BT Global Services has struck an agreement with US based Rajant Corporation under which BT will provide global connectivity to installations of Rajant’s wireless kinetic mesh network technology in factories, mine sites etc.
The integration of the two networks is another example of a capillary network. BT said: “This agreement will enable organisations to connect and gather data from thousands of devices such as sensors, autonomous vehicles, industrial machinery, high-definition cameras, VoIP systems and others to their corporate networks and data centres.
With the Rajant technology all network components – terminals and base stations – are mobile. According to Rajant this provides very reliable communications in areas of challenging topology. The main application is in remote locations beyond the reach of cellular networks.
CEO Bob Shena said the technology was being used to provide continuous monitoring of vehicles at remote mine sites. “They all have hundreds of condition monitoring points but traditionally those could only be accessed when a vehicle was in a repair bay. Once you put in a kinetic mesh network all vehicles are connected to their monitoring systems 24 x 7.”
In one US copper mine, he said: “Twenty five of their haulage trucks out of 200 would be in the repair depot on any one day. Once the network was established, the number of vehicles in the depot dropped from 25 per day to nine per day. So they got 16 extra vehicles for the cost of the network, and those trucks cost $2.5m each.”
Mesh networks are not new, but according to Shena, the Rajant system’s key differentiator is its level of reliability and unattended operation. “In the places where we operate — deserts, mountains remote mines — there are are not a lot of other networks and not a lot of support personnel.
“We have eliminated most single points of failure in the networks. We use multiple frequencies, the nodes themselves are very smart and work to keep networks up. We have had networks in mines for eight or nine years with no down time.”
Hubertus von Roenne, vice president, Global Industry Practices, BT, said: “This means that our customers with devices located in production lines, and in remote areas, such as mines, oil rigs and other industrial sites, can bring more of their equipment and devices online and thus leverage the industrial IoT to improve performance and competitive advantage.”