SOURCE: Firetide Inc.

Firetide Inc.

November 19, 2013 09:00 ET

South Asia Gateway Terminals Deploys Firetide Mesh Network to Boost Port Productivity and Gain Operational Flexibility

A Dramatic Uptick in Wireless Transactions at the Port of Colombo Triggers the Search for a Long-Term Solution With the Headroom for Massive Growth; Firetide's Self-Healing Mesh Network Delivers the Flexibility and Reliability Necessary in a Challenging Operating Environment

CAMPBELL, CA--(Marketwired - November 19, 2013) - Firetide Inc., the technology leader in private wireless broadband networks, announced the successful deployment of a state-of-the-art wireless mesh network that boosts port productivity by adding flexibility and dependability to the massive freight operations at Sri Lanka's Port of Colombo. South Asia Gateway Terminals (PVT) Ltd. (SAGT) selected Firetide's technology after it demonstrated superior cost effectiveness and performance over the other technology providers that tendered proposals. Network design simplicity and overall reliability were also key factors in SAGT's decision.

The Port of Colombo serves as an important terminal in Asia due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean. Currently with a capacity of more than one million TEUs (the standard unit for describing a shipping terminal's cargo-carrying capacity) and a dredged depth of over 15 meters, the Colombo Harbour ranks among the top 35 ports worldwide. Covering an area of almost 300,000 square meters, the port terminal posed unique challenges to SAGT's wireless network architects. In addition to salt water and the prevailing high humidity, potential mounting locations for the wireless network nodes were constrained by the scarcity of mount poles with available power, and the potential for lightning damage to network equipment.

The port operations added further complications. SAGT had been using narrow-band radio data terminals for data capture around the port terminal, with voice communications via point-to-point radio for operations coordination. But the radio-hostile port terminal environment was seriously degrading data and voice communications. Until recently, the average height of the thousands of steel containers stacked around the port was four containers. But a recent surge in terminal volumes has increased that height to six containers, and the positions of these stacks are continually in flux. This ferrous landscape, coupled with the port's numerous moving gantry cranes and quay cranes, demanded a wireless network that could reconfigure itself should containers or cranes temporarily obstruct a network node from communicating with its peers.

The Firetide network solution for the SAGT at the Port of Colombo
The new mesh network had to satisfy several requirements:

  • Enable 802.11A/B/G WiFi coverage of all the principal areas of the SAGT terminal, especially the yard, gate area and the wharf.
  • Integrate land mobile radio and VoIP voice communications over Wi-Fi to improve person-to-person communications.
  • Handle potential network interruptions automatically, ideally with self-healing properties.
  • Simultaneously support mission-critical data and voice applications:
    • Data - ensure instant updates to the workflow system according to the scheduled task assignment.
    • Voice - support push-to-talk applications to provide communication between system administrators, operators of RTG cranes and quay cranes, and walkie-talkie-equipped ground supervisors.
  • Provide redundant WiFi infrastructure to ensure 99.99 percent reliability and availability.
  • Deliver all the above cost-effectively while requiring minimum modifications to the terminal's physical infrastructure.

"Our volume of narrow-band data transactions had increased to such an extent that it was seriously degrading our response times. As a fast-growing port terminal, we needed a way to quickly remedy this situation while minimizing downtime and providing room for long-term growth," said Upul Jinadasa, manager of operations and IT at SAGT. "Firetide's solutions maintain a high level of performance even in an environment characterized by regular power outages and fast-changing weather conditions. And because we can easily add new nodes to the network, we are poised to manage the next phase in the port's evolution."

"The successful implementation of this advanced wireless mesh network at SAGT terminal in the Port of Colombo demonstrates the enormous potential for Firetide in satisfying even the most technically demanding port operations worldwide," said Jeremy Koh, vice president of sales, Asia-Pacific for Firetide. "The recently expanded Firetide product range now connects the network core to the very edge, while preserving dependability and security throughout. This makes Firetide a flexible network solution that can support a wide variety of port applications and requirements."

Firetide addresses emerging applications in government, commercial and industrial settings
Wireless mesh network infrastructure supports video surveillance, mobility, wireless backhaul offload and process automation for applications such as public safety, transportation and smart grid. Unique to Firetide's solution is its patented AutoMesh™ technology, which enables businesses, governments and industrial customers to view live, high-bandwidth video feeds reliably, securely and with low latency.

About South Asia Gateway Terminals
South Asia Gateway Terminals (PVT) Ltd., better known as SAGT, is on a 30-year B.O.T. and is owned by a consortium of local and international establishments of repute. The terminal is located in the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the renowned and historic Queen Elizabeth Quay. The port's natural geographic location is strategically positioned on the main East-West shipping route, linking the Far East with Africa, Europe, and the East Coast of the US, providing ideal connections to the trade in the Indian sub-continent. This makes the Port of Colombo a superb strategic hub. In 1999, SAGT set out to conquer its quest of setting benchmark standards in terms of service excellence, productivity, efficiency and consistency. Today SAGT peruses its commitment in maintaining international standards and its position as "The Transhipment Hub of Tomorrow's World."

About Firetide Inc. 
Firetide, headquartered in Silicon Valley, has more than 10,000 customers in 40 countries around the globe, including Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit, the City of Chicago and the world's longest mesh network at the Thailand Royal Irrigation Department. Most recently, Makati City, the financial center of the Philippines, deployed a Firetide wireless mesh video surveillance network as part of its citywide intelligent transportation system to alleviate traffic congestion. For more information, visit or follow Firetide at @firetide.

Firetide and AutoMesh are trademarks of Firetide Inc. All other company and product names are the trademarks of their respective owners. 

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