Friday 16 November 2012

Wireless water in Guernsey

The Island of Guernsey goes wireless for water management with ProSoft Technology’s RadioLinx

The island of Guernsey is a British Crown dependency, located in the English Channel, about 30 miles from the north coast of France and 70 miles from the south coast of England. Guernsey Water has deployed a communication network to integrate 40 facilities into a single network. These range from pumping stations and water treatment works to land and office buildings. The ProSoft Technology solution, based on IEEE 802.11n standard, proved to be a reliable, easy to integrate and cost-effective solution.

St Saviours WTW
Generally speaking, wireless networks offer many advantages for a wide range of applications. In this case, the main benefit was to ease the interconnection of remote sites. This is the type of challenging project faced by Guernsey Water, the company responsible for delivering high-quality drinking water for Islanders. In addition, Guernsey Water aims to provide a high level of customer service - therefore an efficient communication network is a key requirement. Remote sites used to be connected through the telephone network to the infrastructure. For a new site, no line was available. Instead of adding a new cabled line, the radio option was considered; two RadioLinx radios were installed on this pilot site for tests and evaluation by Boulting Group. One year later, valuing the positive feedback from engineering, installation and operation teams and having a need for revamping its SCADA network, Guernsey Water decided to deploy a wide network to cover the whole Island.

The benefits of wireless became evident very shortly, since installing a pair of radios is much faster than a new phone line, which requires additional engineering work, e.g. trenches, etc. This is very important for an application in such a location (an island) where being self-sufficient is essential for survival and avoids high expenses!

In addition, the wireless links have revealed high reliability, no communication losses, and higher bandwith despite the weather conditions on the Island. The technology has allowed more efficient remote control over the remote site. The solution provided by ProSoft Technology showed a list of benefits in terms of profitability too: the cost of the pair of radios falls within the range of the fixed phone line rental fee for 1 year – and both the better quality and higher speed of the communication network allow a better quality of service to the user.

The best option for high-capacity wireless networks
All of this was feasible thanks to the ProSoft Technology’s RadioLinx 802.11n industrial radios. These high-technology products provide world-class performance for high-capacity networks, including those in interference-prone locations – typically indoor applications – as they can operate with MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology antennas. The coexistence of multiple networks is guaranteed by means of a combination of 2.4 + 5 GHz bands that offers 3 + 19 non-overlapping channels. They also feature a very high signal sensitivity and range, and come as a single-radio or dual-radio Industrial Hotspot, or single-radio Industrial Client.

In the Guernsey project in particular, 19 Industrial Hotspots have been installed; 2 units for the pilot project plus 17 units (mixing single and dual radios) for the second phase. Some key industrial features of these products are their hazardous location certifications (UL1604 Class I Div 2, ATEX Zone 2 Cat 3), their extended operating temperature range, high vibration and shock resistance, DIN-rail mounting, PoE (Power over Ethernet) and simultaneous client or master/repeater Industrial Hotspot mode. All ProSoft technology products come with a three year warranty and unlimited technical support for the life of the product,

RadioLinx industrial radios are easy to configure and monitor with the RadioLinx Wireless N Discovery Tool. This software tool allows the possibility to view the network topology, assigning IP addresses to radios for configuration, as well as monitoring network diagnostics, updating radio firmware and detecting any 802.11 radios on the network.. Automatic or manual network configuration is user selectable (it can be prioritized or fixed) with self-healing functionality and master redundancy for reliable large networks.

Boulting Group was involved in this project as system integrator. They are renowned for supplying cutting-edge engineering solutions in mechanical and electrical systems and services across a broad range of industries around the world from a single aspect of a project to a full turn-key solution.

“Technology was new for both Boulting Group and for Guernsey Water,” recalls Jonathan Green, Automation Manager at Boulting Integrated Systems “but installation was a success. Not only has it been possible to create a link in a short time, but this link is more reliable and better-performing than previous communication solutions.”

“Implementing the pilot went very smoothly,” adds Dave Amps, Automation Sales Manager at Routeco, distributing both ProSoft Technology and Rockwell Automation in Britain.

“Backed-up with support from ProSoft Technology’s experts, Boulting was provided with the needed support from study, to on-field validation and to operation. At Routeco, we knew that we could rely on the high quality of the products and on the support we get from ProSoft Technology, a company we have been cooperating for more than 20 years.”

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