Start-up provides network connectivity solution for remote logging operations

Iotatel Inc.
February 26, 2018
By Iotatel Inc.
Photos courtesy of Iotatel Inc.
Photos courtesy of Iotatel Inc.
Feb. 26, 2018 - Iotatel Inc. is a Vancouver Island-based start-up backed by FPInnovations, the largest forest research company in the world. The company’s primary goal is to provide remote logging facilities with reliable, highly available networking connectivity.  

Today Iotatel provides a network connectivity solution for forestry camps in remote locations using Cradlepoint’s COR IBR900 ruggedized LTE router for quick, reliable, cloud-managed deployments. With Iotatel’s customers spread all over the region, remote network management is critical. Cradlepoint’s NetCloud platform also enables a single- pane-of-glass view for remote management and network operations. Since installing the Cradlepoint solution, network performance for these remote sites has improved by a factor of 10 times or more. 

“These facilities are remote, so going out there to configure or troubleshoot is not efficient. We use NetCloud for monitoring the devices, checking in remotely, looking at client data usage, and to make any adjustments as necessary,” said Nick Birch, Iotatel founder and chief executive officer. 

Iotatel works with forestry and logging camps that are at log sort facilities. The facilities are almost always in semi-remote locations or areas where wired Internet connections including ADSL, cable, fibre, and more are unavailable or cost-prohibitive. The facilities are large outdoor properties and are filled with log piles, logging machines, and usually several small outbuildings that all require secure and reliable network connectivity. Iotatel needed a 4G LTE routing solution it could trust to provide reliable connectivity and be able to handle inclement weather and a hazardous work environment. 

Unknown 1Prior to implementing the Cradlepoint solution, the facilities were using small USB-based cellular modems and low-powered access points. This did not provide adequate bandwidth or capacity for a regular staff of 10-20 employees’ client devices, nor did it provide the network coverage required throughout the yard. They were experiencing significant packet loss and network drop-out. 

For these remote logging facilities, Iotatel chose a comprehensive solution including Cradlepoint’s COR IBR900 routers and NetCloud Manager, with the option to add dual-modem Extensibility Docks in the future. The IBR900 acts as the Internet gateway, then the network is built using point-to- point microwave links and WiFi access points to provide coverage across the facility.

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