Tellumat Integrated Solutions has redeveloped its power management solution for shared base station facilities, providing network operators with extra business assurance through remote monitoring and management.
As municipalities continue to restrict the number of cellular towers allowed in residential areas, operators are increasingly sharing base station tower facilities.
Shared base station infrastructure distributes power supply between multiple sharing operators. The first to acquire the site often takes on the responsibility of sharing out electricity to newcomers’ routing and signaling equipment.
“This multiplies the load of such sites, which can result in the main circuit breaker tripping under certain circumstances,” says Anand Govender, head of research and development at Tellumat Integrated Solutions, a provider of network and power infrastructure solutions.
“In addition, it exposes all parties to power tripping caused by electrical faults or power surges caused by one party’s equipment, to the detriment of the other sharing party’s operations.”
Govender says if a shared site’s total power consumption approaches the maximum power supply capability from the utility, action must be taken to prevent the main circuit breaker from tripping. Such additional site power demands may arise during peak network usage periods, or be caused by additional shared party equipment starting up, e.g. cooling systems in summer.
The Tellumat Power Manager responds by disconnecting shared power and reconnecting the sharing parties one at a time. This is known as load rotation. During the rotation period, the affected sharing party will not have mains power and must temporarily run on alternate power sources such as batteries. Load rotation is continued until site power demand subsides and mains power can be restored to all of the sharing parties.
“In the event that utility power to the site is lost altogether, normal power restoration (all parties at once) can place undue pressure on supply due to surges, which can also trip the main incoming circuit breaker,” Govender continues. “To prevent this the power manager will turn on each shared party in sequence, after a power outage, to ensure that there are no such extreme power surges.” This is called start-up staggering.
If not managed correctly, both the above situations would have resulted in “nuisance tripping” as opposed to a genuine trip caused by a fault. Such “nuisance tripping” increases the number of costly manual interventions to reset the breaker which increase operational costs, he says.
The nuts and bolts
Measurement of electrical current consumption is done per phase for each “share” connected to the system. As soon as anyone phase exceeds a programmed limit, the system will limit consumption to a level below what would trip the circuit breaker.
Power management through start-up staggering and load rotation works as follows:
- Start-up staggering: After a power failure, the starting current is often higher than during normal operation. To prevent tripping in such situations, the Tellumat Power Manager systematically staggers the connection of power to the parties connected to the system.
- Load rotation: The power manager continuously monitors power current consumption during operation. Should there be a sudden power spike due to the starting up of equipment belonging to a connected party, the system will sequentially turn parties off and on to manage demand and prevent the main circuit breaker tripping.
- Generator backup: In the case of mains power loss, the system switches over to a generator.
- Remote monitoring: In the latest redevelopment of the Tellumat Power Manager (model CK100M4), remote monitoring was added to provide more proactive business assurance. A site owner can now log in over a network to see which parties are connected and which are in rotation, take meter readings and pull statistics of each party’s power demand history. The Tellumat Power Manager has built-in Class 1 energy metering capability, allowing accurate measurement of electricity consumption of the individual shared parties on a site. This provides support for electricity usage and billing applications, either prepaid or post-paid. All consumption data is accessible in real time via a backend management portal in the cloud.
In summary, the Tellumat Power Manager provides:
- Staggered start-ups to prevent a power surge causing a shared base station site’s main circuit breaker to trip after the loss and restoration of a municipal power event.
- Load rotation when power consumption approaches the maximum municipal power supply limit, and preventing the potential tripping of a shared base station site’s main circuit breaker.
- The remote monitoring and electricity metering capability allows the site owner or service manager to carry out proactive interventions, planning and accurate sharing of the electricity billing.
These features of the Tellumat Power Manager provide an elegant and intelligent power-sharing solution to the dangers of prolonged outages, and prevent costly maintenance call outs and equipment damage.
Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
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