5. Offsite control
The IP-based console systems used with today’s
communications networks mean that you can
manage your dispatch operation remotely, away from
the normal control centers – wherever a network
connection is available.
6. High availability
The degree of protection from server failure is a
significant factor in your system design and affects the
number and location of servers. Redundancy for servers
in IP-based radio comms networks may involve basic
main-standby arrangements, but multiple servers in a
geographically-diverse configuration can further protect
your network against failure or total loss of facilities.
In this configuration, all servers share the day-to-day
handling of radio traffic. If a server fails, or is isolated
due to link loss, the remaining servers step in to provide
continuity of communications.
7. Alternative access
Alternative access for dispatchers is critical, when
there is disruption at the control center, such as a
forced evacuation due to a fire alarm or bomb alert.
Radio-based access, via portables or control station
mobiles, is a cost-effective and reliable way to maintain
communications with workers in the field.
Control station mobiles may have a handset and in some
cases a reduced-feature console. Mobiles with extended
remote control heads - and even dual remote control
heads - can be installed in buildings to position the radio
body and antenna in the least vulnerable place, while
still providing a full mobile user interface inside an office
or control center. You can also use the control stations
for off-air monitoring.
8. Power at sites
One of the biggest risks to your communications is also
one of the simplest. Statistically, the most common
cause of communications failure is power at radio sites.
Backing up your power supplies with dual – even triple
– redundancy can prevent communications outage,
particularly where towers are at elevation, remote or
inaccessible during winter.
Not all your solutions are technical ones. Because you
are providing essential services, you are already bound
by regulation and compliance. How you manage the
communications aspects of your business is a vital part
of your reliability picture. Developing and enforcing
robust processes around your comms, assigning clear
responsibilities and logical, well-understood procedures
will reduce outage risk and support swift, decisive
responses to events.
Of course it doesn’t matter how much you spend, and
how advanced the technology, your communications
network is only as good as the people who are using it.
It is often tempting to save on staff training, to rely on
training on the job, self-training, or internal courses.
Whether they are dispatching, monitoring, maintaining
or simply communicating, your people’s competence
and efficiency contribute significantly to the reliability of
your network and the return on your investment.