Nokia deploys private LTE in underground NORCAT mine in Canada
Nokia has installed a private LTE network in an underground mine belonging to NORCAT in Ontario, in Canada. The work has been carried out with Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN).
NORCAT is a technology and innovation centre headquartered in Sudbury, in Ontario. It provides health and safety training for the mining industry, as well as product development for industrial enterprises.
Its Underground Centre, where the new LTE network from Nokia has been installed, is a fully-operational underground mine which serves as both an innovation and training centre for technology development and testing.
The site is a destination for miners from around the world to see, train on and understand emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry, said Nokia.
The new private LTE setup, believed to utilize unlicensed spectrum, will enable experiementation with wireless automation and analytics. Nokia cited support for mission-critical communications, asset tracking, and remote-controlled autonomous vehicles.
Industrial LTE and 5G supports a “larger amount of active connections per access point with far greater reliability and security”, compared with more commonly deployed industrial connectivity technologies like Wi-Fi.
The arrangement, deploying Nokia’s so-called Nokia Digital Automation Cloud platform, will enable Nokia to “further its commitment” to advancing mining innovation, it said. It already has deals with Komatsu for autonomous mining trucks and Finnish mining operator Sandvik for private networking and digital cloud services as well.
Nokia also has a five-year tie-up with Telefónica for private LTE at the Minera Las Bambas copper mine in Peru.
Stephan Litjens, general manager for digital automation at Nokia, said: “With LTE today, and 5G tomorrow, we will enable a new era of industrial-grade wireless communication that will facilitate improved productivity, worker safety and environmental sustainability for mines around the world.”
Don Duval, chief executive at NORCAT, said: “Private LTE is a big step forward for the industry, and the Nokia [setup]… will enable the exploration and creation of innovative solutions for mining.”
Jean-Charles Fahmy, chief executive at CENGN, said: “This is an important milestone for the global mining industry. We’re looking forward to providing our technical expertise and access to our network testbed as we all work together to develop new digital transformation use-cases and emerging technologies.”