ABB Wireless

Friday, August 30, 2013

Phoenix’s Tropos wireless mesh network: Easy to install, easy to operate and easy on the wallet too!

At ABB Tropos, it’s a point of pride that our wireless mesh routers are easy to install. Our customers agree.
“The Tropos routers are very easy to install – I can send someone out with a screwdriver and a node.  Once installed and powered, nodes just immediately associate with the network and are hands-off.” 
George Frangos
IT Systems Specialist
Street Transportation Department
City of Phoenix
But there’s more to ease of installation than just hanging the radios. There’s also a software component.

Like many customers deploying broadband outdoor wireless networks, the City of Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department built out their Tropos wireless mesh network over a number of years.

During that period, technology advanced. The initial rollout of the Tropos wireless mesh network in Phoenix in 2010 included 420 Tropos 5320 and 5310 radios and covered 250 square miles. As the network expanded to its current 500 square miles and 902 Tropos routers, the City mixed in newer model Tropos 7320 and 6320 outdoor wireless mesh routers. Because all Tropos routers use Tropos Mesh OS as their network operating system, routers originally deployed continue to operate and mesh seamlessly with the newer Tropos mesh routers.

Tropos Mesh OS is also key to the network’s ease of operation. As George Frangos pointed out in his quote above, newly installed Tropos wireless mesh routers automatically associate with the network and are hands-off from that point on. Further, because Tropos Mesh OS leverages multiple paths, RF channels and frequency bands, it automatically routes interference and other network faults, it’s enabled the Phoenix network to achieve 99.999% availability since its installation in 2010. And it’s done so without taxing the City’s IT staff.

As the wireless mesh network was rolled out, the City gradually retired the leased T-1 lines that connected traffic signals to the city’s centralized traffic management system. With first phase replacement of leased lines resulted in saving of more than $220,000 annually. As the network expanded, that savings grew to the current $400,000 annually. And that’s easy on the City’s (and taxpayers’) wallets.

To learn more about the applications and benefits of the Tropos wireless mesh network used by the City of Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department, check out our new Phoenix case study.

Bert Williams