- THE MAGAZINE
Fidelity Comtech Inc. (FCI), a provider of extended wireless solutions for the intermodal industry, announced the deployment of its eCone integrated wireless platform at Global Terminal & Container Services, LLC in Bayonne, N.J.
The shift toward introducing larger vessels in the shipping industry and the expansion of the Panama Canal has prompted an overhaul of marine terminal infrastructure. The emphasis on improved land usage and container processing has placed an increased focus on technology that improves container terminal efficiency as vessel size grows.
Wireless network technology has traditionally been a challenge on these facilities. Traditional wireless network providers have not been able to design wireless solutions that adequately address the challenges of connectivity and performance in a constantly shifting metallic environment.
“I became interested in Fidelity Comtech because I felt the eCone platform was a differentiating technology that addressed the issues I had experienced during another recent automation project on the U.S. East Coast,” says Rich Ceci, vice president of IT for Global.
The three components that offer the biggest challenge for vehicle-mounted clients on container terminals are:
1. Roaming: The eCone’s configurable settings allows for unprecedented tuning of wireless network roaming on the terminal that uniformly balances wireless network loading.
2. Connectivity: The eCone’s powered antenna is in a class of its own relative to staying connected, compared to passive antennas, on a canyon driven container terminal.
3. Performance: The eCone delivers an average data rate of 36 Mbit/sec throughout the Global terminal operational area, with a median SNR of 45 dB.
In addition to a differentiating technology, Ceci was impressed with the expertise and commitment of FCI’s Field Engineers.
According to Ceci, “A part of the FCI solution included the onsite involvement of their technical staff to make sure performance was optimized in our environment. FCI understands the importance of performance tuning at each customer location.”
The eCone features a high performance wireless router serving as the network connection device. It has an output power of up to 26 dBm–-four times the output power of a typical passive antenna-–and has two internal omnidirectional antennas, each with 5.5 dBi of gain that enables it to close much more challenging wireless links than conventional passive antennas.
Another advantage of using the integrated FCI wireless platform is technical support. “Fidelity Comtech’s onsite support for their equipment is top-notch, and knowing that I only need one contact for support issues can be critical in our business,” says Ceci.
Global will also be using FCI’s NetWatch performance monitoring service to track the eCones in real time and to continuously monitor the coverage on the terminal.
Says Joe Carey, President and Founder of FCI, “We are extremely excited to be a part of the wireless solution for Global’s semi-automated container terminal, live in Q2 2014. The eCone’s ability to seamlessly integrate Global’s Now Solutions DGPS application, as well as FCI’s ability to provide real time monitoring of wireless connectivity and performance with our NetWatch service is a significant advantage to our customers.”