Marine Scotland is the directorate of Scottish Government responsible for marine and fisheries issues in Scotland, whose purpose is to manage Scotland's seas for prosperity and environmental sustainability. An important part of this role is the reporting of fishing data, and for this purpose Fishery Officers access a web application, normally using a tablet.
We were approached by Marine Scotland as providing internet access to the Fishery Officers' tablet devices was proving difficult, due to the rural and remote nature of the Scottish coastline. Previous trials using tablets with built-in 3G modems had not been successful, therefore a better solution was needed.
For most of the 3G routers that we install, the purpose of the router is to provide internet access to a Wi-Fi equipped device that is normally inside the vehicle. This project, however, was different. The tablets needed to be used at ports along the Scottish coast (and Scottish Islands) while the Fisheries Officer (with a tablet) was outside the car – usually on or next to a fishing boat, with the car parked some distance away.
Therefore a key requirement was that the range of Wi-Fi coverage should be as large as possible. To achieve this we installed a high-gain Wi-Fi antenna on the car's roof, in addition to dual 3G antennas. Despite the Wi-Fi antenna being outside the car, it was still possible to connect to the router wirelessly from inside the car.
Marine Scotland’s project manager commented "Over the past 6 months we have been carrying out extensive trials of In-CarPC's system. We had high expectations and the solution has performed above and beyond our expectations. Connecting via the router nearly always results in better performance than using the tablet’s built-in 3G connection, and in some locations the router provides connectivity when the tablet’s built-in 3G connection doesn't work at all. The range of the Wi-Fi network has been particularly impressive – as long as we have line-of-sight to the car we are routinely able to connect to the router even when standing up to 200m away."