Firetide Mesh Network Connects Workers On 2,275-Ft. Dubai Tower

Nov 27, 2007 (11:11 AM EST)

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The tallest free-standing skyscraper in the world, the Dubai Tower in United Arab Emirates, is now equipped with a wireless mesh network using technology from Firetide to deliver video surveillance, voice over IP, and radio over IP, the company said on Tuesday.

When building the 2,275-foot Dubai Tower, or Burj Dubai, construction workers ran into communication issues since their walkie-talkies stopped providing reliable service as the skyscraper grew taller. The walkie-talkies were used for day-to-day communications between workers at the construction site.

Boosting and amplifying the walkie-talkies' radio signals didn't resolve the issues. To find a solution, Samsung SDS, a Korea-based IT services provider that's mainly in charge of the building project, tested several other options and settled on wireless mesh technology, which provides blanketed coverage as opposed to isolated hotspots.

Samsung recently installed a wireless mesh network that uses a combination of Firetide's HotPort outdoor wireless mesh nodes and HotPoint access points, which have been deployed at the worksite. Initially, there were 6 wireless mesh nodes and 6 access points installed, according to Firetide. Construction workers use Wi-Fi-enabled phones to communicate over IP.

"Firetide mesh provided resiliency and support for real-time video as well as VoIP communications -- at a much lower cost compared to laying fiber or cable in a challenging and constantly changing construction environment," said Pamela Valentine, Firetide's VP of marketing, in an e-mail.

Here's how it works: The Firetide system converts radio signals to IP signals, which enables communication from the walkie-talkies to be carried over the IP network without loss or degradation. Other types of IP traffic, such as voice, video, or data, can be carried over the same wireless mesh infrastructure, Valentine said. For example, the mesh network supports video cameras that monitor the construction site.

The network is functional only during construction to support ongoing operations. When the Dubai Tower is completed by the end of next year, Samsung plans to deploy Firetide's system at other construction sites.