Creating High-Speed Internet Access across a Mountaintop, over 12 Inches of Radial Ice, in -20°F
Pogo Mine, 38 miles northwest of Delta Junction, operates like a small town. It provides accommodation, medical care, food, and more, for 450 people living and working on-site. Between the camp and Delta Junction is "40mi mountaintop". It gets its name by being located at mile-marker 40 on the 50-mile access road that connects the mine to the town.
From 2011 thru 2016, the “morale network”, which enabled everyone on site to stay in touch with loved ones by checking their email, calling home and accessing the internet consisted of a pair of 20mb Ethernet Circuits and a pair of T1’s. While this was sufficient, people longed for the bandwidth that would allow them speedy access to multimedia content. However, installing a fiber line to Delta Junction would cost $6.6 million and that kind of spend was out of the question. In early 2017, Mike Spooner, Telecom and Infrastructure Technician for Sumitomo Metals Mining Pogo LLC, found a solution.
"It came to my attention that a local WISP had their own telco tower in Delta Junction, with a direct fiber connection to two ISPs", explains Spooner. "This was a breakthrough. After a substantial amount of research, we figured out we could install a 11ghz link from Delta Junction to 40Mi [mountaintop], and a 5.8ghz link from 40mi [mountaintop] back to the mine for less than one month’s cost of our current internet bill."
Spooner continues, "As the design came together, we realized that the 11ghz microwave had to be on one side of the mountain and the 5.8ghz had to be on the other side, about 100ft apart. Since it is the highest mountaintop around and trying to achieve ‘ground’ on solid rock is very problematic, we decided that eliminating the electrical route between the two systems was the best way to go. Perle had already proven themselves to me as being able to handle our rough environment, so they were the first place I looked when I needed Fiber to Ethernet."
Due to lightning risk, Spooner decided to heavily ground the structures, install double lightning isolation on the power leads, and run optical fiber for the four Gigabit links needed by the radio equipment. Perle SFP Media Converters were used to provide addition copper to fiber conversion ports that were not natively availble in the equipment being installed. For more details about the installation and equipment used, read the original Case Study here.
Spooner concludes, "Everything seems to be working just grand, even during all the torture mother-nature throws at us. The Perle Media Converters haven’t dropped a single frame or packet since they were turned on, even in -20°F temperatures and over 12 inches of radial ice!"
About Perle Systems - www.perle.com
Perle Systems is a leading developer, manufacturer and vendor of high-reliability and richly featured connectivity and device networking products. These products are used to connect remote users reliably and securely to central servers for a wide variety of business applications. Product lines include Console Servers for Data Center Management, Terminal Servers, Device Servers, Remote Power Switches, Media Converters, Ethernet I/O, Serial Cards, Parallel Cards and Multimodem Cards. Perle distinguishes itself through extensive networking technology, depth of experience in major real-world network environments and long-term distribution and VAR channel relationships in major world markets. Perle has offices in 9 countries in North America, Europe and Asia and sells its products through distribution and OEM/ODE channels worldwide.
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