Is Monitoring Really Important?

By Larry Mincer  |  June 14, 2019

Over recent months and years we have heard how satellite systems are getting better and more intelligent. As systems improve, does this mean we no longer need to monitor satellite spectrum 24/7?

In fact, there are multiple reasons to continually monitor satellite spectrum, here are our top reasons why you should make it a priority:

1. Remote Locations
Many satellite uplink sites are in remote locations, often unmanned. That means when an error occurs, it can often be challenging to determine whether it is caused by interference on the carrier or due to some equipment failure or other problem on site. Without that knowledge, it can often mean the need to travel to the site to check out local equipment, which in many cases can be an extremely challenging and time-consuming, not to mention expensive task.

If you are continually monitoring the spectrum, you will know as soon as an error occurs, but more than that, you should already know what the cause is, making it easier to fix.

2. Variable Bandwidth Usage
One particular customer of ours routinely uses various segments of bandwidth on a variable basis. Transmission to a segment often starts from one location (in this case a ship) and follows just on the heels of transmission from another location. This makes it very tricky to track exactly what is happening on any given carrier. This particular customer experienced episodes of false interference on a particular carrier. When the bandwidth provider asked all entities to suspend transmission, the problematic carrier was still present. You can read more about how this customer fixed the problem in our case study (LINK).

3. Large Networks
The larger the network, the bigger the need for monitoring as it becomes even more challenging to manually ensure each part of the network is working exactly as it should be. Large networks often entail connections between multiple remote sites which adds in another element where there can be interference or other problems on your spectrum. Being able to monitor the spectrum therefore makes time to resolution much faster.

4, Errors can go unnoticed
In any network it is all too easy for errors to go unnoticed. In those situations, operations continue as normal, but one small error becomes compounded until it results in a major issue and a degradation of quality for the end consumer. By that point, it is extremely challenging to diagnose what first went wrong in order to rectify the issue. With continual monitoring, you will be notified instantly and can react before it becomes a service-impacting issue.

5. Speeding up resolution
Even when you do notice an error, if your spectrum isn’t being continually monitored, it can be challenging to know how to resolve it. Monitoring solutions can often capture what is happening so once an error happens, you can look back at what happened leading up to the problem, making it much quicker to identify and resolve. That information can then be fed back into the system so that similar patterns can be flagged instantly, making resolution even quicker for future scenarios.

6. Others may have legacy systems
No matter how sophisticated systems and networks become, it only makes a difference if everyone using satellite spectrum is using the latest technology. That is never the case meaning that interference will still occur. You cannot stop others causing interference but if you have the right tools to spot when it does, you can at least tackle it when it does happen.

Crystal Spectrum monitors multiple spectrum simultaneously, compares their profiles against one or more user defined limits, and records and archives sequential spectrum ‘snapshots’ in a continuous manner. Check out our case study to see how Crystal Spectrum helped a customer resolve false interference.

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