Chorus has initiated proof of concept trials of a LoRaWAN wireless network for IoT in Takapuna and Torbay on Auckland’s North Shore, in conjunction with Vianet, a subsidiary of Australian infrastructure services company Ventia, which is also the owner of Visionstream.
The move follows Spark announcing in July plans to rollout a nationwide LoRaWAN network and, if Chorus proceeds to full-scale rollout, will add yet another IoT network to an increasingly competitive market.
Spark’s announcement was made the same day Vodafone’s announcement of plans for an NB-IoT Network. Sigfox licensee Thinxtra claims coverage of over 90 percent of the population, as does Kotahinet for its LoRaWAN network.
However, Chorus is talking up it competitive advantages. Chorus CEO, Kate McKenzie, said, "The proof of concept in Auckland substantiated our belief that there is a symbiotic relationship between Chorus and IoT network technologies.
“Our extensive, nationwide network of assets including 280,000 telephone poles, 6,000 street cabinets, 600 exchanges and 200 masts on high sites, means we will be able to offer levels of IoT network coverage that competing networks will struggle to achieve.”
Also, Chorus claims to have adopted an “innovative approach” to powering its LoRaWAN access points: it is using copper telephone network wire pairs made redundant by the uptake of UFB services following completion of the UFB in Takapuna.
According to Chorus the network enables sensors to communicate from hard-to-access locations, such as underground wastewater or sewage pumping stations. “Typically, an IoT access point in an urban area will give network coverage out to between 1.5km and 3km.”
Chorus says it already monitors 25,000 sensors and alarms across its access and aggregation network, buildings and outdoor plant, and the adoption of an integrated IoT solution with analytics “presents an opportunity to improve network utilisation with less downtime and streamline the customer experience.”