Thursday, 27 September 2018 10:29

Ericsson, Telstra test ‘ground-breaking’ long range NB-IoT connection Featured

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Ericsson and Telstra are trumpeting a technology breakthrough with the successful deployment and testing of Narrowband Internet of Things data connections up to 100km from a base station in Telstra’s commercial network.

The two companies say the testing involved the longest-range NB-IoT connection of its kind, and is a key milestone towards increasing Telstra’s LTE footprint in rural and regional Australia.

The “technology breakthrough”, designed by Ericsson, extends the 3GPP standards-based limit from around 40km out to 100km and is activated entirely through software upgrades, with no changes required to NB-IoT devices.

The innovation is slated as further cementing “Telstra’s leadership as Australia’s only operator and one of the first globally to offer both NB-IoT and Cat M1 technologies”.

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Telstra launched Cat M1 coverage in 2017 over an approximate three million square kilometres before deploying NB-IoT technology in its IoT network in January 2018. With this new capability, Telstra’s NB-IoT coverage increases to more than three and a half million square kilometres and will provide enhanced accessibility and reliability.

Channa Seneviratne, Telstra’s executive director, network and infrastructure engineering, says: “Telstra already had Australia’s largest IoT coverage with Cat M1 across our 4G metro, regional and rural coverage footprint. With this NB-IoT extended range feature, we have now extended our coverage to more than three and a half million square kilometres, delivering our customers the best IoT coverage and capability in the country”.

“Once again Telstra, working closely in partnership with Ericsson, has delivered innovation that ensures the benefits of IoT technology can be enjoyed by the largest number of Australians, not just those in the cities and towns.”

“This game-changing capability builds on Ericsson’s long history of delivering extended range cellular solutions,” says Emilio Romeo, Ericsson’s managing director Australia and New Zealand.

 “We’re partnering with Telstra to deliver its customers a world-leading capability in NB-IoT extended range cells and demonstrating the huge opportunity that IoT represents in rural and regional areas for both Australia and globally, particularly for logistics and agriculture.”

The extended range NB-IoT network capabilities were demonstrated on Telstra’s mobile network at the Telstra Vantage Conference held in Melbourne last week.

In the demonstration the extended-range capability of Telstra’s mobile network was shown with a Captis NB-IoT temperature sensor, sourced from mIoT, located 94km from the Telstra base station on Mount Cenn Cruaich in New South Wales.

And the network’s ability to reach difficult urban locations was demonstrated with a Captis sensor from mIoT located three floors below ground level in an underground parking lot in central Sydney that was beyond the reach of regular LTE signals.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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