Introduction – providing internet access to a construction site
Internet access is often one of the last things to be considered during the planning stage of many construction projects. Teams frequently arrive on site only to discover they need to arrange the installation of traditional broadband services. This can affect a wide range of operational and health and safety aspects of the site, for example:
- Accessing and sharing buildings plans and CAD drawings.
- Communicating with staff, partners, suppliers, the community
- Site security – CCTV systems, sensors and health and safety equipment
- In many cases, the lead time from Openreach can be more than 90 days, causing major project delays.
The good news is that thanks to new technologies, providing Wi-Fi and internet access on a construction site does not have to be a long, complex process. There are rapid deployment solutions such as 4G broadband, which we will discuss later in this article.
Watch our video guide or continue reading the article below:
Phase 1 – Construction Site Network Connectivity Survey
There are multiple factors which need to be taken into consideration during the site survey. These include:
Site Location – how remote is the site? Is there 4G connectivity available? How far is the site from the nearest cabinet? In many cases, provisioning a traditional fibre installation will be a lengthy, costly process. By far the most popular solution is our 4G broadband, which can be deployed in a matter of days. In more remote locations, this can be paired with our hybrid DAS mobile signal repeaters to enhance data throughput and provide your workforce with a reliable connection. For particularly large sites, which are spread across tens or hundreds of kilometres, a Private LTE & 5G Network could be considered.
The number of users – larger construction projects, with more users and more devices, will require the best possible connection. Data usage must also be considered here too, as downloading large files and video conferencing will quickly eat into your data allowance. Our unlimited data packages will solve this problem and ensure peace of mind for your workforce.
Project start date – Construction projects cannot afford to wait for connectivity. With no requirement for phone lines to be installed, by using a 4G, Air Fibre or Satellite Broadband solution, communications infrastructure for construction sites can be installed in just a matter of days. Depending on the location and the local infrastructure, fixed-line broadband connections could take a matter of months.
Project length – if your construction project is going to last several years, a fixed-line broadband connection may be the best solution. However, as this could take several months, we can supply 4G, Air Fibre or Satellite broadband from day one of the project, ensuring a seamless transition to a fibre connection when ready.
Costs – the costs of the equipment, installation and data all must be taken into consideration when providing internet access to a construction site. A small construction site with few users, for instance, may not need a high-capacity connection. Larger projects, with a high number of users, on the other hand, will need faster speeds, more data and better equipment.
Phase 2 – Construction Site Communications Network Design
The second stage of the process is network design. For this, you will need to know the number of users, device requirements (including laptops, mobile phones, tablets, conference systems, VoIP etc), and site layout. This will inform where antennas and routers will be placed on site, as well as cabling for site cabins / modular offices.
Phase 3 – Construction Site Broadband Installation
Once the site survey is complete, the site requirements are understood and the solution has been designed, it is time to install your construction site broadband solution. Our rapid deployment solutions can be installed in as little as a few hours, depending on site requirements.
Solutions include 4G and 5G, air fibre, satellite broadband, Private LTE 4G / 5G and fibre optic broadband. For detailed information on each, see our previous article which compares construction site internet solutions.
For longer construction projects which last several years, a phased approach can be implemented, ensuring full business continuity. For example, leveraging 4G broadband in the early stages of construction, and migrating to full fibre when ready.