WIFI inside a Marble Mine with POYNTING

Project Info:
  • Customer: SITIP S.r.l.
  • Partner: MARCOM S.r.l.
  • Location: Gonzaga, Italy
  • POYNTING Product: 3 x HELI-22 Antennas; Bi-directional, dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi antennas
  • Router: Mikrotik NetMetal ac² AP

The Background

Marcom S.R.L., our partner in Italy, specialises in the development and integration of IOT, M2M and Industrial Automation solutions. They aim to create smart buildings and factories using their digital solutions.

Therefore, it was not surprising that SITIP S.r.l. approached them to improve communication at Marini Marmi Marble Mine in Castro (Province of Bergamo, Italy).

The Challenge

Marini Marmi has been extracting ornamental stone from its own quarry since 1897. In 1993, the process of excavating the quarry tunnel commenced. Presently, the quarry consists of three primary parallel tunnels, each spanning approximately 250 meters in length. These tunnels have dimensions exceeding 10 x 10 meters. Additionally, there are several subsidiary galleries or rooms, branching off from these main tunnels.

During this time Mining Engineering Department at the University of Turin started deploying sensors to measure of environmental and physical parameters, including fault movement and rock fractures in the mine. These sensors have proven instrumental in gathering vital information concerning environmental safety and quality.

An underground WiFi system custom-made for this challenging environment was needed to communicate with the outside world.

The Solution

To cater to these unique requirements, the POYNTING helical antennas were ideal.

The HELI-22 is a dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi antenna, radiating in both directions. This makes them ideal for the coverage of both Wi-Fi bands in mining and other type of tunnels. These antennas are typically used for the deployment of IoT within the tunnel to provide telemetry and mine automation.

These antennas are purpose-built for mines and tunnels and were specifically engineered to endure the demanding conditions found within them.

Three of these antennas were sufficient to provide comprehensive coverage for the existing quarry. Furthermore, the system was designed to adapt to the expansion of tunnels within the mountain, enabling the seamless extension of the telecommunications network without any limitations on its reach.

The Result

These links provided a substantially greater data throughput (2.5Gb/s) than what was needed, while also maintaining low latencies. With latencies under 10ms, the network easily accommodates Internet telephony services such as WhatsApp calls.

To ensure swift resolution of any problems, the communication devices are remotely managed, enabling our customers to receive fast diagnostics and the ability to address any issues within a reasonable timeframe. This capability enhances the overall system’s efficiency and effectiveness.

The Customer Said:

The day after the installation I had a telephone conversation with the customer who was inside the quarry… I must honestly say that my satisfaction in carrying out that conversation is at least equal to that of the customer who solved his problem!!

– MARCO Franchi 

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