Jefferson Parish Names M S Benbow & Associates to Oversee 5G Wireless Network Assessment

Ultra-fast 5G wireless network will usher in advancements such as smart meters, VR and new era of the Internet of Things (IoT)

METAIRIE, LA. —(April 21, 2020)—M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) telecommunications engineering division will lead Jefferson Parish’s 5G cellular network assessment under a two-year contract to provide technical analysis services to develop a framework for deployment of the next generation of ultra-fast wireless connections.

Telecommunications firms say 5G will increase web browsing speed to 8x the current capacity and allow for the evolution of Smart Cities that will usher in technical advancements such as smart meters, self-driving cars, virtual reality and a new era of the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Greater Lafourche Port Commission 400’ Self-Support Communications Tower

THE CHALLENGE

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 SOLUTION

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 OUTCOME

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.

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DAS for Mercedes-Benz Superdome & New Orleans Arena

THE CHALLENGE

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.

THE SOLUTION

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 OUTCOME

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.

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Hospital Narrowband Signal Booster with DAS

Hospital In-Building 700/800 MHz Public Safety Radio Communications

THE CHALLENGE

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.

THE SOLUTION

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.

THE OUTCOME

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.

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Electrical

QUALIFICATIONS

M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) is a leader in the field of electrical engineering and performs electrical analysis, reliability improvements, equipment retrofits and grassroots designs for various industries across the Gulf Coast including refineries, chemical plants and pipeline facilities. With a long history of handling complex and time-sensitive projects, we serve our clients’ needs in an efficient manner while always maintaining industry standards for reliability and safety.  With more than 20 years experience, our engineers have provided detailed engineering and design of electrical power distribution systems, system analysis, troubleshooting and technical support.

SERVICES

  • Create initial design and all levels of technical documents, including estimation, scope, specification, design and installation packages.
  • Provide all levels of system analysis to ensure that electrical systems are adequately rated and determine additional capacity, system reliability and safety.
  • Develop the required documentation to assist clients in understanding how to safely start-up, commission and operate their electrical systems.
  • Troubleshoot and assist clients in determining causes for failures and course of action to get systems back online.
  • Members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Society of Automation (ISA), Louisiana Engineering Society (LES), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). For a complete list of all affiliations and certifications click here.
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Project Management

QUALIFICATIONS

M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) specializes in project management providing services in conceptualization, definition, design, planning, coordination, scheduling and implementation.  We adhere to a project management methodology based on the doctrine advocated by the Project Management Institute and its PMBOK® guide that is tailored to fit the technical and commercial terms of the project.  The planning process and scope definition result in classic Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) and templates that are valuable tools for organizing and managing the actual work, duration and budget involved in producing a deliverable.

We have a strong commitment to dependable and reliable project management capabilities that include electrical, instrumentation, mechanical, civil/structural and communication engineering services. We have managed new project installations, equipment upgrades, plant turn-around operations, and retrofit projects for clients throughout the Gulf South.  MSB’s senior level managers have an average of more than 20 years experience in the engineering design, construction, procurement, and consulting phases of project management.

SERVICES

  • Perform project plan development including scope definition and planning; activity definition, sequencing, duration estimating, and scheduling; resource planning, cost estimating and budgeting; and, risk identification, analysis and management planning.
  • Develop a project schedule by factoring the structure, sequence of tasks, and constraints of the project and its activities.
  • Coordinate and evaluate bids and RFQs to provide recommendations to the client.
  • Create project budgets using cost considerations and baselining to support earned value measurement and reporting.
  • Execute project plan with attention to quality assurance, team development, information distribution, solicitation and source selection, and contract administration.
  • Integrate change control through scope verification; schedule, cost and quality controls; performance reporting; and, risk monitoring and control.
  • Tailor Microsoft Project and other software tools to highlight milestones and critical path line items and to create custom reporting that match the requirements of the project and client.
  • Schedule routine meetings with the client and subcontractors to review progress, provide statistical reporting and discuss the impact of variances and deviations from the overall plan.
  • Communicate with contractors, suppliers and consultants to ensure project is completed efficiently, on schedule and within budget.
  • Perform contract closeout and administrative closure.
  • Members of the Louisiana Engineering Society (LES), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and Louisiana Society of Professional Engineers. For a complete list of all affiliations and certifications click here.
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