Oosterweel 1
CASE Jul 5, 2022

Fast and secure internet at the Oosterweel site

Aurelie Favresse

If you come to Antwerp, you can hardly avoid it: the infrastructure works of the Oosterweelverbinding are proceeding at full speed. Mercuron provides on-site internet communication services via point-to-point wi-fi.

Mercuron provides internet communication services at the Oosterweel site in Antwerp with the help of point-to-point wi-fi solutions, i.e. via a wireless connection between two dish antennas. Our services offer an added value for the specific situation at construction sites, says Vincent Sobry, Business Developer at Mercuron.

The client, Lantis, has awarded the contracts for the Oosterweel construction project in Antwerp to several major Belgian players. The Roco consortium is responsible for the majority of the works, the construction of the Canal Tunnels and the covering of the northern ring road on the right bank of the River Scheldt in Antwerp. This consortium is made up of the construction contractors DEME, BAM Contractors, Besix, Jan De Nul, Cordeel, Denys, Franki, Van Laere and Van Wellen.

On-site survey

Roco selected Mercuron for setting up the internet connection at the site. Experts from Mercuron visited the site to examine the possibilities. “Point-to-point wireless internet appeared to be the ideal option for this site”, says Sobry. “Along the route covered by the site, Roco rents a building as its headquarters. The first set of site facilities is located a few hundred metres away and the second one is located 1.8 km away. This situation allowed us to point the dish antennas towards one another and set up the point-to-point wireless connection from the roof of the central building.”

The point-to-point wireless connection is used not just for communications and for consulting the construction plans but also for site security. Vincent Sobry: “You can only gain access with a badge and that works just like the barrier, the sliding gate or the mantrap thanks to the signal. So it’s crucial that the connection is reliable.”

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Five benefits of point-to-point wi-fi solutions

As a result of the access control system, the site management is always aware of who is present at the site. “In the evening, for example, it’s possible to check that no one remains on the site”, says Sobry. “The internet connection allows badges to be assigned to access a specific site, where the recipient can immediately watch a safety video. That saves workers and contractors from having to go to another location.”

Besides this flexibility, there are other benefits as well. “The bandwidth is very high, which makes the connection faster. Unlike 4G, where the data costs are charged based on usage, accessing the internet via the point-to-point wi-fi connection is free of charge. The higher the data usage, the shorter the payback period of the installation. Besides, with a wired network, especially at a construction site, there is always the risk of hitting a cable. It is difficult to estimate in advance exactly where the utility lines will lie, how heavy vehicles will drive over the site or where the excavation will occur. A wireless connection solves this problem.”

Therefore, a point-to-point wi-fi connection is more efficient, more flexible, safer, cheaper, and also easier to set up. “You don’t have to dig long trenches or drag around miles of cables. The connection is plugged into the headquarters’ existing internet network, which offers the added benefit of protection via existing security protocols.”

Specific approach for specific needs

There are two types of point-to-point wireless connections. The point-to-point wireless connection is like a virtual cable between two dish antennas - one at the headquarters and one at the site. This provides the site facilities with an internet connection. “With a point-to-multipoint wireless connection - a kind of virtual spider web so to speak - we ensure that the signal is distributed over different points and applications on that part of the site”, clarifies Sobry. “Since this is not a very common technology, the components are still quite readily available today, despite stock shortages in the mainstream IT market.”

Oosterweel is a long-term project being carried out in several phases. If the site moves, the installation moves with it. Mercuron will oversee this move. Mercuron is also in talks with Roco for setting up other mobile connections at the Oosterweel site. Sobry: “Meanwhile, we are also in contact with other construction companies and clients in Flanders. We were already active in a variety of sectors such as public buildings, healthcare facilities and industrial zones. With a construction project such as Oosterweel, we are adding a new market to our portfolio. Our expertise in wireless connectivity can offer substantial added value to the construction sector with its specific requirements.”

Discover more? Visit www.mercuron.eu

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