What is a Mobile Small Cell ?

What types of towers/cells are used in MBSP projects?

The Australian Government is improving mobile phone coverage and competition in regional and remote Australia through the Mobile Black Spot Programme (MBSP). As of 18/3/19 there have been 4 rounds of Federal Government MBSP funding, you can read about each round here.

Types of Base Stations that maybe used in the Mobile Black Spot Program
Base Station Type Typical Coverage Radius Typical Use
Picocell 200m high rise building, hotel or car park use
Microcell 1-2km shopping centres, transport hubs, mine sites, city block, temporary events or natural disasters.
Macrocell 5-32km suburban, city and rural use
Macrocell – Extended Reach 50-150km using extender cell technology suburban and rural use

More details here http://www.mobilenetworkguide.com.au/mobile_base_stations.html

What is A Small Cell ?
Small Cells can be either Picocells or Microcells
  1. What is the range of a small cell?
    The range of a small cell is dependent on a number of variables. Small cells are only viable when they can be achieved at the right price point, which in simple terms means the site’s antennas (especially for small cells deployed as part of the Black Spot program) are normally mounted on an existing building. Coverage typically therefore extends a radial distance of approximately 300m from the site.
  2. Does it only support 4G?
    The small cells we are deploying are 4G only. Telcos believe that this provides support for advanced voice and data features at the best cost point. Addition of 3G capability would significantly add to the deployment cost and render it economically unviable.
  3.  And therefore they need to use Voice over WiFi
    Voice calls on 4G small cells require the handset to support VoLTE (Voice on LTE). If the handset also supports Voice over WiFi (e.g. the new Samsung S8 & S8+ blue tick phone) then it will seamlessly handoff from VoLTE (outside coverage) to VoWiFi if say a premise has fixed broadband connected to a WiFi access point.
  4. If a community wanted to upgrade the small cell to increase coverage, is that something we’d consider.
    The viability of a small cell program relies on a low cost solution delivering an acceptable coverage solution for our customers. The rollout of the Small cell program for the Federal Government Blackspot program is a good example of this. Telcos always aim to maximise the coverage we provide for a community within the funding constraints. If a community wishes to contribute towards augmentation of a site then we are happy to review that on a case by case basis.

Thanks to Telstra for the above information on small cells.

Telstra have also developed a lower cost version of the Mobile Satellite Small Cell, see details below.  To register your interest in a small cell, contact Telstra via email – TelstraRegionalAffairs@team.telstra.com

 

Prepared by Julie Stott & Kristy Sparrow for BIRRR, Source: Australian Financial Review Source: Department of Communications and Arts

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your own connection issues and best plans available.

 

 

How to use iDevice Screen Time

With the Apple Screen Time feature, you can access real-time reports about how much time you spend on your iDevice and set limits for what you want to manage. With Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time, you can block or limit specific apps and features on yours and your child’s device, as well as restricting the settings on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for explicit content, purchases and downloads, and privacy. iDevices need to have iOS 12 installed.

Turning On Screen Time

               How to turn on screen time

On your device, go to Settings > Screen Time.

Tap Turn On Screen Time.

Tap Continue.

Select This is My [device] or This is My Child’s [device].

How to use screen time features

Once Screen Time is turned on, on each device you can get a report about how you use your device, apps, and websites, any time you want.

If it’s your child’s device, you can set up Screen Time and create settings on their device or you can use Family Sharing to configure your child’s device from your own device. After you set up your child’s device, you can also use Family Sharing to view reports and adjust settings any time, right from your own device.

With Screen Time you can also create a dedicated passcode to secure settings, so only you can extend time or make changes. Make sure to choose a passcode that’s different from the passcode you use to unlock your device. To change or turn off the passcode on your child’s device, tap Settings > Screen Time > [your child’s name]. Then tap Change Screen Time Passcode or Turn Off Screen Time Passcode, and authenticate the change with Face ID, Touch ID, or your device passcode.

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View your report and set limits

Screen Time gives you a detailed report about how your device is used, apps you’ve opened, and websites you’ve visited, any time that you want to see it. Just go to Settings > Screen Time, select the device and tap the blue line under the time to show the graph.  You can see daily or weekly stats on screen time usage.  You can also set limits for your most used apps, and see how many times a device was picked up or received a notification. If you turned on Share Across Devices, you can view overall usage across devices that are signed in with your Apple ID and password. The report feature also allows you to see when the phone is being used, how long is being spent on each app/site and how many pick ups and notifications the device gets.

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Downtime

When you schedule Downtime in Settings, only phone calls and apps that you choose to allow are available. Downtime applies to all of your Screen Time-enabled devices, and you get a reminder five minutes before it starts. You can set a specific downtime for each device and also select certain apps that are excluded from the downtime (such as messages, calls, maps etc).  Phone, Messages, FaceTime, and Maps are Always Allowed by default, but you can remove them if you want.

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App Limits
You can set daily limits for app categories with App Limits. For example, you might want to set a limit on social media during exam block or while you are at work. Limits refresh every day at midnight, and you can delete them any time. Your child can also request ‘extra time’ if they go above the set limit on an app. Select the device you want to add a limit too and click on Add Limit, select the app and a time you want the device limited to.

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Content & Privacy Restrictions
You decide the type of content that appears on your device. Block inappropriate content, purchases, and downloads, and set your privacy settings with Content & Privacy Restrictions. You can block explicit movies & music, multiplayer games and certain web content, if you scroll down you can even block specific websites.

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Do Not Disturb

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Just above Screen Time in settings is a feature called Do Not Disturb.  This has a fabulous feature that limits notifications while you are driving. You can set this up to text contacts with a message saying you are driving and will call when you reach your destination.

Use Screen Time with your family

With Family Sharing, you can share music, movies, apps, and more with family — and it also works with Screen Time. You can view reports and adjust settings for children in your family any time, right from your device. If you’re already in a family group, go to Settings > Screen Time, and tap your child’s name. If you need to create an Apple ID for your child, go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing > Screen Time.

Or if you’re new to Family Sharing, tap Set up Screen Time for Family and follow the instructions to add a child and set up your family. You can add family members any time from Family Sharing settings. To use Screen Time with Family Sharing, you need to be the family organizer or parent/guardian in your family group, on iOS 12. Your child must be under age 18, in your family group with their own Apple ID, and on iOS 12.

Disclaimer: BIRRR are not specialists in this area, this is just one tool you can use to manage yours and your child’s device.  BIRRR encourages you to read widely on this topic if you have primary or secondary age children and reminds parents that many social media platforms require children to be at least 13 years of age. 

Thanks to Apple Support for instructions on Screen Time Features

BIRRR Forms

NBN Fixed Wireless Troubleshooting
You MUST have tried to solve your issue first before completing this form.
It is essential that you have a ticket or fault number from your provider. Click here

BIRRR Desk Check
Unsure of what your best option is for internet ? Fill out this form for a BIRRR Desk Check – click here

Report A Mobile Broadband Fault
You MUST have tried to solve your issue first before completing this form. It is essential that you have a ticket or fault number from your provider. Please ensure you have your correct address (including locality) and co-ordinates before filling in this form. Co-ordinates should be in this format: -23.295476, 146.713776 Tips on how to get your GPS coordinates are here  Click here for the form

Report a Fixed Line Fault (internet or landline)
You MUST have tried to solve your issue first before completing this form. It is essential that you have a ticket or fault number from your provider. Please ensure you have your correct address (including locality) and co-ordinates before filling in this form. Co-ordinates should be in this format: -23.295476, 146.713776 Tips on how to get your GPS coordinates are here  Click here for the form

SkyMuster Not Working
This form is for those who have a non-working Sky Muster install.
Complete the following BEFORE completing this form:

  1. Plug a computer directly into the NBN modem, bypassing the router.
  2. Try a power cycle routine once. https://birrraus.com/2016/07/27/how-to-power-cycle-a-device/

If it still isn’t working, please contact your provider and contact nbn – 1800 OUR NBN or via their FB page or email: info@nbn.com.au. Please complete this form if you still have no working connection after completing the above. BIRRR will do their best to help troubleshoot the issue and send your information onto provider & nbn contacts. Click here for the form.

BIRRR Non-NBN Alternative Fixed Wireless Provider list
This form is for Non-NBN Fixed Wireless ISP’s to enter your wireless towers onto the BIRRR map. You can view the map here. Please enter all of your covered areas into this form, one area/town/tower at a time. (1 response per town/tower). It will then appear on our map within a few minutes. Click here for the form.

BIRRR Map of Installers, Equipment Suppliers, Computer Technicians and other Regional, Rural and Remote Internet/ICT Service Providers
If your business offers Internet , point to point systems or ICT products or services that may be of interest to Regional, Rural and Remote Australians, please fill out this form to have your details added to the map on our website. More details here including the map.

HAVE YOUR SAY on PHONE SERVICE GUARANTEE for #BETTERBUSHCOMMS
Rural Australians have the chance to influence the future of telecommunications in the bush, through a new survey being hosted by BIRRR (Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia). “We urge everyone in the bush to get online and fill out this questionnaire – help us build a clear profile of which tools are most important to keep us safe and connected,” said BIRRR spokesperson Kristy Sparrow. The survey takes just ten minutes, and explores the telephone and internet options in homes.

The Australian Government is currently developing options for a new Universal Service Guarantee (USG) which seeks to ensure all Australians can access voice and broadband services. “This USG is so vital for rural, regional and remote Australia – if they get this wrong, we have grave concerns that some could well be left in very tough and isolated situations, with potentially disastrous consequences.” “Data we collect will be provided directly to the USG taskforce committee, government departments and ministers and will be used in BIRRR work towards better bush communication,” Kristy said.
A previous BIRRR survey (May 2016)* found that:

  • many rural residents have a landline only, no internet connection.
  • Many Sky Muster users (42%) have no mobile coverage.
  • Boosting coverage into your home is costly.
  • Illegal repeaters are causing huge issues with mobile coverage.
  • Voip (considered a replacement for landline) is not simple to use and is not reliable.
  • If Sky Muster (satellite internet) goes down you cannot trouble shoot your connection without a landline

BIRRR has been involved in previous submissions to government in their ongoing effort to save existing tools and to secure RRR telecommunication services into the future.
BIRRR LANDLINE & CONNECTIVITY SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BIRRRlandlines

What is NGWL

Next G Wireless Link service is like the Landline Home Phone service provided by Telstra under the Universal Service Obligation where it is impractical/uncommercial for Telstra to run a landline service and the Next G is available.

The service is not the equivalent of a standard Telstra fixed line service and is not supplied by Telstra in fulfilment of Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation. The Customer Service Guarantee Standard does not apply to the Service. The service does not provide calls at 3.1kHz bandwidth. (More information here)

Stands for Next G Wireless Link

Next G Wireless Link exploits the coverage and data capabilities of Next G 850MHz network to provide:

  • Voice
  • Fax
  • Broadband internet

 

UPDATE April 2018

Telstra is inviting NGWL customers to get in contact to discuss their current NGWL plans including options for accessing the current range of HomeLine plans (https://www.telstra.com.au/home-phone/plans-rates). There are also options for NGWL customers with an existing broadband plan to move onto a 25GB BigPond Mobile Broadband plan for 12 or 24 months with a $70 monthly credit (data for use in Australia). Customers, if interested, can call Telstra’s dedicated team on 1800 696 495 (1800-MY-NGWL) option 3 (sales, accounts and payments) to find out more.

[Next G Wireless Link (NGWL) uses the Telstra Next G® Network to give customers access to a voice[fax] and internet service. It’s offered to selected customers as an alternative to a standard fixed line service, in certain circumstances.]

Graphics from a presentation to the ICEWL conference in 2008
Developing Telecommunications eLearning modules: Field Work Force Performance Support
John Sandler, Telstra, Australia
https://www.icelw.org/proceedings/2008/start.htm

VoWIFI or WIFI Calling

VoWIFI or WIFI Calling is currently supported by the Telstra*, Optus and Vodafone networks. It allows you to make and receive calls with a compatible mobile phone using your home internet (you don’t need mobile coverage).

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To turn WIFI Calling on for an iPhone, go to Settings, Phone, and switch the toggle to WiFi calling on. You may have to update Carrier Settings for this feature to be visible.

What is VoWIFI or WIFI calling?
VoWIFI enables voice calls (incoming and outgoing), MMS** and SMS** over a WiFi network. VoWIFI is available if you have a compatible plan, a compatible device, you are connected to a supported^ WiFi network and your mobile network coverage is poor or non-existent.

* For Telstra customers, VoWIFI traffic (data) is not charged to your Telstra internet account.
** Not available over the Telstra network (July 2017). Telstra advises that text services will be implemented.\

^ Almost any home or business WIFI network will support VoWIFI. It is important that the WIFI signal is strong, so keep the phone relatively close to your WIFI router. The quality of your internet connection must be sufficient to support VoWIFI calls.

There are four key pre-requisites for VoWIFI.

  1. Your phone must support VoLTE or Voice over LTE. This technology enables voice calls over 4G networks. Until recently voice calls were carried over the 3G network and prior to that over the 2G network. VoLTE delivers some great improvements to voice calling. You can experience faster call connection times compared to 3G and you may talk and browse at the same time. VoLTE voice calls are high definition (HD) for sharp, clear call quality. See the carrier links below for details on enabling the VoLTE feature.
  2. With the exception of approved Apple smart phones, your approved mobile phone must be supplied by Optus for the Optus WIFI calling service and Telstra for the Telstra VoWIFI service. See the Carrier links below for details on enabling the VoWIFI feature.
  3. Mobile Phones supporting VoWIFI are currently limited, but slowly expanding (see details of approved phones below).
  4. You must ensure that the latest software is loaded on your mobile phone.

What is the Cost? There are no additional mobile network charges for WiFi Calling. Your calls and messages will be charged as per the rates of your existing mobile plan.

VoWIFI (WIFI calling) voice calls use approximately 3.8MB of internet data for a 5 minute call.

Suitable handsets and supporting plans 

Telstra – Post Paid and Prepaid plans
Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge,
Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, iPhone X, iPhone X plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE
Latest information from Telstra WiFi calling is here, including how to set it up on your phone.  Whirlpool Telstra Wifi Calling Wiki

Optus – Post Paid plans only
Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge,
iPhone X, iPhone X plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plusiPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE.
Latest information from OPTUS is here

Vodafone Post Paid Plans Only

Currently, it’s only available to customers on a postpaid mobile plan with selected Wi-Fi Calling compatible devices.

Latest information from Vodafone WiFi calling is here, including compatible devices

Tip – Be close to your router, turn airplane mode on if you have some small amount of mobile coverage.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your provider regarding WIFI Calling.  Thanks to BIRRR member  John Kitchener for compiling this document.  

BIRRR survey SAYS…

2017

Link to survey – 2017 Regional Internet Access Survey Results

2016

Announcing the release of the 2016 SURVEY RESULTS for REGIONAL INTERNET ACCESS!!!

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LINK TO MEDIA RELEASE: ‘GETTING LEFT BEHIND’

Please use the following links to download the PDF’s of the results document (52 pages/1.9MB) and our media release (4 pages/1MB)

2016 Regional Internet Access Survey Results

BIRRR ‘SURVEY SAYS’ MEDIA RELEASE

 

 

 

Telstra Air Explained

FREE WiFi with TELSTRA AIR

Telstra Air is Free Wi-Fi at thousands of Telstra Air hotspots across Australia for eligible Telstra mobile (available 15 December 2015 – 30 June 2016 ONLY) and broadband customers.  You can check your eligibility here: TELSTRA AIR

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There are two options for Telstra Air:

OPTION 1 Mobile Customers: For those using mobile phones, prepaid devices, sim only plans etc. You can access the internet via FREE Telstra Air Hotspots from 15 December 2015 to 30 June 2016. If you activate the offer, you’ll get access at no charge to available Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia for your personal use until the end of the offer period.

NB: BigPond Mobile Broadband, satellite mobile broadband and business customers are NOT eligible.

OPTION 2 Home Broadband Customers: If you have ADSL, Cable or NBN connection and have a compatible gateway you can become a member of Telstra Air.  This uses your home data allowance when you are away from home, it accesses the internet via Telstra Air hotspots.  You will need to become a Telstra Air member first.

To join Telstra Air – CLICK TO JOIN

To find a Telstra Air Hot Spot use this tool

The Telstra Air App is also a quick and easy way to connect, locate hotspots and more

I’m a bigpond mobile broadband customer for my home internet plan and a business customer for my mobiles, which makes me ineligible for Telstra Air.  However thanks to the generosity of fellow BIRRR members I have been offered Telstra Air passwords (for Option 2) to use when I am travelling.  You may also be able to find family or friends who have large home broadband accounts that are willing to share their data.

*Compiled by Kristy Sparrow for BIRRR 15/1/2016 Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with Telstra regarding  your plans and the use of Telstra Air.