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Specialized Technology Service Connects Extreme Environments

underground cave limestone view

Specialized Technology Service Connects Extreme Environments

Key Points:

  • Extensive experience solves problems in difficult conditions 
  • Communication technologies can hit obstacles above and below ground
  • A committed partnership defines the best technology service

A wide open, unobstructed, flat space is perfect for wireless communications, but not every business has that luxury. Here’s a glimpse of what it takes to overcome natural and man-made barriers in extreme environments.

Underground Caves Set the Highest Bar

The business world is waking up to the potential of limestone caves in the Kansas City area. The underground environments can be shaped into bubbles of protected, climate-controlled perfection. They’re an exciting prospect for a wide-range of operations in areas such as food storage, pharmaceuticals, supply chain staging, e-commerce fulfillment — the list goes on. But when it comes to connecting security professionals and other facility staff wirelessly, limestone caves present some of the toughest challenges possible.

“Environments don’t get much tougher than caves,” says Ralph Aguilar, Commenco’s Technical Services Manager, “The hardware and networking that typically works above ground, doesn’t get you very far 150 feet down. Underground spaces, stone, and concrete are very tough barriers to overcome. All of our experience really pays off when we come up against those kinds of conditions. It makes all the difference.”

Overcoming Barriers Below, Above and Beyond

It’s hard to beat the challenge of a cave environment. Commenco’s work on projects below the surface draws on a long track record dating back to our earliest days developing public emergency systems in the 1950s.

“Many emergency dispatch centers are positioned in the basements of buildings to protect them from severe weather and other threats,” says Aguilar. “But putting them below ground makes wireless transmissions very difficult, so we’ve learned how to adapt systems to those conditions.”

View of dispatchers working in underground dispatch center
Dispatch centers are often built underground and require custom wireless infrastructure designs.

Underground data centers and manufacturing facilities pose similar challenges. Grain silos are especially difficult and we’ve conquered them too. Aguilar says you might be surprised at the perfect storm above and below ground at an agricultural facility.

“Really, really tough. You’ve got many things wireless signals hate — thick concrete, metal and powerful conveyor belts. We’ve designed infrastructure around those materials and it’s not easy, but we learned a lot.”

Above ground, we’ve been called in to weave wireless signals through hilly terrain where you can get a signal here, but not right over there. “Spotty connections across rolling hills is pretty common. Our region of the country isn’t as flat as you might assume.”

Lakes and other bodies of water can also interfere with wireless signals. Commenco is frequently hired to straighten out scrambled transmissions from here to the Ozarks. “The surface of a lake can bounce radio signals around, reflecting and confusing them,” says Aguilar. “It can even send the signals back toward the transmitters where they came from.”

View of Kansas countryside
Lakes, ponds and hilly terrain across the heartland can interfere with wireless transmissions.

Service Every Step of the Way

In addition to our expertise and experience, we believe our emphasis on service puts us in a class all our own. Our commitment to our customers is more like a partnership, and partnership is exactly what businesses operating in extreme environments want.

“When you’re willing to do whatever it takes, it shows and quickly builds trust,” says Aguilar. “No one likes the anxious feeling that comes from technology not working right, so we focus on being empathetic and responsive. We care about the smooth operation of a customer’s business as much as they do. And when they’re navigating caves, lakes, tunnels or whatever they’re up against, they want to work with someone who understands.”

Understanding includes not leaving someone in the lurch. You stick with them until everything works well, and is easy to use and manage. And you hurry back again every time they need help. Choosing a technology firm that sees you more as a partner than a paycheck will always leave you feeling better about your technology investment.

Ralph Aguilar, Commenco Technical Services Manager monitors network traffic on digital board
Ralph Aguilar, Commenco Technical Services Manager

“Commitment and responsiveness bonds relationships and makes a huge difference,” says Aguilar, watching a wall screen streaming real-time data across networks. “We’ve had customers tempted by flashy products or dirt cheap price points, but our service always brings them back to us. We make technology work well and reliably from install to maintenance, and that’s always going to set us apart.”