ENR Top 400 Contractor
When an ENR Top 400 Contractor needed help with internet connectivity on the jobsite for an underground construction project, they turned to ConstructEdge for a solution.
Underground Jobsite Wi-Fi Network Expertise
Client: ENR Top 400 Contractor | Jobsite: International Airport Terminal Expansion with infrastructure upgrades including an underground parking garage.
The Contractor was hired to construct a parking garage as part of a larger airport expansion that included a new terminal building and other infrastructure upgrades. The project posed several challenges, including the need to work around an active airport and to coordinate with the construction of the new terminal. In addition, the parking garage had to be designed to meet stringent safety and security requirements.
Underground construction is present in projects that range from parking garages and tunnels to skyscrapers and stadiums. Each type of project has its own challenges and standing up a functioning jobsite Wi-Fi network depends on the particular circumstances. To begin with, broadcasting a wireless signal isn’t possible when you’re surrounded by poured concrete. This means that any Wi-Fi network used by workers needs to be designed with this in mind.
ConstructEdge’s client had a very specific set of requirements for the Wi-Fi network at the jobsite. In addition to mitigating the physical constraints of the site, the client requested that the network be hidden from public view for security purposes.
In this instance, there was existing internet at the street level, so ConstructEdge did not need to work on procurement. The challenge was how to blanket the field of work with a reliable signal.
The ConstructEdge Solution
The ConstructEdge team, led by Solution Architect Logan Lipper, relied on their experience in mapping the location of access points to spread network visibility across the widest possible area. This allowed them to create an overlay network that gave the customer a bird’s eye view of all the devices on the construction site. The team was able to quickly identify areas of high traffic and potential congestion. By spreading the network visibility, they were able to avoid problems before they occurred.
Phase I of the network build began with installing 12 DEWALT DCT100 access points. This process included mounting the brackets, attaching the power injectors, and running the Ethernet cables. In Phase II, an additional 20 access points were shipped out and set up remotely. The install team helped troubleshoot any issues with the new batch of access points and were able to resolve them quickly. The system ConstructEdge designed included a wireless network that was able to permeate the underground construction site and provide coverage for the entire area.
The customer commented that the network ConstructEdge installed worked much better than their prior experience using the DEWALT DCT100. As Lipper explained, “The meshing capability of the DCT100 isn’t always straightforward – it really needs to be daisy-chained to improve network speed. If you just read the manual, it would show all the access points wirelessly connected but that doesn’t work in an underground environment – you can’t penetrate concrete. They needed to be daisy-chained with Ethernet cable.”
ConstructEdge’s knowledge of underground construction helped head off common challenges such as developing a work-around when wirelessly connecting access points wasn’t viable. This allowed field teams to update drawings and upload imagery in real-time. In turn, this validated the completion of structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing construction and helped to prevent potential scheduling delays.
Access points are an important part of any secure Wi-Fi network, but they can also be one of the costliest components. By strategically locating access points, the ConstructEdge team helped reduce the number of devices needed, which in turn saved money on both installation and equipment costs.
A Wi-Fi network can provide several benefits for a jobsite, including added security and the ability to make emergency calls in areas where a cellular signal would be unavailable. By establishing a reliable Wi-Fi network, the Contractor gave its field teams the ability to access the internet and stay connected while on the job. This supported increased productivity, morale, and safety for the workers.
Despite the many intricacies, the project was successfully completed on time and within budget. The result is a state-of-the-art parking facility that will serve the needs of the airport for many years to come. By increasing security, safety, and facilitating communication, a reliable Wi-Fi network is a valuable asset for any jobsite.