Many of our managed service provider partners support clients who rely on the Internet to run their businesses, yet operate in remote locations with limited internet connectivity options. Northwest Towers definitely fits this bill. Read their story to learn how they use Bigleaf to provide highly reliable, remote connectivity to their clients, even under the harshest conditions.
Northwest Towers designs, constructs, and supports custom wireless networks for extreme deployments around the world. Their clients span a range of industries, including mining, construction, industrial, commercial, and transportation.
Extremely remote locations with limited connectivity options required reliable internet connections to run business-critical tools and systems without disruptions or downtime.
Bigleaf provides stable and highly performant internet connectivity that enables remote locations to transmit real-time operations data and telemetry to perform their daily operations efficiently.
NW Towers connects remote locations with Bigleaf
NW Towers specializes in building custom wireless networks with internet connections for remote sites. Many of their clients operate open pit mining sites. Other clients include ports, oil and gas, defense, agriculture, and emergency services. All of them are extremely remote.
In particular, mining operations take place far from population centers. In these remote areas, you typically won’t find any internet connectivity: no ISPs, no mobile phone coverage, and not even ancient copper for your old-school, 2400-baud US Robotics relic.
Yet modern mining operations are exceedingly high-tech. Vehicles, payloads, and other machines and systems are constantly producing data and telemetry needed to optimize operations and promote safety. They rely on real-time data reporting from the vehicles and data processing to keep the entire site moving. When these systems stall, idling large vehicles and highly-paid personnel, the cost of downtime is mind-boggling.
Minimizing these disruptions is why businesses turn to NW Towers. They are a service provider that specializes in bringing reliable connections to remote sites.
Every site has a different profile and calls for a different solution, from Starlink to Viasat to ruggedized LTE modems. NW Towers finds a way to provide even for off-grid sites without electricity on premise. They have developed an entirely self-contained solution delivered on a rugged high-tech trailer that’s equipped with a deployable tower, solar panels, and a diesel backup.
With Bigleaf in place, each NW Towers installation can now offer their clients reliable and resilient connections and manage fewer support calls.
It’s an impressive and valuable solution that brings high-tech capabilities to the most remote and challenging environments. However, the internet connections in such locations are not the most reliable. NW Towers and its clients will do whatever they can to optimize their internet access and prevent costly downtime.
The NW Towers solution originally relied on multiple redundant connections, supported by a manual or automated failover process. However, when failures occurred, there was often a significant delay before the backup came online. Those delays caused idle time for valuable personnel and equipment. Such an outage could potentially derail schedules and operations. Additionally, switching to the backup system’s IP address would cause applications to fail, resulting in additional delays.
The solution: Last-mile internet redundancy
For these remote sites, NW Towers needed reliable, last-mile internet redundancy with failover that was not just automated, but transparent to both the local network and the remote connection.
Bigleaf proved to be a perfect solution. Because the Bigleaf Cloud Access Network encapsulates all network traffic in a cloud-based overlay tunnel, clients maintain the same static public IP address regardless of which connection is in use. The remote locations stay connected even during and after a failover.
In addition, Bigleaf Zero-Touch Setup meant that NW Towers was able to ship Bigleaf SD-WAN routers to each remote site. Installation is quick and painless—even with the variations in connectivity solutions used by each client.
The cost of downtime is mind-boggling
With Bigleaf in place, each NW Towers installation can now offer their clients reliable and resilient connections and manage fewer support calls. Sites can transmit telemetry and reporting data in real time, even when their network connections aren’t performing optimally, or even when one fails.
This real-time delivery of telemetry data contributes to business-critical operational insights and helps improve worker safety.
Additionally, intelligent load balancing and Bigleaf Dynamic QoS provide stable, optimal bandwidth while minimizing latency across all available internet connections for each remote site. It’s a whole new level of performance and reliability for NW Towers’ clients.
The future of emergency services
Along with their mining clients, NW Towers plans to introduce Bigleaf into other exciting applications. They envision a future where their pre-packaged solution can be rapidly deployed for emergency services. When natural disasters and humanitarian crises strike, reliable power and internet connections can be some of the most fragile infrastructure elements. Without reliable connectivity, emergency services can falter.
With power and internet in one rugged trailer, service and emergency crews will be more effective and faster than ever. They’ll be able to transmit live video and receive data, like maps and architectural drawings of a site, that will help them respond more quickly to crises, reduce damage to property and infrastructure, prevent further harm, and save lives.