Vertel advances communication for remote mining ops

AUSTRALIAN telecommunications carrier Vertel has rolled out its new digital mobile radio (DMR) Tier lll open standard trunked radio network ideal for communicating in emergency conditions in remote locations such as underground coal mines.

Lou Caruana

Vertel has been designing and testing this network for the last 12 months and, after a vigorous multi-vendor evaluation, selected Tait Communications to help deliver this network, the first of its kind in Australia.

Digital DMR networks enable a host of features to streamline operations, which will be especially beneficial to operations operating across both regional and metro areas.

In the first phase of the roll-out plan, the Vertel DMR Tier lll network will support Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and the surrounding regions. In the next phase, the network will roll out in Melbourne and Perth, and ultimately grow to form a national network.

The core infrastructure connecting this network is Vertel’s carrier grade MEF certified network, bringing mission critical standards to a commercial offering.

Vertel has been a pioneer in two-way radio networks in Australia and will carry that legacy into a new era. Recent research commissioned by the Australian Radio Communications Industry Association found that the conservative value of the LMR industry is between $2 billion and $4 billion each year, with almost 40% of the value derived from the emergency services sector.

According to the research, 55% of the respondents regarded LMR as critical and essential for their operations. The report also found that 87% of users strongly felt that digital technologies would form an important part of future LMR requirements, the technologies which the DMR standard enables.

Networks based on the DMR standard offer a greatly improved two-way radio experience that yields operational benefits and efficiencies through clear communications, safety features and wide area coverage.

Providing consistent coverage across large geographic areas, the new Vertel DMR Tier lll network supports a range of applications and features. These include messaging, man down alarms and GPS tracking which ensure the safety of lone or remote workers, making this a critical network for remote construction crews and public sector workers in the field.

Vertel managing director Andrew Findlay said: “We are proud to bring two-way radio into the digital age. Over the next two to three years, we plan to expand our DMR network to significantly exceed the current range of our analogue MPT network. To help construct the DMR network, we selected Tait after a rigorous trial and testing process. Their proven experience in large scale open standard networks and depth of local support makes them the perfect partner for this landmark project.”

Enterprises do not need to replace their entire fleet of radios to access the Vertel DMR Tier lll network because multi-mode radios work on both analogue and digital networks. This allows companies to migrate gradually and cost effectively from analogue to digital, a requirement highlighted as critical by Vertel’s customer base.

The open standard nature of the Vertel DMR Tier lll network creates a greater flexibility between terminals and applications from multiple vendors, giving much greater choice to the end users.

Vertel’s vision is to enable smarter, healthier and safer Australian communities through the provision of next generation telecommunications infrastructure and associated network services, the company said.

“Unlike most carriers and service providers, we are focusing on areas that lack critical communications infrastructure. The lack of investment in infrastructure in fringe metro, regional and remote areas of Australia has resulted in real challenges for these once important areas of our country.”

Tait Asia-Pacific general manager Brett Smythe said: “We are excited to partner with Vertel in bringing a national open standards based DMR network to Australia. This open-standard technology will allow Vertel customers a greater freedom of choice and flexibility when migrating from the analogue network. Time and again our technology proves its value to clients across the globe.”