New solution to an old problem
One of the things I take immense pride in is the ‘can-do’ attitude of the people who work here at Telstra. Recently my team identified a need in the market where there was no product available to meet the requirement.
So, what do you do in these circumstances? Well if you work in Telstra’s Wireless Network Engineering group – you go off and build it!
From time to time, we’ve had ad hoc requests often from organisations such the mining industry and emergency services for a temporary provision of wireless network coverage in a specific location for a period of time. This could be while a community is recovering from an emergency, or when work is being undertaken at a remote site and a permanent solution isn’t warranted
Usually we’ve managed to put a something together to meet the need at the time, but it has been a very short term solution.
Recently my team received a request from a mining company in WA for improved coverage at one of their camps. While a mobile repeater* was available in Victoria, it could not be used as the trailer did not meet strict mining equipment standards.
Following this request the team decided to design their own solar-powered trailer-mounted repeater – one that could be commercially deployed, and potentially used by the emergency services in a crisis.
First of all the team engaged a company who make equipment specifically for the mining industry. Together they designed a trailer that would be rugged enough to meet the strict mining industry standards but was also compact and easily transportable.
Next, the necessary Next G® network equipment was installed together with solar panels so the repeater could be used in remote locations where mains power isn’t available. The team also had to ensure that the trailer met Telstra’s own operational requirements.
I’m proud to report that our new trailer mounted Next G network repeaters have already been commercially used in Queensland and Western Australia.
To date we have built a total of eight of these trailer mounted repeaters which will be deployed around Australia. Even if I do say so myself, these trailers look so good that we are now considering updating our mobile Cell on Wheels (known as CoWs) using a similar trailer design.