ON THE COVER
Formerly Radio Comms Asia-Pacific
Transmit Given the vital role that the resources industry plays
in the Australian and indeed global economy, any
Setting the tone
P25 is the perfect fit for the resources industry.
Comms Connect comes to Sydney
functionality to the sector, increasing capacity and
ase Study: Simoco supplies C DMR radios at 2014 Australian Grand Prix
downtime is not without consequence - financial Airwave believes that PMR such as TETRA and In Australia, digital solutions are bringing new improving efficiency and capability. For example, digital PMR is being used to provide mission-critical communications between maintenance engineers and control rooms. PMR technologies like TETRA offer secure and resilient digital voice and data mobile communications. TETRA is the European standard
Orion and the Newcastle City Council
for PMR and used when network availability is paramount: it can deliver coverage and resilience
Interview: Bevan Clarke, Motorola Solutions
that rivals that of fixed, wireless and mobile communication networks.
Interview: Len Starling, Radio Spectrum Management
Airwaveâ€™s experience in delivering secure and resilient voice and data communications to a wide range of public safety organisations means that we are suited to providing a fully managed communications solution to oil and gas production plants and refineries as well as mines, tank farms, petrochemical plants and gas processing plants in Australia and overseas. Our experience of building resilient digital PMR networks is unparalleled, we have tightly honed training programs for users and we know how to react in emergencies. Digital PMR is a flexible technology that ticks all the boxes on resilience, security, safety and coverage. With an expanding range of devices and third-party developers integrating with open
NOW in DIGITAL! Your copy of Critical Comms is available as an online eMag.
standards-based architecture, PMR is a communications solution for tomorrow as well as today. Airwave Solutions Australia is a member of the BAI Group of Companies - www.baigroup.com Airwave Solutions Australia www.airwavesolutions.com.au
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
Transmit Ensuring the safety of frontline staff is crucial in every business and organisation, and none more so than in the mining and resources sector - one of Australia’s
Calendar April 2014 What: Joint ARCIA/APCO-A Perth seminar and dinner When: 10 April Where: Pagoda Ballroom, South Perth Website: arcia.org.au
largest and most vital industry segments. Mining operations in particular are full of hazards, many of which can be managed and eliminated by the provision of modern
What: 2014 APCO Australasia Conference and Expo When: 29 April - 1 May 2014 Where: Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Website: apcoaust.com.au/2014
digital communications - and innovative companies are finding ways to make that happen. The successful implementation of blast and emergency tones over a P25 network at a Queensland coal mine (see ‘Setting the tone’, this issue) is a perfect example of that, and it’s good to see Australian companies leading the way. At last year’s Comms Connect conference in Melbourne, there was a lot of discussion about LTE being the ‘next big thing’ for the critical communications industry, and in particular the public safety sector. And it does indeed promise to bring many advantages. But as with all new
May 2014 What: 2014 RFUANZ Conference & Exhibition When: 15-16 May 2014 Where: Wellington, New Zealand Website: rfuanz.org.nz What: Critical Communications World When: 20-22 May 2014 Where: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Website: criticalcommunicationsworld.com
technologies, there are challenges to face too. But there’s no doubt those challenges will be overcome in time and - spectrum permitting LTE will make inroads into the industry.
What a difference the IP-based digital radio model has made. The capacity for organisations or corporations to instantly connect between different regions, states or countries (as described in our interview with Motorola Solutions Australia’s Bevan Clarke) can boost productivity and enhance the timeliness of urgent communications. Don’t forget that Comms Connect Sydney is on in June. This initial Comms Connect satellite event will be a great opportunity to network, meet with exhibitors and take part in discussions and
What: Comms Connect Sydney 2014 When: 18-19 June 2014 Where: Australian Technology Park, Redfern Website: comms-connect.com.au
speaker sessions. Check out the Comms-Connect.com.au website for registration details. I look forward to seeing you there. Jonathan Nally, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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4 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
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SETTING THE TONE Jonathan Nally
When Anglo Americanâ€™s Capcoal operation wanted to upgrade to a P25 system, the transmission of vital emergency tones had to be addressed.
6 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
hen it comes to keeping workforces safe, mining operations really put the ‘critical’ in ‘critical communications’. Whether above ground or below, large or small, mines are full of hazards and risks that have to be managed, and reliable communications are a major part of the solution. And one of the most important aspects of communications on mine sites is the transmission of blast and emergency tones, to let workers know that explosives are about to be used or that an emergency exists. When Capcoal - an operation with both underground and open cut mines located in Queensland’s Bowen Basin - wanted to upgrade its radio systems to P25 standard, they had to address the issue of blast and emergency tones. Omnitronics and Nixon Communications (the latter has handled Capcoal’s communications needs for 30 years and installed the company’s P25 system) worked together to implement a solution as part of the mining company’s new digital radio and dispatch system. “Previously at the mine, they had blast and emergency tones going over their analog system,” said Gary Davis of Nixon Communications. “So the new P25 system had to have it - there was no question about it. If we couldn’t do the tones, they didn’t want the new radio system. They couldn’t go backwards in terms of the tones.”
The system “The system supplied was an Omnitronics DX-Altus Digital Radio Management System comprising a modular server, DRG100 digital radio gateways loaded with P25 firmware and Alto dispatch software,” said John Florenca, Omnitronics’ CEO. “The DX-Altus is the hub of the network, while Alto connects operators via the DX-Altus server to control the radio functions, both voice and data.” The DRG100 gateways connect the server to the radios. These gateways can be configured to convert an ever-growing list of digital radio protocols into one common protocol, without the loss of the functionality of the radios, creating interoperability across protocols. “This flexible system architecture, along with Omnitronics’ commitment to providing fit-for-purpose solutions, enables companies like Anglo American to install systems that meet their unique needs.” Installation of the DX-Altus was straightforward. Most of the configuration was done within the DX-Altus’s central configuration screen, which is accessed through a web browser and also provides access to the gateways.
“We were the first company in Australia able to generate these blast and emergency tones over P25.”
Doing the work
The challenge “Because of the new technology, putting tones over two-way radios in the new technology was always difficult - it’s not as easy as it was with the analog systems,” said Davis. “With a bit of engineering from us and giving them the input on what we needed, Omnitronics’ engineers were able to get the blast and emergency tones generated over the new digital systems.” The P25 standard uses the IMBE (Improved Multi-Band Excitation) Codec, which provides good voice quality with low bandwidth but will not transmit pure tones such DTMF, CTCSS, Selcall and warning tones. To provide sine wave alarm sounds, a different mechanism is needed. Some manufacturers’ radios (such as Tait) provide special support for tones, so Omnitronics was able to implement a special mode in the DX-Altus server and the DRG100s to use this feature. Although not all tone frequencies could be reproduced, reasonable approximations of alarms sounds were created to provide alarm functions. The tones were customised to suit Capcoal’s required tones by changing frequencies, timings, repetition and volumes as well as sending status messages. “Because everything’s digital you have to transfer the audio into a digital stream, and when it gets to the other end you have to pull it out of the digital stream and modulate it into the transmitters,” said Davis. “So it’s when you transpose these audio tones into digital is where it distorts them. Omnitronics worked out a way to solve this, and they sound like the real thing.
“At the German Creek mine, which is part of the wider Capcoal operation, they didn’t have a console,” said Davis. “But in the new requirements that they wanted, they had to have a console. So we put in the new P25 system, and on top of that a console. “We got the order in late 2012,” added Davis. “The P25 system incorporates six repeaters spread across the mine site. The first one went in in April 2013 and the last one went in in August. And they’re all microwave linked together.” The DX-Altus system can be expanded in a number of ways: modular architecture means the number of operator positions and the number of radios can be increased; additional sites, such as repeaters and even remote dispatch centres, can be added; and it has multisystem login capability, which means that there can be independent multiple servers that operators can log into as required. Both the DX-Altus and its predecessor the DX-64 are used in a number of mining applications across Australia, as well as in oil and gas, public safety, ports and other sectors.
The Omnitronics DX-Altus
“The DRG100 P25 DFSI interface has now been successfully tested with three different radios including the Tait TB9100, Spectra MX800 and RF Technology Eclipse 2,” said Florenca. “These tests have shown the capability of the DRG100 to transmit voice and data back to Omnitronics’ DX-Altus and RediTALK dispatch solutions. This not only enables greater dispatch capabilities but also interoperability across protocols including the capability for phased migration from analog to P25.” Omnitronics Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W497
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
isasters can be extremely costly to the resources business. Explosions at oil and gas plants or mine sites and toxic gas leaks at petrochemical plants can cause widespread damage to equipment, lost revenue, environmental damage, brand damage and, in the worst cases, injuries among employees and in the neighbouring area. And there can be a considerable impact on the local communities both during and in the aftermath of an incident. To prevent these incidents happening, the resources industry has some of the strictest regulations regarding fire, explosions and gas leaks. And yet the principle cause of most disasters and failures is human error or failing to intervene correctly when the first alarms are signalled. For instance, if pressure builds in a tank but human error leads to a failure to vent the tank, pressure can build further leading to a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion (BLEVE). The catastrophic disaster on Piper Alpha in 1988 was exacerbated by human error - one shift did not communicate effectively with the next shift. Human error has also been linked to incidents at ESSO’s natural gas plant explosion at Longford in Victoria’s Gippsland region, Flixborough (UK), Seveso (Italy) and Toulouse (France). Each time, new regulations are introduced to tighten up or create new safe processes.
Putting safety first Digital PMR can significantly help the resources industry reduce human error, particularly at the intervention stage when it can have a dramatic impact on business activities and public and employee safety. Its first role is in the early prevention or identification of faults. Modern oil refineries and petrochemical plants are awash with sensors and meters, measuring pressures, tank levels, emissions and so on. Digital PMR is the ideal solution for industrial telemetry:
8 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
modules can wirelessly connect sensors to control rooms, with the robustness and reliability of a wired network. By using digital PMR, an operator can rapidly deploy new sensors without the need to provide new cabling. In hard-to-reach locations, this alone helps to reduce safety issues. Digital PMR telemetry has already been used to monitor electricity grid infrastructure in Australia (Ergon Energy) and Spain, and provide vital signs monitoring in some UK ambulances. But it’s not enough to simply monitor equipment remotely. When alarms are triggered, or meters have faults, maintenance engineers need to be dispatched, and they need a reliable solution for relaying the results or their investigations to the control room. Again, PMR can enable this with the use of electronic forms on a PMR-based PDA. Readings from meters can be input into the device on the spot and immediately sent to the control room over the air. The alternatives are not attractive: either the engineer must call their report in, which can introduce errors in transposition, or they can batch process their results when they return to the administrative section. Neither option is as efficient or safe as the ability to instantly and automatically update the control room on alarm faults.
Supporting lone workers Industry regulations governing site safety require that resources companies be acutely aware of the personal safety of staff at mines, plants, tank farms and refineries. On these vast sites, with dangerous chemicals and exposed working places, many maintenance engineers are lone workers and exposed to countless hazards in the working day. The onus is increasingly on employers to ensure that workers’ safety is guaranteed as much as possible. Again, digital PMR can help in a number of ways. Firstly, PMR equipment is intrinsically safe and so guaranteed not to spark a fire. This is not necessarily the case with other mobile, wireless
User benefits of PMR • One-to-many calling with talk groups. • Point-to-point calls within the PMR network and with PSTN/ mobile networks. • GPS to monitor staff location. • Panic button for lone workers. • Status messages at the touch of a button. • Mobile data for over-the-air form filling. • PMR/SCADA enabled human and machine telemetry to monitor vital signs and equipment. • Intrinsically safe terminals.
Benefits of PMR to resources companies • Resilient network infrastructure, guaranteed to work before, during and after incidents. • Cost-efficient network rollout compared to greenfield fixed line or cellular deployment. • D irect connection capability to emergency services to collaborate in emergencies can be agreed. • Optimised workforce with PMR-enabled field force automation (FFA) eg, mobile forms and task allocation. • Can be deployed as back-up infrastructure to fixed line, mobile, wireless or video surveillance networks. • Large RF cell footprint sizes so PMR base stations can be away from explosive materials.
and fixed-line handsets. If you are working in an environment with potentially flammable vapours, this is a very important feature. Secondly, there are digital PMR solutions that allow both passive and active monitoring of employees in case of ‘man down’. In active mode, a lone worker simply presses a panic button to alert the control room they need urgent attention; in passive mode, an alarm is triggered if they do not respond to regular automatic prompts on their handsets. Another option is ‘ambient listening’, which enables the microphone of the handset to be switched on remotely. As most digital PMR devices also contain GPS chipsets, the control room is able to accurately locate where the worker is and dispatch support and isolate the area if there is a leak or risk of fire. A virtual perimeter - also known as a geofence - can also be used to define the level of risk posed based on specific location. If an employee strays into a high-risk location, it can trigger an alarm. Risk levels can also be defined by time, such as automatically switching on the monitoring during hours of darkness. And to be even more assured of worker safety, digital PMR can wirelessly connect with vital signs monitoring equipment. Workers can be monitored for ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and so on, with the information relayed to the control room by radio. This is particularly useful when workers are at risk of inhaling toxic fumes.
When the worst happens In the event of a major disaster, a series of explosions or a toxic gas plume for instance, robust communications are absolutely vital in coordinating containment and ensuring the safety of those on-site. Digital PMR provides a secure, resilient network that is highly unlikely to fail in the event of an incident. With single-site PMR net-
10 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
work deployments, base stations are placed outside the danger zone but provide 100% coverage over the entire site. In contrast, mobile networks are only ever provided on a best-effort basis. When disasters have happened - such as 9/11 and the London bombings - the mobile network has become overloaded. Similarly, fixed-line infrastructure can be destroyed in fires. However, digital PMR is resilient, wireless and very unlikely to become overloaded. This is vital for on-site emergency response personnel who will be required to coordinate the response in the initial stages of a disaster. Because PMR voice communications are crystal clear, it will ensure there is no confusion or misunderstanding even in high-noise environments. The fact that PMR handsets are intrinsically safe will ensure that no flammable fumes are ignited, exacerbating the situation. In most of Australia and the UK, the critical public safety communications network used by the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services is mostly digital PMR technology. If the resources industry adopts the same digital PMR technology, with the right levels of privacy and security authorisation, it will be possible to interoperate with emergency services in the event of an incident. Digital PMR is a flexible technology that ticks all the boxes on resilience, security, safety and coverage. And with an expanding range of devices and third-party developers integrating with open standards-based architecture, PMR is a communications solution for tomorrow as well as today.
Airwave Solutions Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W487
News NEW YORK WIRELESS Transit Wireless has begun phase two of its project with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to bring wireless service and WiFi to more stations of the New York City Subway. Phase two will provide nearly 250 million annual riders with cellular service as well as Wi-Fi. The phase two build-out is expected to be completed by June 2014. Statistics released from the 36 online stations in 2013 show that the Wi-Fi network served 2.6 million connections throughout the year and processed more than 60 terabytes of data - more than the Hubble telescope has collected in two decades. Full story: http://bit.ly/1ooPSdB
DISPATCH SOFTWARE Zetron’s MAX Dispatch Portal software will soon connect to and allow resource sharing among Zetron MAX Dispatch systems being deployed at 47 communications centres for a company in Japan. The portal is a significant improvement because it enables complete communication between sites running separate MAX Dispatch systems. It allows geographically diverse centres to access and share radio resources such as radio channels and I/O controls. Full story: bit.ly/1cAhtDo
Digital storage oscilloscope The Agilent DSOX3024 digital storage oscilloscope, available for rental from TechRentals, offers 200 MHz of bandwidth with 4 channels, and an update rate of 1 million waveforms/s. This device has a sampling rate of 2 GS/s (4 GS/s half-channel interleaved mode) and 2 Mpts memory depth. Higher waveform updates improve the probability of capturing random and infrequent events, and with deeper memory capturing long, non-repeating signals while maintaining a high sample rate. MegaZoom technology automatically selects deeper memory when needed in order to maintain fast sample rates while also updating quickly. Other features include: 8.5″ WVGA display with 800 x 480 resolution; built-in WaveGen 20MHz waveform generator; 4 analog and 16 digital channels; ability to store and remove waveforms via USB. TechRentals Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W442
AIRPORT COMMS Exelis C4i has been awarded a contract by Airservices Australia to provide voice communications system to six additional airports. The extension brings the number of Australian airports served by Exelis C4i to 27, with presence at all Australian capital city airports and 19 regional airports. The Exelis C4i system, called SwitchplusIP Alarmon, integrates all airport voice communications for the Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) services and alarm and telemetry monitoring. Full story: bit.ly/1dZo9Lr
CONNECTED VEHICLE Motorola Solutions has launched an emergency vehicle of the future with the unveiling of a fully operational concept connected patrol car, equipped with stateof-the-art technology. It comes equipped with mobile computers, multiple cameras to record video, automatic number plate recognition technology, an integrated console that controls the radio, lights and sirens, as well as movement sensors. The car can be connected to the officer and command centres simultaneously. Full story: bit.ly/1kWFppt 12 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Signal generators Agilent Technologies has expanded its range of signal generators with two models. Complementing the company’s E8267D vector PSG and E8257D analog PSG, the N5183B MXG and N5173B EXG microwave analog signal generators provide important alternatives in size, speed and cost. The N5183B MXG offers accuracy, efficiency and near-PSG performance in just two rack units. Its phase noise of less than -124 dBc/Hz (at 10 GHz, 10 kHz offset) and -75 dBc spurious enables module- and system-level testing up to 40 GHz, and accelerates the calibration of complex systems with a switching speed of less than 600 µs. The N5173B EXG analog is a cost-effective choice when system developers need to balance budget and performance. Offering a combination of output power (+20 dBm at 20 GHz) and low harmonics (<-55 dBc), the EXG is well-suited to the characterisation of broadband microwave components such as filters and amplifiers. With low-cost coverage to 40 GHz, it also supports continuous-wave (CW) blocking for receiver testing or basic local-oscillator upconversion for point-to-point microwave backhaul links. Agilent Technologies Aust Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W006
RADIO’S ROLE IN M2M
News EMERGENCY BEACONS Emergency locator beacons used in US Air Force ejection seats and parachute packs have failed in 24% of bench tests and almost 50% of real ejections. The USAF bought 17,000 AN/URT-44 beacons from Signal Engineering, with deliveries in 2009 and 2010. But after only a couple of years, air crash investigators realised that they had failed to work in many crashes. A review showed that out of 22 ejections, the beacons failed 10 times. The USAF is now in the process of replacing the beacons with a new type, at a cost of US$69 million. Full story: bit.ly/1dZqiqw
CONFERENCE MOVES The political situation in Thailand has forced Critical Communications World 2014 organisers to change dates and shift the event to Singapore. It will now take place from 20 to 22 May 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Organisers say that by moving to Singapore the event will remain in the ASEAN region and be held in a more stable environment conducive to hosting a show on the scale of Critical Communications World. Full story: bit.ly/1mTKfIX
Power reflection meter Available to rent, the Rohde & Schwarz NRT power reflection meter is suitable for classic applications in mobile use as well as for use in research, service, development, production and quality management. Designed for use in operational conditions, the NRT is compatible with all main digital standards and has a range of 200 MHz to 4 GHz. Applications include: continuous monitoring of transmitter/amplifier systems; industrial RF and microwave generators; measurements on 3GPP; measurements in TDMA systems. Features include: intelligent sensors; plug in and go; digital interface between sensor and base unit; power range 3 mW to 120 W with NRTZ44 sensor type; compatible with sensors from predecessor. TechRentals Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W499
GPS SATELLITE LAUNCH A GPS IIF satellite has sent initial signals after its launch on 20 February, joining four other advanced versions of the spacecraft that are improving position, navigation and timing information. GPS IIF-5 launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, aboard a Delta IV rocket, and Boeing received the satellite's first signals three and a half hours later. The GPS IIFs are providing greater navigational accuracy through improvements in atomic clock technology, a more resilient signal for commercial aviation and safety-oflife applications, and a longer life of 12 years. Full story: bit.ly/1f4hjUD
ARCIA EVENTS ARCIA will be holding a number of events in 2014. The first will be combined ARCIA and APCO-Australasia (APCO-A) functions for the communications industry and users in Perth on 10 April, to be held at the Pagoda Ballroom in South Perth. Later in the year, there will be an industry dinner in Sydney on 18 June, to coincide with Comms Connect Sydney. There are also plans being made for a Brisbane event in early August as well as the Adelaide dinner in November. The annual Gala Dinner will be held in Melbourne on 1 October. Full story: bit.ly/1n9kUaH 14 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Digital radio test set The Aeroflex 7100 Digital Radio test set provides LTE-A carrier aggregation testing at full Cat 6 data rates of 300 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink simultaneously for LTE-A in FDD mode, and also supports carrier aggregation in TDD mode. The Cat 6 capability is available via an upgrade to the standard 7100 software and the use of a RF combiner. It facilitates testing to 3GPP Release 10 specifications on two non-contiguous component carriers, with both FDD and TDD modes supported, and with 2x2 downlink MIMO or SISO for each component carrier. All Release 10 RF band combinations are supported, including the downlink-only Band 29. Symmetrical bandwidths of 5+5, 10+10 and 20+20 MHz are supported, along with asymmetrical bandwidth combinations that include 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz. Test capability includes 300 Mbps DL and 50 Mbps UL bi-directional data rates to Cat 6; full protocol stack; detailed logging; data connection and throughput performance test; and end-to-end throughput using IP connections. UDP, TCP IPv4/IPv6 are supported with multiple PDN connections, both with or without RoHC. Automated regression test is supported via API. Aeroflex Incorporated Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W621
COMMS CONNECT COMES TO SYDNEY
Australia’s national critical comms conference is to be held in the harbour city.
ustralia’s national critical communications industry conference is coming to Sydney for the first time, with two days packed full of workshops and sessions. While the main national conference and exhibition will still take place in Melbourne later in the year, on 18-19 June Sydney will play host to the first satellite Comms Connect event. The aim is to ensure that all those who aren’t able to visit Melbourne can still gain access to the wealth of knowledge generated for the conference and workshops, as well as to the technologies available on the exhibition floor. At the core of the event is still radio communications, its uses, applications and benefits, but with the convergence of technologies being seen in recent times - from IP to mobile broadband and more - the show is no longer just about two-way radio, but a whole range of technologies and solutions, all of which will be found in the exhibition and discussed during the conference sessions and workshops.
Workshops and speaker sessions Workshops will run during the afternoon of day one, with topics covered including: change management - implementing a digital radio system; mobile broadband and LTE for critical communications; and advanced radio over IP. The conference speaker session streams will include topics such as: technology at work; public safety; mining and resources; utilities and transport. A wide range of experts will give presentations on various aspects of the industry, including: • Peter Clemons (Hytera), who will present a keynote address on his views of the future of the critical communications industry and its place in a changing world. • Ashwin Dikar (Simoco), who will give a presentation on M2M communication and the IP revolution - a marriage made in the cloud with down-to-earth benefits. • Steve Harvey (CommScope), who will discuss Ausgrid’s underground high-voltage cable tunnels and the provision of P25 GRN coverage using radio over fibre repeaters. • Anthony Goonan (Telstra), who will present a paper on bringing Telstra’s ‘Roadmap’ to life through live field demonstrations of the emergency grade mobile broadband capability.
16 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
• Dale Stacy (SAT), who will discuss LTE mobile system coverage, capacity and quality, and its application to communications, SCADA and the automation business. • Simon Lardner (Challenge Networks), who will present examples of independent LTE networks for major resources projects.
Exhibition and dinner “Industry support is strong, with household names such as Hytera, Kenwood, ICOM, Sepura, Simoco and Agilent confirming exhibition space already, along with local talent represented by RF Technology, Data over Radio and Mastercom,” said Paul Davis, Comms Connect organiser. “The exhibition will have almost 50 exhibition stands offering a depth and breadth of radio and converged communications technology not seen in Sydney for quite a few years.” Conference and exhibition registration are open now, and the full program is available - see the website (Comms-Connect.com.au) for details. Comms Connect Sydney will also see an ARCIA industry networking dinner held on the first night, at Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf. Tickets are available through the ARCIA website (arcia.org.au). And don’t forget that Comms Connect Melbourne will be on again this year at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, but a bit earlier than last year … from 30 September to 2 October. The organisers are already calling for expressions of interest from those interested in presenting papers or participating in workshops - keep an eye on the Comms Connect website for more details. With around 100 exhibitors, dozens of speakers, general industry sessions and indepth workshops, it is an opportunity for industry representatives to meet and discuss ideas with hundreds of like-minded professionals.
COMMS CONNECT SYDNEY 2014 When: 18-19 June 2014 Where: Australian Technology Park, Redfern Info: Comms-Connect.com.au
Digital radio The Hytera PD60X DMR standard radio
ARCIA kicked off the year with two planning days in Melbourne in February. On the first day the executive had extensive discussions with our partners, as we feel that it is very important that we work closely with them on a broad range of issues. A spirited debate on all aspects of the industry was had and we appreciate the high degree of involvement. On day two the entire ARCIA committee met and conducted detailed planning for 2014. Each subcommittee had been provided with a framework for reporting and highlighting the work that needs to be done. We were able to achieve a great deal and it was very pleasing seeing the enthusiasm from all participants. A lively debate was held covering our role in the industry and our relationships with ACMA, partners, other similar bodies such as APCO-A and, most importantly, our members. We have selected some key areas for 2014, industry training in particular, and I commend the work being put in by that team, led by Jim Simpson. It is of course very important that members engage with these efforts so please identify your area and get involved. One of the projects under consideration is a comprehensive economic study of the value of our industry to Australia. One of the lessons learnt by participating in events such as the annual ACMA Radcomms conference is that in the competition for resources and ideas, our industry is being left behind. We need to demonstrate to policymakers the value our industry generates, the downstream economic benefits and also the risks of not having efficient technology in place. If you consider the broad range of technologies and users that we represent, our industry is one of the key parts of a modern economy. The ARCIA committee was in favour of progressing this project and work is underway on how we can implement a study that will do this justice. We understand that the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has handed down a report to the NSW Government on the rental arrangements for communication towers on crown land. I participated in the public sessions along with other ARCIA members, and I truly hope the final report and what the NSW Government adopts will take into account the overwhelming position of all industries represented. In an economy where the unemployment rate is rising and economic growth in all sectors is essential, we can ill afford the higher taxing regime proposed in the draft report. As I write this, a number of events around Australia are being locked into place (refer to the ARCIA website for details). Make sure you get involved with your local event - even if youâ€™re not a member of ARCIA - and bring your whole team. A new initiative for this year is a joint event with APCO-A in Perth; keep an eye out for more details. Weâ€™d be delighted to see you at these events.
is feature rich, small, sleek and light, has dual mode capabilities (analog and digital), man-down and is GPS enabled, all at an entry-level price. Expanded frequency range of 400-527 MHz and dual mode operation ensures a smooth analogto-digital migration, while basic/ advanced digital encryption and scrambler feature in analog mode. The Pseudo Trunk virtual trunking feature allocates a free timeslot for urgent communications. The PD60X supports multiple advanced signalling modes such as HDC1200, 2-Tone and 5-Tone, providing better integration into existing analog radio fleets. It supports one-touch features that comprise preprogrammed text messages and voice calls, and the data protocol is fully compliant to DMRA standard. Supplementary features include: radio enable/disable (only decode), remoter monitor (only decode) and priority interrupt. The built-in GPS module (factory option) supports GIS applications and it has man-down functionality (factory option). In DMO, the company can provide 2-slot communication. Wireless Data Solutions Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W112
Waveguide components Available to rent, the Anritsu Sitemaster Waveguide components are designed for use with the Anritsu S820 Sitemaster series. Applications include installation, verification, troubleshooting and repair of microwave cables and communication systems. Sets include: 1/8 short to co-ax adaptor; 3/8 short to co-ax adaptor; termination to co-ax adaptor; Waveguide to co-ax adaptor.
Hamish Duff, President Australian Radio Communications Industry Association
18 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
TechRentals Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W500
Nanotechnology could be the key to producing better batteries for handheld radios.
n news that will be of great interest to manufacturers of portable radios and mobile radios, a study from the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI has found that nanotechnology will bring significant improvements in energy storage and solar energy. Improved materials efficiency and reduced manufacturing costs are just two of the real economic benefits that nanotechnology already brings these fields, and that’s just the beginning. Battery storage capacity could be extended, solar cells could be produced more cheaply and the lifetime of solar cells or batteries could be increased, all thanks to continued development of nanotechnology. In the study ‘Nanotechnology in the sectors of solar energy and energy storage’, commissioned by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), the Fraunhofer ISI found that there is a whole range of nanomaterials which will grow in importance as technology continues to advance. A key finding is that technologies where ‘nano’ already plays an important role will be of special interest for industry and research, particularly in relation to organic and printed electronics, nanocoatings, nano-composites, nano-carbons and nano-electrodes. For example, through the use of nanotechnology, the light and energy generation of crystalline silicon solar cells or organic solar cells can already be enabled or significantly increased. Their manufacturing also requires less material and is more cost-efficient. Energy storage capacity will significantly improve with the use of nanomaterials for lithium-ion batteries. This is by far the most important battery technology for energy storage since the early 1990s. It is especially important in view of the constantly increasing demand for longer life and better performance for batteries used in handheld communications.
20 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Dr Björn P Moller, project leader of the study, is convinced that everything points to nanotechnology’s large-scale application in solar power generation (for instance, on vehicle roofs and remote radio communications sites) and energy storage, unlike many other fields where nanotechnology has been unable to make a breakthrough. “It is therefore crucially important that key technologies such as solar cells are further developed with the help of nanotechnology and that energy storage is improved,” said Moller. “In some areas nanotechnology may even be a key to success. There is great potential for nanotechnology to help to mitigate the intermittency of renewable energy.” “Commissioning this study to evaluate the potential of nanotechnologies and the future role of nanomaterials in addressing the energy challenge helps the IEC to understand the kind of work that it needs to undertake to enable the broad rollout of these technologies,” said IEC General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk. “Against the backdrop of an anticipated 30% increase of global energy demand by 2035 and the significant expansion of renewable energy coming into the grid, the study has found that nanotechnologies including new nanomaterials could be a key to successful renewable energy and energy storage integration.” The study will be of great use for those planning the use of solar energy and storage, whether they make products, use those products to generate and store electricity, or organise and regulate the use of the electric energy produced. The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyses emergence and effects of innovation. The IEC brings together 165 countries and almost 14,000 experts to cooperate on the global IEC platform to ensure that products work everywhere safely with each other.
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Spectrum analyser Agilentâ€™s FieldFox analysers with the pulse-measurement option enable users to carry a single instrument into the field to verify and measure radar pulse characteristics, S-parameters, spectrum analysis and transmitter power. The FieldFox pulse measurement option efficiently characterises radar signal quality by leveraging Agilent U202x peak-power sensors (available in 18 and 40 GHz models). Working together, the pulse measurement mode and U202x enable maintenance
Signal/spectrum analyser Rohde & Schwarz has expanded the analysis bandwidth for its R&S FSW signal and spectrum analysers to 500 MHz. The FSW-B500 hardware option is now available for all analysers of the FSW family, enabling use for measurements in a frequency range up to 67 GHz and expanded applications for the signal and spectrum analyser in research and development. It is suited for measurement tasks in radar or satellite applications as well as for tests on fast wireless such as WLAN or Beyond 4G (5G). Users can test pulse rise and fall times from approximately 3 ns or very short pulses from an 8 ns pulse width, and can record and measure radar chirps with up to 500 MHz bandwidth. Hopping sequences in frequency-agile systems such as tactical radios can also be analysed. Those working on satellite applications will be able to characterise components for future transponder generations and microwave links with up to 500 MHz analysis bandwidth. The R&S FSW offers developers of RF amplifiers for mobile radio or WLAN the ability to measure digital predistortion with up to 160 MHz bandwidth.
crews to check radar signal quality without having to carry a heavy benchtop instrument into the field. With a single push of a button, users can perform pulse characterisation in the field and obtain all key performance indicators. The FieldFox calibration engine features ECal module support, reducing calibration time and the need to make multiple connections during testing. FieldFox analysers also boast a number of features that help simplify radar field testing, including: InstAlign, a built-in spectrum analyser with time gating (Option 238); burst trigger and pre-trigger; and verification of most RF pulse transmitters in the field. Agilent Technologies Aust Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W009
Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W077
22 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Redefining RF with the World’s First Vector Signal Transceiver Cable and antenna analysers The Microwave Site Master S820E family with frequency options covering 1 MHz to 8, 14, 20, 30 and 40 GHz is the most advanced Site Master ever developed by Anritsu. Utilising the same sampler technology used in the VectorStar VNA models, the S820E delivers benchtop microwave performance in a compact handheld package. With 110 dB of dynamic range up to 40 GHz, the S820E surpasses the performance of older generation benchtop VNAs. Modern connectivity options such as USB and Ethernet are standard, as well as full remote control capability. The S820E also includes a ‘classic mode’ set-up which enables users of the former S8X0D series to become immediately familiar with the new E series model. Standard 1-port measurement capability includes: return loss; VSWR; cable loss; Smith chart; phase; distance-to-fault return loss; distance-to-fault VSWR; highaccuracy RF power (USB sensor required). Standard 2-port measurement capability includes: 2-port transmission measurement (external sensor required), 2-port swept cable loss (external sensor required). Anritsu Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W178
Signal generators Aeroflex has enhanced its S-Series signal generators (SGA and SGD) with improved phase noise and better RF level accuracy. At a carrier frequency of 1 GHz, phase noise is
The NI vector signal transceiver
now improved by 6 dB at frequency offsets
combines a vector signal analyzer
from 100 kHz to 1 MHz, giving a figure of typically -140 dBc/Hz between these offsets. The S-Series does this while maintaining a frequency settling time of 100 µs. The SGD is further enhanced by the addition of wideband analog modulation and ARB (arbitrary waveform generator) sequence mode. Analog modulation
user-programmable FPGA for inline processing and control. The VST offers both out-of-the-box functionality and ultimate user customizability.
provides internal AM, FM and phase modulation. ARB sequence mode allows the user to set up a sequence of waveforms generated in the ARB to provide a rapid test sequence. The phase noise improvements will benefit customers using an S-Series signal generator for classic receiver tests. The SGD enhancements satisfy the requirement
Accelerate your productivity at ni.com/vst
Australia: 1800 300 800 New Zealand: 0800 553 322
for customers working with analog, as well as the latest digital standards. The ARB sequence mode is a powerful and flexible feature that provides the fastest test sequencing for RFIC design verification and production test. Aeroflex Incorporated Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W618
©2013 National Instruments. All rights reserved. National Instruments, NI, and ni.com are trademarks of National Instruments. Other product and company names listed are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies. 09420
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
RF power indicator One of the most common ways to damage an instrument is by exposing the front end of the equipment to too much RF power, in most cases rendering the instrument useless. The MA25100A will provide an indication to the user if excessive power is present so that they can determine if an attenuator needs to be inserted before connecting to the RF cable in question. Mate the product to the connector and it will indicate the presence of high-level RF. The yellow LED will light up if RF is >17 dBm (50 mW) or the red LED will light up if RF is >27 dBm (500 mW). The device comes with a 7/16″ DIN (m) connector. It can withstand RF power levels up to 50 dBm (100 W) from a 50 Ω source and operates over the frequency range from 400 to 4000 MHz. The product has a very high VSWR and should not be used as a 50 Ω termination. The RF power indicator is always on and always ready. Its selfcontained battery can last for years with normal use and is fieldreplaceable. A self-test button lights both indicators (red and yellow) if internal circuits and battery are functioning.
Oscilloscopes The RTE digital oscilloscopes from Rohde & Schwarz are available with bandwidths from 200 MHz to 1 GHz. An acquisition rate of more than one million waveforms/s helps users find signal faults quickly. The scope’s highly accurate digital trigger system with virtually no trigger jitter delivers precise results. The single-core A/D converter with more than seven effective bits (ENOB) almost completely eliminates signal distortion. With a sampling rate of 5 GS/s and a maximum memory depth of 50 MS/s per channel,
Anritsu Pty Ltd
the RTE can accurately record the long signal sequences
Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W515
required when analysing the data content of serial protocols such as I2C and CAN. Users can intuitively perform daily tasks using the high-
resolution 10.4″ XGA touch screen, eg, swiping the screen
to access saved instrument set-ups, or drag and drop waveforms to arrange them on the screen. Innovative tools help
boost productivity, such as the QuickMeas function which
simultaneously performs several measurements on a signal.
The company also offers a wide range of dedicated application solutions for the RTE, including trigger and decoder
options for serial protocols, a mixed-signal option with 16
FOR AUSTRALIAN CONDI
additional digital channels and a power analysis option. A broad probe portfolio rounds out the offering. Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W619
FOR AUSTRALIAN CONDITIONS
www.zcg.com.au 24 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Low PIM connectors Pasternack low passive intermodulation (PIM) connectors, available from Rojone, are suitable for installations where custom-length coaxial cable jumpers are needed to provide low PIM levels and good RF performance. They are designed for ease of installation in the field.
These low PIM connectors are designed to fit
Agilent Technologies has announced two options for its MXE X-Series elec-
on most commercially available 1/2″ corrugated
tromagnetic interference receiver: 44 GHz frequency range and time-domain
copper and aluminium cables. Low PIM connectors
scans. With these capabilities, the MXE continues to address current and
are available in 7/16 DIN and Type N series with
emerging customer needs in electromagnetic compliance (EMC) testing.
both male and female interfaces. Custom length assemblies can be made to order.
When configured with 44 GHz frequency coverage, the MXE is a single instrument that meets the requirements for compliance testing according to
Each connector body is plated with a tri-metal
standards such as MIL-STD-461F and FCC Part 15. The extended frequency
Albaloy coating that produces a durable surface
range also applies to the MXE family’s powerful diagnostic capabilities, which
with good corrosion protection while providing
can be used to identify the sources of unwanted emissions.
good electrical conductivity and PIM performance.
Time-domain scans significantly reduce the time needed to produce a list
When properly installed, these connectors provide
of suspect emissions prior to final measurements. This capability is becoming
PIM performance of ≤-160 dBc and VSWR levels of
widely used in the automotive industry.
≤1.10 up to 3 GHz. Pasternack low PIM connectors
Agilent also announced three capabilities that are now included with every
are suitable for building custom assemblies using
MXE: live-spectrum and meter displays; amplitude probability distribution; and
Pasternack low PIM coaxial cable jumpers.
control for external line impedance stabilisation networks.
Rojone Pty Ltd
Agilent Technologies Aust Pty Ltd
Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W237
Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W008
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
Simoco supplies DMR radios at 2014 Australian Grand Prix
adio manufacturer Simoco supplied over 800 portable radios, as well as system infrastructure and accessories, to support the 2014 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, held in Melbourne from 13-16 March. Utilised prior to, during and after the race, the DMR radios were used by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and many contractors involved in staging the event. The infrastructure and radio equipment were supplied on a rental basis to numerous organisations involved in construction, operation and managing safety. These parties required industry-leading digital communications, such as Simoco Xd DMR portable radios, in order to cater for the wide range of activity that surrounds a major international sporting event. The Grand Prix attracted an estimated 300,000 attendees over the weekend, and high-performing radio communication solutions
were essential for the safe and smooth operation of the event. Craig Moca, engineering manager at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, commented: “The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix plays out on a world stage to a massive audience, both at the venue and in terms of global viewers. It’s critical that organisers and contractors are able to communicate with team members, race marshals, security staff and other workers to ensure that the event runs safely and successfully. The fact that Simoco provides a reliable rental radio solution means that companies involved with the event can access high-quality communications equipment on a short term basis. “Simoco also has proven experience in managing end-to-end communications at large-scale, complex events, so can give expert guidance and 24/7 support when we need it.” Simoco Group CEO Ian Carr said the company was pleased to have been chosen as the communications supplier for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the contractors involved. He said the company installed the latest radio technology, ensuring that it fulfilled “each organisation’s communications requirements by providing them with Simoco radios that bring wide coverage and clear reception”. Simoco began work at the site in late January, when the Australian Grand Prix Corporation began to implement the first phase of operations to support the event build teams. The company has seen an increase in the demand for its rental services over the last 12 months, with deployments at major sporting and entertainment venues as well as across other sectors including construction, security, production and mining.
LTE test software Aeroflex has announced an upgrade to its Lector software that provides improvements in the speed of mobile device RF tests in service centres. The Lector 7 software achieves a doubling in LTE test speed for a range of mobile devices. Test times for a reference multiband mobile device (a European version of a popular Android smartphone) using the Aeroflex 7100 LTE Digital Radio Test Set with Lector 7 have been improved by an average of 53%. It takes only 3 min 5 s to complete the full set of LTE tests with Lector 7 as compared with 6½ min with the previous version, Lector 6.83. For a full test script covering multiple 2G/3G/4G bands, test time is reduced from 10 min to less than 6 min, a saving of over 40%. The 2G/3G/4G final tests were performed using a 7100 for LTE and an Aeroflex 4400 Mobile Phone Tester for 2G/3G, although a 2201 Service Tester can also be used in place of the 4400. Lector 7 integrates Aeroflex’s terminal testers, shield boxes and antenna couplers with a growing database of mobile devices to enable quick and simple testing. Aeroflex Incorporated Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W280
26 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Government | Enterprise | Transportation | Mining | Utilities | Public Safety
Registration Now Open!
18 – 19 June 2014
Australian Technology Park What’s On?
Keynotes — Industry leaders will share their expertise and experiences with you. Workshops — Always popular, and included in your general conference registration, the workshops will give you a more in-depth look at selected topics including: • Advanced radio over IP • Mobile broadband and LTE for critical communications • Implementing a digital radio solution — change management • In-building distributed antenna systems Industry stream — Case studies and papers focusing on key sectors and users of radio and converged communications: • Public safety and emergency management • Mining and the wider resources sector • Utilities • Transportation • Government and enterprise Technology @ work stream — A broad selection of papers on technologies used in the field, often using case study examples, will deliver critical technical content to you and your colleagues. Exhibition – and don’t forget, an exhibition with dozens of local and international manufacturers and distributors will have their experts on hand to help you find the solutions you’re looking for. In conjunction with the NSW ARCIA networking dinner, 18 June @ Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf In association with:
Interested in exhibiting or sponsoring?
CALL PAUL OR NARELLE ON
+61 2 9487 2700
News TETRA POWER The Sira-Kvina Power Company, one of Norway’s largest, has selected Sepura STP9000 hand-portable radios for use on its new TETRA system. The company has a 90% uptime objective for its production facilities and, by law, must be able to maintain internal communications for at least 72 hours, even if regular power supplies are cut off. Full story: bit.ly/1eTFERP
NEW KORDIA CHIEF
Network analyser Agilent Technologies has introduced a metrology option for its PNA
Kordia Group has announced the appointment of Ken Benson to the position of chief executive of Kordia Australia. His appointment follows the resignation of Peter Robson, who led Kordia Australia for the last 10 years and resigned to pursue new work challenges. He will remain in a consulting capacity to focus on completing several key Kordia projects. Benson has held executive leadership roles at international telecommunications companies such as Telstra Corporation, Telecom New Zealand and British Telecom. Full story: bit.ly/1lxsvl5
family of network analysers that offers metrology institutes and cali-
DMR FOR BAHRAIN AIRPORT
techniques based on Agilent’s in-house semiconductor processes.
Simoco Group has been awarded a fiveyear contract with its partner UCA (United Commercial Agencies) to deliver a DMR solution to Bahrain International Airport. The deployment will comprise a Simoco Xd Tier III trunked system, designed for call management, intelligent call routing and wide-area multisite working. Units will include 500 SDP660 Portables and 100 SDM610 Mobile Radios with voice recording, which will help the airlines and groundhandling company improve their operations and efficiency in the airport. Full story: bit.ly/1ibb3Cj
Agilent Technologies Aust Pty Ltd
RADIO SEMINARS National Instruments will hold a series of free, full-day, RF and microwave test and design seminars to educate and update engineers, researchers and technicians on technological advances in the test and design of microwave and RF systems. Experts will explore the functionality and capabilities of new technologies that are changing RF test and design applications. Additionally, attendees will explore the architecture and advantages of software-defined, modular instrumentation, as well as learn about key considerations, time-saving tips and advanced testing techniques. Full story: bit.ly/1i69LnM
28 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
bration laboratories enhanced S-parameter measurement accuracy. The metrology option employs a special technique for accurately characterising the thermal stability of Agilent’s PNA network analysers, independent of the effects from cables and adapters. The technique provides 48 hours of stabilisation data that accurately characterises instrument drift stored on the analyser’s hard drive. In addition, the metrology option has optimised the raw performance of the PNA family to address the specific measurement needs of metrology laboratories. For example, all front-panel loops were removed to improve stability. The PNA’s raw source match and load match were also optimised. Receiver linearity was realised by specialised hardware Agilent’s PNA family of network analysers includes the PNA-L, PNA and PNA-X Series, covering frequencies from 300 kHz to 1.05 THz. Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W007
VoWi-Fi device Spectralink has announced the availability of PIVOT, a WorkSmart solution that improves workplace communication by combining smartphone-like features with the quality, durability and reliability essential for in-building mobile employees. PIVOT expands the Spectralink portfolio of voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) handsets to deliver enterprise-grade, on-site voice mobility with a user-friendly interface on an extensible application platform. Built on the industry-standard Android operating system, PIVOT is designed to bridge the gap between smartphones and purpose-built mobile solutions. It has HD voice quality, seamless VoWi-Fi roaming, durability, broad telephony support and wireless local area network (WLAN) interoperability, and predictable return on investment. Other features include: 4.3″, multitouch capacitive touch-screen display; integration with enterprise Android and XML applications; access to web-based applications and resources; customisable preferences; enterprise-level security and privacy; integrated 1 and 2D barcode scanner. Wavelink Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W622
Sepura DMR - Your solid choice for digital radio Looking for crystal-clear audio, extended coverage, efficient use of spectrum and integrated data communications?Â You can depend on Sepuraâ€™s reliable and robust DMR product family, developed for professional and industrial users by experts in digital radio communications. With over one million digital radios shipped globally, Sepura is the market leader in many countries around the world. For your move to digital communications, trust Sepura.
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For further information contact us at DMR@sepura.com or visit sepura.com
M I I NNA AL LS S R M S T E M S S Y
ORION AND THE NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL Jonathan Nally
For the city council of one of Australia’s largest cities, making the switch to digital is saving money and boosting productivity.
he city of Newcastle in New South Wales’s Hunter Valley region has had more than its fair share of disasters and incidents in recent years, beginning with the 1988 earthquake. Lately there have been floods and storms, and the grounding of the bulk carrier Pasha Bulker in 2007. All of these incidents required comprehensive emergency services responses, and that, of course, required a good communication system. But the Newcastle City Council’s system was old and becoming ineffective. So, just as with many other councils and similar organisations, Newcastle found itself faced with a dilemma - how to maintain a functional communications network in the face of rapid technological and regulatory change. Specifically, how - and even whether - to replace analog equipment which in many cases was well past its use-by date, and also how to comply with ACMA’s narrow-banding changes. “With the spectrum changes coming, we wouldn’t have been able to operate, because a lot of our old radios would not have worked under the new bandwidths,” said Peter Crotty, Newcastle City Council’s electrical projects coordinator. “We probably had around 300 radios, old analog things. We had heaps of different frequencies and licences, and different types of radios, so nothing was standard. And a lot of our infrastructure such as the aerials and the transmitters were in a pretty poor state. So we were more or less forced into doing something, or scrapping the radios altogether.” So about two years ago the council began the process of investigating moving to a new digital system. “We first had to do an audit to find out where all the radios were, because we didn’t really know what we had out there,” said Crotty. “We did a lot of research and attended seminars and presentations to find out what we really needed. We went back to scratch and asked ourselves if we really
30 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
wanted the two-way radios - did they still have a role to play? And it was decided they did, for lots of different reasons.” And as luck would have it, a new digital radio network had just come online, and an enterprising local dealer was ready and waiting with a solution to the council’s needs. That solution was the Orion Network - very appropriately named, given that in Greek mythology, Orion is known as The Hunter.
The Orion Network The Orion Network is deployed by a number of radio dealers around the country. It is built on Motorola’s MotoTRBO radio platform, all linked together over IP. The network segment in New South Wales north of the Hawkesbury River is owned and operated by Gencom. At the time the Newcastle City Council was investigating options, Orion was already in place but had only just become operational. “We deployed the infrastructure and we own the sites in many cases, and we have site rental of the locations that we don’t own,” said Jason Mann of Gencom. “So it was only a matter of us putting in the equipment and putting in backhaul IP links to provide the coverage and connectivity with the rest of the network. “We’ve had a few natural disasters up here in the recent past,” said Mann. “What has been learned from past disasters, particularly the Queensland and Brisbane floods, is that landline and mobile phone infrastructure is often amongst the first to fall over. Where councils in particular have moved to mobile phones, they’d either have no coverage and not be able to reach their people, or they’d have coverage but would be competing with the public making their own calls (often to council personnel). So they wouldn’t be able to get hold of their own people and do any command and control at all in times of disaster.
ONE OF THE ADVANTAGES HAS BEEN THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE BETWEEN NONTRADITIONAL AREAS.
There’s also Blackbutt Reserve, which covers about 180 hectares and includes native animal exhibits. It’s a traditional mobile phone black spot, and staff can be at one end of it or the other over the course of a day. “Communications are a lot better and more reliable now with the two-ways,” said Kosta Flamiatos, council’s manager of road and asset maintenance services. “The Orion system gets in fine.” The council does not have a communications centre. Rather, “we have three or four different base stations, and a number of talk groups set up for individual groups, plus there is the ability to go across the network to other groups”, said Crotty.
The benefits of Orion
“So the proposal is that as more councils come aboard, we can actually create a disaster management group that spans across all these councils,” said Mann. “So if a flood were to happen on the Hunter River, which would affect, say, eight councils, then they could actually have a conduit to talk amongst themselves, independent of the telcos, independent of all the other solutions. And even if our towers went down, the radios can still talk amongst themselves.” Gencom is one of only a small number of Platinum Partners for Motorola Solutions, authorised to sell all of Motorola’s high-end digital products across all their platforms. It’s also one of the few Orion partners that are Platinum Partners as well. “We already owned several towers,” Mann added. “So it was just a case of putting in base station repeater equipment and linking them up and then trying to find clients to go on it. Newcastle City Council is a good example of that. We also have Busways and others, including Maitland Council, now also on the network.” Gencom is also Motorola’s preferred minerals and energy partner in NSW, looking after mines in the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah Basin, the Ulan Basin and the Central West. “We’ve run our own radio networks for 20 or 30 years, in various different platforms,” said Mann. “We have two different digital networks; Orion is one, and definitely the flagship solution.”
Putting the radios to use The council’s new radios - Motorola DP 3601 portable terminals and DM 3601 mobile terminals - are used by a wide range of staff, such as: beach staff, street sweepers, and parks and gardens staff; civil works, maintenance, construction and road workers; and in garbage collection trucks and waste management centres.
The upgrade to the Orion network has brought a number of significant benefits. “With most of the features we knew what we would get,” said Crotty. “We basically bought the skeleton of what we need, and it’s something we can build on and add all the bells and whistles down the track.” “We were looking for a reliable system, and something I suppose that would bring us more into the digital age, which is a huge plus on where we were coming from,” said Flamiatos. “We haven’t had any trouble with the Orion system at all. There have been efficiency improvements, such as better communication between the work areas, particularly if you’re coming and going within sites. We are looking at even potentially expanding within the depot to our stores staff - to give truck drivers coming in the ability to call them and say, ‘Can you be at this certain location?’, rather than having to park and walk over to speak with the stores staff. “If some of our road workers are at the asphalt plant and they’re held up, they can call back to the work site and let them know,” added Flamiatos. “Or they can call and say ‘I’m on my way’ or ‘I’m this far away’, so the workers at the site can get prepped and ready to go. They can make better work decisions rather than waiting.” “On our beaches we’re able to talk to the Westpac rescue helicopter, we can talk to the coastal patrol, and users can talk over the beach PA via their radios as well,” said Crotty. “These are things we had before, but they’ve been brought into the new digital system. “The other thing we do have … when the guys are out on the jet skis, they wear a helmet with a radio so they can communicate back hands-free,” Crotty added. “I think one of the other advantages has been the ability to communicate between non-traditional areas,” said Flamiatos. “For example, we might have some of our civil works guys doing some work at Blackbutt, and they can now communicate a lot better with the staff there - when they’re coming and going, what’s in the way and so on. Before it was a bit of hit and miss.” Functions such as man down and duress are also highly valued. “There aren’t a lot of remote areas geographically in Newcastle, but workers can be remote from other workers,” added Flamiatos. “They’re good backups to have.” One of the big pluses of the change to Orion was the fact that unlike solutions from commercial telcos - it is a fixed-cost service, so
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
In 2007, the Pasha Bulker ran aground at Newcastle. Communications difficulties hampered the rescue and remediation efforts. Courtesy Wikimedia/Web107.
Newcastle City Council's Peter Crotty and Kosta Flamiatos. the council can budget more effectively. “I think that was something that was attractive to the council, yes,” said Crotty. “By going down this digital track, we know what our ongoing costs are going to be.” There are other advantages to staying clear of commercial telcos. “A radio system is purely a work tool and it’s rugged, robust. And the radios tend to last 10-15 years. So you can buy the equipment once, and you have absolutely fixed comms costs - you know exactly how much it’s going to cost every month,” said Mann. “Plus the ability to have GPS functionality, to see where your people are. You can potentially do things like report the locations of potholes and run a report from the radio network to tell the roadworks guys where the potholes are. There are all sorts of things possible when you have a digital network in place.” If the spectrum rules hadn’t changed, would the switchover to digital still have happened anyway? “The ACMA changes certainly gave an impetus to make sure there was a decision made,” said Flamiatos. “It might not have been an all-encompassing change, but certainly for one of the areas I look after - our truck drivers and plant operators - we were looking to improve our system, because a lot of our units were failing. We needed something new.”
32 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Newcastle City Council’s Orion implementation: • Compliance with ACMA narrow-banding requirements • Vastly improved audio quality compared to analog • Coverage across local government area • Fixed communications cost, no additional charges for variable talk times or volume of traffic • Secure communications • Voice and data logging • GPS location of terminals • Seamless roaming from across radio cells • Fully managed and maintained infrastructure • One-to-many communications (group call) • One-to-one communications (individual call) • Lone- and remote-worker management • Radio ID display on transmissions • Ability to intercommunicate with external legacy UHF analog radio systems in use with partners and contractors • Over-the-air reprogramming of terminals removing the need to return terminals to the workshop for reprogramming • Software capability expansion without the need to change infrastructure or terminal hardware
Where to now for Orion? So where next for Orion in the Hunter region and beyond? “As mentioned, we also have Maitland City Council on the Orion network,” said Mann. “And we are in consultation with all the other councils in the Hunter Region - about a dozen of them - that are in various stages of consideration. “Beyond the region, we’re also talking to many councils, and the Orion group presented last year at the LGMA (Local Government Managers Association) annual conference in Hobart about the benefits of this network throughout the country,” added Mann. “A lot of interest was generated by this, and we expect to see further councils take advantage of all the benefits of the Orion digital radio network in the months and years ahead.”
BEVAN CLARKE, MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS © stock.xchng/profile/RAWKU5
Critical Comms digs into the Orion Network, which delivers digital comms across most of Australia … and with similar networks coming online in other countries.
he Orion Network covers the most densely populated areas of Australia, providing a robust digital solution for government agencies and commercial enterprises. With an equivalent network coming online in New Zealand and similar networks in some Asian countries, it clearly is providing a solution to a need. In this companion piece to our story on Newcastle City Council, we dig deeper into the Orion Network and the capabilities and coverage it provides. We spoke with Bevan Clarke, Motorola Solutions’ General Manager of Radio Channels for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
fewer repeat messages. In an operational sense, the message gets through first time, even in the noisiest environments, which allows people to make their decisions and do their jobs a lot quicker.
Are you finding there’s growing interest amongst customers for a ready-made network, rather than having to put in a bespoke system and then have the hassles of maintaining it?
A lack of interoperability has been a major issue in several recent incidents overseas, such as the Naval Yard shootings in the USA.
Yes, that’s something that we’re seeing in the marketplace. A lot of big customers, such as airports and transport operators, at the end of the day just want to do their business, which is to take a box from X to Y or fly planes from Adelaide to Sydney. They don’t really want to be caught up in the technology, so they leverage partners like Gencom and the Orion network to get their outcome and an operations-based model. That’s what this is all about now, accessing the latest and greatest technology with integration of voice and data communication across a single platform. At the end of last year, there was a big push towards narrowbanding in the Australian radio market that got a lot of operators thinking about what they were going to do with their existing hardware, and how they could future-proof themselves in a 5- to 10-year period post that cutover. Digital two-way radio enables this. It protects investment and encourages development of applications to come onto it, which analog networks don’t - analog networks are restricted by the hardware, and can only do so much.
So Orion is scalable in both its capabilities and its spread? Because it’s IP, it allows linking of sites. As a city council, say, needs to expand - they might pick up a contract for waste delivery into another region - so the likes of Orion/Gencom could put in another site at another location and link that into the Orion backbone. So you’ve got the ability to grow the network via IP, via DSL, via fibre, via microwave link, a lot more effectively, and that gives the network scalability. Another factor of digital radio is the noise-cancelling features and audio quality. What that means for an end user such as a council is
What’s the status on interoperability? How can, for instance, adjacent city councils communicate with each other on the Orion network? There are two ways to do that. They could each be on the Orion network. But now also in this digital age, there are applications at a software level that can bridge a different network to the Orion network. So you’ve effectively got a product in the middle that can take, say, an analog call and put it onto a digital network.
Yes, communication on the ground can be the difference between life and death sometimes. Digital systems allow all the different networks, and more importantly, user groups, to speak with each other when they need to. You can set up the programming of the radios into a ‘fleet map’. So, for example, you might be maintenance and I might be road services, and we operate on our separate talk groups quite merrily day to day. But in the event of an incident, we can switch our radios to a common talk group - effectively an emergency operations talk group - and then both you and I are able to talk to each other.
Orion spreads further than Australia, doesn't it? The vision of the Orion network is to also connect up the New Zealand key regions - Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. There’s a similar platform over there right now, a MotoTRBO network, set up by four key partners. In probably within three to six months, we’ll have the ability to be making calls from Australia to a key region in New Zealand, bridging the Tasman Sea for organisations that might have an operation in the two countries. And because it’s all over a radio network the calls are no charge; it’s just free piggybacking on an IP link. So this network scale is not just within the boundaries of Australia, it could go anywhere. We’ve got partners setting up in Malaysia and Indonesia with the same MotoTRBO technology.
So that would be most applicable to a commercial operation, such as an airline or a freight operator? That’s right. A suitable customer would be one with multiple locations or fleets of vehicles that they need to communicate with or track or manage. We can now provide the platform they need.
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
INTERVIEW WITH BEVAN CLARKE The no-cost call is one of the key things. We’ve managed to win back some customers who had gone from radio to cellular. The cost blowout that happens to some of these large fleets and workforces with cellular is definitely an issue for some of our customers - and they look at radio and say “Radio is fixed cost, I can make as many calls as I want amongst my staff, and it enables me to talk to all of them with a push of a button and they’re all hearing what I’m saying.” That’s a huge operational benefit and a huge cost benefit of the radio platform versus cellular.
And with cellular you can’t get extra services like reporting of GPS locations? That’s right. We call it ‘GPS to the hip’ of the user. In terms of how GPS works, the perfect city council operator is a parking warden. Parking wardens get in harm’s way effectively every single day of the week as they do their job. Via digital two-way radio with GPS, they’ve got voice communication back to the operations team, and if they get in that situation where they’re about to get clobbered, they simply hit the emergency button on the top of the radio which straight away sends a GPS call up the network. So if you’re my operations manager, you can straight away see an alert and an alarm, and a GPS location on the mapping system on your screen. You can then muster and send support services to help. The great thing about two-way radio is that these systems are built specifically for business users and that’s why we always talk about mission critical and business critical - you don’t have the overloading and resource restriction that you get with cellular.
34 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
I guess New Zealand is a prime location for this kind of service? Oh, agreed. Canterbury, for example, is looking closely at twoway radio at the moment, because of what happened after the 22 September quake. The cell phone networks were heavily impaired and voice calls were not able to be made. The health boards of Canterbury couldn’t talk to each other and get first line responses to how they were going to treat all the people who had been injured. It was a frightening scenario and showed the limitations of cellular networks in providing tier-one responses to a natural disaster.
I suppose it’s easy to use hindsight and say, how did they get to this point in the first place? But surely the agencies would have known of the vulnerabilities in these systems. Were they just looking at dollars? Or were they thinking that it couldn’t happen to them? I think it’s probably a combination. We often assume it won’t happen to us. We get comfortable with how day-to-day life operates. Motorola is trying to deliver solutions that actually help in those moments that matter. When its life or death, or a business outcome that has to happen, the devices we make are manufactured in such a way that they will work. That’s a mantra that Motorola has, and that’s why we’ve been so successful in emergency services and the business market - our networks and solutions work amongst all the variant factors of what this world can throw at us every day.
Wireless test set Agilent Technologies has announced the E6640A EXM wireless test set, which offers manufacturing-test scalability in technology coverage, performance and capacity to test up to 32 cellular and wirelessconnectivity devices in parallel. The EXM offers manufacturers the speed, accuracy and multiport density to ramp up rapidly and optimise full-volume manufacturing. To accelerate test development, the EXM is synchronised with the latest cellular and WLAN chipsets. The EXM can be configured with up to four independent transmit/receive (TRX) channels, each of which is a complete vector signal generator and vector signal analyser. Each TRX includes four RF ports - two full-duplex and two half-duplex. To further extend scalability and port density, the EXM can be customised to connect up to 32 devices under test through multiport adapter (MPA) technology. The EXM offers 160 MHz bandwidth, up to 6 GHz frequency range, and a broad choice of multiformat coverage, from LTE-Advanced in cellular to 802.11ac with multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) in wireless connectivity. Power level accuracy is Âą0.5 dB at 3.8 GHz and the receiver EVM noise floor is -42 dBm for 802.11ac. Agilent Technologies Aust Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W010
RF tester Aeroflex has introduced a base station (BS) RF tester for all popular cellular and non-cellular wireless standards, including LTE/LTE-A and Wi-Fi. Designed for production test of BS and associated RF components, the tester can be used for both RF design verification and production test on small cells, as well as replacing conventional rackand-stack instruments for macro BS RF test. The BS RF tester measures the BS transmitter (Tx) and receiver (Rx) characteristics of LTE/LTE-A, UMTS/ HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS and Bluetooth. A vector signal analyser, vector signal generator and optional multiple channel RF conditioning modules are integrated into a 4U PXI set. Measurement and analysis component libraries that provide low-level remote programming minimise the effort involved for the manufacturer to develop and integrate a customised ATE system, and to maximise production throughput. An easy-touse graphical user interface (GUI) also enables benchtop manual operation, making it suitable for the R&D stage regression test and design verification or troubleshooting. Aeroflex Incorporated Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W620
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
Tactical deployment repeater The GME portable repeater is a tactical deployment communications network primarily aimed at emergency services, temporary commercial networks and mining operations. Apart from the transmitter and receiver components, the TDR1000 will accommodate a third radio for cross band and, soon to be released, cross protocol applications. The design focuses on battery management, the ability to be air-transported and a carbon-fibre, self-supporting 6 m telescopic mast. The complete repeater and telescopic field antenna can be easily carried by one person assisted by a convenient heavy-duty backpack for the collapsed antenna system. It is available in the VHF 136-174 MHz, UHF-L 403-480 MHz and UHF-H 450-520 MHz bands, with a choice of high-specification diplexers to suit the operational frequency. The repeater is built into a NANUK IP67 case with an impact-mounted subframe to house the radio sections and cushion against shock and vibration. A balanced pair of LiFeP04 9 Ah batteries allows long duty cycles of up to 17 h depending on TX settings. The product will also allow multiple CTCSS access based on the GME TX3800T platform. An optional MC525BC control head provides local control of the unit for system field set-up and link testing. Standard Communications Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W546
Cable, antenna and spectrum analyser Available to rent, the Anritsu S332E Site Master cable, antenna and spectrum analyser is a compact, handheld unit with touch-screen interface, numeric keypad and built-in file management system for traces and set-ups. It comes preloaded with analysis software including functions for Smith Chart tools. The cable analyser module will measure return loss, VSWR, cable loss, phase and distance to fault. The spectrum analyser will measure occupied bandwidth, channel power, ACPR, C/I and spectral emission masks. The interference analyser handles requirements involving spectrograms, signal strength, RSSI and signal ID. Applications for the Anritsu S332E include: cable and antenna installation; 2-port measurements of tower-mounted amplifiers, duplexers, diplexers and filters; phase-matching cables; transmitter verification; interference analysis of cellular systems, land mobile radio systems and Wi-Fi; signal strength mapping and spectrum monitoring; field analysis of 2G/3G/4G signals; maintenance for wireless service providers, contractors, military, aerospace and defence, and public safety applications. The deviceâ€™s features include: cable/antenna analyser frequency range of 2 MHz to 4 GHz with a sweep speed of 1 ms/data point (typical); spectrum/interference analyser frequency range of 9 kHz to 4 GHz with DANL -152 dBm in 10 Hz RBW; USB interface to connect to PC. TechRentals Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W163
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6-in-1 oscilloscope Tektronix introduces the MDO3000 series of mixed domain oscilloscopes. The integrated 6-in-1 oscilloscope includes a spectrum analyser, logic analyser, protocol analyser, arbitrary waveform generator (AFG) and digital voltmeter (DVM). The device provides the tools needed to test and debug virtually any embedded design. It saves space and improves usability, with the same basic controls for multiple instruments. The product can capture analog, digital and RF signals, making it a suitable entry-level, general-purpose instrument. The product is completely customisable. Engineers can start with the minimum performance and functional levels they need to accomplish the project at hand with the knowledge that their test platform can be upgraded in the field without delay. Performance upgrades include analog bandwidth of the oscilloscope and input frequency of the spectrum analyser. Functional upgrades include the addition of digital channels, protocol analysis, arbitrary function generation or DVM measurements. The oscilloscopes feature two or four analog input channels with bandwidth ranging from 100 MHz to 1 GHz, 16 digital channels (optional) and one RF input channel matching the bandwidth of the oscilloscope (9 kHz up to analog bandwidth). The RF input frequency on any model can be extended to 3 GHz. The DVM provides 3.5-digit AC RMS, DC, or AC+DC RMS voltage measurements, as well as 5-digit frequency measurements in a large display that makes changes in readings instantly visible.Â With the FastAcq feature, the product offers more than 280,000 waveforms/s capture rate displayed on a vibrant digital phosphor display to easily find infrequent anomalies in a signal. More than 125 available trigger combinations, automated serial and parallel bus analysis, Wave Inspector controls and optional automated power measurements round out the feature set, ensuring tools for every stage of debug. Tektronix Southeast Asia Pte Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W433
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
LEN STARLING, RADIO SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT © stock.xchng/profile/RAWKU5
The New Zealand government recently concluded the second and final 700 MHz auction round. Critical Comms gets an update on the process and what happens now.
any nations have embraced the notion of the digital dividend, whereby spectrum used by analog television broadcasts has been vacated … leaving a huge block of 700 MHz available for new applications. The sale of blocks of this spectrum is improving government coffers while also enabling improved services and coverage by the winning bidders. To find out more about the recent New Zealand 700 MHz auction rounds and some general spectrum matters, we spoke with Len Starling, Manager of Radio Spectrum Policy & Planning in the New Zealand government’s Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) agency. RSM provides policy advice to the government on the allocation of the radio spectrum, and administering the Radiocommunications Act 1989 and supporting Radiocommunications Regulations 2001.
For those not familiar with the 700 MHz auction, how, why and when did it come about? As with many other countries, New Zealand has been converting to digital television. New Zealand analog television previously used VHF I and III and UHF bands IV and V. Digital switchover and restacking of the digital frequencies was completed in December 2013. Digital terrestrial television is now using only the 500-700 MHz band. That freed up the 700 MHz band for other uses. After a public consultation it was determined that cellular mobile was probably the highest value use of that band. The 700 MHz spectrum auction started on 29 October 2013 and bidding to allocate the lots was completed on 22 January 2014. The auction results are subject to clearance from the Commerce Commission. The final auction phase, to assign specific frequencies to the successful bidders, will be held after the Commerce Commission decision is announced.
In practical terms, the only bidders for the band would have been telcos. But just crystalballing, if a non-telco user had come along and wanted to bid, would that have been allowed? The rights and implementation requirements were configured primarily for use by mobile network operators using 4G LTE. However,
38 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
the requirements were broad enough that a non-cellular network operator could have participated if they had wished.
What are some of the requirements that the successful bidders must comply with, and over what timescales? The key requirements and timescales were: • For 2x5 MHz blocks, new operators or existing non-cellular network operators must achieve 50% national population coverage within five years; existing cellular network operators must upgrade 75% of existing rural cell sites to 4G using 700 MHz (to a maximum of 300 cell sites). • For 2x10 MHz blocks, new operators or existing non-cellular network operators must achieve 50% national population coverage, including at least 30% population coverage within any given region, within five years; existing cellular network operators must upgrade 75% of existing rural cell sites to 4G using 700 MHz (to a maximum of 300 cell sites). • For 2x15 MHz blocks, new operators or existing non-cellular network operators must achieve 50% national population coverage, including at least 30% population coverage within any given region, within five years; existing cellular network operators must upgrade 75% of existing rural cell sites to 4G using 700 MHz (to a maximum of 300 cell sites). Plus for all successful bidders there is a requirement for five new coverage cell sites (base stations) per year, for first five years. • And for 2x20 MHz (if available) blocks, new operators or existing non-cellular network operators must achieve 75% national population coverage, including at least 50% population coverage within any given region, within five years; existing cellular network operators must upgrade 75% of existing rural cell sites to 4G using 700 MHz (to a maximum of 300 cell sites). Plus for all successful bidders there is a requirement for 10 new coverage cell sites (base stations) per year, for first five years.
Will you be closely monitoring the bidders to ensure compliance? Yes. We endeavour to create obligations that are easy to monitor. For example, in this auction some of the obligations relate to building of
INTERVIEW WITH LEN STARLING new cellphone towers or implementation of 700 MHz LTE on existing towers. These are easy to verify.
Were you surprised that you still had a block remaining after the first auction? It was always a possibility. Our three operators each have 2 x 20 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum they can use for urban 4G services and 2x10 MHz of 700 MHz is enough to provide rural and in-building coverage.
How do the prices obtained in the first and second auctions compare? In the first phase of the auction eight lots (each of 2x5 MHz) sold for the reserve price of NZ$22m. The reserve price and acquisition limits were set to enable all three existing mobile network operators to participate in the auction. In the supplementary (second) round the single (ninth) lot sold for NZ$83m.
What will the government do with the money? The money goes into the Crown Account for general government spending. As the New Zealand government uses accrual accounting the revenue is recognised progressively over the life of the rights. This means that the auction revenue doesn’t create an artificial ‘blip’ in government revenue in the year of the auction.
Leading up to and during the process, had you liaised with regulators in other countries to get the benefit of their experiences in 700 MHz auctions? And are any other countries in contact with you to get the benefit of your experiences?
Yes. In particular we meet regularly with the regulators from the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia to share experiences. And in the last year we’ve been pleased to host visits from regulators from the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia and Thailand.
Is there a push for bandwidth to be put aside for their use for public safety broadband in New Zealand too, and what is the official attitude to this, particularly in the light of recent natural disasters? There is interest in a broadband emergency services network and we have done some preliminary work identifying suitable frequencies. In the meantime various agencies are experimenting with smart terminals running on commercial networks. Harmonisation will be an important consideration in the spectrum allocation. In particular, New Zealand regularly receives assistance from, and gives assistance to, Australian services, and harmonisation with an Australian allocation is likely to be a priority.
With New Zealand’s fairly small population, is there much in the way of a spectrum squeeze? New Zealand’s isolation and low population density mean that we have a relative abundance of spectrum. However, that low population density means that the economics of delivering services are challenging. As a consequence, our networks tend to be ‘infrastructure light’ and ‘spectrum heavy’ relative to more populous countries. The result is that we still face pressures to provide spectrum, particularly for cellular mobile.
Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
Drive test scanner The R&S TSME is a compact drive test scanner for wireless communications standards and frequency bands. Measuring 151 x 47 x 93 mm and weighing 650 g, it consumes very little power, making it suitable for testing the quality of communications channels in the field as well as inside buildings with high data traffic. The scanner is claimed to achieve higher measurement speeds than comparable devices. The device helps network operators, infrastructure manufacturers and service providers with coverage planning, such as re-farming or assigning a new spectrum. Benchmarking measurements with other wireless networks is also possible. Network operators can use interference measurements to identify transmission problems caused by overlapping neighbouring cells or external interferers such as faulty lines or household electronics. With its 350 MHz to 4.4 GHz measurement bandwidth, the product covers all bands specified for wireless communications technologies and can simultaneously measure any combination of technologies in each band. Typical combinations include UMTS and GSM in the 900 MHz band, LTE and GSM in the 1800 MHz band, UMTS in the 2100 MHz band and LTE in the 2600 MHz band. LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation measurements can be performed due to the scannerâ€™s wide measurement bandwidth. The scalable solution can help users roll out LTE networks with MIMO technology. Two or four scanners can be combined for special, MIMO 2x2 or MIMO 4x4 multichannel measurements. Inside buildings such as airports, shopping centres and event venues, the scanner can be deployed as the R&S TSME-Z3 backpack system - a low-noise, mobile test solution allowing network operators to use the measurement results to optimise their networks efficiently. The backpack system can accommodate up to four R&S TSME scanners and two mobile phones, and comes with a range of accessories, such as two batteries and an integrated USB hub. Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W516
40 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Power over Ethernet installation MiMOMax Wireless has developed a Power over Ethernet (PoE) installation solution for the MiMOMax Tornado product family. By using a PoE solution, it is possible
Base station tester Aeroflex has launched an extended version of its TM500 base station tester capable of emulating several thousand LTE user devices, fading channel models and LTE-A carrier aggregation functionality in a one-box benchtop unit. LTE-A carrier aggregation was first supported on the TM500 in early 2012 and has since been used by operators worldwide to demonstrate the real-world performance of carrier aggregation technology in field environments. Aeroflex claims the TM500 Test Mobile delivers more LTE-A development capability with a higher UE density than any other solution on the market. Carrier aggregation allows operators to achieve the wider channel bandwidths and higher data rates needed to offer true 4G services. The LTE-A features provided by the compact one-box TM500 allow cellular
to reduce the installation expenses that are associated with tower site RF and power cabling. With the integrated MiMOMax Tornado Micro Duplexers and the PoE Tornado capability, most of the cabling costs for RF and power can be eliminated. In conjunction with MiMOMax antennas like the lowprofile, high-gain, 450 MHz panel antenna, the PoE product may be installed quickly and simply by a single rigger. Not only is this method said to eliminate many of the traditional installation costs, but it also improves system performance by minimising cable losses. By housing all of the radio and network electronics in one outdoor weatherproof enclosure, the only connection required for an ethernet Tornado linking solution is one 50 VDC PoE ethernet cable.
infrastructure vendors to develop carrier aggregation capability and to
MiMOMax Wireless Ltd
emulate real network traffic across thousands of terminals, ahead of
Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W517
the widespread availability of real LTE-A handsets. Aeroflex Incorporated Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/W236
When a promise is made,
Polar Delivers. Australian manufacturers of Communication equipment in the 2-2900 MHz range.
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Mar/Apr 2014 - Critical Comms
Backhaul Welcome to Backhaul, where in each issue of Critical Comms we’ll take a trip down memory lane and look at the state of the industry 25 and 10 years ago. 25 YEARS AGO. The April/May 1989 issue of What’s New in Radio Communications featured the Anritsu MS2601A spectrum analyser, supplied by Alcatel-STC, in its role as an EMI measuring system. Making news was the longest (100 km) fibre-optic sea cable, between the Philippine islands of Cebu and Negros; and the extension of OCT’s Townsville Seaphone service by basing a repeater on a floating hotel. Elsewhere in the magazine, Angus McKenzie discussed using a spectrum analyser for SSB and CW transmitter testing; Maurie Dobbin covered the development of the Australian cellular phone market; and Robert Reid informed us of a radar-based vessel traffic system for the Port of Melbourne. Marconi Instruments was advertising its 2956, 2957 and 2958 test units; Uniden was plugging the CP 2000 portable cellular phone with its 30-number memory; and Kenwood had its TK-810s UHF two-way radio. 10 YEARS AGO. Jumping forward to 2004, and the March/April issue of Radio Comms Asia-Pacific featured Kenwood, on the cover this time, showing off the TK-2160/3160 portable VHF/UHF FM radio - much more stylish than the TK-810s of 15 years earlier. Making news was the Malaysian Arm ed Forces, which had begun using a Tetrapol system that it called ‘Teratai’; the then ACA dropping the Morse requirement for amateur radio licences; and Bob Horton, acting chairman of the ACA, raised the possibility of Asia-Pacific standards. Elsewhere in the magazine were articles on BushLAN (bridging the ‘last mile’ to give the bush internet access) and helping irrigators protect their crops using CyNet 905UK radio transmitters connected to temperature sensors. It was also celebration time, in the form of the 25th anniversary of RF Industries. Steve Jaques, who had been managing director for 15 years, shared his views on the future of digital communications. 42 Critical Comms - Mar/Apr 2014
Spectrum How much will it cost to keep us safe? The cost of not keeping us safe is just too high. We must act before it is too late. Some authorities are still in the process of replacing analog public safety communications networks with narrowband digital solutions, but such ubiquitous coverage is proving to be very expensive, and it is clear that more advanced data services and even video will be required in the near future. Next-generation control rooms promise to integrate all communications in a seamless solution allowing commanders, officers, experts and the general public to interact in real time, but these solutions too are not cheap. As the evolution to LTE and LTE-A accelerates, and new smartphone models are launched every 6-9 months, how can the critical communications community keep up with the more dynamic commercial sector? Projects such as FirstNet in the United States and ESMCP/ESN in the United Kingdom are gaining momentum and public safety LTE trials are being conducted in a number of markets, although the lack of common frequency allocations and welldefined standards remains worrying. Organisations such as TCCA/ETSI (major focus on Europe), NIST/NPSTC (USA), and CITIG (Canada) and some national authorities are working closely with 3GPP and industry to ensure that services such as group calling, direct mode, mission-critical voice and enhanced security features are considered for future LTE releases. Progress is being made but the battle is far from won. At the same time, conflicts and disasters are becoming ever more costly, ever more deadly, putting societies under immense stress. Alarmingly, both developed and developing economies are increasingly struggling to cope with major shocks that cannot be accurately predicted or measured by governments, experts and insurance companies. An inherent flaw is becoming apparent at the heart of the current economic model when it comes to measuring, comparing and assigning different values due to new levels of complexity in market and network economies. A growing number of economists now agree that a new model is required. The truth is that we simply cannot calculate how much it will cost to keep us safe in terms of any standard economic measure; it is the wrong way of looking at the situation we face. There is no business case for the building of a secure, resilient critical communications network, because critical communications is not a business. It is a public good and a basic human right that has to be funded publicly as part of an open and transparent process - not behind closed doors between politicians, commercial interests and their lobbyists. Societies that fail to invest sufficiently in critical communications and hand over control of basic security issues to commercial interests will find themselves having to deal with a growing number of chaotic scenarios and spending enormous sums of money clearing up the mess after the event. But those that take ownership of critical communications will lay the foundations for strong, resilient, sustainable economies. Peter Clemons has been a prominent figure in the global critical communications industry since 1996. He is Head, TETRA Business, Americas, for Hytera Mobilfunk GmbH, and runs his own consulting company, Quixoticity.
The communications industry magazine for the public safety, law enforcement, utilities, transport, mining, security and defence sectors thro...