Picking the Right Remote Power Control Switch Product for Your Application

A remote control power switch installed at an offsite data center or remote equipment rack can provide network administrators with a handy assortment of power control and power management capabilities that simplify the task of managing remote network elements and keeping track of conditions at remote network equipment sites. Although the most common use for a remote control power switch is to reboot unresponsive devices, a full-featured remote control power switch can also perform a number of other handy functions, such as scheduling power up and power down times for remote devices, performing power load-shedding and recovery during peak power consumption times and tracking rack temperature and current consumption.

Most network administrators are already familiar with the remote power reboot capabilities that are provided by a remote control power switch. When a network element at a remote data center or equipment rack crashes or ceases to respond to commands, remote power reboot functions enable administrators to easily reboot troublesome devices without the need to physically travel to the remote site in order to initiate a reboot cycle in person. In some cases, some high quality remote power reboot switch products can even automatically reboot unresponsive devices. If the remote power control switch includes a ping response monitor or “ping-no-answer” alarm, the remote power reboot switch can constantly ping target devices, checking for a response. If the target device fails to respond to ping commands, the remote power reboot switch can either automatically reboot the device, or notify administrators via email, text message, SNMP trap or SYSLOG message in order to allow support personnel to investigate further.

In addition to these reboot capabilities, remote power reboot switches are also used to schedule automatic power up and power down times for network elements at remote sites. In this application, the network administrator defines a power on/off schedule for each connected device, and the remote power reboot switch can then power on or power off the device according to schedule. This feature proves particularly handy in cases where non-essential devices need to be switched off during periods when they are not being used (for example, weekends) or switched on during periods when they are generally needed.

In some applications, the remote power control switch is used to monitor current consumption and then automatically perform load-shedding when power consumption nears or exceeds the maximum capacity of the application. In this case, the network administrator sets up an alarm which monitors current consumption by the devices at the remote equipment rack, and then automatically switches off non-essential devices if the rate of current consumption approaches maximum capacity. Although this type of feature is generally only found on high-end remote power control switch products, it can prove especially convenient in any application where power conservation is a critical element.

When a remote power control switch product includes rack temperature monitoring capability, the remote power reboot switch can be used to automatically power on cooling systems when rack temperatures rise to critical levels, and power off cooling equipment when rack temperatures return to acceptable levels. In other applications, temperature monitoring capabilities are used in a manner similar to the load-shedding example, except in this case, non-essential devices in the equipment rack are switched off in order to decrease the amount of heat being generated within the rack.

When shopping for a remote power control switch product, it’s important to take into consideration the types of features and options that will benefit your particular application the most. Generally speaking, higher quality remote power control switch products will usually include a broader range of features and options that can help to simplify the task of managing devices in remote network equipment racks, while lower quality remote power control switch products will often include only basic, power reboot and on/off functions. Although basic power control switch products will often meet the needs of simple remote reboot applications quite adequately, it can often pay off to look into the capabilities that are provided on full-featured remote power control switch products and take time to consider how the extra capabilities provided by a higher quality remote power control switch can help to make your job easier and more effective.

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