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Turnkey ‘point to point’ networks

Introduction Your goal The turnkey process

Introduction

When seeking out a private communications network organisations are usually presented with two options:

1. The lease model – pay monthly data transmission fees to an ISP to lease their fibre.

2. The ownership model – build your own private network using microwave radio technology.

In many cases there are obvious cost advantages afforded by option two. However, many businesses do not know this option exists, or they simply do not have the expertise within their core business to build and manage a wide area network.

For this reason ATI offers customers the ability to outsource the entire network from A to Z, as a ‘turnkey’ package. This allows us to do the job efficiently and allows our customers to get back to what they do best with minimal disturbance to their own productivity.

Unlike many of our competitors, ATI has the combined experience, man power and support team to create reliable and long lasting networks. Click here to see our customer references that demonstrate this


Your goal

Perhaps you are:

• A council wanting to allow your customers in faraway locations to pay rates without needing to drive in to town
• A mine site in a remote location (off the telecommunications grid) and experiencing slow site-to-site or site-to-head office data transmission speeds
• A radiographer needing to move very large image files to radiologists more quickly.
• Running an industrial plant and need to monitor switching or SCADA assets with ultra-reliability.
• Responsible for running communications across a large scale and transient construction environment with frequent digging activity making it impractical to fun fibre.
• Operating a railway and need an ultra-reliable 99.999% (“five nines”) availability backhaul network set up for your voice (2-way radio), switching or CCTV data.
• A large utilities organisation needing to:
A. Achieve fast file transfer speeds between your office locations to allow corporate network users to work more productively.
B. Monitor voltages and protect infrastructure in your large scale power network by securing and maintaining a complex synchronised grid.
C. Establish a back haul network for smart metering.

Regardless of your industry you may be facing challenges such as:

• Fibre being not available at some or all of your sites
• Equity of access: your staff demand the same network capacity regardless of the location they are in and how geographically diverse their surrounding environment is.
• You are getting excessive bills and slow data speeds from your leased line (fibre)
• You would like to objectively compare the cost of your current network with an alternative that you weren’t previously aware of.
• You’re looking for a diverse back up option or disaster recovery solution by creating a diverse path (another data transmission path running in a different direction), a path duplication (duplicate the same transmission path) or a different media type (e.g. microwave radio or fibre).
• You need a technology refresh on your existing network hardware.


The turnkey process

Step 1. Desktop survey
Once you have decided on a turnkey network solution, we typically start by getting an understanding of the existing infrastructure in the area to see what assets already exist that your network could utilise. We then extend this preliminary investigation out to what third party sites, land owners, hardware types and Greenfield opportunities may exist. The more potential repeater sites we can identify the more flexible and cost effective your network can be.

Our senior engineers are also well practiced at understanding topology – judging the optimal network path within the limits of the topology. Our aim is usually to link topology with the least number of hops in order to reach network performance and reliability goals, again, at the lowest possible cost.

Next, an assessment of what hardware is already on any existing structures is performed and how much of it can be utilised or integrated. We then assess what additional hardware is needed – there are literally thousands of brands, parts and configurations available. Part of the value of our specialist engineering team is their ability to specify the right hardware from the beginning.

Step 2. Site survey
A site survey and line-of-sight analysis allows us to confirm or deny our desktop survey findings (covered in the section above), and puts us in a sure position to summarise all available options to the customer in a considered way. Options will normally include a specification to build upgrade or modify the infrastructure such as the radio transmission, supporting power systems, network routing and service multiplexing.

Step 3. Infrastructure specification
The Infrastructure specification may include for example:

• Antenna mounting design
• Site security plans
• Tower height and strength
• Comms room size and layout
• Earthing grid design
• Site general layout

Step 4. Design management
Our design management process allows us to engage with 3rd parties to remove any potential road blocks to implementation. These may include stakeholders who are by default connected with the project such as civil and structural engineers, local government, Air Services Australia, local councils and the ACMA for licencing issues.

Step 5. Network Power supply
The network needs to be supported by an effective and serviceable power system. This can be in the form of a primary or back up system and may be from the grid, a generator, solar or wind sources as examples. ATI’s engineers will determine the appropriate power supply options available to your site.

Step 6. Confirm multi-vendor integration requirements
When it comes to networks and their integration requirements, every case is a contingency. ATI’s approach has for 22 years been to choose the best product for our customer based on cost performance and availability.

Let’s say for example ATI installs a high capacity backbone between two locations using the latest generation Ceragon brand point to point microwave equipment. That backbone may well need to integrate with local distribution Proxim brand Wi-Fi hardware at its end points in order to create a successful and locally distributable homogenous network.

Step 7. Network installation
Next, we will assist you to determine the network installation requirements and prepare instructions on how to build the network (if you are not utilising ATI’s installation service). This will include the provision of detailed documentation and reports and CAD drawings if the customer requests it or we suggest it.

An installation specification might include:

• General arrangement of the equipment room
• Cabling plans and schematics
• Equipment earthing

Step 8. Network lifecycle management
Our technology is usually extremely durable. At ATI, we have never said to a customer that they should replace their product as it’s too old – it just doesn’t wear out easily. Technology is usually refreshed only because newer equipment has come onto the market that is of better capacity, is easier to monitor and is more compact.

Step 9. Installation completion commissioning
Towards the end of a network installation we make sure it works to specification – to both the manufacturer’s specification and the customer’s expectation. Making sure the network meets the requirements of all stakeholders – this is the signature of an ATI project: assurance that the customer receives the goal that they originally set out to achieve and that all stakeholders are appropriately considered in the process.

Whatever it is ATI will meet and deliver your objectives and deliverables at a fair and transparent cost. Click here to see customer references that demonstrate our track record. Our ultimate goal is a quality well designed network that meets your needs in the most cost effective way. We will simply implement whatever task or technology that allows us to get there.

A note about risk
Every project has some degree of risk associated with it. We can give an accurate estimate according to how we understand and interpret that degree of risk. ATI can absorb a reasonable amount of risk and thereby keep overall costs down. For example if we speculate a line of site (if it’s not practical to go on site physically) ATI will back up the quote with a guaranteed counter solution if we later determine that that line of site does not actually exist.