RigNet Taps Nokia to upgrade its microwave network, support 4G LTE in the Gulf of Mexico

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Nokia has been selected by RigNet to upgrade its microwave communications network which supports the mission-critical communication needs of its multiple oil and gas customers located in the Gulf of Mexico, covering more than 55,000 square miles.

The network upgrade is part of a solution that will offer RigNet customers 4G LTE services today with support for 5G services in the future and is based on Nokia’s Wavence microwave packet radio family of technologies. This will enable RigNet to continue providing highly reliable and secure wireless connectivity on the largest over the water network in the Gulf.

Nokia’s Wavence portfolio incorporates features specifically designed to address the unique needs of RigNet, smoothing their transition from older time division multiplexing (TDM) technology to more advanced Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks.

For the project, Nokia is replacing legacy equipment in some sites, while overlaying existing Nokia equipment with the latest microwave packet radio technology in others. This approach will enable RigNet to expand its bandwidth to support new IP-based applications without needing a new antenna infrastructure and forcing a disruption of existing communications. This will reduce costs and facilitate a seamless, incremental migration from TDM to IP.

Egbert Clarke, Vice President, Global Operations, RigNet, said: “Nokia has been a good partner with us for our Gulf of Mexico microwave network, and we are happy to continue to work with them as we upgrade the network. With this upgrade, RigNet’s customers will continue to enjoy high quality connectivity on the largest microwave network available in the Gulf.”

Keith Simms, Area Vice President, U.S. Energy & Transportation, Nokia, said: “Nokia understands very well the needs of mission-critical communication businesses such as RigNet, and we continue to lead in developing full end-to-end solutions.”

The Nokia Wavence platform was the first microwave radio fully integrated with an IP/MPLS router. This integration simplified the additon of the MPT-HLC Plus to RigNet’s installed base of 7705 Service Aggregation Routers, streamlining network operations. The RigNet network is managed by Nokia’s Network Services Platform, allowing automation to deliver transport services faster and dynamic assurance for operating the network with maximum performance and reliability. Nokia’s Microwave Packet Transceiver Plus (MPT-HLC Plus) is its latest addition to the Wavence product family, providing increased capacity utilizing industry leading 4096 QAM and up to 7.5 dB more in system gain. Higher system gain can reduce the size of antennas required, lessen tower loading and extend the path distance, eliminating expensive repeater sites or just improving the availability of existing paths.