Wireless Farm Management System

Automation of the World’s Biggest Egg Producer

Application: Wireless Farm Management System

Products used: Altai A8n and A2

The Challenge: Large area coverage including indoor and open areas; Challenging indoor environments with moving trucks, forklifts and metallic racks which can affect Wi-Fi signals and network coverage; Reliable and always available connectivity is critical.

wireless farm management system

Result: The Altai Super WiFi Solution was deployed to replace the existing Ruckus/Meraki network. The new wireless network covers both indoor and outdoor areas including poultry houses, layer hatchery facility, packing station and the open areas. All the facilities are now managed through the new wireless network without any network downtime or interruption.

Overview – Wireless Farm Management System

With 30 million laying hens and the largest layer hatchery facility in Mexico, the company is one of the biggest egg producers in the world. In order to maintain high efficiency egg production, the plant is fully automated with a modern inline egg grading and packing facility. Owing to the size of the production plant, wireless networking is used to connect the poultry houses, production lines and warehouses.

Large amounts of real-time data are transmitted through the wireless network and many of the systems are managed seamlessly through the network, however, the existing wireless broadband network does not live up to expectations. Poor connections, high latency and limited signal coverage have decreased the overall efficiency.

In order to improve the situation, the company appointed a leading distributor in Latin America to resolve the issues. Partnering with a local system integrator, Altai’s Super WiFi Solution was proposed to replace the existing Ruckus/ Meraki wireless network.

The Altai Super WiFi Solution was chosen by the company due to its super long range, low latency and superior performance. The new network has provided very stable and high performance wireless connectivity resulting in greatly enhanced production efficiency.wireless farm management system

The Solution

In order to provide full coverage in the open areas, Altai A8n base stations were installed on the rooftops of buildings to provide Wi-Fi coverage over long distances.  The multiple antennas of the A8n can be configured to provide coverage that is optimised for a given area in both pattern and elevation. Its multi-beam antennas can provide up to 3 times the range and 10 times the per site coverage as standard access points.

For relatively smaller coverage such as the indoor areas of the poultry houses, warehouses and packing stations, the Altai A2 access point provides a cost-effective solution for creating simple and efficient 1 to 3 master-slave cluster systems.

The Result

The Altai Super WiFi network provides a stable and high performance wireless network for the wireless farm management system.  Applications like a wireless sensor network, truck weighing, goods tracking, wireless surveillance system can now be fully operated without worrying about the stability of wireless network.

Altai A2C Indoor Access Points Available

Economical Altai A2c Indoor Access Points are Now Available

The Altai A2c dual-band 2×2 802.11ac access point is designed to meet the indoor wireless connectivity requirements for enterprise markets such as offices, schools, retail stores, hotspot service providers etc. To meet the challenges of today’s Wi-Fi networks, the Altai A2c offers several powerful features:

  • Altai’s interference mitigation algorithm offers optimal capacity and interference rejection
  • AirFi which enhances the capacity of the A2c by optimising client’s throughput based on their signal strength and traffic
  • Altai’s smart band steering and load balancing technologies allow the A2c to effectively utilise both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums for supporting a large number of bandwidth hungry applications

The economical Altai A2c, together with the controller-less cloud-based A2c_indoor access pointsAltaiCare and its pay-as-you-grow subscription model supports a wide range of applications such as social login, advertisement engine, detailed login statistics, hotspot authentication, guest access, firewall, and intrusion detection.  These features allow either enterprises to set up their private networks easily, or WISPs to quickly deploy and monetise hotspot services.

Download the Altai A2c Information sheet HERE – Altai A2c Catalog (Eng) 160810

“Nowadays, deploying digital technology is a must for every company that wants to stay competitive, however, not many companies have the expertise and budget for upgrading their existing facilities,” said Dr. Raymond Leung, CEO of Altai Technologies. “With our new A2c hotspot solution, Altai is enabling service providers to quickly set up their Wi-Fi networks for IoT applications.  In conjunction with our functionality and feature rich AltaiCare platform, our new hotspot solution allows enterprises to manage their Wi-Fi networks and collect visitor information easily and economically for big data analytics. Enterprises can also opt for off- or on-premises AltaiCare versions, depending on their business requirements.”

The Altai Super WiFi Solutions deliver best of class performance and a highly reliable Wi-Fi experience. With Altai’s smart Wi-Fi technologies, including superior RF and filter design, as well as a software-based interference mitigation and RF optimisation suite, the Altai A2c provides up to 50% larger coverage and therefore minimises the number of access points required for any Wi-Fi network, resulting in lower total cost of ownership.

The Altai Super WiFi Solution has been proven in many different applications, helping service providers with an increasing number of mobile users and interference to solve the capacity and coverage challenges in a cost-effective way.

Indoor access points

Critical Communication – Wi-Fi Underground Communications System

Managing business requirements alongside safety for staff who work underground can be a sensitive balancing act, and one that you can’t afford to fail.

Because of this it is important to take advantage of improvements in technical and new product development aimed at reducing business costs, upgrading business information and improving staff safety.

The Wi-Fi Underground Communication System (UCS) was developed by Powertec Telecommunications in conjunction with our resellers for a specific client to improve their current method of communication when staff were traversing underground tunnels.

The final result produced great outcomes for the client – less staff required to do the task, better communication and improved safety. The Altai Super WiFi Underground Communication System was tested head to head with an alternative popular competitor and beat them across the board in terms of ease of operation, coverage and signal strength.

The Wi-Fi Underground Communication System Model

Overview

The client brief was to update communications when traversing through the network of underground tunnels by replacing the UHF push to talk/2way radio system used to communicate between the surface and the traverse teams.  The UHF system was used primarily for voice communications and was unreliable, with fairly sketchy service on occasion and only operated in shortWi-Fi Underground range.  These issues did not support robust health and safety outcomes, they placed limits on the amount of tunnel investigation work done underground in a single session, and did not allow widespread communication when issues forced further consultation with other company staff.

Powertec suggested that Wi-Fi be tested and worked with the partner client to arrive at the solution.  Wi-Fi initially had its own challenges – it had to operate above and below ground, the best frequency had to be determined and it needed to be reliable over some very adverse terrain.  One issue imperative to address was how to create a closed loop IP Network to allow handover from end to end.

Products20160420_160708

The UCS was pre-configured and provided as a boxed solution in a high impact Pelican suitcase.  Altai Super WiFi products were used due to their high quality carrier grade and proven performance to increase capacity and extend coverage.

  • Altai A2

The Altai A2 is a powerful access point/bridge solution with an integrated Wi-Fi Underground5GHz backhaul radio and antenna, designed for micro WiFi coverage and high throughput PTP/PTMP bridging. The A2 includes a MIMO 2.4GHz 801.11 b/g/n radio with a set of 2 antenna ports, and a MIMO 5GHz 802.11a/n radio with an integrated dual-slant high-gain antenna, making it a simple-to-deploy solution for remote micro coverage with integrated backhaul.

  • Altai C1an / C1xan

The C1an and C1xan are high-performance WAP’s designed to increase WiFi signal strength (transmission and reception) as well as the client’s throughput.  They can be configured as AP, STN, Repeater Bridge.

  • Rugged HSP/LTE routers
  • ICOM Handheld communication device

Proof of Concept

It was determined that using the 5ghz was the better frequency as it would tend to reflects of surfaces rather than penetrate – a benefit when working with underground tunnels that are not straight. All staff held an ICOM device that controlled the Wi-Fi push to talk system.

The test was conducted in a 1.8km stretch of tunnel with man hole access entrances at each end of the test section.  The Wi-Fi Undergroundtunnel was a dogleg shape.

An Altai A2 was winched down on a tripod via the access entrance at each end of the tunnel, positioned to face each other. A router was positioned at the top of each access entrance along with an Altai C1an for surface access.

The positioning of the Altai products above and below the ground produced a closed loop IP network that the ICOM Wi-Fi push to talk hand phones could operate on.

Traverse staff and rescue teams already work with a backpack carrying their required items and a modified battery powered Altai C1xan with external antennas was included (adding Wi-Fi Undergroundno more than 1kg to the total weight).  This acted as a repeater for the signal from the A2 that was positioned at the access point at the start of the tunnel entrance.  As the team traverses the tunnel doing their investigation, the C1xan within the backpack reaches a predetermined threshold and then hands over to the next A2.

The handover threshold in this instance occurred at 1250 metres into the tunnel from the starting point.

There are a number of ways to handle the movement of the Wi-Fi IP network and this case study would potentially move the 1st UCS components and leapfrog it to the 3rd access entrance. The 2nd UCS would then be turned around to face the 3rd and staff could begin their traverse of the new section.

Wi-Fi Underground
Wi-Fi Underground Communication System Network Diagram (case specific)

Final Outcome

A typical above and below ground traverse team could comprise of: 2 teams tunnel traverse staff each supported by a rescue team, chemists, engineers, a communications specialist, and an underground rescue specialist.  It would not be uncommon for 24 people to spend the day investigating one 2km length of tunnel.  If there were any issues found, that number would grow as HQ staff and additional specialists may be needed at the site for consultation.

Utilising the Wi-Fi UCS could eliminate the need for engineers, chemists, management and other staff to be onsite.  The access to Wi-Fi now provides data from the underground traverse – vision, voice, video, monitoring, air quality sensors and more.

Communication can now be done with relevant management, chemists, and engineers, providing live access but no need for staff to leave their offices.  Project costs would be reduced.

The traverse can now be done in a reduced time.  It is possible that productivity could increase by over 200% (10km in one day instead of 2km).

Safety standards would improved for staff with access to live images and constant contact.

Application

The Wi-Fi Underground Communication System should result in cost savings, increased productivity and improved staff conditions – it has applications across a myriad of industries who manage the following kit:

  • Water pipe/sewerage monitoring
  • Underground tunnels
  • Gas pipe inspections
  • Lift shafts
  • Stormwater drains
  • Water tanks, gas tanks, ships
  • Building sites/high rise buildings
  • Underwater exploration (currently proof of concept stage)

Where you have a job that can be run from a packet switch network there is no need to send maximum people to do the work.  You can utilise vision and data from a UCS system to improve the access and save money.

Contact Us Today about your Wi-Fi Options

If you have a client in need of this application, Powertec are able to assist with your proof of concept along with design, construction and configuration.

Powertec have access to a number of Wi-Fi experts across Australia who specialise in planning and installation and the Wi-Fi Underground Communication System. For a referral to a local expert on mobile and Wi-Fi solutions in your area, please contact us at Powertec – 07 5577 0500 or [email protected]


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