Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot Launch
Telstra News |

Continuing to advance technology to make driving safer

By Jamie Smith August 10, 2020

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has moved to the next stage of its Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, Australia’s largest connected vehicle trial, calling for volunteers to have their vehicles retrofitted with Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technologies.

As part of our commitment to empowering the development of connected and automated vehicle technologies in Australia, we are supplying TMR with 4G LTE data connectivity for more than 500 vehicles taking part in the trial, and the equipment to operate roadside communications network devices.

We see the enormous potential this project has to unlock considerable social and economic benefits for all of us, which is why we continue to explore advanced technologies and provide industry-leading network innovation across our 4G LTE and 5G mobile networks.

The importance of connected vehicles, whether automated or driven by humans, to help avoid collisions, protect pedestrians and cyclists and smooth traffic flow on congested roads cannot be underestimated. Especially when we know that human error is the cause of more than 95 per cent of road crashes.

In addition to this, Infrastructure Australia estimates that reducing road congestion and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the road networks has a multi-billion dollar economic benefit, thanks to improved productivity due to less time spent in traffic.

As the nine-month Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot kicks off, we will see around 500 connected vehicles exchanging messages with the road network infrastructure systems, in order to alert the driver to potentially hazardous situations. Data will be collected during the trial and will be analysed to derive insights and learnings into the safety benefits of C-ITS, to better inform future decisions about regulation, standards and technology to enable the successful deployment of connected vehicles on Australian roads.

The Ipswich Pilot is an important element of V2X technology development in Australia, which is a focus area for Telstra.

We are a leader in the V2X technology space, partnering with Lexus Australia in 2019 to undertake the ‘Advanced Connected Vehicles Victoria’ (ACV2) trial of Cellular V2X technology for a number of road safety use cases.

Prior to that, in July 2017 we conducted the first Australian trial of Vehicle-to-Pedestrian technology in South Australia using the mobile network, which followed our first Vehicle-to-Infrastructure trial in 2016.

Telstra is also a proud foundation member of the executive steering committee for the Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), which supports the acceleration of safe driverless vehicles onto Aussie roads.

Safety first

Beyond the brilliance that is zipping through morning traffic, automated vehicles also offer the very real potential to fundamentally change transport and society by improving our road safety.

Although the figures are steadily dropping every decade, there were 6750 hospitalised road casualties as a result of crashes in Queensland in 2018-19, and 228 people were killed on Queensland’s roads in 2018-19. To put that into context, that’s four lives lost every week.

With the announcement of innovative trials like the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, the future of connected and automated cars – and the promise of safer roads, smarter transport, and smoother rides – grows closer by the day.

5G | Network | Tech and Innovation |

Our IoT networks are joining the 5G family: future-proofing for years to come

By Channa Seneviratne June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things is the massive network of connected tech you probably never see. But despite its subtle appearance, IoT is rapidly changing the way we live.

We already have two complementary network layers that cater to large-scale IoT deployments: NB-IoT and LTE-M (also known as Cat-M1).

Our Internet of Things networks have gone from strength-to-strength in a matter of years being deployed nationally right across our 4G 700MHz network and covering three million square kilometres with LTE-M technology. With recent breakthroughs on maximum coverage distance per site for narrowband our NB-IoT coverage now reaches nearly four million square kilometres.

The latest news is that both our LTE-M and NB-IoT are now formally recognised as 5G technologies, meaning we have a big head start in helping to deliver massive IoT through the fifth-generation of mobile network development. The global mobile network standards body’s (3GPP) acceptance of our existing Narrowband (NB-IoT) and Cat M1 IoT technologies as 5G IoT technologies means we can continue to support these technologies even beyond the lifespan of 4G.

NB-IoT is designed for carrying very small packets from simple devices, peaking at transfer rates less than 200kbps. That’s perfect for devices that only need to send a tiny amount of data, like water management, location management, and industrial sensors.

LTE-M, meanwhile, is designed for more complex devices that require more frequent interaction with the network. LTE-M connections are better for devices that you need to be mobile and reporting multiple sets of data such as positioning information like asset tracking.

Since we launched our NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, we’ve helped government and businesses of all sizes around the country learn more and optimise their operations.

Farmers are using the network to track water supply and help regulate deliveries for less waste in their supply chain. Hospitals are using the network to track down life-saving equipment, helping save crucial time and valuable resources. Logistics companies are using it to track freight across the country and give customers better insights into how their deliveries move. We’re even selling a LTE-M-enabled device to help you keep better track of your expensive gear. And we’re only making the networks that power these incredible innovations better as time goes on. For example, we recently announced the expansion of our NB-IoT network to cover almost 4 million square kilometres, by extending site range from 100km up to 120km.

With both LTE-M and NB-IoT now adopted into the 5G family of technologies, they continue to drive a massive expansion of connected things. This expansion into the 5G future allows our customers to embrace LTE-M and NB-IoT with confidence in the technology’s long-term future.

5G is a networking shorthand for the fifth-generation of mobile connectivity standards. Each generation – from 1G through to 5G – has brought with it a brighter future. 5G will deliver speeds, network capacity, and via LTE-M and NB-IoT bring scale to potentially connect billions of things globally that we’d only previously dreamed of. The global standards recognition here means our NB-IoT and LTE-M networks won’t be supplanted by the new 5G technology. Instead, these technologies will go from strength-to-strength together as 5G technologies evolve, with the capability to power massive IoT projects around Australia and the world.

Future 5G capabilities are expected to move in lockstep with IoT networks to provide ultra-reliable low latency communications and by leveraging these capabilities of 5G for IoT, we’ll be able to expand the role of connected devices to enable incredible new advances both in nationwide and hyper-localised settings.

These massive IoT deployments can benefit just about every industry. Connected transport, drones, healthcare and infrastructure could communicate with centralised dashboards to help the nation move more smoothly. Meanwhile, IoT deployed in industrial settings such as factories where collaborative robotics could receive almost instantaneous responses from machines around them to enable faster and smarter manufacturing.

Global IoT connections will simultaneously increase in tandem from the 8.6 billion connections at the end of 2018, to an expected whopping 22.3 billion by 2024, all driven by NB-IoT, LTE-M and the future 5G Industrial IoT standard all delivered by 4G and 5G connectivity.

Connectivity – like 5G – brings with it exciting opportunities for business, health, safety and innovation. We’ll continue to improve our NB-IoT and LTE-M offerings as we roll-out 5G to more places in Australia.

Telstra Underground Private LTE Mining Services Networks
Telstra Vantage™ |

We’re building one of the world’s largest underground LTE networks for digital mining

By Jeannette McGill September 4, 2019

We want to use the vast array of technology at our fingertips today to help businesses be more productive and efficient. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new partnership with South32 for a private 4G LTE network at their North West Queensland mine.

Right now, we’re in pre-deployment stage at the South32 Cannington underground silver, lead and zinc mine. The network will drive improved safety, automation and mechanisation at the site and will connect staff to vehicles and sensors around the mine at all times. The high throughput and low latency offered by the system means that staff will be able to control critical equipment without interruption, and South32’s digitalisation strategy will be achievable throughout the mine.

By adopting 4G LTE underground, the Cannington mine will be able to achieve better operating transparency, condition monitoring and production improvements for staff, machines and other mining systems, driving safety, productivity and efficiency.

We’ll be building an initial underground network 6.5kms in length using a private, virtualised core and LTE radio technologies distributed over leaky feeder cable using LTE-capable bi-directional amplifiers. Our analysis indicates this to be the most effective solution for underground miners and is capable of adapting to the unique geology and composition of the Cannington mine. It enables access to the latest advances in 4G LTE and NB-IoT, and is also upgradeable to 5G in the future.

The network being private means that it will be a completely standalone mobile network, independent from others, like Telstra’s own public network. South32 Cannington will have its own equipment, SIM cards and unique network codes for full autonomy and complete control.

Providing a modern connectivity platform will allow for more flexible operations as well as scalability and choice in applying various digital solutions. The combination of Ericsson mobile network equipment, Telstra radio spectrum, and leaky feeder solutions from specialist manufacturer METStech provides a unique capability that has made extending LTE underground a more commercially realistic and safer prospect.

At its full deployment, it’ll become one of the largest underground mining LTE networks in the world using leaky feeder. We’re excited to help drive South32’s Cannington mine further with this new private network, as it looks to pay dividends to safety, productivity and more.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the technology behind this build, make sure to visit the Ericsson stand at Telstra Vantage in Melbourne on 4 and 5 September.

Business and Enterprise |

Turning on the digital future of mining at Lihir

By Jeannette McGill June 25, 2019

Together with Newcrest, we’ve switched on the first Private 4G LTE mobile network in Papua New Guinea at the Lihir gold mine. This next-generation network will allow for greater levels of safety, tele-remote operation of mining equipment, and autonomous systems throughout the mine, while seamlessly integrating into Newcrest’s existing Wi-Fi network.

We worked with Newcrest to design, stage, deploy and test the network at Lihir, implementing a Private LTE system that has been validated as a dependable and scalable networking platform for the mining industry – and one that will help mining houses digitally transform their operations to plan for the future.

Newcrest’s Lihir gold mine extends 300 metres into a volcanic crater, which has the potential to expose workers to elevated temperatures. Chris Jordaan, the mine’s general manager, says that tele-remote and autonomous mining technologies are fundamental to working the hot work areas that will become more dominant features of the Lihir operation in the future.

“The Private LTE network will be a great enabler for these technologies and coupled with the existing in-pit Wi-Fi network, we have been able to create a heterogeneous network that covers the whole mining lease.”

We’ve provided Newcrest with a tailored platform using Ericsson technology that will underpin its safety and digital mining ambitions and will help improve productivity and deliver new value and efficiencies to the business. They’ll be using it to further modernise the mine site to enable the use of current and future mining applications, including tele-remote and autonomous systems, more extensively.

Newcrest and Telstra Mining Services took what has become a best-in-class preliminary deployment approach with the network. Designing it for full production but initially deploying at two sites allowed Newcrest to validate the design principles, implementation techniques and practical capabilities of Private LTE before scaling their investment.

Crucially, the Private LTE platform also includes ‘HetNet’ functionality and rugged vehicle modems provided by Perth-based AVI that allow Newcrest’s connected vehicle fleet to seamlessly switch between LTE and existing Wi-Fi networks without impacting critical mining applications. The new system, completely independent from public mobile networks, uses dual-frequency base stations configured to provide coverage for Lihir’s long-term operations in the area.

Every kind of production vehicle asset that Newcrest uses at Lihir, including trucks, drills, excavators, dozers, shovels and barges, has been connected and operationally proven over the Private LTE network. The upgrade brings significant performance improvements in terms of reliability, speed and latency – boosting fleet efficiency and real-time visibility by 80 per cent.

Lihir’s Private LTE deployment will also improve the efficiency and safety of mining, according to Gavin Wood, Chief Information & Digital Officer at Newcrest.

“Safety is Newcrest’s number-one priority and the network Telstra Mining Services has built with us at Lihir will enable safer and more efficient mining using new technologies. The success of this project was 100 per cent driven by leadership and personal commitment of the Lihir’s OT / IT team working together with Telstra Mining Services.”

LTE is a future-ready platform for wireless communication in mining, and provides highly scalable communications that will be vital to the next generation of machines and systems in the sector. We’re proud to bring our extensive experience with our own networks to help Newcrest work towards the future of mining.

Network |

A change of ‘MooD’ for live streaming

By Mike Wright December 18, 2017

A change of ‘MooD’ for live streaming as this world first technology helps avoid the “thousand dollar screen and ten cent stream” outcome.

With the explosion in real time consumption of mobile video streaming being driven by major events and sports, there is an emerging threat to the performance of mobile networks as peak demand may swamp network cell capacity.

The use of LTE-Broadcast technology changes the underlying efficiency of live video delivery as each cell can now support an unlimited number of users watching the same content with improved overall quality. To date though, LTE-B technology has required that a dedicated part of each cell’s capacity be set aside for broadcasting. This had made the LTE-B business case harder to prove in for lower streaming demand rates.

This has now changed as Telstra and our partners have enabled the world’s first implementation of the Multicast Operation on Demand (MooD) feature whereby cells in the network only need to configure for LTE-B when there are multiple users watching the same content.

This combined with the Service Continuity feature allows mobile users to move around the network seamlessly between cells configured for LTE-B and those which are not.

Earlier this year we announced our intention to enable LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) across our entire mobile network in 2018. With MooD and service continuity we are one step closer to that goal as we head into another year of major growth in sporting content demand.

Supported by technology partners Ericsson and Qualcomm, Telstra has now delivered world first capability to ensure LTE-B can be delivered as efficiently as possible.

Service Continuity will allow devices to transition in and out of LTE-B coverage areas without interruption. For instance, you might be at a music festival streaming an event on your phone but need to leave the venue and make your way back home (where LTE-B is not in use). Service Continuity means you can continue to watch the stream and the transition will be seamless – even though you have the left the broadcast area.

Taking that a step further, MooD allows the network to determine how many LTE-B compatible devices in any given area are consuming the same content. MooD then intelligently activates or deactivates LTE-B, ensuring the mobile network is as efficient as possible in that location.

For example, if a die-hard football fan is streaming a match we will likely service that one user with unicast, as that is the most efficient way of delivering the content. However if more users in the same cell decide to watch the match, MooD makes the decision automatically as to whether it is more efficient to service those users by switching the stream to broadcasting instead of individual unicast streams.

With the ever growing demand for data and video, these enhanced LTE-B capabilities will enable Telstra to deliver streaming and data services seamlessly and at scale but continue to provide a greater quality of experience for our customers.