A potato farmer in regional Victoria has trialled a new piece of Nokia equipment to be marketed by Vodafone that can turn an NBN connection into 4G or IoT signal that is available across a property.
Farmer Scott Dimond used two of the ‘regional coverage hub’ devices to cover eight square kilometres of his potato farming operations near Ballarat.
The trial ran over a six-week period. The hubs were roof-mounted and connect to the internet via a “fixed” connection - in this case, NBN Co’s fixed wireless network - though Vodafone will also trial them running off satellite connections, too.
Vodafone said in a statement that the technology would improve 4G and IoT coverage to farmers without them having to wait for a telco to formally put up a base station nearby.
Each hub “is approximately twice the size of a standard modem, measuring 30cm long, 25cm high and 10 cm wide”, the telco said.
They are capable of providing 4G voice and data and IoT connectivity through NB-IoT [narrowband IoT].
The Vodafone regional coverage hub product is expected to be delivered during the second half of 2019.
“This is a great demonstration of how an innovative approach can result in improved coverage and deliver new opportunities for operators and consumers,” a Nokia spokesperson said.
“Quicker and easier deployment is a key factor to reduce network cost and improve services and we’re very proud to be supporting Vodafone with this initiative.”