Relying on Power

Relying on Power

Mohegan Tribe surveillance operations seek bold network connectivity

Mohegan Sun is a premier gaming and resort destination covering 185 acres of reservation land along the banks of the Thames River in the foothills of southeastern Connecticut. First opened on Oct. 12, 1996, Mohegan Sun can truly be classified as a mega- resort. It features an impressive 300,000 square feet of gambling floor space that anchors two luxury hotel towers with 1,564 rooms, two world-class spas, 130,000 square feet of retail space, over 40 restaurants and bars, two indoor pools, a 17,500-square-foot outdoor sun terrace, a three-story crystal mountain and a 55-foot indoor waterfall.

Add to that the 10,000-seat capacity Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the New England Black Wolves of the National Lacrosse League and the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, as well as a 400-seat Cabaret Theatre, the 300-seat Wolf Den, and 275,000 square feet of meeting and function space. The classic rock radio station WMOS is also located on-site.

The gaming floor at Mohegan Sun is impressive in its own right with nearly 5,000 slot machines, and more than 300 gaming tables. Additional gaming attractions include a state-of-the-art race book that offers live horse and greyhound racing from around the U.S., as well as from Australia and England. It also offers wagering on jai-alai from Florida.

From a Security Perspective

Needless to say, there is a lot to look after at Mohegan Sun from a safety and security perspective, which is largely the responsibility of Roland Ocampo, director of the Surveillance Technical Group for the Mohegan Tribe. Ocampo is responsible for all technical aspects of the surveillance, access control and security systems at Mohegan Sun and its surrounding tribal properties. He reports to the executive director of Public Safety, Joe Lavin, who coordinates the activities of the Mohegan Tribe reservation’s police chief, fire chief and director of surveillance, who is responsible for surveillance operations across all gaming operations.

Keeping the extensive surveillance, access and security network running smoothly and up-to-date is a huge task. Doing so is Ocampo’s Surveillance Technical Group team of 10 technicians, three supervisors, a project manager, system administrator, and a security engineer and technical specialist, who handles all system service.

“Our team works under the premise that any solution we implement has a ‘lifetime warranty,’” Ocampo said. “We know how we wanted systems built, and exactly how they’ve been implemented, so there should never be any reason why our networked system doesn’t perform to the highest levels.

“All of our systems are networked to provide us with comprehensive oversight of all activities,” Ocampo said. “It initially started with surveillance, and as we grew over the last 22 years, all related systems were integrated on a single dedicated network. This provides our safety and security staff with the advanced technologies needed to maintain constant situational awareness, supported by technical operations to ensure all systems perform with the highest levels of performance and reliability.”

Thousands of Cameras Deployed

Mohegan Tribe has thousands of surveillance cameras and access controllers already deployed with additional devices being added as needed to accommodate special events and continued expansion.

“What’s interesting is that our resort is one building that houses multiple casinos that’s equivalent to 30 to 40 connected buildings,” Ocampo said.

The sheer size and layout of Mohegan Sun and reservation properties can be daunting, but Ocampo and his team have a firm grip on it.

One of the biggest technical challenges when implementing an integrated surveillance and access control networked solution at a facility as expansive as Mohegan Sun relates to power distribution and data transmission over long distances. Ocampo’s team overcame these issues with innovative solutions from Altronix.

“I’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years, and Altronix has consistently been a go-to for us,” said Ocampo. “Altronix really stepped-up their game from being just a power supply company over the years. They offer versatile solutions that allow us to install and scale our networked systems with the environment. They’ve been really great in assisting with system design and deployment issues, helping us work through some unusual situations that come up now and then.”

Deploying the Mid-span

According to Ocampo, Altronix NetWay mid-span injectors are deployed throughout the properties’ interior locations across the reservation. Specific models include the NetWay8GP 8-port mid-span that provides up to 60W power per port to power PoE/PoE+/Hi-PoE devices (480W total), and the NetWay16G 16-port mid-span that provides up to 30W power per port for PoE/PoE+ devices (480W total). This allows Ocampo’s technicians to remotely deploy more highperformance edge devices using fewer power supplies, saving both money and valuable space.

“We have close to 150 IDF closets located throughout the interior of the facility, and you’ll find at least two to three units in each one,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo’s team initially intended on running fiber in the property’s parking garage, where each of the five floors of the structure have camera runs that can run anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 feet. They later decided against it, fearing that possible vandalism or damage to exposed conduit could affect the fiber cabling, which is not easy to fix. Instead, they chose to deploy the Altronix NetWay midspan injectors successfully deployed in interior locations. The units are installed in one IDF closet on the bottom level of the garage, distributing power and transmitting data to the five floors above. For those cameras that are at extended distances from the closet, Altronix IP extenders are installed.

“The ability to deliver low voltage power and transmit data over these long cable runs is really efficient because we didn’t have to install AC power throughout the garage,” Ocampo said.

However, there are several areas at Mohegan Sun where composite fiber cabling is deployed, such as in the recently opened 125,000-square-foot Expo Center, and on numerous light poles located throughout the Mohegan reservation.

“The ability to deliver power remotely has been key for us,” Ocampo said. “It’s a tremendous cost-saving measure that eliminates the need to purchase unnecessary equipment and get electricians involved.”

For these extended run fiber applications, Ocampo’s team deployed the NetWay Spectrum PoE+ Switches with SFP (fiber) ports. These hardened PoE switches and Ethernet to fiber media converters accommodate single or multi-mode fiber, as well as composite cable, combining fiber with copper to simultaneously deliver low-voltage power and data at distances up to a mile.

Aside from delivering power and pushing data, Altronix NetWay solutions feature embedded LINQ Network communications technology to remotely monitor, control and report power and diagnostics.

“The remote management capabilities provided by LINQ Technology really makes life a whole lot easier for my technicians,” Ocampo said. “When an issue arises, our techs have the ability to remotely call up the NetWay units to help them pinpoint the exact source and cause of the issue before we dispatch a service technician into the field. Most often, they can resolve the problem by simply remotely resetting the power to reboot a device.

“Overall, the power and data transmission solutions provide great cost efficiency by reducing installation time, equipment needs, as well as service and maintenance costs,” Ocampo said. “Conserving man hours is perhaps the most important benefit, followed by our ability to easily add cameras to the network using the multiport solutions, which we can basically do on demand. Installations that could possibly take two to three days can be completed in a couple of hours with less people. This provides substantial cost-savings.”

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Security Today.

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