Rapid Site Deployment: Mobilise within two days
During 2014, there was a considerable rise in interest in our bonded 4G LTE WAN cellular circuit capability. This interest was driven by two things:
- Delivery issues with Openreach EAD circuits.
- Increased business need to mobilise faster with immediate access to medium to high bandwidth connectivity.
There was particular interest from the Construction sector, so we decided to develop our capability further and build a simple proposition for the construction sector. Since this time, demand has grown significantly year on year.
Our rapid site deployment solution is now being used by numerous clients, including: BAM Construct, WSP and Balfour Beatty (as well as clients in other sectors).
We provide managed WAN and IT services to many construction sector clients. Conversations with these clients highlighted the significant challenge they face when it comes to mobilising for large multi-year as well as short-term projects.
Our primary objective when approaching this challenge was to install medium to high bandwidth data communications (typically circa 30Mbit/s) to inaccessible green and brown field locations. These locations will often not be connected to any carrier networks, or to Openreach.
Construction companies, as well as other industries, commonly wait 5 months or more for fibre circuit delivery. The process is fraught with legal wayleave paperwork, telecom exchanges with limited or no spare capacity, new cable ducts to dig or old ones to repair, roads to be closed (so that the new ducts can be dug), and thousands of pounds of excess construction charges (ECC).
During this period, they are unable to share and collaborate on large data sets, access business critical applications, install sensor equipment and monitor health and safety risks. They are not working at full efficiency from the start, which is a cost that cannot be recouped.
Historically, the go-to interim solutions are expensive and site-specific, requiring long term contractual commitments despite being used for less than six months. When this isn’t the case, the alternative fall-back solution requires a large volume of uncontrolled, individual user 3/4G dongles.
We designed a 4G WAN solution to address several challenges:
- Rapid site deployment (Two working days from order to installation)
- Temporary site deployment (Monthly contract for the hardware, SIMs and support service)
- Mobile site connectivity (Can be installed in fixed locations, or in vehicles)
- Resilience and diverse site connectivity (High availability using multiple SIMs and multiple carriers to multiple mobile cells)
"We are using this on at least 50% of our construction sites."
Rapid site deployment provides functionally rich and resilient connectivity, using bonded, multi-carrier cellular SIMs with connectivity brought back to a hub, and on to the customer WAN. It was designed to support:
- Secure VPN back to corporate WAN
- WiFi Hotspot
- IP Telephony
- Video / CCTV Streaming
- Smart Device and Sensor Connectivity
Our solution was configured commercially, using a flexible, affordable monthly pay-as-you-go model, with no up-front investment or long term commitment.
It was also integrated with a Ka band satellite for areas with no mobile coverage, enabling download speeds of 20Mbps. Other integrations included fixed line DSL and public WiFi services as connectivity options. The aim of this was to provide a new site lifecycle that would bring a new office online quickly, before transitioning to fixed lines when they arrive.
Here’s an example: The bonded 3G/4G cellular WAN is used for the first month. Then there is a transition to ADSL services, followed by the final transition to Ethernet services after 3-5 months.
We designed this solution such that 3/4G cellular WAN, ADSL and Ethernet could be bonded together as a single connection. This provides a boost to bandwidth for peak demands. Alternatively, the bonded 3/4G cellular WAN and ADSL services could be kept in a passive mode for business continuity scenarios, with the Ethernet circuit serving as the primary connection.
Another notable improvement is that the service can be deployed ‘in-vehicle’, effectively turning a vehicle into a mobile office! The vehicle can be connected to the WAN just like a standard office, but with the added benefit of GPS telematics.
This solution allows the SAS team to manage the connectivity lifecycle on behalf of our customers, ensuring they enjoy the optimum connectivity available at the time.
"We are extremely pleased with the solution."
Additional benefits achieved over and above the initial scope include:
- Clients have been able to use a single supplier to manage the whole IT-life-cycle for construction sites. In just a single visit, SAS can: cable portacabins, install network cabinets; install LAN, WLAN and point-to-point systems, servers, PCs and printers; as well as WAN connectivity.
- Clients have reduced the cost of dual running their networks by having SAS manage the transition from bonded cellular to bonded DSL and then to Ethernet – avoiding costly overlaps.
- Clients have increased availability by keeping the cellular WAN in passive back up mode for business continuity. Their portacabins can be re-positioned around the construction sites as the project develops – avoiding interruption when Ethernet fibre has to be re-routed.
BAM Construction were kind enough to send us a testimonial:
"SAS built a rapid site deployment solution for us that we are now using this on at least 50% of our construction sites. We are extremely pleased with the solution! The deployment process is easy, with our sites now being deployed in as little as 48 hours [power depending]. In most areas the performance and reliability are very good. It’s been great to be able to migrate seamlessly to fibre Ethernet when we need to.
We’re using the solution at more and more sites and I’d recommend it to other businesses. I commend SAS for working with BAM Construction Ltd to ensure we had a mobile, rapid solution to get the projects live within a few days of setting up, whilst we waited for the fixed lines to be installed."
Lisa Preston: Communications and Business Services Manager
Service: Rapid Site Deployment
If you'd like to learn more about Rapid Site Deployment, why not download our free brochure?