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D-LINK helps Native American tribe harness wind power in sub-zero temperatures


Weather Resistant D-Link® Wireless Access Points Offer Monitoring Efficiencies; Enable Installation Without Nearby Power Outlets
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.— The northeast section of Montana, which borders North Dakota and Canada, features one of the coldest wind corridors in the country. A stiff wind blows almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The area is also home to one of the nation’s honored Native American societies - the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation.

Fort Peck generates power for the reservation with a progressive, environmentally conscious wind farm project. The installation features two 660-kilowatt wind turbines that take advantage of the consistent winds.

When seeking a weather-tolerant solution to remotely manage and power the turbines, Gaffaney’s of Williston, Plentywood, and Glasgow, a D-Link Value Added Reseller (VAR), suggested the tribes install D-Link® Wireless Outdoor Access Points (AP). The APs create strong wireless connections to deliver feedback on how much power is being generated by each turbine and enable operations personnel to control the turbines remotely. Software provided by the turbine manufacturer controls each turbine over the wireless network.

“We needed a way to control the wind generation towers,” said Paul Weyrauch, owner of Gaffaney’s. “We didn’t want to run extra cables because of the expense involved, but we needed to monitor performance levels and be able to shut down the turbines in extremely windy conditions. We also had to consider the harsh weather conditions up here. It’s very windy, and temperatures can drop to -40° Fahrenheit.”

The wind turbines, located at the Fort Peck headquarters a mile from town, were already installed, but there was no control network in place. “All the specifications and research we looked at indicated that a wireless network would offer the most efficient, cost-effective solution,” said Weyrauch.

“The D-Link DWL-7700AP operates in very harsh conditions,” said Weyrauch. “This was the only product we found that could withstand -40° Fahrenheit. Transmission capability over long distances was important, too. We could have gone with another access point, but then we’d need to build a heated building to house it.”

Each D-Link DWL-7700AP is enclosed in a die cast watertight housing and comes equipped with a built-in heater monitored by a temperature sensor. “It’s designed with heat sinking, so heat is dissipated during the summer, too,” said Weyrauch. The units also feature Power over Ethernet (PoE), which enabled the reservation to install the units where power outlets are not readily available.

In addition to the wireless access points, Gaffaney’s team installed a D-Link 2.4GHz Omni-Directional Outdoor Antenna (ANT24-0800), which offers 360° expanded coverage and extends data throughput at farther distances. The ANT24-0800 includes a sturdy base for wall installation and a waterproof design to resist harsh weather conditions.

D-Link Products:

* D-Link Wireless AG Outdoor AP/Bridge (DWL-7700AP)
* D-Link 2.4 GHz Omni-Directional Outdoor Antenna (ANT24-0800)


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