WBB Operation

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Wireless Broadband Operation in the MTEL Picocell Network.

 

Focus

This page describes the operation of the WBB technology in relation to Comms centres sending messages to WBB upgraded picocells. The WBB is the new interface between MTELPage and the upgraded WBB picocell.

 

Preface

The MTEL picocell network is currently being upgraded from a dialup based system to a network based system. Currently a quarter of the existing network has been changed with an anticipation of 50% more by March next year (2016). Check the News page for the latest upgrades each month.

What is WBB ?

Wireless Broad Band is simply the technology provided by cellphone companies to provide internet services wirelessly to mobile phones. It allows mobile users to transfer very large amounts of data to and from the cellphone. Typical uses of this data is Facebook, iMessage, Google etc.

The name comes about from the concatenation of terms. Wireless is obvious. Broadband refers to high data capacity due to a broader use of the radio spectrum. Its short for broader than normal radio bandwidth used for voice channels normally used in telephony calls.

Why use WBB ?

In short it is the very latest data technology and will be around forever. Telephone companies are spending enormous amounts of money to build these fantastic networks as a result of the prolific use of mobile phones across the globe for internet capacity. In fact global data usage exceeds voice capacity and has done so for the last 5 years.

For this reason alone Telstra will spend enormous amounts of resource to keep these new networks operational and generating income. It makes sense for MTEL to piggy back off this technology to value add to the existing picocell infrastructure. The spin off technologies in this area will ensure Telstra will maintain these systems to the best of their ability long into the future. Current future predictions are that this technology will be around for a minimum of 20 years as the capacity can be scaled up. Its called LTE or Long Term Evolution or in Australia 4G. As an example of how far ahead these new technologies are projecting, the 3GPP has recently released Specification 11 which is 337.5 Million/Bits per second. In Australia our cellphone technology is using Specification 7, so there is plenty of long term development to come.

MTEL has contracts with Telstra to use a very special part of the WBB network. Telstra has allocated in all its sites a special part of the WBB to provide dedicated VPN connections INSTEAD OF INTERNET to private carriers such as MTEL. These services use mobile facilities dedicated to just the user. The VPN guarantees only the user sees just their devices on the network, therefore the general public can not access this part of the WBB.

This means we get all the features of the WBB, and no connection to the internet therefore it is a PRIVATE and SECURE service dedicated to MTEL.

What this gives MTEL is the ability to send messages from its gateway across the Telstra network anywhere in Australia to the picocell systems IN LESS THAN HALF A SECOND. The older systems take a minimum 25 seconds, that's a major improvement.

For Emergency services this speed advantage is a vital part in providing the fastest possible messaging to the end users.

Are there any other advantages to WBB ?

There are several key advantages to using this technology.

Always ON.    This means the picocell is always connected to the MTELGateway. This allows the gateway to interrogate the picocell for important operational parameters such as is the mains power on, is the RF power within specification, is the link connected, did the message arrive, did the transmitter send the message, is the DC levels OK, is the battery OK, etc.

More importantly if a site has a problem, MTEL knows before a message is sent. In the past the only time a problem at a picocell site was discovered was during the generation of a vital message, or when MTELPage sent automated messages every 3 days.

Cheaper.    The cost of using WBB is the same for low volume PSTN messaging sites and significantly cheaper for higher volume sites. Where it replaces ISDN it is even cheaper again. The reason for this is the costs are fixed and independent of call rate, as has been in the past with SMS and Paging.

Monitoring.    The gateway allows MTEL to monitor message throughput and operation. Alarming is set on all key components of the process.

Central Database.    The messaging goes through a central database at the gateway so changes can be made immediately and the information is available to all picocells in the network instantly. A central database also provides consistency. The older picocells had databases on every site and had to be manually changed at each site when ever a new pager was added.

The other advantage of the database is each pager now has its own specification so that the number or repeats and how often the message is repeated can be set and tailored to the users requirements. QAS pager use for example is very different to QFES usage. In the older picocells this was fixed for all pagers in the picocell database.

Security.    The old picocells could be dialled into by equipment from anyone connected to the telephone network. The WBB systems have very sophisticated protocols and a private network. It is impossible to activate a picocell except through the MTEL Gateway.

NON Blocking.    The older picocells are dialup services, so if QAS and QFES are both trying to access the picocell at the same time then one services gets blocked as the other has access. This can delay the message by minutes. In the WBB system messages are sent via the gateway which can send messages for both agencies simultaneously. The new picocell can send both messages within 5 seconds, again a major improvement. Now all DCS Comms centres can send messages to the same site as each has an independent connection into the gateway, therefore no blocking occurs.

Logging.    The gateway has extensive logging to allow MTEL to trace any message through the network.

Networking.    The gateway can send a single message to a single picocell or a combination of some or all the picocells. In the current configuration messages to a pager have a home network and a home region. All messages for a single pager are sent to all the picocells in a region. In the older picocells message were individually dialled to all associated picocells.

Networking is very useful in regions where towns are within tens of kilometers of each other. Often auxiliaries live in one town and work in several others.

Networking benefits the management (such as an area director pager) who require paging in each of these towns. In the older picocells the message is dialled to all the associated picocells.

Advanced Protocol.    The new picocells are using a very advanced protocol which explicitly details the pager message construction. This is only possible using WBB. The older picocells do not have this advantage.

 

Why Telstra ?

It simply is the largest network and currently the only network with VPN capability.

 

To see the WBB components (click here) and how the WBB operates (click here) click on the pages on the left or click here.

There is also a page on how the message flows through from MTELPage to the WBB picocell. Click here.

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Last modified: 27-Aug-2018