Join Our Newsletter - Get important industry news and analysis sent to your inbox – sign up to our e-Newsletter here


Wireless Mesh Communications for Coal Mines

The Cobham Centre Solent,
Fusion 2, 1100 Parkway,
PO15 7AB United Kingdom

The Cobham Centre Solent,
Fusion 2, 1100 Parkway,
PO15 7AB United Kingdom

Cobham’s NetNodeIS, Intrinsically Safe, ensures the safe path for critical communications developed specifically for underground coal mines. The NetNodeIS is a unique proprietary COFDM fluid self-healing wireless mesh network, giving a unique transmission characteristic in tunnels and offering longer ranges than other systems.

The Cobham system has received the European ATEX and the International IEC Ex M1 certifications, assuring its intrinsically safe design and build quality.

Safe communications for fixed and mobile deployments in coal mines

This communication system gives operations managers in coal mines a valuable tool to ensure continual access to critical production data and to maintain situational awareness, via their SCADA infrastructure, from the coal face to the control room.

The Intrinsically Safe system can remain active and uninterrupted even when an explosive atmosphere has been detected, leading to improved miner safety and, because it remains active, production efficiency.

Reliable wireless mesh communication network

NetNodeIS radios can be combined in a fluid self-forming, self-healing mesh containing up to twelve radios. The mesh radios in the system can provide up to 5.0Mb/s of IP data, with data rates depending on the mode, number of nodes and range between nodes. The available bit-rate can be used to exchange IP data traffic between any configuration of fixed and mobile assets.

NetNodeIS continually optimises the routing of IP traffic, such as voice, video and control data over multiple redundant communication paths around the network.

System reconfiguration in mining operations

The highly flexible mesh topology means that data can be exchanged between nodes in a point-to-point or multi-point fashion and ranges can be extended by using nodes as repeaters. The system architecture makes the NetNodeIS ideal for use as a robust data backhaul solution. The NetNodeIS is an excellent choice to allow the rapid reconfiguration of data communications in the evolving complexity of an underground mine development, where accidents or mining operations could require the physical rerouting of data.

Each NetNodeIS within the mesh exchanges data on a single frequency, simplifying frequency management. The entire mesh occupies just 2.5MHz of bandwidth (3.0MHz, 3.5MHz and 5.0MHz also available). NetNodeIS radios use the unique Cobham COFDM modulation scheme, and so offer excellent RF penetration and performance in the presence of multipath, whether they are deployed underground or above ground. S-band (2170-2500GHz band) transmission in mines and tunnels gains additional benefit from a ‘wave guide’ effect, which maximises the effective transmission range.

Security of the entire mesh network can be ensured by the use of the optional AES128 or AES256 encryption.

Cost-effective uninterrupted communications in coal mines

The range provided by each NetNodeIS in the Cobham system ensures a cost-effective solution for use in coal mines. Despite being specifically designed for coal mines, the system and all its constituent components are also suitable for use in all other mining environments.

Cobham is a world-leading tactical communications and surveillance innovator, with proven credentials in providing network support for government and military organisations for use in many demanding environments. The NetNodeIS both meets and exceeds safety and operational requirements for coal mining.

Cobham TCS Limited

The Cobham Centre Solent

Fusion 2, 1100 Parkway



PO15 7AB

United Kingdom