Manage Remote Pipeline Monitoring Stations via Cellular Broadband

The task of managing networked elements in Pipeline Monitoring applications presents a unique challenge for network administrators. The isolated location of most pipeline monitoring stations, coupled with the number of individual monitoring stations involved creates a situation where out-of-band communication via secondary network cable or regular dial-up is often completely out of the question. Fortunately, cellular broadband communication via 3G/4G modem offers a workable solution for managing network elements at far-flung pipeline monitoring stations.

In pipeline applications, monitoring stations enable administrators to monitor conditions at distant pipeline installations. Remote pipeline monitoring stations allow administrators to keep track of factors such as pipeline temperatures, pressure, leakage and security. In a typical pipeline monitoring station, devices such as security cameras, temperature and pressure sensors and alarm managers are connected to an Ethernet switch in order to allow network communication with the remote site.

Under normal conditions, this provides administrators with a clear picture of conditions and events at the remote site, but if an Ethernet switch or other networked device at a monitoring station crashes or becomes unresponsive, distant managers can lose all contact with the remote site. Given the extremely distant, isolated nature of these monitoring stations a physical service call to correct the problem usually isn’t an option. When a networked pipeline monitoring device goes down, there’s no time to wait for a service team to travel to the site to correct the problem, network communication needs to be restored immediately.

Since most common out-of-band management solutions are rendered impractical by the remote nature of pipeline monitoring stations, network administrators are forced to take a more creative approach to out-of-band management, and the most practical solution in this case is often communication via 3G/4G modem. When a cellular broadband based out-of-band management solution is in place, network managers can contact devices such as a switched PDU or console server at the remote site and gain instant, secure access to remote reboot and console access capabilities. This allows administrators to quickly reboot unresponsive network elements at remote sites or access console port command functions in order to change configuration parameters or run diagnostic routines and correct the problem without the delay or expense associated with a physical service call.

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