Inside Telstra's super-fast 4G rollout

Inside Telstra's super-fast 4G rollout

Summary: Telstra's 4G upgrades are occurring in the unlikeliest of places. Even retirement homes.

TOPICS: Telcos, 4G, Telstra

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  • (Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

    Departing Rose Bay and heading to Bondi, where Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone share a disguised tower atop a brand new apartment block just off the iconic Bondi Beach, Telstra technology specialist Anthony Spiclin explained that while Piper is focused on getting each site upgraded, it is his role to ensure that the site fits into the rest of the network and performs well.

    This requires a fair amount of negotiations between the two sections of Telstra, because while Spiclin might have an ideal location for a tower to be built, the cost to build, or obtaining permission to build, in such a location might be out of Telstra's reach.

    "We need to have a think about how far we want these to go. So we have a coverage objective and a capacity objective for a particular site, and then we've got to also think about where the other sites are," he said.

    "We have to make sure these sites all work together and mesh in, and don't do too much work. We try to balance off how much traffic they carry, how many people are connected to those sites. We've got the local design issues on this site, and then we've got to think how we interact with all the other sites around it."

  • (Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

    The Bondi site had to have a special plastic cover placed over the tower in order to make it blend into the rest of the building. Spiclin said the plastic had been especially designed so that telcos could shape it and colour it as required, but still be able to get signal through it unhindered.

    For the Rose Bay site, he said, Telstra will examine how it interacts with the towers around it in North Bondi, Vaucluse, Bellevue Hill, and an exchange in Rose Bay.

    Once an antenna is installed, Spiclin said that Telstra can spend weeks or months fine tuning the antennas and the rest of the network to ensure optimal coverage. This can be done one of two ways: Either physically changing the position of the antenna at the site, or shifting it, using a device built into the antenna, that allows Telstra technicians to shift its position remotely.

  • (Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

    Spiclin said that it usually isn't a case of fine tuning a single site. Instead, it is about making that site work with the rest of the network.

    "There's definitely fine tuning there. That normally happens at a larger scale with a cluster of sites. We fine tune a cluster, because it is a network of sites," he said.

    "With these sites, we'll be fine tuning them for weeks, or sometimes months, to get the best outcome."

Topics: Telcos, 4G, Telstra


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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