Microwave Radio Maintenance and Lifecycle Planning

November 2, 2020
Arn Hayden

Extending the Life of Your Radio Network

Municipal Budgets Impacts

The last several months have had a significant impact on Public Safety agencies. Budgets for the next few years have been cut drastically as sales tax revenues drop and the impact the Gallagher Act reduces incoming revenue. To date, the vote on the Gallagher Act has not been decided. Now, municipalities are becoming more conservative in spending. In some cases, they are asking to extend the lifespan of radio networks. Additionally, they are still expecting the same reliability of critical communications. One way to do that is through microwave radio maintenance contracts and lifecycle planning. Are you concerned about having to do more with less? 

Problems Encountered with Aging Microwave Systems 

Microwave systems are often installed and are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. However, if left alone, your fixed microwave systems will eventually degrade in performance and be susceptible to cyber security breaches.  

Exposed to wind, sun, hail, snow and rain over time, antennas, cables, and radios slowly degrade in performance. Furthermore, gradual degradation is difficult to recognize until there is a complete failure. Here are some of the typical problems that occur at microwave sites if not installed properly: 

  • Wind causes the tower to vibrate and over time causes antennae misalignment 
  • System faults are typically unknown until someone views the Event Logs  
  • Wind causes the cables to vibrate and sometimes break, causing loose connectors  
  • Batteries for back-up power degrade over several years and eventually fail 
  • Weatherproofing for antennas degrade due to hail, wind, snow, and sun exposure 
  • Radio Frequency (RF) interference occurs from new equipment installations at the site or nearby 
  • Security breaches from out-of-date software and enclosure failures 

Lifecycle Management Plans 

Castle Rock Microwave’s Lifecycle Services are a comprehensive approach which safeguard, improve performance, and extend the lifespan of your mission critical wireless systems. Reliability and total cost of ownership are key factors when operating a mission critical network. And Lifecycle Plans are key to operating a cost-efficient system. Lifecyle Plans normally include: 

  • Microwave radio maintenance contracts/SLAs  
  • Network monitoring systems  
  • Annual preventive maintenance 
  • Replacement schedules  
  • Emergency support (24/7 and 8/5 are typical support options 
  • Spare parts management  
  • Extended warranties 
  • Scheduled system hardware and software updates 
  •  System readiness testing

Here is a Case Study of how Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deployed a Network Management System to monitor their communication network, respond to issues before they became critical and simplify three monitoring systems into one. 

Where to Turn To 

Castle Rock Microwave works with public safety agencies in deploying microwave system and extending their lifespan through Lifecycle Services. Please contact Arn Hayden for a free consultation at arn@castlerockmicrowave.com or 303 358-7039 for help in these areas. 

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