The SIAMnet Communication System by Laird offers an extremely cost effective alternative to Fiber Optic and “Leaky Feeder”.
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The SIAMnet is a communication system designed for underground mines allowing people and computers to communicate with each other. The transmission of radio waves is negatively impacted by the small tunnel sizes in mines and performance quickly deteriorates. The SIAMnet distributes the radio wave signals throughout the mine and reestablishes communication among users whether they are located at the surface or underground.Two-way voice communication was the primary use for a communication system prior to the introduction of computers into mines. Nowadays, data communication is of utmost importance as it is used for process control, ventilation on demand, blasting systems, seismic activity monitoring, tagging, emails, Internet and a number of other applications.
The SIAMnet is well suited to answer those needs due to its high data communication capabilities.The system is easy to configure, install and service. It is based on the cable television standards and is the most cost effective system when it comes to data communication for mining.
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The SIAMnet is a Distributed Antenna System, based on the CATV standards and utilizes commercially available components. It uses coaxial cable to transport the signal throughout the mine. Splitters are then used to divide the network into branches and to feed antennas or network devices. High frequency 800MHz radio signals propagate better into tunnels than lower frequency VHF. Antennas are also shorter and their installation is non-obstructive.
Omnidirectional antennas are installed at tunnel intersections and cover 360 degrees. Directional antennas cover a single tunnel but at an increased distance. These antennas are used for simultaneous voice and data communication. Since the radio coverage is provided by antennas and not by the cable, the cable may be protected using conduits or shotcrete. The system is more reliable since incidents do sometimes occur in a mine. Amplifiers are installed at predetermined distances to compensate for cable losses and they are powered from the cable. There is no need to install a separate AC power line.
The basic SBDA 2 amplifier operates within the 800MHz LMR band and supports the voice and mobile data communication. The add-on CMA/SDA companion module operates in the cable modem band, below 200MHz, and supports high speed data communication and video. The SDA circuitry provides diagnostic and remote configuration capabilities.
The SIAMnet supports multiple simultaneous conversations, up to 32 channels. It is compatible with either the analog or digital 800MHZ communication technologies. There are two types of radios that can be used with the system: mobile radios for vehicular applications and portable radios for personal use.
The system may be configured to operate in a conventional mode or the more powerful trunking modes. Trunking allows a large number of user groups to share the system and is not limited by the number of voice channels. It is a much more efficient method of using the same infrastructure and therefore increases the overall effectiveness of the system. Trunking allows private conversations between users no matter where they are. A telephone interface may also be provided so that users can receive or place telephone calls outside of the mine.
The SIAMnet Diagnostic System (SDS) allows for the configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting of the SIAMnet from a distant location. It consists of the SIAMnet Diagnostic Manager (SDM) software, the SIAMnet Diagnostic Gateway (SDG) and each amplifier is equipped with the SIAMnet Diagnostic Adapter board (SDA).
The SDS is an excellent diagnostic tool which ensures the SIAMnet is running at its optimum level at all times. The technician uses the SDS to configure the amplifiers according to the mine setup. Should a change be required, the amplifiers can be re-configured or troubleshot from the surface or any another remote location, without having to travel to the mine. Technical support from Laird can also be provided through the SDS.
The Vehicular Communication System or VCS, provides data communication between a centrally located computer server and mobile units such as loaders, trucks or drills. The system consists of a master radio modem installed at the head end of the SIAMnet communication system and slave radio modems installed on vehicles. The data may consist of Ethernet or serial data packets. The Ethernet and serial ports may be used concurrently on a first come first served basis.
The slave radio modems may be configured with two antennas. Such configuration eliminates the dead spot phenomena and provides continuous, error free communication wherever the vehicle is in the mine. The system is capable of half duplex 100Kbps, which is more than enough for mining applications.
The cable modem technology is used by cable television companies to provide high speed Internet to their TV subscribers. Laird uses the same technology to provide high speed data to underground users. It is an extension of the customer network (LAN) into the mine. Business and process application software may be implemented without bandwidth limitations.
The system consists of a Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) installed at the head end of the SIAMnet communication system and cable modems installed at specific locations into the mine. The SIAMnet provides up to five physical networks, administered separately and independently from each other. This ensures that sensitive process control applications are protected from unauthorized entry.
The SIAMnet support all DOCSIS 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0 North American as well as European standards. A channel provides 25MBPS in both directions therefore a SIAMnet is capable of 125MBPS total. Locally, a cable modem may be hooked up to a Wi-Fi Access Point and connect wireless computers to the network. It can also be wired to a switch and connect multiple computers and devices to the network.
The SIAMnet head end is where the voice repeaters, aster radio modems (mobile and high speed), telephone interface, diagnostic gateway, video receivers, etc. are located and interconnected. The head end is installed in a central location either above or underground. The SIAMnet cable is laid out in a star or daisy chain configuration from the head end to all the tunnels requiring communication.
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