Pipeline installs new Sprint fixed 4G wireless system at Houston facility

Sprint says corporate remote and branch corporate locations can cut costs and save time using fixed wireless systems

Explorer Pipeline has deployed Sprint's new fixed wireless WiMax-based 4G Enterprise WAN at its Houston fuel storage facility.

Sprint installed business-class outdoor wireless modems on antennas at the Explorer facility, giving workers average download speeds of 3-6 Mbps, Sprint said.

The wireless 4G network lets workers spend less time waiting for information, which makes them more productive, said Explorer Senior Network Engineer Greg Wagnon in a statement.

Explorer ships diesel, gasoline and jet fuel through 1,900 miles of through pipes of up to 28 inches in diameter that stretch from the Gulf Coast to Chicago.

Wagnon estimates that installing antennas and modems at the fuel storage location will result in savings of $4,500 a year compared to using T-1 technology.

The wait for permits and then the digging of trenches to install T-1 lines can take months. Sprint said it could install the 4G Enterprise WAN in 15 days.

Wagnon said Explorer plans to roll out the wireless WAN network in up to two dozen other locations.

Tom Roberts, vice president of business marketing at Sprint, said the company's 4G Enterprise WAN is suitable for a variety of branch or remote operations or for retail operations.

Sprint uses Wimax for its 4G Enterprise WAN and currently offers it for business and consumer wireless access in 71 cities.

As with the nationwide rollout, the 4G Enterprise WAN can fluctuate between 4G and 3G speeds.

Sprint offers businesses a Service Level Agreement guaranteeing wireless network availability 99.95% of the time.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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