THE MORAY EAST OFFSHORE PROJECT
Private LTE Network Uses
The Moray East offshore covers an area of 295km². It comprises 100 MHI Vestas V164-9.5MW off shore wind turbine generators installed on 85m-long steel jacket foundations and steel piles.
It also features an 86km underground export cable, of which 52km is offshore and 34km is onshore. The wind farm is installed with 100 66kV inter-array cables and three offshore substations. An onshore substation located south-west of New Deer, Aberdeenshire, delivers the electricity generated by the wind farm to the national grid.
The wind farm will be able to fulfil l approximately 40% of the total electricity demand in Scotland and can power 950,000 homes in the UK. We therefore needed to design a bespoke private lte network that was able to provide reliable network solutions over this large area.
The Customer Requirement
A scalable, reliable, high speed and cost efficient internet connectivity solution.
Building efficiencies into the construction and operations of a wind farm is a challenge without super fast and reliable connectivity with our offshore lte networks.
Modern machinery, work practices and software applications rely on high speed, low latency networks to ensure efficient operations.
In order to ensure the most efficient construction of the wind farm it was imperative to have the best available private lte network to enable project delivery safely, on time and on budget.
Satellite connectivity was considered too unreliable and too costly as a primary solution for the wind farm. Also the location of the windfarm offshore meant that public mobile network coverage was too weak.
The data connectivity network purpose was to provide this advanced internet connectivity principally to the Installation Vessel, Walk to Work (W2W) vessels, Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs), the Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) and to other vessels as may be needed operating inside the boundaries of the wind farm for work purposes.
During the construction phase in particular there
can be hundreds of people at sea at a time, many
of whom will remain at sea continuously for
weeks at a time.
However not just for work!
The network connectivity would also serve as the workers 'leisure’ network for staying in touch with families through video calls, watching movies online and other general private connectivity applications (Email etc). Therefore we needed to ensure that our private lte network architecture was designed with multiple purposes in mind.
The GIGAWAVE product offered an end-to-end managed connectivity service based on 3GPP 4G and 5G standards, that included the design, build, operation and maintenance of the whole system, guaranteeing high standards of quality of service (QoS) delivery.
The Solution: 'GIGAWAVE'
4g 5g Mobile Private Network from Vilicom
Vilicom designed a 4G 5G Private Mobile network service based on the latest Cloud Network techniques that combine the reliability of always-on IT systems, with new innovations in the field of Open RAN and Core Network Function Virtualization.
The Core Network is implemented in a system of virtual network
functions that implement both 4G and 5G Core functions that
caters for devices that already support 5G, whilst also supporting devices that only support up to 4G technologies. The Radio Access Network (RAN) is also implemented in a virtualized environment using Open RAN technology which allows it to run highly specialized radio software on Commercial-of-the-Shelf hardware, offering a degree extra of flexibility and agility in designing fit-for-purpose networks that allow for great commercial efficiencies. The solution has the ability of traffic-shaping (prioritize networks, limit restrict certain applications) to optimize dedicated network performance as required.
This architecture is designed to be fit-for-purpose to address all
the requirements for system data speeds, number of users, traffic volumes with Push to talk and other features and services ready to be implemented.
GIGAWAVE offered Moray East the advantage of accessing a truly carrier grade wireless service at a much reduced cost acquisition compared to costs a customer would pay to own a standalone Connectivity Network system.
The network virtualizes the Mobile Core Network and the Radio Access Network (vRAN) and its IT and computational resources are shared between fully isolated and secured networks called virtual network slices. This model afforded great commercial and operational efficiencies, due to the sharing of costs across several virtual network slices.
Installation of three offshore sites for network communications using a VRAN and ORAN architecture. These three offshore sites were installed on three WTGs.
The offshore sites are connected to the network centralised unit (CU) and network core at the onshore substation using the fibre interconnects.
Offshore Access to the internet is provided at the onshore substation for the network centralised unit and network core.
Network connectivity for the Sea Vessels (SOV, CTV, W2W)
Vilicom provided network back-haul connectivity to the vessel by installing pickup omni antennas on the starboard and port side of each vessel and feeding this to a network CPE, which connected to the in-vessel network infrastructure on 3 sea vessels carrying ~ 200 people.
Each offshore network site comprises of three external panel antennas, three remote radio heads (4x4 MIMO), a distribution unit (DU) and a switch.
At the onshore substation, a cabinet was installed to house the CU, servers, routers and switches for the network solution along with battery backup.
Operational support & service management
Vilicom provides 24/7/365 from its Network Operation Centre in Reading and offers a dedicated SLA for network availability.
The core and network units - remote radio heads (RRH) and distribution units (DU) will be continuously monitored for alarms and outages. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with high quality ongoing support whenever needed to ensure that offshore internet access is never compromised.
Functionality will be available to troubleshooting the network. A full suite of performance counters and KPIs will be captured for each site location, allowing significant remote troubleshooting capabilities.
Vilicom have a Global Wind Organisation (GWO) trained team
available for fast response on call support, remote and onsite
Proactive maintenance of all off-site locations is conducted bi-annually to complete the service wrap for a 15 year duration.
There were some minimum technical criteria to satisfy including:
- Min. 100GB/data package per person on specified vessels
- Min. 10GB/person on other specified vessels
- Max. 10ms of Latency
- Max. 10ms of Jitter
- Network to be enabled for voice applications
- 24/7/365 support
The client had a preference for environmentally efficient
and sustainable solutions.
For further information about any of our private lte case studies or to discuss further technical specs of our O-RAN or vRAN architecture, please contact Gearoid Collins at email@example.com.
Vilicom is an expert provider of wireless services with over 20 years of experience in the analysis, design, test and implementation of wireless networks. Vilicom’s strengths lie in technology strategy consulting, the design of wireless networks, transmission network design, implementation of specialised coverage solutions and network benchmarking and testing. Vilicom has delivered its trademark end-to-end services in over 20 countries for network operators, network equipment vendors, industry regulators and investors. It delivers value for its customers by adopting a flexible, customer-focused approach, retaining cutting-edge expertise and maintaining its independence.