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Telstra begins optical transformation and deploys dedicated network for smart devices

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Telstra will build a nationwide optical network to provide the backbone for the company’s 5G rollout and enable a dedicated national Internet of Things mobile network to make it easier to control and monitor smart products from anywhere.

Telstra announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it has partnered once again with long-term collaborator Ericsson to supply, install and integrate the optical network for mobile and fixed broadband over the next three years in metro and regional areas.

Telstra says this solution will provide the speed, resilience and security to meet the anticipated growth in traffic and increasing volume of content.

There is expected to be five times the amount of traffic and it will driven by media.

“Media is fundamental to what is driving growth with new size screens on mobile devices so we need to learn to be good at carrying it on the network – not just over the top but enhancing the experience,” said Mike Wright, Telstra’s group managing director, networks.

The new optical rollout will create a not only a larger footprint but a software-defined network that can dynamically shift and cope with the traffic where and how it is needed.

This will allow smoother video streaming and enable customers to access and run their data in the cloud and to their devices.

Telstra will also deploy a national IoT-enabled mobile network to provide an even larger platform for the expected growth of smart wearables and smart products in homes and businesses.

The Poole Winery in Tasmania where Cat-M1 is being tested
The Pooley Winery in Tasmania where Cat-M1 is being tested

It will be one the world’s largest Cat-M1 networks in the world and will work hand-in-hand with compatible products expected to adopt new Cat-M1 chips and sensors developed by Qualcomm, Sierra Wireless, Altair and Bosch.

Cat-M1 will be used connect with vehicle telematics, consumer and healthcare wearables and smart electricity metering.

Telstra has also started a trial in a remote Pooley Winery in Tasmania using the Cat-M1 technology that enables remote access to live telemetry data including leaf wetness, soil moisture, soil temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, wind speed and direction.

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The Cat-M1 equipment

“Cat-M1 advantages include low cost, low power consumption, deep coverage, massive numbers of connections, and high reliability of transmission,” Telstra’s Wright said.

“Cat-M1 can enhance LTE coverage for underground and in-building areas that challenge existing coverage. Combined with Telstra’s existing leading LTE coverage, customers can deploy a range of near real time applications in logistics, utilities, medicine, transport, mining, agriculture, manufacturing and many more.”

* Stephen Fenech travelled to Barcelona as a guest of Huawei