Temperature monitoring used to battle harmful heat in telecom industry
Wednesday, Aug 21st 2013

Telecommunications equipment is an integral part for many organizations, especially ones that rely on the hardware as a main means of connecting with customers. Just as in data centers, telecom hardware requires a certain environment in order to remain functional and keep business flowing.

Telecom equipment is sensitive to the surrounding temperature, making environmental control systems an important part in maintenance. Heat and moisture can affect the hardware's reliability and damage the systems, according to Robert Weir of Hartford Steam Boiler. Because the electronics naturally generate heat, steps need to be taken in order to keep the equipment in the proper temperature range. Excess heat can increase chemical reactions within the devices, which can speed up the degradation of the equipment. Sufficient cooling processes must be observed in order for the electronics to have a long life of usability and reliability. A clean, cool and dry environment is typically the best condition for the technology.

"The real threat to high technology telecom equipment lies in the traditional building infrastructure equipment," Weir wrote "Since sensitive electronics will not tolerate high temperatures or humidity, the integrity of the building ventilation and air conditioning system is critical to the continued operation of computers and telecommunications equipment."

Keeping telecom cool
Over the years, the recommended temperature range for electronic equipment has increased to as much as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, telecom hardware traditionally should be between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to UC San Diego. Positive pressure in the room can be maintained with one air exchange per hour, and can help to keep the telecom equipment fully functional. Humidity monitoring should also be used to watch the humidity percentage, which is also needed for optimal telecom performance. Relative humidity should be kept between 30 and 55 percent. Having too much moisture could cause water damage, however not enough could also be bad for the telecom's maintenance. The monitoring and environmental controls will help ensure that the telecom equipment remains in the proper conditions.

With a growing concern in energy and power usage, more facilities are turning away from cooling solutions that require large amounts of electricity. Chillers are still widely used, however, they take up a lot of power to operate, and more organizations are using the technology minimally, if at all, according to Data Center Knowledge contributor Colleen Miller. While there is still a notion that cooler centers are best, raising temperatures in a systematic manner can determine potential hot spots that need to be dealt with and can save money in expenses.

"In live settings, companies are seeing that improved monitoring and airflow management can allow data center managers to be more aggressive with higher temperatures," Miller wrote. "But nudging the thermostat higher may also allow less time to recover from a cooling failure, and is only appropriate for companies with a strong understanding of the cooling conditions in their facility."

Telecom equipment is reliable when in the appropriate conditions. Using temperature monitoring will help ensure that the hardware remains a viable source for business communications for a long time.