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ShoreLink — a full-service maritime shipping and logistics company that works with a range of businesses in Northern Sweden — handles five million tonnes of goods each year, operating out of four Swedish ports: Skellefteå, Piteå, Luleå, and Kalix. Playing an active role in developing enterprises in the region through cost-effective and environmentally friendly operations, the company is favored for its proven abilities, quality, level of service, and efficiency.

Indeed, the company operates in three distinct business areas: ShoreLink Terminal is responsible for day-to-day port operations, including loading and offloading goods; ShoreLink Shipping is, as the name suggests, the shipping agency arm; and ShoreLink Transport works as a contractor in the machinery and transport sector.

The Need for Speed

For ShoreLink, a service promise is far more than mere words: it's a way of life. "Customers call, we'll fix it: it's a simple service in our eyes," said Peder Wennberg, the company's Business Area Manager. Every day, ShoreLink's staff load and unload ships from all over the world, providing transshipment and associated services such as storage and re-labeling. Indeed, offering its services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ShoreLink Shipping always maintains a sharp focus on simplifying and streamlining operations, constantly refining its internal systems, including its network infrastructure.

In truth, connectivity, accessibility, and efficient internal logistics are essential for the company, especially since it operates in large outdoor areas where sources of disruption are always close by, not least the weather. At all times, it's vital that communications are maintained: a storm surge in port areas, for example, requires an immediate response and that relies on real-time communications. Here, a robust, stable, future-proof Wi-Fi network is key.

There's another good reason to future-proof ShoreLink's network infrastructure: it needs to be equipped to keep up with the newest logistics strategies, which are increasingly turning to the Internet of Things (IoT). Of course, Wi-Fi plays an important role in emerging, diverse IoT applications that have different speed, response time, and capacity requirements. Legacy network infrastructure is simply not up to the task.

A Forward-Thinking Wireless Infrastructure Strategy

Huawei proposed a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) Business Wi-Fi Network Solution together with local partner ICECON. Since 2016, ICECON has worked with Huawei, offering powerful products and solutions for integration, monitoring, innovative infrastructure, and system development.

Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 provides speeds of up to 10.75 Gbit/s, far higher than the preceding generation of wireless technology, also delivering better coverage and improved security. Furthermore, cutting-edge network infrastructure like this offers greater energy efficiency, improving the battery life of mobile devices. ShoreLink opted for AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 since the capabilities of its portfolio of network products closely matched the company's demanding needs, especially given the rough weather in port areas. Another factor behind the decision was Huawei's clear leadership in the network solutions domain.

The installation was carried out on-site at the Port of Luleå by ICECON. Next generation, outdoor AirEngine 8700 Series Access Points (APs) were installed in the harbor's lighting masts, with equipment pre-configured by ICECON and deployed in new cabinets. The large open spaces of the port and pier areas had specific coverage needs: these were met using a mix of omnidirectional and directional antennas. And after the initial installation was completed, the ICECON team conducted a coverage area test, making additional adjustments as required to ensure the highest quality coverage possible.

Ensuring Connectivity and Stability: Riding Out Any Storm

With updated network infrastructure now in place, ShoreLink is equipped to safely and securely manage all of its sites, with the new equipment designed to operate under the very harshest weather conditions. Providing uninterrupted outdoor coverage, the new APs are rated IP68 — meaning they are water, dust, dirt, and sand resistant — and offer 6 kV/6 kA surge protection capabilities, along with a wide operating temperature range, from –40°C to +65°C.

When storm clouds gather, the team can now trust that they will always remain connected and online, equipped to rapidly tackle any problems that arise. And, of course, better, reliable communications allow ShoreLink's staff to focus on its key task: keeping port operations running smoothly, all of the time. "Robust, weatherproof, and — above all — future-proof, ICECON and Huawei have met all key criteria," said Mikael Lundström, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at ShoreLink.

A better network solution allows any company to streamline processes both internally, for itself, and externally, for its customers. With connectivity assured, ShoreLink has been empowered to focus on its strategic initiatives, from scaling its operations to providing a personalized customer experience to its clients — facing the future, full sail.