Canadian Mining Journal

Feature

What you need to know to manage an internet network in a mine camp

Many mine sites are notorious for causing hardships but the one thing that is perhaps to most aggravating of all is being "disconnected" from society.


Many mine sites are notorious for causing hardships but the one thing that is perhaps to most aggravating of all is being “disconnected” from society.

Cold weather, darkness and rugged terrain are just a few of the ‘bearable’ elements associated with remote mine sites but when it comes to ‘communications,’ keeping in touch with the outside world is paramount in the minds of most miners.

In fact, one would almost go so far as to say that a reliable, high-speed internet service is nearly as important as a good camp cook.

The demand for a reliable internet service has gone beyond a “luxury” to the point that it’s now considered “essential” to the safe and efficient operation of a mine.

And, providing reasonable and acceptable internet to employees has become a key requirement in maintaining good work morale and keeping people in camp.

So why is bad internet tolerated at all?  Likely the answer is because most camp managers lack the necessary tools or ability to scale the camp’s needs to the bandwidth available.  Also, they often don’t have time to deal with it.

So what’s the solution?

Galaxy Broadband Communications Inc., (GBC) of Mississauga, Ontario has one through its SMU (SkyNet Management Unit). It’s a powerful device that is remotely managed and monitored by experts 24/7. Full reporting on traffic use down to the application level is available to camp managers.

Also for managers with a C-Band Satellite service who are looking for more speed, GBC says there is now a very cost-effective solution they should know about.

C Band satellite links have been around since the 1980s and are still the mainstay for data and voice communications for remote mining operations but today,  the internet forces faster and faster connections which can put enormous pressure on core systems. 

Operators face a difficult dilemma; invest many thousands to upgrade internet capacity on site or tolerate the complaints.

As mentioned earlier, internet capabilities have an increasing influence on camp morale and crew welfare and it is critical that operators opt to increase bandwidth.

GBC announces an affordable option that should be of particular interest to miners in the northern regions of Yukon, NWT and Nunavut.

Through its Ka Band Enterprise Grade Service, the company says its Ka Band offers a bigger “bang for the buck” because of the inherent technology and most importantly, the much smaller dish size.

Although Ka band has been around for six or seven years, Galaxy is the first company to use the frequency for a True Enterprise Grade Service. The most important benefit of Ka band is the amount of data that can be packed into the signal. 

Coupled with a powerful spot beam, the Galaxy Network has the capability to deliver more bits of data for a lower price. This can dramatically increase speeds plus it can be easily configured in a load sharing arrangement with an inexpensive router.

 


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