requirements to have appropriate lights, low intensity, medium intensity and high-intensity lights, or a combination of such lights installed. These regulations are the reason it is important to independently monitor cell towers.

Application Detail

Cell towers have antennae at the top or side of a structure and an enclosure for the communications equipment and primary or backup power supply. Depending on the tower height, cell towers can have flashing or steady, white or red, medium or high-intensity lights installed. As high-intensity obstacle lights have a significant environmental impact on people and animals, it is necessary to consult with interested parties about their use.

A Neon Remote Logger complete with an independent power supply, typically a battery, small solar panel and the solar controller can be set up to monitor important operational and regulatory requirements. While there is a communications channel available at the cell tower, often authorities consider using a different/independent communications system to keep the monitoring system completely independent from the actual cell phone network using the tower.

The Neon Remote Logger 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 (RTUs) which have Modbus registers that can be read routinely and reported, perhaps every 5, 10 or 30 minutes to a Neon Server so that data on the overall status of the cell tower can be displayed on a standard web browser.

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.

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 colour based on operational status, green for normal and amber or red for set off alarm condition. Alarms can be set up on key parameters. If an alarm condition is reached, an SMS alarm alert with escalation or an email is sent to key staff alerting them of a problem or failure.

Typical Configuration

Options for Application Specific Instruments / InputsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Analogue Inputs/Modbus RTUCustom PartTelco Provided RTU / Sensor

Options for Neon Telemetry - NRL / NRT / RTU / Field UnitsUnidata Part NumberDescription
Industrial (Metal Enc) Neon Remote Logger 16 Channels3016Options Available: 3G/4G Cellular, Ethernet, Inmarsat, Iridium SBD and LoRa
Industrial (Metal Enc) Neon Remote Logger 8 Channels3008Options Available: 3G/4G Cellular, Ethernet, Inmarsat, Iridium SBD and LoRa
Industrial (Metal Enc) Neon Remote Logger 4 Channels3004/3006Options Available: 3G/4G Cellular, Iridium SBD and LoRa
Neon Remote Logger (Polycarbonate Enc) 4 Channels M Series3004M/3006MOptions Available: 3G/4G Cellular, Microsatellite, Iridium SBD and LoRa
Equatorial Orbit Satellite - Inmarsat2018F-AB0-1 or 3NRT Ethernet with single or triple Ethernet Ports with three Li Batteries
NRT Field Termination Strip2103F2018F and 2022 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
Neon Remote Logger 16 Analog Channels / Touch Screen Display3016-00016 Ch NRL (Superseded Prologger 7001D)
Neon Remote Logger 8 Analog Channels / Touch Screen Display3008-0008 Ch NRL (Superseded Stalogger 6004D)
Neon Remote Logger 4 Analog Channels / Touch Screen Display3004M-0004 Ch NRL (Superseded Micrologger 8010C)
Starlog V4 Management Software6308A-AUEStarlog V4 Full Licence Key