That’s why all Verizon Wireless facilities have back-up batteries (and additional generators for some) to keep things running, even if commercial power is interrupted. In the network world of belts and suspenders, cell sites typically include two HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units so if one stops working, the other takes over for continuous cooling.
In a whimsical nod to Old MacDonald, the company maintains a virtual barnyard of portable power and cooling equipment it can mobilize whenever needed. The ‘farm fleet’ includes HORSEs (HVAC On Road-Side Equipment), PIGs (Pull-In Generator) and GOATs (Generator On A Trailer) that can be rolled out to provide cooling facilities and emergency electricity during extended power outages.
“We think of these measures as heavy-duty sunscreen for the network,” said Michael Sandoval, Network executive director, Southwest Region, Verizon Wireless. “We do everything we can to fortify and protect the network so our customers stay connected. And if the power goes out when the sun is sizzling, we know what to do.”
In triple-digit temperatures it takes just over 20 minutes to fry an egg on the sidewalk, according to Bill Nye the Science Guy. And in a closed car parked in the sun, temps can rise to more than 200 degrees.
Some people call that extreme weather. In the Southwest, it’s called summer.
Regardless of the season, Verizon Wireless’ network team plans ahead to keep customers connected on even the hottest of days using portable cooling systems.
Chilled to the core
The systems that power a typical cell site are housed in climate-controlled shelters cooled to 77 degrees year-round. Without that cooling system, a 100-plus degree day can force the shutdown of a cell site in just 90 minutes.