METAIRIE, La.–(May 31, 2018)–M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) and Aruba Networks have completed the installation of a Wi-Fi upgrade and expansion project at Pimlico Race Course that increases network capacity tenfold just in time for the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes, which drew more than 134,000 people. With the network upgrade, guests are able to comfortably surf the web, engage in social media or view video from their mobile device. Continue reading
M S Benbow Appoints Telecommunications & Technology Manager
METAIRIE, La.—July 19, 2017—M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) has named Shelley Compton, PMP, manager of the 39-year-old engineering firm’s growing Telecommunications and Technology division.
Compton has more than 20 years of diverse operations, engineering and executive management experience within the defense, industrial, commercial, and service industries. She will report to MSB Telecommunications and Technology Director Kenneth Wright. Continue reading
Greater Lafourche Port Commission 400’ Self-Support Communications Tower
The Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC) manages and provides public safety for Port Fourchon, Louisiana’s southernmost port. Port Fourchon is ideally located on the Louisiana coast in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Port Fourchon serves as a base of operation for over 250 oil and gas service companies and is the land base for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP, LLC), Louisiana’s largest domestic and foreign crude offloading, storage, and distribution center. LOOP is also the storage and terminalling facility for domestically produced oil from the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 1.2 to 1.5 million barrels of crude oil per day are transported via pipelines through the port, in addition to the massive amounts of vessels, trucks, and helicopters that transport goods and personnel to and from offshore locations. All told, Port Fourchon is the nation’s premiere intermodal hub for the support of oil and gas industry.
With Port Fourchon’s critical need for reliable security, GLPC has made providing communications and surveillance infrastructure for the Port Fourchon Harbor Police and public safety dispatchers a priority. GLPC’s communications needs are complex and widespread, including everything from two-way radio communications to CCTV cameras in multiple locations throughout the 10th Ward of Lafourche Parish. The infrastructure needed for such communications has traditionally been challenging to maintain, with dispatching stations located inside the levee system 23 miles north of the port and tower facilities located on privately owned and operated properties. Disparate tower and equipment locations, multiple owners, and multiple users from various agencies made keeping communications running smoothly a serious challenge.
The need for a port-run telecommunications hub was especially evident during weather emergencies. Private tower facilities must often terminate electrical power with any threat of inclement weather (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes; etc.) due to safety regulations. Such shutdowns occurred when emergency communications were most needed by GLPC and other critical agencies, making communications equipment inoperable at the most demanding times. This also posed multiple challenges for the continued operation of law enforcement, port security, EMS and fire services.
The Port Commission, in conjunction with several other public safety agencies, began discussions to procure and build a state-of-the-art, hurricane-resistant, critical public safety communications site in Port Fourchon, including a large tower and telecommunications buildings. GLPC budgeted $2.7 million for the entire project and obtained funding from Homeland Security and the State of Louisiana through the federal Port Security Grant program.
The GLPC consulted with MS Benbow & Associates (MSB) on the tower project. After initial review and preliminary design discussions, MSB was selected to provide detailed design and project management for the entire project. MSB developed design documentation for the entire site to include electrical, telecommunications, network infrastructure, telecommunications backhaul, two-way radio communications (provided by Motorola), microwave relocation and tower requirements. MSB sub-contracted Gillen Design Systems for design work on both tower and building foundations. Sabre Tower and Poles designed and fabricated the tower steel.
The ultimate design for this facility resulted in a massive TIA-222G-rated 400-foot self-support solid steel tower that includes:
- An elevated communications building platform 17 feet above mean sea level
- A 225kW power plant for emergency power service
- A 150 MPH communication building design for the two buildings installed
- Communication duct banks to existing command buildings
- A substantial electrical grounding system
- The ability to hold the following equipment for wireless communications and telemetry:
- Terma Scanter 4100 18’ RADAR Appurtenance
- 40 Omni Antennas ranging from RFS BCR12H (Bogner) to Andrew dB222 UHF Antennas
- 14 Parabolic Microwave with Radome ranging from 4’ to 8’
- 6 PTZ Head weatherized remote cameras
- 6 Ethernet panel antenna for remote video feeds
- 12 GPS Antennas
- Dozens of Yagi Antennas
- 36 Cellular Panel Antennas
- One WeatherBug
- A total estimated combined appurtenance weight of 11,350 lbs.
- A total estimated combined cable weight of 7,760 lbs.
- The largest tower members are comprised of 9-foot diameter solid rod legs and 8.5” x 8.5” angle iron used as leg bracing.
- The widest stance is at the tower base, stretching 34 feet 9 inches, and the tower face at the top is 5 feet wide.
The extensive list of potential equipment to be loaded on the tower was developed by GLPC and MSB and includes requirements of potential government and public safety agencies -related equipment that may one day use the port’s tower. Additional equipment was estimated for commercial and cellular use as well.
The tower was erected in October 2011, with critical communications infrastructure going on-air in March 2012. Microwave backhaul was complete in June 2012.
This facility provides extensive communication resources to aid in the security and public safety of Port Fourchon and surrounding areas in South Louisiana. This facility supports over a dozen public safety agencies and will provide government, commercial, and cellular vendors with endless communication resources into the future.
Industrial Video Surveillance System Installation with Fiber Connectivity to Central Control Room
A chemical refinery seeking to consolidate its system operators into a central control room away from pumps, heaters and valves located in hazardous areas needed a video surveillance system that could reliably monitor equipment in sensitive locations.The move would help the client limit exposure of its personnel to potentially dangerous areas, with a special focus on areas most likely to experience a failure or event.
With the presence of highly corrosive chemicals in the hazardous areas, the monitoring system would require intrinsically safe explosion-proof rated cameras and enclosures able to withstand exposure to corrosive materials.
The ability to access accurate and timely information is critical to allow the plant to respond swiftly to incidents that could affect the quality and safety of its operations and overall security. A turnkey design and installation was provided to convert an analog video surveillance system to a digital CCTV system that would allow the operators to remotely monitor hazardous areas of the plant from a new central control room. The system was designed to support future expansion while being efficient with the use of fiber infrastructure.
The engineering team selected camera housings and mounts that are explosion-proof rated and resistant to corrosion, and high-resolution cameras to accommodate extreme lighting conditions.
The project team installed more than 36 CCTV cameras in five different units to provide video surveillance coverage of all of the facility’s critical operation areas. Camera placements were selected based on providing maximum coverage, with additional cameras mounted in areas that had experienced past incidents of fire or explosion. Monitors for each of the 36 video surveillance cameras were incorporated into control room consoles.
In some areas where traditional methods for camera mounting was an issue, the team configured a lens designed to allow the camera/housing to be mounted in safer areas, but still provide the field of vision needed to monitor the equipment.
The new video surveillance system allowed the client to locate its employees to a central control room away from potentially dangerous equipment and chemical hazards.
The video system has already provided a return on the investment by allowing operators to discreetly manage key operations areas and respond rapidly to equipment failures. The rapid response to failures based on the surveillance systems has contributed to the overall safety of the plant.
DAS for Mercedes-Benz Superdome & New Orleans Arena
Provide seamless wireless coverage for an expansive 13-acre sports and entertainment complex in advance of several high-profile events such as the BCS Championship, Final Four, and Super Bowl XLVII.
On the heels of an $85-million upgrade and renovation project, venue management company SMG sought to improve cellular communications at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and adjoining New Orleans Arena via deployment of a state-of-the-art network capable of meeting current and growing capacity needs due to new technologies and increased hand-held wireless use.
The multi-million dollar telecommunications project would ensure the venues possess the bandwidth necessary to withstand the mushrooming number of consumer applications and expanding connectivity capabilities patrons expect from a modern facility.
SMG selected M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) as the engineering and project management firm tasked with overseeing all aspects of the design, project execution, and launch of an open-architecture, neutral-host Distributed Antenna System (DAS) capable of supporting seamless wireless voice, data and text services across the sports and entertainment complex. The 4G LTE DAS network would ensure the more than 70,000 fans can count on reliable service for voice calls, text and picture messages, and social media interaction during big events.
MSB took a lead role in negotiating with carriers, developing system specifications, and providing design review and project management services. MSB was on-hand throughout the system construction and launch as project manager. The network serves the entire entertainment district, which includes the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and New Orleans Arena as well as their respective parking areas, administrative offices, team offices, team locker rooms, Champions Square and Club XLIV. AT&T was selected as the lead carrier for the DAS expansion.
MSB’s highly experienced staff of engineers provided:
- Consulting and evaluation of the DAS infrastructure
- RF engineering plan review and specification development
- Carrier negotiations and lead carrier selection support
- Project management
The new network is the largest DAS system of its kind in the country featuring 950 remote antenna and 70 miles of cable. The system was engineered to serve fans inside the Superdome and additional patrons in the adjacent facilities simultaneously: During major events at the Dome and when crowds fill the adjacent New Orleans Arena, total turnout can top 100,000.
MSB has an ongoing role in representing SMG as new operators are added to the system. Verizon Wireless recently launched their service on the DAS.
The New Orleans-based firm provides ongoing operational management and support for future technology upgrades and expansions at the facilities. MSB is working with SMG to ensure connection by other operators prior to Super Bowl XLVII.
To learn more about MSB’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS) services, click here.
Seamless wireless service at American Airlines Center
The adoption of wireless cellular devices that provide both voice and data services is driving the need for enhanced coverage throughout the nation. Today, consumers expect wireless cellular voice and data coverage that performs reliably almost anywhere at anytime.
Since opening in 2001, the 84,000-square-foot American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, has maintained its standing as one of the most technologically advanced venues in the world. The American Airlines Center is a premier sports and entertainment venue and home to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, NHL’s Dallas Stars and AFL’s Dallas Vigilantes.
Wireless users expect seamless service as they transition from outdoor networks to stadiums, airports, convention centers and other large facilities. For the facility’s operator, Center Operating Company, meeting the highest customer expectations at the American Airlines Center requires keeping pace with demand for reliable wireless service by employing advanced technology, including infrastructure expansions to support the latest advancements in communications.
Center Operating Company selected M S Benbow & Associates to provide wireless technology consulting services to help the facility stay on pace with consumer demand by managing upgrades to the cellular infrastructure needed to serve the American Airlines Center’s estimated two million annual patrons.
For the past 11 years, MSB has provided system planning, project and construction management for the multiple distributed antenna systems deployed throughout the facility. The antenna systems have gone through several upgrades since the original equipment was installed. Each upgrade provided coverage or capacity improvements in addition to new technological deployments.
MSB assisted with negotiating business agreements with leading wireless carriers, which maintain individual standalone systems that maintain commercial cellular service for mobile phone users and employees.
MSB provides end-to-end customer representation for cellular infrastructure projects including:
- Project scoping
- Contract negotiations
- Design review
- Project & Construction management
- Commissioning oversight
- RF Coverage and Performance Testing
- A & E Drawings and related documentation
Through its ongoing relationship with Center Operating Company, MSB has been instrumental in helping to keep the multi-purpose facility at the forefront of cellular technology improvements and provide the highest level of service to patrons of the center.
Center Operating Company in 2011 awarded MSB a Corporate Partnership Award recognizing the engineering firm for its commitment to providing engineering and project management services for the wireless infrastructure that supports an estimated two million guests annually at American Airlines Center. MSB continues to have involvement in any aspect of cellular technology upgrades and capacity improvements at the center.
To learn more about MSB’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS) services, click here.
Hospital Narrowband Signal Booster with DAS
Hospital In-Building 700/800 MHz Public Safety Radio Communications
Providing seamless in-building radio communications for public safety personnel as they respond to calls for service in office complexes, high-rise structures, hospitals and other critical locations.
Many local jurisdictions have enacted or are considering enacting ordinances and codes that ensure a requisite level of public safety radio communications reliability in buildings and public spaces. Authorities such as the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council are working to develop national level model codes to ensure reliable public safety radio communications are provided from the outside Radio Frequency (RF) network throughout building spaces.
As first responders within their communities, hospitals are recognizing the need for reliable wireless public safety communications as both a standard safety assurance and in the event the location becomes a staging location for responders during an emergency.
Deployment of solutions for reliable in-building coverage in a hospital must consider the environment, building parameters, and 24-hour operational needs while working around interference issues from technology such as ultrasound, X-Ray, CT Scanners and other equipment.
M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) was selected as the telecom engineering firm to design and oversee installation of a dedicated public safety radio communications system that provides public safety coverage throughout all areas of a four-story, 450-bed hospital, including elevators, stairwells and units with sensitive equipment.
SCOPE OF WORK
MSB was both the design and construction management contractor throughout the project and had turnkey responsibility for the RF site assessment, design of the in-building RF network, development of construction drawings, construction management, system commissioning, start-up and acceptance testing.
MSB’s initial step was to conduct an RF site survey and walk-through of the hospital to determine where advanced coverage was needed and identify the appropriate solution set to ensure reliable, seamless service was provided similar to the outside RF network.
Once the site survey and audit was completed, design was conducted. Project responsibilities included:
- Spectrum analysis and coordination
- System design and engineering
- Record and catalog site specifics
- Development of a detailed scope of work
MSB also supported the Facilities funding requirements by preparing an overview of the site conditions and a detailed scope of work, project budget and investment justification.
Once funding was approved by hospital administration and the local government administrators, MSB implemented the telecom engineering plan to ensure reliable RF public safety communication transmission for hospital security and first responders. The upgrade entailed installation of a 700/800 MHz Narrowband amplifier with battery backup and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) inside the hospital with coaxial cabling to the exterior RF antenna.
The installation was implemented over a two-month period to accommodate the operation’s 24/7 schedule, coordinate with department downtime and adjust for hospital capacity. MSB also ensured the communication system met Federal Communications Commission OET-65 RF exposure standards.
To learn more about MSB’s Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) services, click here.
SCADA System for Wastewater Treatment Facility
Dock sumps at a petrochemical company process large volumes of liquid oil waste from the dock platform and sanitary waste from operator shelters through skid-mounted pumps and hose manifold stations. Sump pumps then transfer the sump contents to the plant’s waste treatment pumping system, where recovered oil is delivered to tanks while untreated water that meets environmental permit requirements is discharged into the Mississippi River. This transfer operation is controlled by existing float switch pump controls with a manual run option.
The client needed a Wastewater Treatment Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system upgrade with a more reliable radar signal to meet environmental, safety, manpower and maintenance concerns and comply with Marine Terminal Design Standards.
M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) was contracted to upgrade current controls to a SCADA and telemetry for the pump stations, which involved monitoring the sump alarms, levels and pump status at seven remote sewage pump stations, integrating all of the stations on the same SCADA, communications and telemetry platform.
MSB was the engineering firm responsible for drafting & design, engineering, specification and testing of the SCADA upgrade.
The project to install equipment and instrumentation necessary to meet the standards required elevated dock sump vents and visual and audible high-level alarms. Per the standards, the sumps must be a closed system with a vent to the atmosphere. The vents should be pressure/vacuum regulated and discharge a minimum of 9.8 feet (3 m) above platforms and 50 feet (15 m) from any equipment; and sump tanks should be designed with high-level alarms displayed in a central manned location.
Work required was to:
- Install mechanical piping as necessary to move vent point to 9.8 feet above sump top and 50 feet from any nearby equipment.
- Piping modifications at the sumps would require flushing and inerting the vessels so structural supports could be installed to support additional vertical and horizontal sections of vent piping to meet elevation and distance requirements.
- Install pressure-vacuum vent relief valve on vent piping.
- Install SCADA system components (wireless radios, programmable logic controller and enclosures with battery backup) and local alarm beacon and siren at each dock location. Continuous level and high level alarms will be displayed at each sump location as well as a centralized manned operator location.
- Install process connection on sump for new radar-level instruments.
- The SCADA/alarm panel enclosure components were DC powered sourced from a battery bank located within the enclosure. The battery bank consisted of two redundant 24 VDC power supplies as a charging source fed from the docks’ 120VAC power panels. Each new alarm panel would receive power supply from two sources, the docks’ local power panel and an emergency battery bank reserve.
MSB developed a test procedure for the client to field function test the wireless SCADA system as well as participate in a factory acceptance test prior to converting to the new system.
The system continuously monitors inputs, transmits the sensor readings at regular intervals, and alerts operators when an alarm is detected. The system can also be monitored remotely 24/7.
The project established more reliable and accurate level-measuring instruments. Furthermore, because of the new wireless SCADA infrastructure at these dock locations, installation costs were minimal.
The system will reduce the operation’s probability of overflowing the sumps into the Mississippi River, thereby reducing the client’s environmental impact. Increased reliability also can potentially prevent downtime, expensive fines or lost revenues.
Distributed Antenna System for Dallas/Fort Worth Airport
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in conjunction with the major wireless cellular carriers embarked on an airport-wide Distributed Antenna System (DAS) upgrade in 2009 to enhance system performance and provide Long Term Evolution (LTE) data services to passengers and airport personnel. The project included providing RF services to sixteen (16) million square feet of the campus.
One of the busiest airports in the world, DFW selected M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) to design, engineer and manage the overall system deployment for this large-scale customized telecommunications project. MSB negotiated business agreements with leading wireless equipment manufacturers and all major carriers, successfully limiting DFW Airport’s project costs. MSB also negotiated agreements with the wireless carriers to fund and implement the DAS system. With contracts secured, MSB worked with these partners to implement a DAS that provides commercial cellular service for mobile phone users and public safety personnel. MSB also managed FAA permitting, asbestos testing, security testing and badging requirements.
The upgrade includes enhanced service to five terminals, Parking Garages, and the Hyatt Hotel. It consists of over 320 remotes, 1,920 antennas, ten miles of high-density fiber cable, 25 miles of composite fiber cable, and remote monitoring and alarming for increased reliability. In addition to the design and construction phase of the project, MSB provides ongoing maintenance and support for the network.
The upgrade to the system now provides multi-frequency, multi-technology services to passengers and DFW operations personnel and has allowed DFW to become one of the first indoor wireless systems to deploy commercially available 700 MHz, Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. The expansion enables diagnostics and maintenance as well as reduces overall life cost to the service providers. The upgrade also enhanced wireless services for DFW operations and emergency personnel, providing a reliable and robust wireless system to improve operations.
The overall result of the In-building implementation has been an increase in cellular coverage from 25% to 95% of the facility. The presence of the system has directly impacted overall passenger satisfaction at DFW while at the same time increasing airport concession revenue due to the expanded cellular coverage area. MSB was honored to receive a DFW Board Commendation Award for the project.
To learn more about MSB’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS) Services, click here.
Public Safety 800 MHz Radio System Roadmap & VHF/UHF Narrowbanding Assessment
A 9-1-1 Communications District (District) was seeking a comprehensive radio communications system and technology assessment to address system performance issues and meet forthcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory requirements. The District needed a roadmap developed to provide an upgrade path for 800 MHz wireless public safety communication infrastructure and to ensure compliance with VHF/UHF narrowbanding mandates. A multitude of agencies within the District anticipated upgrades to existing infrastructure due to the age of the equipment, FCC regulatory mandates, interoperability objectives and support for wireless data applications.
M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) was contracted to develop a radio system roadmap that included requirements of the Public Safety Stakeholders, provided a path to regulatory compliance and addressed the latest capabilities of Public Safety radio technology.
The first phase of the project included meeting with representatives from the District to discuss the state of the current networks, develop criteria for the new networks, and discuss the level of interoperability that the district wanted to achieve. In addition to developing criteria for the new system, MSB conducted field surveys at the transmitter sites, dispatch locations and field substations. Information also was gathered regarding electrical power and HVAC systems, communication towers and the communications facilities. Subscriber inventory data was analyzed to determine the impact of certain infrastructure alternatives to the fleet of mobile and portable units that are in use on the network.
MSB provided a comprehensive report which included an assessment of the current facility infrastructure, offered alternatives for migrating to a P25 Interoperable Communications network, analyzed alternatives for 800 MHz RF Coverage/system performance, provided system capacity recommendations and outlined recommendations to the District for the next phase of project development. In addition, MSB provided an assessment of the VHF/UHF infrastructure and subscriber units for their ability to meet the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate and provided RF propagation studies that show the implications to coverage based on narrowband analog and digital system deployments.
The District agencies have a roadmap for future communications infrastructure improvements. The roadmap provides a high-level cost/benefit analysis for the options presented and a basis for determination of the most beneficial upgrade path for the District’s 800 MHz infrastructure. The plan also provides key information for migration of the VHF/UHF infrastructure to meet FCC mandates prior to regulatory deadlines.