Airware's wireless network for Triple Eight

The AirWare division of MiTech, the UK wireless networking specialist which started working with Triple Eight Race Engineering four years ago, has expanded its involvement with the works Vauxhall British Touring Car team. AirWare has now supplied a 'Proxim Orinoco' system that can link up to 15 machines in the pits (mostly new RM tablet PCs), and a 'Breezecom' link from the main motor vehicle outside the pits to the hospitality/debriefing area, which can be up to 1.5km away

Airware's wireless network for Triple Eight

MiTech originally supplied Triple Eight with a Windows 2000 network that is hard-wired with Cat 5 cabling throughout its factory and offices in Greatworth, Oxfordshire. This runs 35 RM PCs, notebooks and now tablet PCs. However, what Triple Eight really wanted was a wireless network that would give it real flexibility at the tracks.

The AirWare division supplied a 3Mbit/s network based on 'Breezecom', to create a wireless cell for the Triple Eight garage, and enable the team's race engineers to share data immediately after downloading. The new 11Mbits/s system is used for downloading and analysing data from the cars, which are compared to data from the engineers on setup changes, to monitor effects on performance. Previously the data were written on sheets of paper and typed into a report back at base. Now the engineers can write directly onto the tablet PCs, and the information is transformed into a report automatically.

Data can be downloaded from the Astra BTCC cars using a USB link to plug in to a local hard drive, for checking for chassis or engine anomalies. These data can be shared with all concerned instantly and seamlessly, whether they are on the pit wall, in the truck at the back of the garage, in the motor home or in the racecar.

Triple Eight IT manager Richard Walker said: "Flexibility is the major advantage of the wireless network. Now we couldn't really run without it. There are no secrets between out drivers - they all share the data, and we can do overlays of one driver's lap against another to see where performance can be improved. It saves us vital time. Problems are flashed up quicker and this makes life easier for the engineers. And, of course, there are no cables to trip over!

"We are also moving over to a wireless network in the office, because we're running out of hub points on the regular network. We'll either have to upgrade the switch or move entirely to wireless.

"The security of our encrypted data at the track has been an issue and this year we have a closed-loop system, with which MiTech has been helping us.

"We have webcams in the garages, connected through ISDN links to our website and giving fans live pictures on the internet. This year we hope to upgrade and improve the system, enabling us to create an AVI video file of what goes on in the garage and releasing this after each session, uploading it onto the server.

"MiTech have always been very supportive to us, coming up with ideas and offering open support. We have beta-tested various products to the limit in the hostile environment of the race track, in all weathers and atmospheric conditions, and the wireless network has always worked flawlessly. It is the best bit of kit we've had."

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