Case Studies

Delivering Private 4G LTE in Northern Queensland

4GLTE Tower

The Challenge

  • Challenging physical environment with environmental challenges
  • Solution design required to scale to support major mine expansion
  • Nine-month window for project works due to weather constraints 

The Outcome

  • Highly reliable,  high capacity 4G LTE Site-wide network
  • Solution design aligned with 5-year mine plan
  • Performance over and above customer requirement
  • Zero project delays despite remoteness and weather constraints

With data being the necessary ingredient to support mining productivity, traditional connectivity across mining operations is feeling the pressure to deliver more reliability and greater value to carry more, and different types of data.

A major Bauxite surface mine in remote far north Queensland needed a more reliable and high capacity wireless network to overcome a broad range of environmental and operational issues to support their desire to increase productivity and safety as part of their 5-year strategic mine performance transformation.

Aqura was approached to deliver an integrated 4G LTE wireless network to serve the wider operations across the site which wasn’t being adequately served by a limited industrial Wi-Fi network.

Overcoming Nature

The area the miner operated in was environmentally challenging. The mine site was faced with considerable damage being inflicted on cabling for site-based Wi-Fi and conventional Land Mobile Radio (2-way) antennas.

Alan Seery, Managing Director of Aqura Technologies, reflected on some of the unique challenges the team had to overcome in designing the solution.

“With cabling of site-based antennas being severed on a regular basis, and with annual rainfall of up to two metres, mostly within the three-month wet season, the regular downtime of the Wi-Fi network was hampering productivity, and increasing risk. Their legacy communications infrastructure was barely meeting their current needs, let alone form a framework reliable support their future growth plans.”

Alan Seery

Managing Director, Aqura Technologies

The operator needed a better way to overcome the damage it was sustaining to its connectivity infrastructure, its environmental challenges and create a robust and reliable wireless network to support their operations, today and into the future.

A Comprehensive Solution

Aqura proposed a better solution to upgrade the existing infrastructure at the operations.

Seery says the in-house design team worked to overcome some unique aspects of the operation and work to understand their future needs.

“One of the very interesting things we had to deal with was the rate of canopy growth in the region,” explained Alan.

“We’re used to dealing with modelling around hills and valleys, even underground, but tree-line canopy growth was a new one.”

Aqura was able to design, specify and model a full 4G LTE network for the site which overcame all existing environmental and operational issues, and would provide the coverage and capacity to support future mine expansion aligned with their five-year strategic plan.

A Better Communications Standard

With the limitations associated with Industrial Wi-Fi, Private 4G LTE has developed greatly as a standard to offer better value and represents a much better proposition. Advances in core virtualisation, and greater availability of integrated applications (Scada, IIoT, PTT over LTE) are making 4G LTE the logical upgrade for many organisations that require high speed, broad coverage and high reliability as enablers to digital mine operations.

Benefits of 4G LTE

Extensive coverage

Single tower – Small cell <5km, Macro Cell <30km

Fast Throughput

High throughput with consistent performance for a high number of connected devices.

Embedded QoS

Full traffic class management

Low, or No Line of Sight Issues

Pervasive signal coverage is not affected by buildings, hills, valleys etc

No Interference or Eavesdropping

Licensed, dedicated spectrum means no interference from other radio frequency use

Highly Reliable

Up to three ‘nines’ availability (carrier grade)

Extensive OTT Ecosystem

Up to three ‘nines’ availability (carrier grade)

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