RigNet Uses Firetide Wireless Multi-Service Mesh to Extend Networks

Firetide Inc.

Firetide Inc., a developer of wireless multi-service mesh technology, announced that RigNet has installed over 100 industrial wireless mesh networks on oil and natural gas rigs around the world. The mesh networks provide highly secure wireless network extensions on the rigs where conventional network cabling is otherwise difficult or impossible to install.

"It is extremely difficult to lay cabling on these rigs," said Curtis McGee, RigNet Vice President of Business Development. "With Firetide's mesh we can eliminate the outdoor cabling altogether and extend our networks by simply installing wireless mesh nodes instead. And unlike other solutions that require Wi-Fi for access, the Firetide solution provides standard Ethernet connectivity over the wireless mesh, so any network device and all of our network services can operate wirelessly without costly reconfiguration. The mesh is totally transparent to our system and operates the same way as our wired networks."

Compared to many enterprises, network security is much more stringent in oil and gas rigs and transitioning to wireless was a major concern for RigNet. "We worked closely with Firetide to ensure that their mesh network could meet our added security requirements," said McGee. "They have done a thorough job answering our concerns and even added additional security that goes beyond the needs of most industrial environments."

Because Firetide multi-service mesh networks allow any network device or application to operate over its wireless infrastructure, system integrators can deploy concurrent video, voice, and data wirelessly to any location. The mesh is self-forming and self-healing to ease setup and installation, while management tools enable sophisticated network tuning, monitoring and network control.

"We are pleased to work with RigNet to provide a reliable and secure infrastructure solution for a variety of applications and sites for the oil and gas market," said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide. "Mesh networks provide the best infrastructure solution for industrial environments where cable installation is not a practical option. Oil rigs are large industrial structures that create many line-of-sight challenges for conventional point- to-point wireless links. The Firetide mesh automatically creates multiple, redundant paths that allow data to go around any obstacle, and makes the network very reliable and easy to install."

Currently, Firetide mesh networks are operating in more than 100 RigNet installations, primarily for LAN and VLAN extension throughout oil and gas rig structures. Although RigNet initially investigated using wireless work group bridges, the company chose the Firetide mesh solution for its added features and robust security.