by Damon Hahn
With all the new technology today, the technology of yesterday is falling into disrepair. Today’s digital age has far surpassed the good old days of Plain Old Telephone Lines (“POTS lines”) that are used for modems and fax machines. Along with the dying technology of yesteryear, so is the knowledge and ability to fix and repair it. As VOIP (Voice over IP) is now the new method of phone lines, the older analog lines used for many modems are having a harder time maintaining the standard for data transfer that is needed. The POTS lines are not able to be repaired remotely and will need a good technician that knows about things such as loop current, line voltage and attenuation, not to mention the different variables that can lead to poor line quality, such as load coils, different wire gauges within a line, or line cards. Sure the phone company will dial the number and hear a tone and say “sounds fine to us” but at the end of the day, the modems won’t pick up or stay connected, and sending out a qualified technician is becoming harder and harder to do - and when something gets harder and harder to do, it gets expensive.
So what about a network? As mentioned earlier technology is moving forward and most sites big or small have some sort of network they use in the office. The common thought is “can you just plug it into my network?” YES. Network connections are great! However this too comes with its own challenges and added responsibilities. Networks require a minimum of a CAT-5 cable
and that cable needs to be less than 318’, tested and certified, which usually not a problem. However getting that cable to the fuel island can be troublesome. Well then, what about a “bridge”? Sure, as long as the site is willing to supply, install, maintain, and be responsible for it, this could be a viable option that has proven to work without issue. Understand that this responsibility now rests with your IT Staff. This person or team will now need to maintain the configuration and equipment as well as be responsible for the communication. What this means is if there is a configuration change somewhere within the system they will be responsible
to ensure that the controller stays connected. If the site has an outside IT vendor, this means more billable time to the end user to ensure this means of communication stays open through any equipment changes or failures.
Now consider if you will, the cell modem. Since the cost of cellular equipment and service has become more and more affordable, it is also becoming more and more popular. The use of cellular service has many benefits. This relieves the ongoing maintenance needed for the POTS lines and modems. It eliminates your IT staff’s responsibility to maintain yet another piece of
equipment. It eliminates the need for any expensive trenching that may be needed to accommodate a wired application. More importantly, it gives the end user a reliable source of communication that is the responsibility of Multiforce. I know what you are thinking “but there are reoccurring fees with a cell modem”. The answer is ‘yes’, but a low cost when compared to alternatives. There are also reoccurring fees with a phone line, or the need to use extra IT staff and equipment. Their time is just as valuable to your business’ operations and other items they may need to focus on. In the end, you will be provided a system that not only is
proven to be effective, it is also one less thing for you to have to worry about and you can focus on your business’ day to day operations.