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The upgrade to the Fujitsu FRX-3 has resulted in a number of key functional outcomes for TasNetworks, including a five-fold increase in throughput and better visibility of service levels which, in turn, will aid the swift resolution of future issues. With a reliable, high-speed and managed radio network, TasNetworks can better deliver critical protection and control services alongside next generation IP services. These services can be rapidly deployed and will facilitate a fast time-to-market for its customers.
Beyond achieving these system-wide improvements, TasNetworks and Fujitsu successfully executed an innovative implementation methodology during the upgrade. Doing so simplified the upgrade process, reduced the number and duration of upgrade-related outages and significantly reduced rollout costs. On the back of this productive partnership TasNetworks awarded Fujitsu a five-year support contract to reduce risk and ensure the upgraded network’s reliability.
The success of this collaboration followed from a competitive tender process undertaken by TasNetworks after they recognised that their ten-year-old radio backbone network was no longer fit for purpose. TasNetworks leveraged Fujitsu’s expertise and partnerships to implement a turnkey solution that included Fujitsu’s own state-of-the-art technology in its FRX-3 product. Incorporating the capability to carry existing legacy services to fully IP-based services in the Fujitsu platform, the FRX-3 microwave radio proved the strongest compliant hardware offering when stacked against its competitors. Also important was Fujitsu’s readiness to work with TasNetworks in the pre-implementation stages of the project; being able to refine and test TasNetworks’ innovative method of implementing the upgrade had significant implications for the overall success of the project.
The innovation TasNetworks had proposed would already lead to a significant reduction in the time required to work outdoors during the system upgrade, in part as it circumvented the need to install large temporary antennas. Being able to test this method in the controlled conditions of the laboratory with Fujitsu had further advantages as it decreased the number of network outages required for the upgrade and reduced how much time the upgrade teams would be spending outside.
The telecommunications network covers mountainous, inhospitable terrain and the radios are largely in remote locations that are exposed to challenging weather conditions. Over the course of the project’s late winter, early spring timeframe, these locations experienced heavy snow and strong winds; reducing the time required to work outside and lift heavy objects into place in such conditions reduced risk and meant that, despite the teams being snowed in on occasion, the upgrade stayed on schedule.
As a result of the partnership between Fujitsu and TasNetworks, this ambitious upgrade was completed with fewer required outages than would normally be required, within a tight timeframe, and came in under budget. It delivered well and above on its promise of improved functionality and customer outcomes.
The project is a clear example of the advantages of collaboration and innovation, even within the constraints of a long-term capital works program. The partnership demonstrates how internal and external service providers to the Australian energy system can provide additional value to the overall sector. Fujitsu Australia also called on expertise from its counterparts in Japan and North America to implement the project full circle from design, manufacture, testing, to execution.
“This network implementation was a large investment for TasNetworks”, explains Senior Telecommunications Engineer Robert Clerk. “Our partnership with Fujitsu facilitated innovation. Their solutions-focussed attitude helped in bringing our ideas into completion and demonstrated why opportunities to innovate should continue to be explored at every step of a project’s lifecycle. Together, we worked with unknowns, managed risk and completed the project efficiently while upholding proper processes and standards. Avoiding unnecssary outages and keeping overall project costs down to upgrade to a top-quality network was a win-win for TasNetworks and our customers.”
Mike Foster, Chief Executive Office at Fujitsu Australia said, “We are proud to have played a part in delivering a valuable asset for Tasmania. It’s no small feat to embark on upgrading a major state-wide system. The team’s determination and grit, even in challenging weather and terrain, has resulted in TasNetworks being able to offer a robust network platform for its customers across Tasmania.”
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.
Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand is a leading service provider of business, information technology and communications solutions. We partner with our customers to consult, design, build, operate and support business solutions. From strategic consulting to application and infrastructure solutions and services, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand have earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading corporate and government organisations. Fujitsu Australia Limited and Fujitsu New Zealand Limited are wholly owned subsidiaries of Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702). See www.fujitsu.com/au.
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Date: 05 December, 2017
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