With the recent expansion of the 6 GHz spectrum to permit usage in unlicensed public Wi-Fi, a regional utility faced a potential interference mitigation challenge with its existing microwave network that supports mission-critical utility applications and predominantly relies on licensed 6 GHz spectrum.
Our team assisted in evaluating the risks to the utility's 6 GHZ microwave network associated with this Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling, which led to a program that would upgrade the existing microwave field area network (FAN) in the near term, while planning for the long-term migration away from microwave and to a fiber-optic network. We were tapped to assist in the turnkey engineer-procure-construct (EPC) execution of three major initiatives in support of this program.
The initial phase of the multiyear fiber network EPC program targeted the 40 highest priority microwave links as identified through our detailed analysis. To achieve this, we upfitted 80 sites with fiber-optic connectivity. We performed the site civil construction to run conduit at substations and power plants in addition to electronic installation of equipment, including new routers and transport systems, switches, firewalls and wireless access links.
To protect the links with moderate priority, we completed a microwave system upgrade at 40 sites, which included new radios, antennas and feedlines that required strategic planning and a detailed site-specific process to complete hot cutovers. As part of this upgrade, we also evaluated and upgraded the direct current (DC) power system at all 40 sites.
We also assisted in the replacement of the aging 28-site land-mobile radio (LMR) system operating at 800 MHz. We designed and constructed an 18-site replacement LMR operating at 450 MHz which also included console installation, specialty installation at power plants and more than 400 mobile installations among client vehicles.
Mission-Critical Networks, Wireless Communications