The wireless port of Pipavav
GPPL deployed MIMO Wi-Fi to ensure seamless, robust, wireless
communication. Dominic K reports
Gujarat Port of Pipavav (GPPL) is Indias first port
in the private sector. It is located in Saurashtra and is operated by APM Terminals,
the third-largest container terminal operator in the world. Being a relatively
new port, the ports requirement was to run any existing or future application
The major objective of the deployment was to enable Wi-Fi hot-spots within the
port campus using MIMO (Multiple Input-Multiple Output) technology. The bandwidth
deployed would be a 10 Gbps uplink cable to avoid possible bottlenecks in running
existing or future applications.
The wire-free choice
The adoption of MIMO Wi-Fi was mainly due to the low signal strength since the
throughput of standard PCMCIA cards using both 802.11b and g products proved
unsatisfactory. It was also to enable the single mode fibre-based backbone to
cover geographically vast multiple remote locations with high bandwidth. This
included implementation of voice over fibre using IP-PBX solutions so that the
internal video conferencing and voice would be converged on the same data network.
Prior to the implementation there was no wireless network at the port. It started
with various models of wireless card bus adapters using both 802.11 b and g.
Jaspal Bakshi, GPPLs President, IT, led the initiative to streamline various
critical business processes and build an IT infrastructure with a 24x7 redundant
backbone. The deployment was rolled out with GEO Integrators as the system integrators
and D-Link as consultants.
The network was scalable to complement convergence with existing
and all possible future IT and business support requirements. The initial equipment
included D-Links DWL-120 11 Mbps, DWL-650+ 22 Mbps, DWL-630G 54 Mbps and
DWL-650G+ 108 Mbps Wi-Fi cards.
MIMO utilises a multiple antenna system to take
advantage of the multi-path effect in radio frequency
technology, rather than fight against it as conventional
802.11 access points do. The resulting improvement
in both range and capacity provides substantially
more reliable signal quality and greater bandwidth.
The other advantage is that it works in environments
that have been traditionally thought of as the
most challenging for wireless communication. MIMO
also may work on a rich scattering environment,
possibly with significant multi-path components
to work to their full potential.
Following the current deployment, GPPL has plans
to implement ERP solutions such as SAP or IFS
for bulk cargo and general port functions. It
also plans to use VoIP and internal video conferencing
for senior management.
Some the other major deployment plans are further
expansion of the data and voice network, blade
servers installation, and upgradation of TFT PCs
and WAN bandwidth. The legacy EPABX will be upgraded
to IPPBX in the next few months, and henceforth
communication between the port and the Mumbai
office will be through IP-enabled communication
solutions. Deployment of WiMax technology is also
on the cards as and when it is standardised and
Gujarat Port of Pipavav is Indias first port in
the private sector. It is located in Saurashtra and is operated by
APM Terminals, the third-largest container terminal operator in the world
This equipment was shifted over to D-Links DWL-2100AP
(access point), 2.4 GHz 802.11g high speed 108 Mbps access point with DWL-650M,
and 108 Mbps 802.11g MIMO wireless card bus adapters with HDF-400 extension
cable with Nplug to Njack.
Bakshi decided to install D-Links DWL-650M 108 Mbps
and 802.11g MIMO wireless card bus adapter due to their advantages over other
Wi-Fi cards. The throughput observed was approximately 80-90 Mbps, while in
normal 802.11b/g cards it was only up to 30 Mbps.
It was also observed that the coverage of the MIMO Wireless
Card was six to eight times better than the normal Wi-Fi-enabled devices
if used with a MIMO router and access point
It was also observed that the coverage of the MIMO Wireless
Card was six to eight times better than the normal Wi-Fi-enabled devices if
used with a MIMO router and access point. Hence, to further improve the performance,
MIMO routers or access points would be deployed.
For better signal reception and smooth data flow, ANT-24-1500 omni-directional
antenna was deployed that would cover a radius of 10 km. The deployment included
electrical safety equipment like surge arrestors and protectors.
GPPL opted for 10 Gbps network speed with 1 Gbps redundancy at the jetty because
the network traffic was observed to be the densest there. Users at the jetty
are presently using an ERP package called TOS for yard management and vessel
planning. Due to higher bandwidth and coverage, MIMO also contributed to run
bandwidth-intensive applications such as ERP and video conferencing.
The user traffic pertaining to ERP would be carried by the
10 Gigabit uplink from the jetty to the fibre backbone. Intranet users were
converged on the same uplink. Currently, GPPL is running the Windows Enterprise
Server 2003 Operating System with Windows XP SP2 for desktop users.
project was carried out in two phases. The first phase began by May 2005, which
included fibre network design and cabling followed by the deployment of X-Stack
high-end switches with redundancy at switch and fibre level.
The 10 G uplink cable was pulled from the new IT set-up up to the jetty. This
in turn was connected to the GPPL server farm. The phase one deployment was
completed by December 2005, and was critical to the success of phase two wireless
second phase included actual Wi-Fi MIMO technology-based deployment and installation.
After due check and detailed observation, phase two was initiated by February
2006 and completed by April. To wirelessly connect from various remote locations,
bridging was also deployed which added better signal reception over a wide distance
within the port premises.
Civil work was carried out by GPPL, while the installation
and commissioning of the entire network deployment was carried out by a team
of professional from GEO Integrators. Testing with quality assurance and control
were jointly conducted by an internal IT team of Port Pipavav and a team from
Post-deployment, according to Bakshi, The productivity
of our crane operators and that of the operations staff has improved considerably.
GPPL is presently doing 40 moves per hour on an average. Other areas are expected
to be covered and benefited with the proposed investment in IT to the tune of
Rs 22 crore.