There is no doubt about it – it is difficult to be proactive in the management of your wireless network. Yet, it is more critical than ever to be efficient, especially with the ‘new normal’ world we are moving to
While site visits might currently not be possible for many, we will review here 5 ways that a site visit can be performed remotely.
So, discover, learn and don’t wait to talk to your technology partner.
1. Firmware upgrade
As mentioned in our latest blog, while firmware upgrades tend to be dismissed from time to time as other, more critical activities arise, such tasks cannot be underestimated. Not only do firmware upgrades typically patch a number of security risks that might impact your production, they also often include new features making management of your assets and overall performance of your wireless network easier and more stable.
So stop postponing and talk to technology partner’s support team to help you implement the latest firmware upgrades.
2. Configuration changes
Testing the performance of your wireless network before and after a configuration change can help verify performance improvements, as well as identify trouble spots.
Take the example of the implementation of the latest dispatch system which includes a moving map feature. This feature can significantly increase the load of your wireless network. This increased demand generally affects your wireless network the most around the areas of high vehicle concentration and in particular around shovels. Trucks are sending location data very frequently to other equipment in its vicinity.
3D-P uses an in-house network performance audit tool that comes natively on every 3D-P Intelligent Endpoint. This network performance software, called Collector, can be used to record network performance, latency, throughput, access point peers and other information from the actual mobile client as it traverses the mine, providing usable client performance data. This data is collected on the Intelligent Endpoint during a pre-determined test period, data is then processed through 3D-P’s NPAT (Network Performance Analysis Toolkit) Server and a KMZ is exported geo referencing the test data, giving a visual representation of your network’s health metrics.
As a result, NPAT can help demonstrate network performance increase through simple re-configuration by delivering usable, contextual data.
3. Physical installation review
Once configuration has been updated, your wireless network might still display some sub-optimal performance around specific locations. This could be associated with the physical installation of your hardware. Experience has shown over and over that poor spatial positioning of the antennas onboard your mobile heavy equipment has played a significant role in the sub-optimal performance of your wireless network.
While physical installation audit may not be possible for some at this time, a combination of symptoms and streaming video/photography review may help pinpoint specific installation challenges. These challenges may be resolved by simple best practices sharing and customer training.
While it’s nearly impossible to guarantee complete reliability of your wireless network, it’s clear that not all sites have the same ‘pain threshold’ when it comes to the failure of their wireless network. Depending on the applications your operations rely on, frequent failure of your wireless network may either barely impact production or bring your operations to its knees, with a range of variants in between.
In those circumstances, and especially now, it might be of value to develop an understanding of your internal capabilities and the type of external support your operations need that will guarantee the appropriate level of access to your critical data. In other words, what is the acceptable tradeoff between internal and external management of your network that would provide the most value to your organization?
Consulting with a mining technology expert such as 3D-P may help you better understand your unique capabilities and the gaps that, if filled, may make your operations more efficient.
With technology constantly evolving, ongoing training of the staff managing your wireless network is nothing less than critical. Selection and implementation of the latest technology trends should be supported by the appropriate training around how they perform in the mining environment and specifically to the applications used at site.
Whilst nothing beats hands-on training, live and recorded remote training can also be valuable. So don’t hesitate to reach out to your technology partner and request some technology training on the latest technologies, including meshing and LTE.
To learn more about how 3D-P can help you perform a remote site survey, contact us today.