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Solution Series : Introduction to ICT (Part 2 of 4)

Welcome back to the Solution Series brought to you by DoubleRadius and hosted by, yours truly, Jeff Holdenrid. 


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Jeff: Today we are going to have Part 2 with ICT Power, Blair welcome back again to the Solution Series.


Blair: Good to be here, thanks for having me.


Jeff: Today we are going to talk about ICT’s DC Power Supplies. They made a couple models we are going to talk about, everything from large systems; Pro Series, Platinum Series, and a Chastity Mount we are going to touch on briefly. Blair, can you give us a background on your Power Supplies?


Blair: We have a variety of Power Supplies, as you just mentioned. In terms of the features they offer we look at it as a Good, Better, Best type of solution depending on the customers requirements. As an entry level we like to call our Pro Series. It is a dedicated DC Power Supply available in 12v, 24v, or 48v models. 48v being the primary for the wireless internet service providers market. Those are available with the availability to add an external battery backup. The Pro Series incorporates an internal low voltage disconnect so you can charge the batteries, the backup batteries, and power up the lobes at the site. If you do lose utility power and the AC main is gone, battery power is automatically fed through for continuous operation to the DC loads at the site. The low voltage disconnect will kick in if the battery is depleted too far and to protect the battery from over-discharge situations. It is a fairly entry-level power supply, a more cost effective solution for customers who are looking for a small site and they don't want to invest heavily in the DC infrastructure to support that site. 


The next level up is what we call our Platinum Series. It takes all the power conversion of the Pro Series but it adds intelligence to it. It gives you the ability to have remote-monitoring control of the power supply from TCP IP Connection. You can log into a graphical user interface, which is basically entering in the IP address of the Platinum series you are looking to control. It is password protected to pull up a login screen and a graphical interface where you can now go in and see different perimeters (Battery voltage, run time remaining, state of charge, as well as adjust the output voltages, set LBD set-points, etc). It is the next step up for customers looking for a more sophisticated approach to monitor and control power conditions at their site. 


Those are the 2 main 19” platforms.


Jeff: Talking about DC Power, predominantly we have seen service provider industry over the years using A/C because it was convenient. So, why is it smart to go down the road to provide or use a D/C solution?


Blair: Certainly when you are getting to some of these larger and more critical sites I think it is essential to start looking at that type of approach. Some of the smaller sites where there are one or two devices people may plug in using the power supply that comes with a particular device. The importance of a dedicated DC Power System is having that redundancy built in across that network site, and obviously if you are deploying multiple sites. You are now powering up all the devices from one central DC power plant and you are able to monitor and control aspects of that power plant. You will get more metrics and alarming and those types of feedback you wouldn't get from the standard power supply that often comes with the equipment itself.  It makes for a more elegant solution, a more hardened solution. As we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, Broadband has become an essential service. It is important that the DC Power that is providing power to those network devices are supporting those types of critical applications and giving you that type of metrics; alarming, reporting, etc. so you can monitor those types of power conditions at your site. 


Previously with those stand alone power supplies that come with equipment would have no reporting if there is an issue, you are basically setting up power at the site, loving the door, and walking away with  your fingers crossed. This gives you that monitoring, and peace of mind so you know exactly what is going on at the site.


Jeff: You mentioned you do 12v, 24v, and 48v, what are the sizes you offer in these power supplies, or how big can you go?


Blair: The Por Series is available in the Pro 690 and the Por 1190, that's basically 700 and 1200 watts roughly for outputs at 12v, 24v, and 48v. We have 2 different power levels in that product. The Platinum Series is available in 800 watts and 1600 watts. When you look at a WISP site that sort of covers a majority of those requirements, 1600 watts certainly at the top end coverage for a majority of those sites.There is some flexibility with the Platinum Series if you want to add the battery back-up capabilities that have the full battery metrics and battery discharge testing. With all of the battery maintenance aspects that have come along with the Platinum series there is an optional extra to add battery control, monitoring of the battery system to provide dedicated charging, reports on the battery condition, and preventative maintenance for the batteries to assure they are working properly when you need them losing AC power out of site.


Jeff: We had mentioned in Part 1 about this great form you have, takes about 10 minutes to fill out that gives you/us/engineers all the information needed to provide the right solution … What are some of the things people need to take into consideration when planning out a DC Power Solution?


Blair:  Good Question. The main things we look at are: 

What are the devices you are looking to provide power to?

What is the power rating for those devices/how much power is required to operate?

What is the operating voltage for those devices? 


A lot of stuff is -48v, but there is some stuff that is +48v, some stuff is 24v. So we need a basic list of all the equipment that you are looking to provide power to. Then we can work with the folks at DoubleRadius to design the best solution, which could be a multiple voltage system that’s providing 48v and 24v in this instance .. or maybe it is just a dedicated 48v. 


These are all the things we need to know in addition to the number of devices you need power for. (We manufacture and we’ll talk about it in the later series with DC Distribution Panels.) They take the power coming from a DC Power system, whether it’s ICT, and distribute that to multiple outputs so you can connect your network devices to that. So, knowing how many devices you have at your site helps us to incorporate DC distribution into that as well. We typically offer a Good, Better, Best solution.


There are times where the customer knows better than anyone how critical that site is, perhaps it is a smaller site that doesn't have a lot of subscribers hanging off it. It could be a more remote site where having the monitoring control is way more important for that particular site. It also could be a critical site where you really can’t afford to have any power issues or downtime at the site at all. We are fortunate to be able to have Good, Better, Best solutions to say which product is best for each situation, then it is up to you to decide which solution is best for that particular site and how critical that site may be. 


Jeff: The customer might also know how popular that site could already be and needs to plan for growth in the future.


Blair: That is another important aspect, the scaling up side of it. One thing I forgot to mention is obviously the power requirements for the actual devices, network devices that need power, but what is the battery backup? How much backup time do you need for that site? Do you need 2hrs, 8 hrs, etc? Is this site prone to multiple AC failures, do they occur frequently? If that is the case, when we do have AC power come back online we want to charge those batteries as quickly as we can because there is a good chance the AC will be lost in the future. If it’s a fairly reliable site where you lose AC power once a month then maybe we can take a little more time to recharge those batteries. All of this factors into the sizing of the DC power plant is the recharge time these DC batteries will take to get back to the optimized state.


Jeff: Talking about the power supplies here I want to mention the Rack Mount System that works to provide the powers that we mentioned in this, but they do also have a Chassis Mount Power Supply. It is a small piece. It is not going to have any management, but it does give you the availability. It is a 48v and comes in a 5 amp, 10 amp, and a 20 amp which gives you the ability to have a single license point to point. Or if you have a single AP and you just need to power that one AP it is a great little drop-in DC Power Supply that will work perfectly. That is their Chassis Mount Unit. We are spec’ing it with a lot of our PTPs right now.


Blair: Further to what you said about the Chassis Mount is our IntelliCharge Series too. It is a 360 watt power supply with battery backup terminals as well and it does provide 3-stage charging to the batteries for optimal charging conditions, temperature compensating charging. It is a smaller form factor, not your traditional 19 inch rack mount so it can work for some of those smaller sites that do not need a lot of power. Maybe even an outdoor power enclosure where you are looking for a different form factor that would fit into a box like that. We like to have that full product portfolio,not only do we have the intelligent remote monitoring control, but we have the high-power and we are able to operate with cost effective solutions for the low power sites that are a little de-featured in terms of capabilities but are still able to provide a cost effective solution for the smaller sites that need that. 


Jeff: That's perfect and I’m learning something new!


Ladies and gentlemen please reachout to your rep, ask questions, fill out the forms, and see what it is! You might be surprised at how cost-effective it is and how easy it is to implement into your system today. Reach out to your sales rep at DoubleRadius and we will put you in touch with the right people at ICT. We will collaborate together, get pricing, and move you down the road with an ICT Power Supply.


We do have Part 3 of our series releasing next, we will get into Power Distribution, which is what Blair was touching on; “We have our power supplies now, how do we get them to the unit, and how many units?”. We will cover that next. 


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