With a voice backhaul network spanning multiple counties across Idaho, Washington and Oregon, Clearwater Power Company selected Ubiik Mimomax’s Tornado radios as a replacement for a legacy voice backhaul system located across six mountaintop sites.


The Challenge

After struggling with a system that was working “about half the time”, Clearwater Power engaged Valence Mission Critical Technologies to investigate options to solve their issues with a disparate array of backhaul links.

Frequent downtime and long lead times on service restoral were having a significant impact on Clearwater Power’s operations. Additionally, remote access to their equipment was only partially available which was leading to more truck rolls than was ideal across their mountainous terrain.


The Solution

The Valence team carried out an audit of the existing system to determine why the electric cooperative was battling with frequent outages which resulted in a disruption of their radio service.

“Through our audit, we identified that three of their radio sites were deficient to the point that we would need to come up with different, more acceptable locations at the same mountaintop sites,” says Michael Deakins, President at Valence Inc. “The new LMR system we designed was a multisite conventional system using subscriber-based voting with the IP backhaul provided via Ubiik Mimomax Tornado radios operating in 900MHz.”

Clearwater Power’s mountaintop sites range from 5000 to 7000 feet in elevation and are typically difficult to access in the winter.  Reliability for continuity of service was of the utmost importance, as was the ability to deploy in non or near-line of sight conditions due to the terrain challenges.

“Since Clearwater’s linemen respond to electrical outages around the clock, all year long and often in the worst types of inclement weather, their radio system needed to be as reliable as possible – which in this case meant the backhaul had to have “five 9’s” of availability,” says Michael.  “Furthermore, the linemen frequently work in areas with no cellular service and radio is their only way to get out and obtain help in the event of an emergency.”


The Result

Deployed over the summer of 2022 and the spring of 2023 when the mountaintop sites could be accessed, the new Tornado backhaul is providing the throughput and uptime Clearwater had requested upon engaging Valence. In addition to providing a more reliable system, the ability to remotely access the Tornado network (and LMR equipment it is connected to) has simplified troubleshooting for the cooperative.

“So far, availability has been nearly 100% uptime with more than enough bandwidth should they want to add remote site monitoring. In addition, the low latency allows for great, real-time digital radio communications,” says Michael. Clearwater now has access to all of their equipment endpoints which has simplified maintenance, reducing service costs and truck rolls.”

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