Ericsson, Telstra test long-range NB-IoT connection in Australia
Ericsson said the new technology will allow the carrier to expand its LTE footprint across the country
Swedish vendor Ericsson and Australian carrier Telstra said they have successfully deployed and tested narrowband internet of things data connections up to 100 kilometers from a base station in Telstra’s commercial network.
The two companies said that this test is a key step towards increasing Telstra’s LTE footprint in rural and regional Australia.
The new technology, designed by Ericsson, extends the 3GPP standards-based limit from around 40 km out to 100 km and is activated entirely through software upgrades, with no changes required to NB-IoT devices, the vendor said.
“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 kilometers, delivering our customers the best IoT coverage and capability in the country,” said Channa Seneviratne, Telstra’s executive director for network and infrastructure engineering.
“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,” said Emilio Romeo, Ericsson’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand.
Telstra launched Cat M1 coverage in 2017 over an approximate three million square kilometers before deploying NB-IoT technology in its IoT network in January 2018. The Australian telco targeted enterprise customers in industries like transportation and logistics, mining, manufacturing and agriculture.
The Australian telco is also focusing on 5G trials to pave the way for a future commercial launch. In November 2017, Telstra announced the launch of a 5G testing center on the Gold Coast from which it will trial new networking technologies in partnership with Swedish vendor Ericsson.
The center’s location was chosen due to Telstra’s intention to run a trial 5G network during the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Telstra said it would work with Ericsson on key 5G technologies including massive multiple-input multiple-output, adaptive beamforming and beam tracking, and OFDM-based waveforms in its Gold Coast center.
Telstra already operates a total of 15 5G-enables sites across the country, the company’s CEO Andrew Penn recently said in a blog post. Penn confirmed plans to have 200 5G-enabled sites live around the country by the end of this year.
The executive also said that Telstra continues to prepare to attract new opportunities in the IoT field, including launching services in mining, logistics, agritech, smart metering and other sectors.