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North Sea: World’s First Offshore LTE Network

30/3/2556 18:11:00


Tampnet is a Norwegian telecommunications operator providing high-bandwidth communications services for the oil and gas industry in the North Sea. The company owns most of the submarine optical cables and microwave networks in the area and leases bandwidth to drilling platforms. Tampnet provides services to such oil giants as Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and Statoil. Nearly 68% of the drilling platforms in the North Sea connect to Tampnet networks.


Tampnet originally used microwave with expensive antenna stabilization systems for drilling platform and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility communications. For data that could not go through the microwave system, Tampnet used satellite for voice communications and helicopters to transport data on hard disks. These systems were expensive, inefficient, and prone to delays.

The project presented the following challenges:

  • Insufficient device installation space
  • Extreme weather and strong seas
  • Customer Provided Equipment (CPE) located outdoors
  • Limited radio frequency availability and radio interference


Huawei’s end-to-end, high-speed, LTE communication system connects drilling platforms, FPSOs, tankers, and onshore stations for voice and data transmission and video services. The system also provides voice and data services to passing vessels.

Technologically advanced

The solution uses the Huawei DBS3900 Distributed Base Station (DBS) with Baseband Units (BBUs),  Remote Radio Units (RRUs) and wireless communications technologies, including:

  • Mobile International Network Operator (MINO) compatibility
  • High-gain antennas
  • CPE terminals with external antennas to optimize Maximum Allowable Path Loss (MAPL) and enlarge the coverage area   

Explosion-proof design

Huawei developed European Union (EU), ATEX-compliant devices for drilling platforms. They have Zone 2 explosion-proof partitions and the designs are based on:

  • Coverage area
  • Wind speed
  • Type of device
  • Atmospheric pressure

Huawei installed RRUs in explosion proof rooms. Outdoor CPEs and Outdoor Units (ODUs) for satellites were located under fairings.

Dedicated radio frequencies

Tampnet originally used 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz, but applied for 800 MHz to enable DD800M high-speed data transmission within 25 miles (40 km).


  • Network with 1 Mbit/s upstream and 2 Mbit/s downstream data transmission
  • Voice communications and data transmission from 12.5 miles (20 km) to 31 miles (50 km) to cover all platforms, tankers and FPSOs
  • Advanced network design supporting service expansion, including video surveillance data uploading and wireless cluster services
  • System designed for harsh environments
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