Poynting Antenna Offerings Enhance Wireless Functionality in Mines and Tunnels

Johannesburg based integrated antenna solutions provider, Poynting is offering a unique range of circular polarised helical antennas for use in mines and tunnels. The MinePoynt antennas have been specifically designed for mines and tunnels, as circular polarization has proved to significantly enhance RF propagation abilities in these intense conditions.

Numerous customer tests in mines have been performed over the past 10 years to show that MinePoynt antenna achieve 3x to 4x the range over similar linearly polarized antenna. Some initial tests in a South African coal mine demonstrated a person 1.2 km away from the access point fitted with a HELI3 MinePoynt making perfect VoIP calls using a handheld WiFi phone. Customers reported numerous other tests done in SA gold mines and various Australian mines with similar performance.

Poynting’s MinePoynt antennas look like narrow cylinders with various lengths and hence can be installed virtually against the tunnel roofs or walls while having minimal impact on tunnel cross sectional area while offering the best WiFi propagation for varying tunnel topologies, metal clutter and working vehicles which normally attenuate the signal significantly when using normal antennas.

The MinePoynt antennas have been ruggedized for use in mines and also provide the ‘Intrinsically Safe’ (IS) version, which have a special coating to prevent static build up on the antenna. The IS antennas are certified to be used in fiery mines in SA and Australia. Poynting also manufactures omnidirectional antennas for use in areas closer to the workface. Poynting has sold several thousands of these antennas and are covering more than 5000km of mining tunnels in South Africa, Australia and other regions. This antenna is also suitable for other types of mines, as well as automotive and marine tunnels.

The most famous application of the Poynting antennas were the requirements for the Swiss Tunnel project. The Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest train tunnel through the Swiss Alps, makes exclusive use of South African antenna technology from Poynting Antennas to ensure a seamless digital communication service underground over a route length of more than 57km. The R130 billion-project was completed in 2017 and consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Switzerland with Italy, as part of the so-called New Railway Link through the Alps. Furthermore, Poynting offers a suite of 5-in-1 MIMO LTE/WiFi antennas (with GPS) for use on the mining vehicles and IoT applications.