Last Mile Connectivity and Hybrid Solutions
Mal Jones, VP Consultative Services, 3D-P
Wireless connectivity is particularly critical in active areas of the mine, where the mobile equipment operates most of the time and the associated data is generated. However, last mile connectivity is challenging. Self-forming and self-healing networks can help reduce these challenges. While all wireless technologies have their pros and cons, they are not all equal when it comes to last mile connectivity.
As a solution to this challenge, Rajant’s meshing capabilities provide the real-time self-forming and self-healing capabilities that both enables and simplifies rapid deployment to meet the needs at the stope. For simple extension of your infrastructure, 3D-P offers a battery-powered Rajant solution that can be deployed in a matter of minutes, providing the bandwidth needed to support tele-remote operations and other applications including voice over IP, video and SCADA.
As part of a truly powerful solution offering, 3D-P’s Intelligent Endpoint® (IEP) is a unique and extremely flexible mining operations tool built to address a multitude of IOT, systems integration and networking challenges commonly faced in mining operations.
A common challenge miners face is where there is no network available in an area of the operating mine yet there may be critical operations data required back at the office on a regular interval. Historically this may have been solved manually by someone carrying the data on a memory stick or on paper to the nearest computer or back to the office for manual entry. There is a risk of loss of data in these scenarios.
3D-P solve these sorts of problems utilizing both the Edge Computing and Communications capability of the IEP to automate the collection of data, store and then forward the information.
For example, an IEP on a supervisor’s truck, or any other vehicle, can wirelessly connect to and collect data from all devices at the stope when in proximity of the equipment the IEP tools store that data until it travels back into a coverage area, where the data is then automatically pushed or uploaded to the office-side systems.
Another great example of the power and flexibility of the IEP is solving problems with last mile connectivity to the stope. As a multi radio communication device, the IEP is able to wirelessly interconnect or bridge between wireless technologies machine to machine to infrastructure.
A classic example of this may be where an underground LTE leaky feeder infrastructure is in place but falls short in covering the working face. In this scenario standardizing on a hybrid LTE/InstaMesh IEP for machines and vehicles enables devices to automatically create ad hoc connections to each other via InstaMesh seamlessly passing data machine to machine until a connection to the LTE infrastructure can be found. In simple terms the 3D-P solution is designed to opportunistically utilize any available network connection to transport the data in the most efficient way available at any point in time
This solution allows customers to leverage both the high predictability of LTE and the simple deployment and coverage provided by a client meshing solution. Additionally, this solution can be leveraged to increase throughput where necessary, effectively providing a type of “carrier aggregation”, that includes the LTE network as well as multiple Wi-Fi connections, with no roaming delays as the client device switches from network to network.
The same is possible with a Wi-Fi/Instamesh hybrid IEP, creating a client meshing solution behind a standards-based Wi-Fi infrastructure. Designed as a single platform residing on the mobile equipment, the hybrid Intelligent Endpoint eliminates roaming events when deployed in environments with multiple infrastructure technologies available, maintaining all available links, and choosing packet by packet which infrastructure will provide the quickest transit to the destination. The IEP ensures reliable communication of your data, everywhere, every time.
Mal Jones, VP Consultative Services, 3D-P
Mal oversees the company’s Australian division and has been responsible for 3D-P’s strong growth in the Asia Pacific region since 2009. Mal gained his Electronic trade and Engineering qualifications through Box Hill TAFE and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and also graduated with Honours with a BA at Melbourne University.