Major Defence ICT services provider Telstra is attending this week’s MilCIS 2017 conference and company director (Defence Engagement) Kathryn Jones was a keynote speaker during the first plenary session.
Jones outlined how Telstra was preparing for the new era of mass data consumption and would continue to work as a strategic partner to Defence under the mantra of keeping it better connected and better protected.
According to Jones, the key technological shifts currently being witnessed were 5G, IoT, Software Defined Networks, Big Data & AI, and immersive experiences.
“5G is tipped to be as important a chapter in the technology evolution as the other mobile generations before it,” she said.
Telstra is at the forefront of global 5G development, and Jones shared for the first time that, together with technology partner Ericsson, the telco had completed the world's first 5G data trial over the 26 GHz or MM wave radio frequency spectrum, using Telstra's production core network.
“This is the first time the 26GHz band has been used in the field,” she said. “We expect 5G to be available in 2020, offering higher download speeds of up to 10GB per second.”
With a future revolving around data consumption and new capabilities in connectedness, organisations including the ADF will need to cater for the data explosion.
“5G will take us from a world connecting people to people and people to the internet, to a world where machines will talk to machines on a mass scale,” she added.
Jones explained that 5G is planned to support network slicing and, underpinned by LTE technology, it will therefore be possible to customise the network slice to suit the requirements and bandwidth needed for defence future operations.
“The definition of the network will support quality of service and ultra high definition video using a spectrum that is 25-50 times wider than 4G,” she said.
Jones cited examples whereby the ADF could use base stations on a vehicle or on a ship, which mounted high, would increase the coverage between air land and sea providing high speed data, internet and mobile phone telephone service to use on a military base or between personnel communicating with each other or with families while on duty.
Other applications included humanitarian support in disaster zones, where the aiding ship or vehicle could provide essential temporary communications to relief workers until normal services were restored.
“Typical coverage can be extended to up to 100 kilometres where appropriate,” Jones said.
She called upon government to ensure sufficient Defence budget was allocated to prepare for growth and innovation where efficiencies will be gained in existing operating environments to work smarter and faster.
“The service element supporting technology is critical to get this recipe right,” she continued.
Jones recognised the need for agility, and said this was palpable with the current JP2047 program (Terrestrial Communications capability) footprint where the company had incorporated local knowledge into its scheduling plans.
“We've established local delivery teams side by side with their defence counterparts in CIOG and Defence sites where they are needed for the ICT environment,” she explained.
“We have successfully entered into Initial Operating Capability phase - this project has experienced challenges but I am pleased to report that the network of the future is on its way to becoming fully accredited, robust and ably suited to meet Defence’s particular need.”