The fierce challenges of the North Sea oil and gas industry are being smoothed with an innovative wireless data network, and ATDI is ensuring operators get the most out of it.
Rigs in both UK and Norwegian waters have been linked to each other and to shore via a fibre optic network run by Stavanger-based Tampnet. The company is expanding this service with the addition of a LTE system which will enable the rigs, shore bases and support vessels to share information in real time. Currently, data is transferred via satellite but the limited bandwidth, and relatively long delays inherent with that service, create a potential for problems. The demands of dealing with oil and gas under pressure, in often appalling weather, means that high throughput, low latency and jitter in data exchange could compromise safety and the efficiency of operations.
ATDI supplied ICS LT, its planning and modelling software to enable Tampnet to manage the new LTE network. Managing director, Peter Paul, trained Tampnet executives and the oil companies how to get the most out of their software solution and the network.
“We discussed all the relevant issues, such as the modelling of the system, backhaul and microwave point-to-point links,” Peter comments. “Using our planning and modelling software ICS LT, we also looked at how they can use the analysis function and where they would lose coverage.
Fig. 1 Illustrates Tampnet’s communications network
“ATDI prides itself of being able to plan and model in any environment from deserts to icecaps to tropical rainforests and being out at sea presents an interesting set of variables to deal with. Clearly, there are no terrain maps but we have to plan for waves of varying heights and, on stormy days, waves so large they interfere with line-of-sight communication.”
Tampnet’s LTE project manager Kristian Hove adds: “ICS LT has been central in the planning process to predict the expected coverage we would get by building a base station on a particular offshore platform with certain antenna heights above sea level and with our customers’ antennas on various heights, and also after the base station is built to confirm expected coverage and to predict if a possible new location on the rig would get a satisfactory service. It’s all about prediction of coverage so we are in a position to deliver promised services to our customers.”
ATDI’s previous collaboration with Tampnet saw the supply of wireless broadband access to offshore platforms, support vessels and fixed assets. ATDI planned and modelled the proposed service and negotiated a test and development licence from Ofcom, the UK national regulator. For more information visit: https://www.atdi.co.uk/atdi-is-helping-extend-the-net-in-the-north-sea/