When monitoring transmitter sites, Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR or just SWR) is an invaluable overall measure of transmission efficiency. VSWR provides an accurate measure of radio-frequency power, as transmitted between RF power sources and into loads. VSWR can have a significant impact on through power, leaving wireless voice and data systems open to vulnerabilities if not continuously monitored. Pairing VSWR measurement with a remote monitoring solution makes it easier to identify and resolve issues for land mobile radio systems before users are impacted. Technicians are able to more readily troubleshoot system performance, and can target the areas of a system that may need work. VSWR makes it possible for companies to manage their deployments with greater effectiveness, reduce the cost of their system maintenance, and ultimately make better use of their technicians’ time.
VSWR Alarm Troubleshooting for Remote Transmitter Sites
VSWR alarms occur when issues happen between the source and the receiver. These are often issues with the antenna, cables, or even connectors that can lead to degraded system performance. A VSWR alarm may indicate that a component is damaged, that a weather-related incident has occurred, or the frequency band supported by the RF unit is inconsistent with that supported by the components of the antenna system. VSWR alarms provide for an additional layer of troubleshooting data that is particularly critical for large installations. This critical data typically goes unmonitored unless manually checked by a technician during annual preventative maintenance or after users have already been impacted.
Real-Time Insights into System Health
Rimot works with large scale system owners that require remote troubleshooting solutions for sites with limited or complex access. One of the largest two-way radio dealers in the United States (with 800 tower sites throughout the Midwest) was able to address some critical issues through the RimotRF monitoring solution. When they approached Rimot, they were struggling with doing scheduled checks on the health of their antennas because of how difficult they were to access. Once RimotRF was deployed, VSWR data was able to reveal antenna issues that had never been noticed before. While these issues had always been impacting the system – and users in some cases – they couldn’t be identified without time-consuming labour. Today this dealer is able to continuously monitor VSWR data remotely enabling real-time insight into the health of their antenna system.
The Benefits of Continuously Monitoring VSWR
VSWR alarms work to identify issues of efficiency between power sources and loads, such as between amplifiers to antennas. With remote monitoring, these issues can be reported back to a central location in real-time, making it possible it possible to pre-empt issues and reduce system downtime. Here are some of the core advantages to monitoring VSWR:
- Reduced system downtime – Without monitoring VSWR data, technicians may not be able to identify the core reason behind the loss of efficiency for a communications system. This can lead to time-consuming (and costly) troubleshooting, and issues may become more serious before they are discovered. With automated VSWR alarms, technicians are able to easily identify malfunctioning equipment, mitigating future damage and maintaining the performance of the system as a whole.
- Reduced cost on truck rolls – Rather than having to send out service calls regularly when it’s suspected that there could be problems, you can instead use your remote monitoring system to properly identify issues from the start. Remote VSWR alarm troubleshooting makes it possible to gather in-depth diagnostic information before maintenance is initiated. Technicians will no longer need to move from site to site to determine the source of problems. Improved technician dispatch. When issues are reported through VSWR, technicians can be dispatched with the right tools the first time. They don’t need to go back and forth to troubleshoot, and they’re able to make informed decisions to quickly resolve issues. This leads to fewer hours that need to be paid for on-site technicians.
- Protection for expensive infrastructure – Repeaters, antennas, duplexers, and combiners can all be protected through monitoring VSWR data to identify problems before they become critical. If technicians aren’t aware of high VSWR situations, equipment can become increasingly damaged over time, potentially becoming hazardous. Through a monitoring solution, VSWR can alert technicians to issues faster, letting the organization resolve the problems before they become detrimental to the performance of the system.
- Scalable infrastructure protection – As your company grows, it becomes more difficult to maintain and monitor large amounts of equipment. A remote monitoring solution makes it easier to track all of your equipment at once, with VSWR data insights protecting the strength of your infrastructure’s connectivity. Rather than having to roll out for on-the-ground maintenance checks and inspections on a regular basis, technicians can instead check their system health through a remote solution. And this means that scaling is also going to cost your organization less in terms of time and effort for maintenance.
Get the Information You Need When You Need It
With RimotRF and the VSWR data insights, organizations are able to dig deep into the efficiency and performance of their antenna system connections. Technicians can be dispatched to problem equipment immediately, without the need for on-site manual diagnostics and troubleshooting. VSWR is only one of the data points that allows the RimotRF platform to provide full monitoring and maintenance. RimotRF also monitors data for repeaters, site shelters, tower lighting, aviation and marine radios, generators, and other critical site equipment. Our clients are able to operate with increased efficiency and productivity, easily deploying technicians as needed — and protecting the performance of their networks. Book a Free Demo to find out how remote monitoring can help troubleshoot VSWR and ultimately reduce your system outages and issues by 50%.