Telstra's Next G network has seen rapid growth in users over the last six months, but the telco has said it's coping, thanks in part to monitoring software known as Devil developed with the University of Adelaide.
"Obviously you've got to respond to where the hotspots grow, but we've got a series of engineering tools and an investment program that looks where the traffic growth is. We have cell [key performance indicators]," Telstra's executive director of Networks & Access Technologies (Wireless) Mike Wright told journalists at a meeting in Sydney yesterday.
He said that the software, named after the Tasmanian Devil, enabled the telco to visualise potential bottlenecks.
"It helps our engineers monitor cell throughput, all the different parameters that affect capacity and forecasts when they're going to run out so we can proactively get out there and add cell capacity," he said.
"Cells run out for a whole bunch of reasons, there can be not enough power because there are a lot of users out on the edge, or there can be not enough elements in the cell itself and the engineers use that to plan capacity. I guess that's something we put a lot of investment into early with the Next G network."
In Telstra's half-year financial results, the company revealed that it had added nearly 1 million customers to its mobile network in the six months to 31 December 2010, almost 700,000 of which were iPhone or Android devices.
The telco's two major competitors, Vodafone Hutchison Australia and Optus, have in the past both been caught out without the capacity to cope with large volumes of customers on their networks. Optus has undertaken an upgrade of its networks, while Vodafone last month announced it would overhaul its entire 3G network following months of customer complaints about network availability.
Wright said the Devil software was vital to ensuring Telstra wouldn't end up in the same position.
"Rather than wait and find out the hard way your cell is running out of throughput, we have a fairly detailed engineering process of managing capacity and responding to it in individual hotspots," he said.