Technologically advanced mining operations around the world continue to struggle with reliable data-telemetry. As more and more value-adding applications place demands on the mine’s wireless network, communication infrastructure rapidly becomes the bottleneck for realizing the full return on investment in advanced technology.
LTE (or Long Term Evolution) is a 4G wireless communications standard that can provide up to 10x the speeds of 3G networks for mobile devices. It is fantastic for mobile devices, like cell phones and tablets, but what makes it more exciting for us miners is its application for mining operations when privatized.
Imagine being able to use any device with a SIM card for data transmission while working kilometres beneath the surface at your underground mine. No more problems tracking miner locations, no more issues communicating to surface, and no more problems streaming data from the face.
Innovative communications company METSTech – the latest technology leader to join RAMJACK’s product portfolio – is doing some groundbreaking work in this regard.
The METSTech approach combines traditional leaky feeder cabling with inline bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs) that can provide LTE coverage and handle two-way radio traffic (VHF or UHF) via the same network. The holy grail of underground mining communications – reliable voice and reliable high-bandwidth data transmission over one network – is here.
This delivers far better practicality and versatility and is usually more cost-effective in the long run, than Wi-Fi-based communication systems (using “spot” or leaky feeder access points), and even other Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), passive or active.
Some of the key benefits of using the METSTech LTE solution are:
- LTE and VHF/UHF traffic can run via a single leaky feeder cable
- Lower implementation costs than other solutions
- Installation and maintenance processes are the same as for traditional leaky feeder networks
- Controlled data (LTE) coverage to the mine face
- VHF/UHF communication systems are unaffected and remain functional, as backup
- More reliable than existing VHF/UHF systems
- Consistent throughput, especially on the uplink
- Minimal components required for deployment
To get the most from your mining technology applications, solving the bandwidth issue is critical. WiFi as a sole solution has proven ineffective, expensive and impractical for dynamic mining operations – both on surface and underground. The solution to future-proofing your mine is the latest LTE-based communication systems from METSTech.
RAMJACK Technology Solutions is a proud partner of METSTech for the Africa, Europe and Middle East region. Contact us if you’re interested in exploring the use of LTE for your mine. We can help you walk the path to setting up your own privatized LTE network on surface or underground.