Press Releases 2014
This month MTEL started development on the DIRECT WBB system which will
take messages from Firecom and send them directly to the WBB network
bypassing the MTEL infrastructure. This system will reduce pager message
delivery times by reducing the current dial up time into the MTEL
infrastructure. Comms users should see a 20 to 30 second improvement in
The system went on trial over the January break on a development system .
At this point in time it is anticipated that the DIRECT WBB will be
operational sometime between Q1 and Q2 2015.
Telstra WBB performance this month has been 100% with no outages.
There has been extensive maintenance issues this month with 8 sites
suffering from lightning damage to power supplies and modems.
This month the WBB suffered its first gradual degradation in its 3 years
of operation. A database error in the active gateway stopped sites from
re-establishing connection to MTEL. This happened over a period of 5 hours
on one Sunday morning after midnight as sites performed their standard 24
hour reset. Unfortunately the problem was quite gradual and failed to trip
any alarms on the events. The situation was resolved when it cut over to the
redundant system at 6am and the new active system started the sites as the
database was not compromised.
As a result MTEL has introduce a new alarming technique which checks for
site functionality and if a percentage of the total number of sites are off
line it activates normal alarm processes.
There are alarms for total failures of the WBB network due to Telstra
outages. There have been 4 of these in the last month. All lasting
approximately 45 minutes starting at 1 am. This is typical of a maintenance
cycle from Telstra. The good news is the WBB is self healing and sites
automatically reconnect after the outage.
As a result of these outages all WBB site expansion has been delayed
until the new year until MTEL is confident the Telstra issues have been
resolved. The only exception will be site failures of ISDN lines.
Yungaburra and Malanda were added to the WBB
networks in the Cairns region. This now means the tablelands area has
Malanda, Milla Milla, Herberton, Atherton, Ravenshoe, Yungaburra and Mareeba
all on WBB. Messages for any one site are now sent to all these towns
providing messaging for anyone traveling or working in these Centres.
Total WBB sites to date is now 46 sites.
The WBB Gateway back office development continues with development
roughly approaching the halfway mark.
New features added to the Gateway has been the reduction of duplicated
messages to pagers. MTEL has 3 sources of input into the Gateway to provide
a level of redundancy in delivering messages. One disadvantage of that was
the pager wearer often received multiple messages from each source. The new
software accepts the first message from any data source then sends that to
the WBB network. Duplicate messages were then recorded but not sent if the
message was identical in the last minute. This means that the Hutchison
Vodafone system which is directly connected to the Comms centre is often the
fastest with delivery times of around 15 seconds on average.
This month Black Mountain was installed to improve coverage for a number
of groups in the North Coast region. After the removal of the Vodafone
paging coverage from the Mothar Mountain site many brigades started
reporting missed messages outside of the immediate townships. Black Mountain
is a WBB higher powered wide area site, the first of its kind in the state.
It runs a 50 watt transmitter and is capable of transmitting any DCS pager
including RFB as well as QAS and QFES pagers.
Its primary coverage was for the Cooroy and Pomona wide area however it
has shown to be effective for the Imbil, Kenilworth areas as well. The
current Cooroy WBB site located at the station has been disabled and will be
removed in the coming months.
The WBB Gateway back office development continues with the introduction
of the Direct connected systems project. This new server will hopefully be
eventually installed in DCS so that the WBB picocells can be paged directly
by the Comms Centres rather than the current dialup into the MTEL
communications systems. The Direct system will be backed up by the current
dialup WBB system. The Direct system will provide a much faster activation
of the pagers, in the order of 5 seconds from the time the Comms center hits
the send button.
This has been a very productive month for MTEL.
Maintenance has been performed in the Townsville region 9 sites visited
with battery changes in all systems. All sites were in good operational
condition with some batteries showing signs of fatigue for the 4 years since
the last visit.
Ayr, Bowen, Collinsville and Charters Towers have been added to the WBB
networks in the Townsville region. This brings the Northern region into the
WBB operation with significant improvements to 5 sites.
Maryborough, Hervey Bay (Torquay station) have been added and the
original WBB site Craignish was up graded to the WBB
networks in the North Coast region.
MTEL has now upgraded over a quarter of the entire
network to WBB. Software has been continued to be improved with new
features being introduced in the dialup WBB system. QAS have now also been
added to the WBB dial up backup via VisiCAD.
MTELPage 2014 is showing significant improvement in message delivery to
Hutchison pagers with most Comms Centres now showing message delivery to
Hutchison in under 10 seconds.
Mobile SMS message delivery has also improved significantly with all
large groups sending messages without any errors. The recent change last
week in the MDS will also help SMS delivery where mobiles are delivered
every 3 seconds rather than the original 10 seconds.
Application has been sort and approval given to establish a new site at
Black Mountain. This site will hopefully improve wider pager coverage for
the Imbil, Cooroy, Cooran, Pomona and Kenilworth sites after Vodafone
removed the Mothar Mountain site at the end of last year. The site will
hopefully be operational by the end of September.
MTELGateway has been modified to generate emails for OFFLine picocells
MTELGateway has now been made fully redundant such that if one system
fails on the WBB network it cuts over to the other system.
Cooran, Imbil, Duaringa, Pomona, Sapphire have been added to the WBB
MTELGateway has been modified to generate more warnings during abnormal
Mareeba has been added to the WBB networks.
MTELPage 2014 is now running in all Comms Centres.
MTELPage to MTEL WBB Gateway direct service is now operational from
Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Southport and Toowoomba QFES Communication Centres.
Blackwater, Capella, Springsure, Rolleston, and Cooroy have been added to the WBB networks.
Welcome to Central Highlands Regional Council who have joined the MTEL
WBB Emergency Services Network.
Email to Paging Gateway now operational.
MTELPage to MTEL WBB Gateway direct service is now operational from
Cairns, Townsville, and Rockhampton QFES Communication Centres.
Kooralbyn and Nanango have been added to the WBB networks.
MTELPage 2014 has finally been released after beta testing. Currently on
trial in Cairns QFRS it will be rolled out over the next quarter to all
Systems Currently Installed: (as of 28/3/2014)
- QFES Far Northern
- QAS Brisbane
Anticipated Roll Out:
- QFES Brisbane - Week1
- QFES/QAS Central - Week 2
- QFES South East - Week 3
- QAS South East - Week 4
- QFES North Coast - Week 1
- QAS North Coast - Week 2
- QFES/QAS Northern - Week 3
- QFES/QAS South West - Week 1
- QAS Far Northern - Week 2
Clifton has been added to the WBB networks.
After a severe lightning strike to Tully Fire station, the picocell was
upgraded to WBB.
New components for MTELPage direct to MDS are being installed ready for
upgrades in all Comms Centres to MTELPage 2014 in Q2 2014.
MTELPage 2014 will provide a faster as well as redundant message delivery
through the Brisbane messaging systems.
Gayndah, Esk and Toogoolahwah picocells have now been added to WBB
Upgrades to the MDS and MTELPage 2014 have been finalised ready for
deployment in the first quarter of 2014. Trialing of the new software is
still being conducted by Cairns QFRS.