Propeller has invested much time and research into providing the most robust networking solution to work on many sites. To optimize your network’s signal & reliability during operations, consider the following settings for your setup:
The easiest method to get started is to install the Propeller Tripod and solar power kit.
The above image shows a 130w solar panel setup to power the Network Gateway for a remote installation. Be sure to aim the panel to capture the path of the sun. Elevate the panel from the ground, and face it in a solar-favoring direction. Follow the solar panel manufacturer recommendations for this type of arrangement.
If you are not using the tripod setup, the WiFi antenna can either be mounted on a mast or wall using the mounting kit provided, as illustrated below.
If you are not using the Propeller Tripod and solar power kit, you can mount the Network Gateway onto a standard metal post or mast. The Network Gateway kit contains some basic mounting equipment to do this, however, we recommend that a technician complete the installation. For more information please discuss with your site support contact.
The image above shows an installation of the Network Gateway and antennas on a mast directly mounted to a temporary site office.
Power: Fixed Power from the office is fed to the Network Gateway via the ethernet cable. This is achieved via the conduit/pass-through (small gray box to the left of the gateway).
Antennas: The WiFi antennas are clearly above the roof of the building, and are not obstructed by the mast they’re supported by. The omni-directional 4G antennas included at the top of the Network Gateway (not visible in the picture) are also above the roof to ensure good uplink quality.
Mounting Support: A 1¼” schedule 40 steel mast is mounted directly against the building using P-clamps (U clamps are also suitable if you have space). The mast provides stability and elevation to the antennas.
To maintain an unobstructed signal for your setup, follow these steps to ensure the proper mounting of your Wifi antennas:
1. The WiFi antennas need to have good coverage of the site. Be sure to mount antennas above any nearby obstacles to extend coverage based on line of sight. Be sure the signal is not impeded by surrounding objects (jobsite trailers, hillsides, piles of dirt, machines themselves, etc.).
Passing and parked machinery is also something to be aware of, as a haul road for example could be temporarily obstructed if machines pass in front of the Network Gateway and the antennas are not higher than the machinery.
2. Mid-site infrastructure or temporary site offices are good mounting locations for the Network Gateway as long as the antennas are high enough above any site obstacles to have visibility to the machines.
3. Minimize the amount of vibration on the antennas by ensuring that they are mounted tightly to the structure.
4G network coverage
Consider your site's overall 4G signal coverage and ensure the position you pick has strong 4G strength.
1. Use your mobile phones to check the signal strength on your site (be sure to use the same provider as the Network Gateways).
2. Check if the Propeller Network Gateway is on the edge of cell coverage. If it is, it will not perform well enough to give up-to-date information on the Platform.
- For issues with cell coverage on your site contact our site support team.
3. Mount the Network Gateway as high as possible.
A basic rule is the higher the antenna can be mounted, the more reliable the roving DirtMates will be.
Be sure to avoid chain-link fences and high voltage power lines, as these can disrupt wireless communications significantly (Wifi and 4G network strength).
If using a mast to increase the height of antennas, consider using guy-wires or other support systems to ensure stability.
Managing Network Gateways
After setting up your hardware, make sure that application settings are corrected as well. The DirtMate app allows the user to edit and create new gateways, as well as, remove existing Network Gateways.
Reminder: Most sites require two Network Gateways to operate at peak efficiency.
1. Open the DirtMate app and open the site tab. In the top left corner, select the site where you want to edit the Network Gateways.
2. Tap the gear in the top right corner, then update the Network Gateways section as needed.
3. Selecting “Add” will bring you to the same workflow detailed in Installing the Gateway.
4. The Remove option is only available on sites with multiple Network Gateways. Select Remove next to the Network Gateway you want to remove, and confirm its removal.
- If you wish to remove the last Network Gateway from a site, please contact our Site Support team.
I still can't do it!
We wrote these articles to equip you with everything you need to get the job done on your own, but we understand that sometimes this isn't sufficient.
If you're stuck, the Propeller support team may be able to help. You can contact our support team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking the support tab on the top-right corner of the portal.