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Communications at Barrick's Cowal gold mine in New South Wales has been upgraded to a Cisco-based wireless mesh network designed by Brisbane-based CBO Telecommunications.

Barrick uses Caterpillar MineStar software to run the mining dispatch operations at Cowal. In-vehicle access to the software requires connectivity throughout the mine, and this has been achieved through a combination of fixed and mobile Cisco mesh access points.

A mesh network means the Cisco Aironet 1524SB access points connect to each other wirelessly, doing away with the need for a wired network to connect them, though a power supply is still required.

While some of the access points are permanently mounted, others are fitted to CBO Solar Mobility trailers (pictured above) that can easily be relocated to provide coverage in active areas of the mine.

"Our mobile wireless network can change from week to week as the topology and depth of the mine changes," said CBO managing director Mark McGregor.

"For mobility, we simply move the CBO Solar Mobility trailer and point its solar panels north, supplying connectivity where it’s needed to help work at the mine progress safely and efficiently."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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