An IP Power Switch that Also Helps Keeps You Better Informed

An IP power switch can provide network administrators with the ability to control power switching and reboot functions at remote network equipment sites without the need for a constant human presence at the remote site, or an expensive service call every time power needs to be switched or rebooted. But in addition to that valuable function, and IP power switch can also help to keep network administrators better informed regarding conditions and events at the remote network equipment site.

When managing network elements located in off-site data centers and remote equipment cabinets, the secure, reliable remote reboot capabilities provided by an IP power switch can help to make a network administrators life easier and also help to minimize network downtime. That’s obviously an important tool for any administrator who’s responsible for maintaining vital network elements at remote equipment sites, but in addition to remote power and reboot management, a high quality IP power switch can also serve as a powerful tool for keeping administrators informed regarding temperature trends, current consumption, power supply instability, invalid access attempts, user activities and other potentially significant factors at the remote network equipment site too.

For about the same price as an entry level IP power switch, some manufacturers offer a more feature-rich version of the IP power switch which also includes monitoring and alarm functions that administrators can use to track critical conditions at the remote site, and then automatically provide notification and/or switch user-specified outlets when the monitored conditions exceed user-defined threshold values. If the IP power switch includes monitoring and alarm functions, then the IP power switch can essentially serve double-duty, acting as both a remote power reboot solution, and an environmental monitor which constantly tracks relevant conditions at the remote network equipment site.

While some IP power switch products only include one or two monitoring functions, others include an array of individual alarm functions that can track rack temperatures, current and power consumption, invalid access attempts, ping command response, power supply events, modem port dial-tone, open circuit breakers and a number of other factors that could potentially inhibit the performance of network devices at the remote site. In this case, each alarm function can often be separately configured to select trigger values that will activate alarm notification or automatically switch or reboot power outlets on the IP power switch. This allows the administrator to select a specific alarm response to each monitored condition. For example, a high temperature alarm might automatically switch on cooling equipment and then also send notification to administrators when temperatures reach potentially harmful levels, or a ping command response monitor might be configured to automatically reboot the outlets for unresponsive devices without notification.

When an alarm is generated, a good IP power switch should offer several different notification options in order to allow compatibility with the communication needs of a variety of different types of users. Some users might need notification via email, while others might prefer alarm notification via SNMP trap or SYSLOG message. Generally speaking, the more different communication protocols that are supported, the easier it is to adapt the IP power switch alarm functions to the needs of your network management team and tech support personnel.

If you’re in the process of implementing a remote power control or remote reboot solution for your off-site network facilities, it pays to consider other tasks that the IP power switch could perform in addition to providing remote reboot and power switching capabilities. Since one of the most difficult aspects of managing remote network equipment is often the simple fact that it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on at the remote site, it’s often helpful to take a look at the alarm and monitoring functions that an IP power switch can provide and use these capabilities to create a remote reboot solution that also serves to keep you better informed regarding potentially harmful conditions at the remote site.

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