conrad Steyn's Posts (4)

LTE versus Wi-Fi in underground mining Mining practices are demanding for more efficient ways of operation. This has resulted in mines adopting many different technologies to assist them in driving down costs and increasing profits. These applications enable mining companies to measure, collect and report on many different areas within the production environment. One common requirement that all these applications have is a network to carry data from one end to another. The type of connectivity medium is usually dictated by a few factors, some of these include; - Data size - Data transmitting intervals - Distance - Availability to electricity - Data protocol type (Wi-Fi, Ethernet) - Environment (Surface, underground) With the constant developments in technology, and more specifically mining systems becoming more open standards-based, promotes commercial network technology to be introduced into these demanding environments. One of those being LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology. If we use a smart device in our personal capacity, we are already quite familiar with how this works - mobile wireless, high-speed data connection. So how would this work in an underground mining environment? Well, the answer is not simple, and that's exactly what we want to test

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The Trial Site

The mine is one of the biggest gold producers in the world and has a large operation consisting of open-cast (surface) and underground mining methods. The mine has rolled out Wi-Fi access points in a section of the mine but wants to investigate the feasibility of underground LTE. The need for an underground network is for a fleet management system to all production equipment (loaders, haul trucks, drills). The outcome of the test will need to provide the capacity and coverage the network will be able to provide. The Testing Partner - Scan RF Projects Scan RF Projects have designed and implemented purpose-built networks. These include networks in Open-pit, underground hard rock and intrinsically safe underground environments to some of the biggest global mining companies. Overview of trial The LTE trial will consist of fixed hardware in the form of a base station that will be installed at a pre-defined area in the mine. A mobile unit will be installed on a vehicle and the coverage together with throughput will be measured with specific software, as the vehicle moves through the sections. Keep following the weekly series of posts to follow progress.

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LTE vs Wi-Fi Test. With existing technologies such as Wi-Fi and Fibre, connectivity is already available in underground environments. Most mining operations split production and IT networks, and therefore having multiple network infrastructure required for disparate systems. The potential introduction of LTE could enable one standard network typology for a multitude of applications such as: 1. Mining Operations - Fleet Management - Remote operation of machinery - Maintenance: Equipment health, Tyre and Fuel monitoring - Autonomous vehicles - Safety: Drowsiness, anti-collision, access control - Geotechnical, geology, SCADA 2. Environment - Weather stations - Seismic radars - Dust Emission 3. Process Control - Leach Pad control: Flow, pressure, oxygen - Leaking alerts 4. Hydrogeology - Water resource management (production, levels, pressure, flow, consumption) - Waterwell operation - Dewatering 5. IT - Connectivity to remote locations. - Wireless corporate network - Industrial Internet of Things 6. Security - Access Control - CCTV The purpose of the LTE underground trial is to determine whether it is a feasible stand-alone option or if a combination of wireless technologies is required to address the ever-growing demand for connectivity.

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Wi-Fi versus LTE in underground ming

We are running a test in the DRC to compare Wi-Fi and LTE effectivenes in underground mining. Or team has just arrived in the DRC. What we want to look at is what the best solution would bei ie Wi-Fi; LTE or a hybrid and to compare the results. We have done a few videos in preparation for this test which I will post here. Please let me know if there are any specific questions you want to be answered.

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