Mage Networks: A Calgary Startup Solving A World Problem
In 2006, our CEO was approached by a team of geologists to solve a problem – collect data wirelessly from seismic surveys in regions that made reliable, real-time transmission of data a challenge. Surveys had gotten so large that the traditional cables being used (250 km of cables weighing 25 tons) were becoming impractical.
The problem was extremely challenging. But after years of trial and error, the team finally had a solution, and they headed to northern British Columbia to begin field testing.
The solution? A network that included 25 hops in and out of the units, giving them a 10 Mbps connection back to Base Camp in an area otherwise completely disconnected.
However, the survey area was rugged muskeg, with bears, tightly packed pine trees, and many areas with thigh deep standing water. The survey company used ATV’s with caterpillars as the terrain was too rugged for regular wheeled ATVs. During their testing, bears had been sighted in the northern part of the field; the crew was working in the south and were under strict orders to check in using the push-to-talk radios.
But Deep in the survey area (when they tried to check in) they couldn’t connect.
This was a problem.
There was no connection of any kind. Therefore, no way to connect to the base camp to let them know they were safe.
While sitting in the survey area, pondering their predicament, Sisso looked over his shoulder and saw what he would later describe as a “wonderful mesh network right there with a 10 megabit per second capability, that stretched back to the base camp, but we had no access to it.”
Upon the return to Calgary, the team realized how easy it was to deploy a really powerful network in areas that were impossible to reach by any other technology, including voice communication (even though they’re supposed to be long range and accessible in these exact conditions.)
Since then, Mage Networks starting from that inspiration has completed the commercial introduction of its first-generation product that can provide high speed Internet access anywhere and everywhere. Mage has installed networks in several regions of the US and Canada as well as in Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria.
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