On Site Communications Do Not Have To Be a Headache

A 1.064Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Make the right choice, and eliminate your troubles.

Technology on heavy construction sites has evolved over time to a point where having a reliable wireless network is essential to both productivity and profitability. Wireless Local Area Networks, WLANS, are being rapidly deployed within the heavy construction industry to support production efforts on site as well as to provide ancillary benefits beyond production. Once deployed, utilization of these networks always increases, putting additional stress on the capability of the WLANS. This can be a challenge to some systems, however Rajant networks increase in capacity as node density increases.

More and more companies are deciding that a wireless network is no longer optional but rather essential to the bottom line. However, all wireless networks are not alike, and some wireless network technology is limited in capability especially as it relates to mobility. It is vital when choosing a network to select one that will meet all of your needs. Many wireless network vendors sell coverage, I would certainly agree this is an important factor when shopping for a WLAN, be careful not to overlook continuous connectivity and capacity. The following are four of the most common problems Rajant comes across when visiting prospective job sites.

"The current network doesn't have sufficient range to broadcast base station corrections across the entire job site."
On a large heavy construction site it is essential for the wireless network to be able to adapt and/or scale with the work area. Before investing in a new network, insure that it can scale sufficiently to provide coverage over a large area. Rajant Kinetic Mesh Networks have the ability to scale as coverage requirements change, even across several hundred square kilometers. By adding additional Rajant BreadCrumbs®, you can quickly extend your network to reach new areas as needed, simply and seamlessly, without disruption to current operations. This is in contrast to legacy networks which are often limited to a radio at the base station and one or two repeater radios.

“We need more bandwidth on site to enable remote video monitoring.”
Video monitoring is gaining in popularity for both job site safety and security. However, many company’s wireless networks are unable to support high definition streaming video due to throughput limitations. If the data stream is too large, packets are dropped, quality is reduced and viewers can experience a stop/start effect in the video stream. When video image quality is reduced or frame rate decreased in order to fit a video stream within a limited capacity network, the value of having on site video is reduced and your investment in video security may be rendered ineffective. Rajant’s low latency high bandwidth network provides continuous connectivity for even mobile video.

Continuous on site remote video monitoring for safety purposes also requires a clear and smooth picture. High definition video allows you to see not just that someone is on site but who it is and what they are doing. Supervisors can remotely monitor job progress, whether workers are arriving on time, whether the crew is complying with OSHA regulations, and when contractors and vendors arrive on premises, not to mention monitoring the progress on the job site.

Many network providers claim to provide high capacity, but few can deliver. Hierarchal networks don’t deal well with packet density that overloads the system and essentially shuts down the network. Rajant’s InstaMesh protocol, a proprietary data routing algorithm, enables continuous and instantaneous routing via wireless and wired connections by determining the best pathways between any two points on a network, even when those points are in motion. This approach provides robust fault tolerance, high throughput and low latency and ensures reliable high video quality.

“We are struggling with remote model downloads during Machine operations because of network connectivity problems.”
Kinetic Mesh Networks thrive in changing environments. The ever-changing topography of the construction site as well as the continuous movement of equipment requires a network that can maintain connectivity no matter where a machine is being operated and regardless of the obstacles that may exist between the machine and the site office. No one wants to climb on a piece of equipment to load machine control models and you don’t have to. Having a reliable wireless network ensures your ability to download models, upload machine production data, monitor machine health, and maintain reception of base station corrections.

Kinetic Mesh technology has the ability to maintain connectivity even with all elements of the network in constant motion. Be suspicious when vendors of other manufacturers' equipment tell you that momentary lapses in connectivity are ok. The fact is, applications are sensitive to losses of connectivity, these "breaks" can cause work interruption and even temporary application failure. Rajant BreadCrumbs® have multiple frequencies, and each radio has the ability to maintain multiple persistent connections, thereby insuring continuous connectivity. In addition, BreadCrumbs® independently manage their own routing and monitor the quality of all direct connections. Interference and congestion are automatically mitigated by directing traffic to the fastest path.

"We don't have Wi-Fi available on site."
Communications are essential on any job site. Many options exist, however, if you're paying a carrier for communications those services can be prohibitively expensive and do not insure bandwidth or coverage. Having Wi-Fi available throughout the job site eliminates the need for expensive services while enabling reliable communication and high throughput data transfer.

With a Rajant Kinetic Mesh Network, enabling Wi-Fi is a simple click of the mouse. With it, you can ensure communication on site between management and operations. Field employees can order parts, check emails and even make VoIP calls. Contractors, subcontractors, and vendors can provide a higher level of service to your company by having guest access. Wi-Fi security can be as simple or as complicated as your needs demand.

Establishing a reliable wireless network that also delivers system-wide Wi-Fi access reduces communication costs and increases productivity. Rajant networks are self-healing, peer-to-peer networks, with no single point of failure.

On an active heavy construction site, having a reliable wireless network becomes a contributing factor in production efficiency. Choosing the best Wireless Network is a decision that should be carefully considered just like any other integral aspect of the operation. Failure of the network is not an option and even significant latency can negatively impact production. In the end, maximizing the ROI for job site technology is simply a matter of choosing the most reliable, highest capacity wireless network that can grow as you grow. Contact Rajant or your Rajant reseller for more information.

Todd Rigby has been involved with integrating technology on construction sites for more than 20 years. He is currently the Vice President of Business Development for Rajant Corporation.

A 1.064Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

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