How the construction sector is making connections in difficult places.

Three Business Customer
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On: 24 Oct 2019
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John Paul Construction

The construction industry is as dependent on the internet as any business but faces a larger challenge than most because projects need to be run from various geographical locations. Not ideal for a sector that’s increasingly dependent on cloud-based applications and services. Jim McDonnell, IT Manager at John Paul Construction, explains how they have finally solved the problem.

The commencement of a construction project is the main stress-point for the IT department of our company. Regardless of whether it’s a commercial, residential, or a civil infrastructure development, the project will almost certainly be run from a new site with limited infrastructure. The challenge for IT is to ensure reliable, secure high-speed connectivity is available at the location, enabling the on-site team to access the cloud-based applications and services they need.”

Once connected, the internet connection cannot fail, as we rely on cloud-based applications and services. We are the first construction company in Ireland to be awarded ISO 19650, the standard for building information modelling (BIM), which has increased our reliance on services delivered from the cloud. Key platforms such as our phone system, common data environment and virtual desktops are similarly hosted, so connectivity is crucial.

Relieving the pressure.

When a new site is commissioned the pressure is on for us to connect it as quickly as possible. Over the years we have tried many solutions – 3G, DSL broadband, microwave and fibre. With traditional mobile solutions the router is located inside steel portacabins that prove difficult for wireless signals to penetrate. Other solutions can often have long implementation lead times and can be cost-prohibitive.

We have rolled out Business Broadband+ from Three on several sites across Dublin, Limerick and Cork, the system uses an omnidirectional antenna attached to the roof or outside wall. Installation is easy and fast because it will find a signal whichever way it faces.

A category 5e cable from the antenna to the router ensures users inside the portacabin offices have more than enough speed, with a capability of up to 300Mbps. To date we have been receiving speeds of around 80Mpps, enough to handle the busiest of our sites. Performance matters most to our BIM users as they work on large scale models with accelerated graphics that demand higher than normal bandwidth and the service hasn’t let us down.

Productivity boost.

Quick installation means we can be more productive from day one. Not only has it relieved stress during set up, the stability of the connection means our helpdesk isn’t bogged down with calls from frustrated users. The users don’t see the cogs turning in the background; they expect to have access to the internet and for it to operate seamlessly. With Three’s Broadband+ solution we’ve had no downtime and feedback has all been positive.

There have been occasions in the past where we have waited two months for decent connectivity. Once we relied on 3G as a stopgap, while we waited for the primary connection, we now get fast and reliable connectivity and full on-site production from day one.

Business Broadband+ has saved a huge amount of time for the IT department, replacing a pain point with a solution we can use again and again. The plan is to deploy it on all sites, and because it’s 5G-ready, we know it can meet all our connectivity needs long into the future.

For more information, call our Business Advice team on 1800 200 017 or