Tellumat Integrated Solutions has launched the next generation of its Ultra-High Security Cabinet (UHSC) solution for mobile network operators – with improved security features promising a dramatic drop in the rampant theft and destruction of equipment that dogs this sector.
Theft and vandalism
Mbusi Sibisi, Managing Director at Tellumat Integrated Solutions, says telecoms base transceiver stations (BTSs) in South Africa, and on the continent, have been the target of theft and vandalism for many years. Mobile network operators (MNOs) and other service providers have all been feeling the effects equally.
“The main reason is theft – of backup batteries, copper, and in some cases radio equipment for resale in other African countries,” he says. “And it costs operators a fortune.
“Besides loss of property and service downtime to customers, many break-ins also result in vandalism, meaning millions in additional and unnecessary replacement cost and lost revenue due to partial network downtime.”
Sibisi says the holy grail for many years has been a secure solution to stop, deter or delay perpetrators.
“Many solutions have been tested over the years, with varying but often limited success, because inside jobs and crime syndicates are common.”
Innovative, robust security solution
Sibisi says the quest to find a workable solution may now be at an end with the next generation of the Ultra-High Security Cabinet (UHSC) solution from Tellumat Integrated Solutions (TIS).
“The UHSC is an innovative and robust ultra-high security solution, delivered through extensive testing and development,” he says. “The latest release is now the third generation, and it implements all lessons learnt from multiple installations of previous versions.”
These include thicker steel walls and doors. In addition, a smart Bluetooth locking mechanism provides restricted site access to authorised personnel at specific times only.
“All the mechanical lock moving parts are furthermore internal, and the doors have no handles or locks, making it much harder to break in to,” he continues.
“Doors are locked using an innovative bolt mechanism that can only be unlocked via the Bluetooth interface, coupled with TIS’s proprietary electronic and mechanical locking device.”
Sibisi says multiple smart sensors in the cabinet are remotely monitored and trigger alerts of intrusion attempts long before a break-in of the cabinet can be achieved.
“The sensors are designed to make the simultaneous bypassing of all the sensors extremely difficult and to allow the operator to dispatch security forces to the site in time to prevent a successful break-in.”
“The batteries – the main target – are secured in a reinforced vault, which is further protected by means we cannot disclose,” he says.
Only slightly more expensive than standard existing cabinets, the UHSC can be rapidly deployed within three days. The solution includes a pre-cast concrete plinth to minimise the on-site civil works requirements.
The UHSC was further designed to maximise free passive cooling to reduce energy consumption, and in most cases would not require an air-conditioning unit to be included in the solution thereby offering the operator a further cost saving.
Several designs are available, to accommodate different site configurations and internal equipment requirements.
The latest version of the UHSC was deployed in KwaZulu-Natal for a leading South African MNO, in several highly-targeted sites that have previously been broken into within hours or days after deployment.
In four-plus months since deployment, these UHSC units have not been compromised once.
Break-in attempts have been identified and recorded, and while no arrests have been made, no network downtime, damage, loss of property or loss of revenue has been suffered.
“Since one break-in could cost as much as the complete solution from TIS, the return on investment of the relatively low-cost, rapidly deployed UHSC is substantially greater than traditional cabinets,” Sibisi concludes.
“In addition, the optimised free cooling design saves on significant air-conditioning capital and running costs.”
The security cabinet technology is suitable not only for telecommunication applications, but also for both electrical and other electronic applications requiring protection from theft and/ or vandalism. This is especially relevant in cases of remote location protection and applications requiring battery backup.