South Africa Residential Community Deploys Wireless Mesh Network

Burgundy Estate, a new and exclusive community in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa, has deployed a wireless mesh network to ensure the safety of the private community while maintaining an open and public atmosphere.

The Firetide mesh network, designed and deployed by Satinlink Wireless, also provides a level of public wireless Internet broadband access and VoIP for residents never achieved in South Africa with such technology.

Burgundy Estate, dedicated to providing a healthy, outdoor lifestyle for residents, is a self-contained community that includes nearly 6,000 homes, its own schools, parks, shopping mall, restaurants, day care facility and athletic clubs. Burgundy Estate is not a gated, tightly access-controlled area. Rather, two public roads expose the residents to constant through-traffic, presenting unique security challenges. Additionally, the community’s rapid development has been equally demanding. Burgundy Estate expects more than 15,000 residents by 2010, despite being established in only 2006 and covering three-quarters of a square mile in size.

“The developers tasked us with securing Burgundy Estate’s residents without closing it off to the public and creating a ‘Fort Knox’ scenario. Simultaneously, we needed to provide public Wi-Fi access for voice, video and data transmission, all on a quickly deployable and highly scalable network to keep up with the community’s explosive growth,” said Audrey De Jongh, managing director of integrator Satinlink Wireless.

To ensure tight security and allow residents to enjoy the open parks, stroll to restaurants and shopping, and play golf, Burgundy Estate has placed electric fencing, 24-hour patrols and a designated rapid-response team on site at all times. Most importantly, these security efforts are supported by 24-hour, real-time video surveillance blanketing the community.

“We were able to place cameras in areas we previously thought were too far for wireless equipment to reach or too expensive to trench with fiber,” De Jongh said. “The Firetide network really exceeded our expectations as it delivers the highest possible bandwidth and speeds every telecommunications operator dreams of.”

Designated security officers can now instantly access cameras installed in each of Burgundy Estate’s streets from their patrol cars, even while mobile, which is a first for South Africa. The footage is streamed into an LCD screen or laptop, and provides real-time situational awareness for the security personnel. Municipal police officers will soon be able to access an electronic in-field reporting system for information including mug shots and digitized fingerprints while on patrol.

“Burgundy Estate's Wireless Mesh Network was a tremendously rewarding experience, which has set a technologically innovative trend in South Africa and Africa,” said Paul Edwards, Satinlink's CEO. “We built a best of breed wireless security and Wi-Fi access network for an estate that prides itself on its technology innovation. It has been exciting to demonstrate wireless mesh as a proven, cost-effective and high-performance solution. We’ve effectively set the stage for security as South Africa hosts the upcoming soccer World Cup in 2010.”

Mesh networking allows surveillance systems to be positioned almost anywhere to obtain the best point of view. Wireless technology makes it easy to gradually grow the network to cover new areas. Multipoint-to-multipoint (mesh) systems are inherently resilient -- redundant links eliminate single points of failure associated, while multiple paths overcome line-of-sight issues.

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