Photos: Inside Telstra's nodes

Photos: Inside Telstra's nodes

Summary: Telstra today gave some insight into the logistics of what needs to be done in order to build a national broadband network over the next five years — we also had a peek into one of the company's nodes.

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  • Depending on the cooperation of 500 local councils, 50,000 of these Alcatel-Lucent manufactured nodes, or smaller versions of them, will be making their way to streets or yards. Telstra's COO Greg Winn admitted he expects this process to cause some problems — the company has faced similar issues in the past.

    "There are still towers that haven't been built that were in the original plan. Why? Council approvals," he said. Telstra had to put the towers elsewhere.

    "I'd like you to raise hands those of you who'd like [a node] in your yard... I'm waiting. Now how many of you would like to have it in somebody else's yard?" he joked.

    He wanted the national broadband network to be free of such problems. "Somebody better have a 'super vote' to say when you start building you can build, or this thing's going to be a nightmare," he said.

    (Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)

  • The node which journalists were shown can handle a maximum of 384 customer lines. Telstra's idea was to have no house more than 800m away from a node within its five cities footprint, and no more than 1,500m away from the node everywhere else.

    Those less than 800m from the node will be able to access speeds of 25-50Mbps, while bandwidth for those 1,500m from the node will top out at 20Mbps.

    Each node takes two weeks to complete because first Telstra has to lay a concrete plinth which has conduits in it for the fibre and copper to pass through. The concrete has to cure before the node can be hooked into external power, fibre and copper.

    Once completed, the cabinets won't be opened often because services could be provisioned remotely. In fact, every time the node is opened, an alert will be sent to a team responsible for monitoring the nodes 24/7.

    The cabinets have been designed with harsh Australian conditions in mind. According to Telstra they have been shock tested, impact tested, temperature tested and ballistic tested — able to handle three shotgun blasts from a specified distance.

    (Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Telcos, Telstra

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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14 comments
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  • hmm

    looks like telstra's pretty sure of itself getting the bid, but each to there own, one point i am a little curious about, if that thing can handle 384 customers, then 800 metres each way from it generally would have a fair few more customers than 400...
    also, may just be me, but personally I'd prefer telstra to mintuarise those huge things before they start plonking them everywhere
    anonymous
  • Nomenclature?

    I am trying to work out why they are labelled "Telstra's nodes" when the same thing is likely to be used by any bidder that is successful. Let's call them Alcatel's nodes.
    anonymous
  • 800m

    It says "no house will be more than 800m away". I assume that means in densely populated areas (e.g. apartment buildings), you'd have MORE than one every 800m. The 800m thing is to ensure the maximum speed.

    Of course, since Telstra's entry-level plan is still only going to 1Mbps, it makes you wonder why they're bothering to install so many when even 1500m away will handle that and then some.
    anonymous
  • lol,

    cause hopefully who ever else wins the bid will hopefully use something a little bit more... space efficient i spose is the word, and dean, in an apartment block strip with 400 plus each apartment. those things are going to be an eyesore!
    anonymous
  • Alcatel Nodes

    Wow - Telstra seems to be saying that each of its imported Alcatel nodes will have "backhaul" capacity of at least 8gigabit/sec to maintain a GUARANTEED 20Mbit/sec performance for each customer (even with Senator Conroy's ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE of 12 mbit/sec this still means a backhaul capacity of around 5 gigabit/sec.) For us on obsolete Telstra RIM boxes this means that in suburban areas -where the Telstra exchange may be, say, 4 Kms away, there will have to be at least 2 such boxes "in the loop" - say 3. Thus the backhaul has to be around 15gigabit/sec BACK TO THE MAIN EXCHANGE.

    Congratulations Telstra - that is some commitment! (Given that your NBN "proposal" offers us 1Mbit/sec with only a stupid 200Mbyte download for around $30 a month!)

    All of us MUST hold the Rudd/Conroy government to exactly its election commitment - yes, a "core promise" - and that means at least a 15Gigabit/sec backhaul if multidropped nodes are used in our area... Great!
    anonymous
  • Mel nodes

    No lets call them Mel nodes, happy fool?
    anonymous
  • well, I am!

    Rather they be mel's nodes than telstra nodes... jeez anon, he made a valid point, play nice
    anonymous
  • I'm no NIMBY

    "I'd like you to raise hands those of you who'd like [a node] in your yard... I'm waiting. Now how many of you would like to have it in somebody else's yard?" he joked.

    Seriously... Me, lol.
    Give me a node in my front yard - max speed for the win.
    anonymous
  • Valid point? No

    Joe, its called what is good for the goose. it wasnt a valid point it was one way, nit picking.

    Many companies rebadge. Just look at all the 100's of ISP, Telstra resellers, who put their names on Telstra's product.

    Seriously, do you think Mel would have even bothered with such a smart alec comment, sorry valid point, if that was a picture of an Optus, Alcatel-Lucent node? Be honest.
    anonymous
  • Smart alec

    Dear Anonymous Troll, If you understood English above Kindergarten level you'd understand that I wasn't having a go at Telstra but the author of the report.

    The cabinet doesn't have anyone's brand on it as far as I can see.
    anonymous
  • Idiot

    Bandwidth to the node is one thing, actual usage (contention) is another.

    Let's assume that a box is fully subscribed (384 services) with an average of 10Mbps, if the usual contention rules are applied (roughly 10:1) then you would be looking at 384Mbs in back haul to the exchange.

    No company in the world would supply such a service with enough reserved bandwidth to cater for the infinitesimally remote possibility of every subscriber taking the maximum speed and actually using it at the exact same time.

    You seem to enjoy visiting this site and making comments that prove what many people think of you.
    anonymous
  • Copper bonus.....

    How much would Telstra reap pulling up all that copper? Would it offset the cost of the optical cable?
    anonymous
  • and you, dumb alec

    I guess when Telstra purchase them they become Telstra's and no longer Alcatels. Just like that 30cm black mamba you bought to pleasure yourself is now Mels, and no longer the adult shop's.
    anonymous
  • I wouldn't mind one of them, provided that Telstra paid rental on the space it took up.
    Lord Watchdog