New satellite connects remote customers
One of the many things I admire about my colleagues at Telstra is their tenacity to find robust solutions to complex problems.
Recently, we needed to switch more than 1,300 Satellite telephony customer service lines across 437 remote sites across the country over to a new satellite as the old one had come to the end of its lifecycle.
Theoretically, this should have been relatively straight forward but as anyone who’s ever owned a computer will know – hardware upgrades are rarely that easy.
The complexity arose from the fact that the two satellites operate on slightly different frequencies. The simple and most logical answer would have been to reprogram the customer’s equipment to the new frequency. In practical terms, however, this was not, well, practical as the switch over had to be carried out simultaneously.
With the location of these customers ranging from Thursday Island in the north to King Island in the south and Barrow Island in the west to Heron Island in the east and anywhere in between physically visiting every customer’s premise and reprogramming their equipment was clearly not an option.
The solution lay in our own networks. In simple terms, my team has managed to manipulate our network into thinking that the new satellite is transmitting on the old frequency. This has bypassed the need to physically reprogram our customers’ equipment.
Of course, in technical terms, it is a lot more complex than that. Extensive and innovative network design and testing was required to develop a solution that could be implemented with minimal customer impact. The switch over was successfully implemented with all customers experiencing an outage of less than five minutes.
The new satellite is providing our customers with an increase in signal levels and improved service availability. This is particularly beneficial during severe weather conditions which can interfere with satellite transmissions.
Moreover, this new satellite also provides additional geographical coverage over Christmas and Cocos Islands which gives us greater flexibility to provide emergency back-up service to the islands in the future.
If you live in a rural or remote area (and let’s face it Australia does rural and remote exceptionally well), – it’s how you connect!