MacLean Engineering Teams up with Maestro Digital Mine to Bring Connectivity Underground

NCRN Partner MacLean Engineering has collaborated with Maestro Digital Mine by integrating the Plexus PowerNet™, a gigabit network providing both data and power using coaxial cable, throughout their Research and Demonstration Facility in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Read more here. We reached out to David Bishop, Product Engineering Manager at MacLean Engineering, for comment: 

      “MacLean’s robotic efforts are developed to be compatible with a range of communications protocols and technologies, such as direct radio link, wi-fi and LTE. This simple underground network setup allows us to develop our tele-operated and autonomous machine control over wireless communications within real-world mine conditions. Looking forward to advanced research and development, MacLean’s ongoing collaboration with research institutions like the National Robotics Engineering Centre out of Pittsburgh (NREC) will benefit from the investment in a realistic mine environment by providing a place where ideas can be tested without interfering with an operating mine’s production capacity. 
Networking in an underground environment provides significant challenges beyond what one normally sees on surface. Wireless communications are not able to penetrate rock, so this requires that more wireless radios be mounted to get adequate coverage underground. Having robust, single cable network nodes with PoE allows more Wi-Fi access points to be installed with fewer cable runs, lowering complexity and simplifying installation/troubleshooting.”