Managing Network Elements at Wind Farms via 3G-4G Modem

Most wind farms include a surprising assortment of network devices that are used to control turbine positioning, track wind speed and direction and ensure security at the remote site. When network problems at a wind farm make normal network communication impossible, an out-of-band management solution is required to enable administrators to restore communication without the delays, hassle and expense of a physical service call to the remote wind farm. Given the remote nature of most wind farms, access via 3G/4G modem is often the only viable option for out-of-band communication with network elements in wind farm applications.

A cellular broadband based out-of-band management strategy that relies on communication via 3G/4G modem provides the perfect solution in many applications where either communication via secondary network connection is not feasible or communication via phone line is not available. When a network element at a remote wind farm fails and disrupts in-band communication, a cellular broadband based out-of-band management solution provides network administrators with a reliable means to reboot unresponsive elements in order to restore communication, or access console port command functions in order to change configuration parameters or perform diagnostic functions.

The capability to control power switching and reboot functions at the remote site, combined with the ability to communicate directly with console ports on remote network elements provides administrators with two powerful tools that can be used to solve most network issues at the remote site without a service call. This helps to minimize downtime, eliminate costly service calls and improve the overall performance and reliability of the wind farm application. Obviously, the key to a successful cellular broadband out-of-band management solution, is the presence of a switched PDU and/or console server that supports communication via 3G/4G modem.

In addition to providing a secondary avenue for communication, an effective out-of-band management solution should also provide other features and capabilities that help to simplify the process of managing and maintaining network elements at the wind farm. Advanced switched PDU products and console servers used in wind farm applications should include useful features such as temperature alarms, ping response monitors, and other capabilities that allow remote administrators to keep tabs on conditions and events at the remote site. As is always the case in any network application, support for security and authentication protocols is also a vital element in a successful cellular broadband based out-of-band management solution. With this in mind, it’s important to choose switched PDU and console server products that include adequate security and authentication capabilities to ensure that sensitive command functions are protected from unauthorized access.

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