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Protecting the Palm

24 March 2009

A security network, installed on the Jumeirah Palm Island in Dubai, has utilised more than 100 hardened outdoor Ethernet switches. Computer Data Networks was awarded a contract to design, supply and implement the large security network and turned to GarrettCom to supply switches.

Jumeirah Palm Island was constructed as a mixed-use development of commercial, retail, residential and hospitality suites. Included in the security network are access control, parking management and video security systems – all networked over Ethernet.

Due to their immense scale and unique shape, the Palm Islands in Dubai are visible from space with the naked eye, and represent an extraordinary feat of design and engineering. Each island adds 60km of shoreline to Dubai, increasing the Emirate’s beachfront by 166 per cent.

Siemens FSS, the prime contractor, commissioned computer Data Networks of Kuwait, a provider of local and wide area network integration services, to install a rugged and reliable network. The network had to carry IP traffic for various security functions, including access control parking management and video surveillance.

Computer Data Networks drew up specifications for a five-ring redundant network – a high availability system that would meet all of the customer’s requirements. The levels of data traffic anticipated called for hardened out-door-rated Ethernet switches offering multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports which would provide quick network recovery in the event of a fault on one of the redundant rings. A high degree of configuration flexibility was needed to allow Computer Data Networks to deliver its network strategy cost-effectively. Finally there were severe environmental conditions to consider.

Recognising that the high temperatures and high humidity of Dubai’s climate coupled with the problems of salt and sea spray and the corrosion associated with any coastal installation would make stringent demands on the networking hardware, Computer Data Networks turned to GarrettCom, manufacturer of industrial networking products.

GarrettCom has met the project’s requirements with its Magnum 6K32T configurable range of hardened Ethernet switches.

The Magnum 6K32T is supplied with MNS-6K software which provides for a complete range of network management services designed for usability, security and redundancy. The switch comes with self-healing LAN support including STP and RSTP and standards-based S-Ring technology for high-speed fault detection and correction. This was particularly important for the high availability system that Computer Data Networks had devised.

Another critical factor for the Palm Island project is that the Magnum 6K32T is available in a hardened metal package designed specifically for extreme temperatures and challenging industrial environments. The Magnum silicone conformal coating option was selected for added protection against humidity and salt spray.

Computer Data Networks’ finished project has five rings carrying IP traffic for various security systems. For example, the access control system will control access to private homes and private roads using smart cards. Furthermore, while much of the video surveillance network has initially been laid out as a separate fibre-based cable system, the security network offers sufficient bandwidth and capability for numerous IP cameras to be added as and when required.


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