Telstra has deployed technology to extend the reach of its narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) network base stations by another 60km, allowing IoT devices to transmit data up to 100km.
The upgrade comes thanks to technology from long-time collaborator Ericsson, which extends the 3GPP standards-based limit from 40km to 100km from each base station. It's activated with a software upgrade, meaning devices don't need any alterations to reach the extended network.
The NB-IoT network is best suited for devices that transmit less than 100 kilobits of data per second and are equipped with batteries that can last for multiple years. Telstra activated support for NB-IoT on its mobile network in January this year.
The test was conducted using a Captis NB-IoT temperature sensor sitting 94km away from the Telstra base station on Mount Cenn Cruaich in New South Wales.
Telstra said it was the longest-range NB-IoT connection of its kind, calling it a key milestone in its goal to increasing its LTE footprint in rural and regional areas.
With this NB-IoT extended range feature, we have now extended our coverage to more than three and a half million square kilometres, delivering our customers the best IoT coverage and capability in the country," Telstra executive director of network and infrastructure engineering Channa Seneviratne said.
"Once again Telstra, working closely in partnership with Ericsson, has delivered innovation that ensures the benefits of IoT technology can be enjoyed by the largest number of Australians, not just those in the cities and towns."
Ericsson managing director for Australia Emilio Romeo reiterated those sentiments, saying there was a huge opportunity for IoT in the logistics and agriculture sectors in rural and regional areas.
Telstra switched on Cat M1 technology on its mobile network in August last year, claiming the title of Australia's largest IoT network and one of the largest in the world, followed by NB-IoT technology five months later.