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Tag: networks

A change of ‘MooD’ for live streaming

Network

Posted on December 18, 2017

3 min read

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.

Behind the scenes: How we keep the internet connected

Network

Posted on November 28, 2017

4 min read

Telstra owns and operates the largest and most diverse subsea cable network in Asia Pacific – a region where internet data consumption grew by 70 per cent last year alone. But it’s also a region that presents a number of hazards to this subsea network.

Combatting some of these challenges is a dedicated team of experts at Telstra’s Network Operations Centres (NOC) in Hong Kong and Singapore who work in partnership with the Marine Operations team. This group of subsea cable experts and technical specialists are responsible for protecting our subsea cables and the services that run across the Telstra network, in addition to organising repairs in the event a cable gets damaged.

The NOC tools: AIS and ROV

A ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) provides information such as its unique identification number, position, course, and speed. Similar to air traffic controllers, the team at the NOC use the AIS data to monitor the location of ships entering and leaving the busy, shallow ports of Hong Kong and Singapore. If a ship gets too close to one of Telstra’s cables, the NOC team will make a call to the captain so they can adjust their course. On average, the Singapore team contacts 30 to 50 large vessels a month.

This tracking has helped to reduce the damage caused by ships cutting cables around Hong Kong and Singapore’s ports by 50 per cent since 2013, which translates to better network availability for customers.

So what happens when a cable is damaged?

The NOC and Marine Operations teams will perform an initial assessment to locate the position of the fault and determine the impact on services. Once this is done they will try to minimise customer impacts by redirecting network traffic to other cables if possible and assess whether a full scale maintenance ship needs to be sent to the site to undertake repair work.

If the cable needs to be repaired, the team will organise one of the cable maintenance ships on standby in Taiwan to get to the site. These ships have remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) on board, which play an important role when it comes to locating cable damage and speeding up the repair process.

These machines can either visually detect where the cable damage is, or if visibility is bad, they can do an ‘echo’ test which picks up signals emitted by the cable. ROVs can go to a depth of up to 3,000 metres – the maximum depth a diver can reach is 304 metres.

Once the damage is located, special equipment such as a grapnel hook is needed to grab and retrieve the damaged section of cable and bring it to the surface for onboarding and repair. This is because cables are far too heavy to be lifted by an ROV or repaired whilst underwater beyond the depth a diver can reach.

If a damaged cable is off the coast of Singapore, it takes around eight days for the maintenance ship to travel down from Taiwan, an average of seven to 10 days for the repair work, and another eight days to make the trip back to its station in Taiwan. The number of days to repair the cable can vary depending on the extent of the damage and how deep the water is. At significant depths, for example, it can take around 15 to 18 hours just to lower the grapnel hook to the seabed to begin retrieving the damaged cable, and the same amount of time to raise it back up to the surface.

In contrast to the incredible speed and immediacy of the internet, monitoring and maintaining a subsea cable network can often be laborious and resource-intensive. But at the NOC, we take pride in the fact that our work sustains the very backbone of the internet. Through smart cable design, timely fault detection, and experienced people working tirelessly to fix cable damage, we ensure fast and consistent connection so that millions across Asia Pacific can work, shop, socialise and entertain themselves online.

 

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The next step in the evolution of 4G connectivity

Network

Posted on September 20, 2017

3 min read

Last month, we announced we had activated Cat M1 technology across our entire 4GX coverage footprint, becoming the first network operator in Australia to offer the technology while accelerating the growth of IoT-based businesses and applications across the country. Our IoT network is easily the largest in Australia and one of the largest in the world.

In another Australian first, we have now completed a live over-the-air Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call over Cat M1. Together with our technology partners, Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson, this live VoLTE call demonstrated that voice can be carried along with data on emerging IoT devices and applications.  This opens up new opportunities for delivering voice services in innovative device form factors and locations with new levels of cost, battery life and use case flexibility.

So how does VoLTE over Cat M1 work? 

When standard voice calls are made on a VoLTE enabled handset, VoLTE works by integrating the call into the 4G data stream.  When it comes to IoT, adding VoLTE to Cat M1 devices means those devices will have the ability to make voice calls to other devices, applications and use cases which could benefit from voice.

This will pave the way for new types of devices, applications and services for both consumers and enterprise.

For example, Telstra recently announced next generation eSIM technology, which allows customers to connect a wearable, like a smartwatch, directly to our mobile network and integrate an existing mobile number. With VoLTE over Cat M1, this could provide opportunities to further leverage the battery saving features of Cat M1 for use in wearables where voice services are required.

By combining voice enabled devices and infrastructure at low cost and in diverse locations in and out of the home, a number of other uses will come from this innovation – particularly if combined with the current explosion in voice recognition and voice enabled devices. From emergency calling panels in lifts to interactions with parking meters, information kiosks, cars or whitegoods, the possible use cases are expansive.

Demonstrating live VoLTE over Cat M1 is the first step to progressing these unique use cases. It is a significant new step in the evolution of how 4G connectivity can be enhanced, and how it enables new applications and services built upon standard network building blocks such as VoLTE.

Keep up with the latest in business and tech innovation at Telstra Vantage in our podcast series.

Tags: 4g, 4GX, IoT, mobile, networks,

Delivering even more for regional and rural Australia

Regional Network

Posted on August 1, 2017

4 min read

Telstra has a long and proud history of supporting regional Australia. Whether it be through our support of local community clubs and businesses, our commitment to delivering leading technology to remote areas, or our on-the-ground support in times of emergency – Telstra has always aspired to support those living in regional and rural Australia.

In 2016, we committed to continue investment to improve and expand our mobile networks for those living in regional and rural Australia, including hundreds of new sites through the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spots program and upgrading hundreds more to the latest 4G capabilities.

The recent ACCC inquiry into regulated mobile roaming led to some of Telstra’s investment plans being put on hold until a decision was made.

In early May 2017, the ACCC announced their draft decision to not declare mobile roaming, which gave us the necessary confidence to continue with some key investments in regional Australia. We have recommenced work on a number of upgrades to our mobile network and looked at what further technology enhancements we could make to support those in regional and rural Australia.

Providing even more Australians with 4G coverage

I’m extremely proud to say we have now expanded our 4G coverage to reach 99 per cent of the Australian population. This means our 4G coverage spans more than 1.4 million square kilometres, providing even more Australians with access to our world leading network.

We now have more than 7,000 4G sites across our network. These include areas like Kongwak, a small town in Victoria with a population of just 193; Taylors Arm in northern NSW, home to the Pub with No Beer made famous by the Slim Dusty song of the same name; and Green Island, a popular tourist destination in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.

Combined, Telstra’s 3G and 4G coverage now reaches 99.4% of the population (up from 99.3%) and covers 2.4 million square kilometres of the Australian landmass, including hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of regional and rural Australia not served by any other carrier.

If the ACCC draft decision is confirmed, we will commence planning to extend our 4G footprint to approach that of our 3G service  delivering a further 1 million square kilometres of 4G coverage beyond what we have today for regional and rural Australia.

Delivering more for industry in the city as well as in regional and rural Australia

Further to this, we’ve delivered another Australian first by activating one of the largest Internet of Things (IoT) enabled networks in the world through our Cat M1 technology.

Cat M1 operates over our 4GX network and enables IoT devices to have greater reach in distance and depth into buildings. We will soon deploy range extension capability and be able to offer customers with a Cat M1 enabled device a network footprint that is around three million square kilometres in area and penetrates far deeper into city buildings than 4G coverage has ever reached before. This will enable connectivity to such things as sensors in basements or communications panels in lifts. Cat M1 can even enable VoLTE voice calling on small portable devices with long battery life devices such as watches.

We have also commenced the roll out and testing software that supports the Narrowband IoT (NB IoT) standard. NB IoT will deliver similar benefits of coverage and depth as Cat M1 for simpler devices that transmit small amounts of data that can be optimised for even longer battery life.

Industry in regional and rural Australia is likely to benefit most from these technologies and extensive coverage, as Cat M1 and NB IoT are ideally suited to use cases like agriculture, transportation and mining.

For instance, a sensor or meter could be deployed at a farm to track livestock or collect data on things like soil moisture, rainfall, air quality, and wind speed and direction. Because data collection can be  automated and real time, decisions can be made and optimised  faster than ever before increasing productivity, improving quality or shortening time to market.

This is a network that makes the future possible for regional and rural Australia. At Telstra we know connectivity is vital to regional, rural and remote communities, which is why we have consistently weighted network investments towards extending coverage. We’ve demonstrated this commitment over many years and as long as the right investment incentives remain in place we will continue to do so.

Visit Telstra’s Regional Hub.

Early progress in building the networks for the future

Network

Posted on August 1, 2017

5 min read

Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer, Robyn Denholm, highlights the progress being made in building Networks for the Future with enhancements to the reach, capacity and capability of Telstra’s networks.

With the explosive growth that is underway in the number and variety of smart devices, online services and digital applications, we are expecting five times the traffic and more than quadruple the number of devices across our networks over the next five years.

These figures sound impressive but this is about more than raw numbers.  It represents connecting you with friends and family; enabling Australian businesses to take advantage of cloud computing, machine to machine communications and artificial intelligence; supporting the development of a host of new startups; and giving you control over the smart home of the future.

To make this future a reality in Australia we are undertaking a once-in-a-generation program in building the Networks for the Future.  This will see Telstra build networks that underpin the way our customers work, learn and play for years to come.  Networks that will usher in 5G and make the Internet of Things a reality.

With the hard work of our leading engineers, developers and technicians bringing the best technologies from around the world to Australia and collaborating with our technology partners, we have made some exciting progress on this journey.  By increasing the reach, capacity and capability of key parts of our networks in recent weeks we have put the foundational building blocks in place for the connected world of the future.

Increasing capacity

Only 20% of the capacity we are going to require on our networks by 2020 existed at the start of this year.  So clearly we have a lot of work to do!

A critical part of delivering our services is our transmission network. These are the big pipes that form the backbone of our national network and support everything from mobiles and home broadband, to data for our business and government customers.  So upgrading the capacity and capability of this network is a key early step in building Networks for the Future.

We are currently rolling out optical transport technology across our transmission network, which will increase both capacity and flexibility of the network as well as improve resilience.

Tasmania is the first place to benefit from this new technology.  We have lit up the optical transmission technology across the state and on the cable routes running across Bass Strait.  The upgrade will increase Telstra’s network capacity on each of Telstra’s two subsea cables running across the Bass Strait from 400 Gigabit to 1 Terabit per second – the equivalent of 200,000 HD videos being streamed simultaneously.*

Importantly, the next generation optical transport technology offers huge upside for supporting growth.  With future system deployments we anticipate we can scale up to 100 Terabits per second or more.

We will now be progressively upgrading our optical transport capability around Australia, with Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia the next in line to benefit from from inter-capital upgrades.

Telstra’s 4G coverage now reaches 99% of the Australian population

With new mobile sites being completed in Woongenellup, Western Australia and in Kongwak, Victoria as well as 4GX upgrades in Cardwell, Queensland and in Grace Plains, South Australia among several other towns in recent weeks, we have now expanded our 4G coverage to reach 99 per cent of the Australian population.  This means more regional and remote communities than ever before have access to mobile services using the latest technologies.

We now offer 4G across more than 1.4 million square kilometres, which is more than five times the landmass of the United Kingdom and means more Australians have access to our world leading network where they live, work and play.

Australia’s largest Internet of Things footprint

Telstra has activated Cat M1 across our 4GX coverage footprint, becoming the first network operator in Australia to offer the technology and accelerating the growth of IoT-based businesses and applications across the country. We will shortly deploy range extension capability which will take the Cat M1 coverage footprint for compatible Cat M1 devices to more than 3 million square kilometres.

Cat M1 enables low cost IoT devices, like sensors and monitors, to have greater reach in distance and depth into buildings.  It also offers the opportunity for battery life measured in years rather than hours and days.

This is great news for a range of industries.  We see this as an investment in the IoT ecosystem in Australia that will support new start-ups across multiple sectors, including agriculture, transportation, healthcare and mining.  We are working with the sector to develop products and service that can take advantage of our IoT capabilities.  Telstra has also commenced the rollout and testing of software that supports the NarrowBand IoT standard and we expect to enable that capability later this year.

* Based on a 5Mbps per streamed HD video

If you want to learn more about the types of work you can do in technology at Telstra you’re already in the right place.