FreeSpace Networks Provide Wireless Monitoring for UK Gas Stations

FreeSpace Networks are supplying radio-based surveillance data transmission to Asda petrol stations.

The wireless bridging solutions are producing financial savings for the client by removing the need to lay cable as well as eliminating the risk of damage to water supplies, mains power and other utility trunking. Client revenue is protected since there is minimal disruption to the core activity of the filling stations which can remain open throughout the installation.

The most recent application has been at an Asda store in Havant, Hampshire, where FreeSpace have implemented an IP67-rated point to point wireless Ethernet bridge system with in-built hardware encryption.

At the Havant store, FreeSpace are transmitting a constant feed from a Samsung IP-addressable dome camera which can be monitored live or viewed retrospectively. The FreeSpace units have been supplied by the company's distributor, Anixter. Installations were performed by Scope Electrical Contractors, who specialize in surveillance systems within the petroleum industry.

ROI has been immediate. "A conventional approach at the Havant project would have seen a single cable run of just 900 meters produce a bill running to many thousands of pounds after a channel had been dug, services suspended and the forecourt closed to customers," said Karl Belmar, Operations Director at FreeSpace. "While this wireless technology has commercial benefits for Asda, the footage also assists the client in exercising duty of care to colleagues. On arrival at the station, unaccompanied tanker delivery staff can advise store management of their presence and be observed in case of accident or equipment malfunction."

The bridge kit used here is a distribution-focused product that is supplied as a configured pair. Essentially, the customer need only provide a mains power source on either end and point the devices at each other, adding encryption and passwords as required. The solution has an integrated 23 dBi antenna and is optimized for fixed wireless access.

At the Asda Havant store transmission distance was minimal, but line of sight was far from ideal with a 25-meter height difference between the filling station and the main store as well as obstruction from trees. However, the radio supplied as standard offered connectivity significantly in excess of the location's requirements. With no obstruction, the units can cover up to 40 kilometers.

As part of the project, FreeSpace performed a full-site survey taking account of likely seasonal changes in foliage and aesthetic considerations when mounting units on the Asda storefront. Extensive local area scans were performed with special attention paid to a satellite transmission mast no more than 50 meters from the forecourt. FreeSpace delivered full spectrum analysis and wireless scanning across the 5GHz U-NII and ISM spectrum, these services being part of the company's standard site survey.

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