Boosting bandwidth in remote PNG

CONNECTIVITY issues are not new to PNG’s resources industries, which are typically based in remote locations which lack infrastructure. But new technologies are emerging to assist them in boosting bandwidth, driving costs down and ensuring reliable connectivity.
Boosting bandwidth in remote PNG Boosting bandwidth in remote PNG Boosting bandwidth in remote PNG Boosting bandwidth in remote PNG Boosting bandwidth in remote PNG

There are three key challenges associated in providing reliable and cost-efficient connectivity to the remote regions of PNG: optimising bandwidth resources, supporting vital industry-specific applications and allowing workers to keep in touch with friends and family through internet-based software.

Bandwidth can become very expensive when delivered in short supply to multiple remote regions of PNG. With the advent of more video and cloud-based applications coming online every day, the amount of rich media traffic crossing the resource sector network is rapidly increasing. What is needed in this situation is a bandwidth-efficient platform, supporting the latest bandwidth management solutions, such as wide area network acceleration, protocol control and caching.

The resource sector relies heavily upon various computerised applications to drive daily operations. Certain types of large data, such as cross-domain drilling information have to be exchanged over the network in real time.

When poor communications fail to support mission-critical operations, productivity suffers and the entire operation may be put at risk. Ideally, an information and communications technology consultant must guarantee reliable connectivity by providing quality of service and satellite link redundancy.

But the increasing importance of worker welfare applications, including lower priority but important services such as social networking & Skype, cannot be overlooked.

Intranet and recreational internet traffic need to be prioritised and sustained to improve worker welfare, safety and quality of life during deployment. Failure to do so will clearly result in loss of valuable personnel and failure to communicate critical safety and training information on site.

A solution

An Australian-owned global satellite communications provider, Pactel International, says it has partnered up with local ICT providers to address these connectivity challenges in PNG.

The collaboration started with reviewing local providers' existing infrastructure capabilities and refreshing their networks with more robust and cost-efficient platforms.

Recently, Pactel International installed three new DVB-S2 ACM system hubs for three independent providers in Port Moresby. Pactel says the new platforms assist the providers in supplying connectivity to the most remote provinces of Papua New Guinea in a more reliable and cost-efficient manner.

The new high-speed satellite transmission platform runs on the IS-18 satellite and can provide both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint satellite links - bringing a number of new benefits to the resource sector in PNG:

Unlocking bandwidth capacity and coverage

Using a wide satellite selection (including the recently launched IS-18 Satellite), Pactel provides C-Band satellite capacity, ideal for the resource sectors that demand high speed, increased bandwidth and performance during the extreme weather conditions of PNG.

Sasol Petroleum International rig site safety manager Roger Taylor said Pactel exceeded his expectations in delivering fast, reliable and consistent voice, video and data services into one of its remote exploration sites in PNG.

"The supplied communication system, a combination of Satellite, WIFI distribution, Acceleration and VOIP services enables site crew to communicate effectively locally and internationally, and to share large volumes of mission-critical information with our head office," he said.

"Designed, engineered and installed in a matter of weeks, the solution was provided in record time. Pactel's unique platform supports all our industry-specific applications, as well as allowing for additional components to be installed as required.

"Pactel's 24/7 monitoring and control allows us to be confident in their solution."

Taylor was very impressed with what can be hard to achieve throughout PNG - clear sound quality over the phone.

"We were delighted to find the quality of voice calls and internet services in PNG consistently superior to that of our Australian locations."

The new satellite selection also allows for uniform coverage across the 24 nations of the Pacific region.

Bandwidth optimisation

Pactel's approach to bandwidth management consists of WAN Acceleration, Protocol Control through QoS and caching. By applying these tools to new and existing links, Pactel's satellite platforms allow end users in the resource sector to speed up application performance, maximise effective throughput and reduce their IT infrastructure costs - all without the need to add extra bandwidth.

Support of welfare networks

An important feature of Pactel's platform is the ability to support worker welfare networks, critical in the resource sector. The company delivers an integrated, satellite-based welfare network approach to supply clear and reliable recreational voice, video and data applications under any weather condition in any region. The key advantage is that it can run separate from the industry operations via alternative routers. This avoids communication congestion, ensuring there is always enough bandwidth for mission-critical functions.

A Talisman Energy drilling materials manager, whose name is withheld, also said Pactel‘s enhanced solution allows all key workers to access the internet wirelessly from anywhere across the site, including a well-used social network component.

"Pactel's flexibility, creativeness and attention to detail was crucial in our ability to control what we needed, when we needed it, especially with the operations centre in Sydney being able to log, recommend and respond real-time to our varied load balance requirements" he said.

"Pactel International has built a strong reputation for providing expertise and quality for our customers in PNG," Pactel International business development manager Nick Miller said.

"We are proud to have supplied infrastructure that plays such an important role in delivering reliable communications to any remote location of the country."

Published in the February 2012 PNG Report magazine

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