National Hub (HFC Optical Node)
When first constructed, the Telstra HFC network utilized an Optical Node, known as the Philips Magnavox diamond Hub. This node was an early product developed by Philips, which in addition to be using to support construction of new networks, enabled operators globally to upgrade existing coaxial fed networks to fibre fed networks, by replacing the RF main-station amplifier with Philips Magnavox Diamond Hub nodes. Whilst a very successful product, which had served Telstra well, like the amplifiers, their age was “showing” and the limited performance characteristics matched with an increasing failure rate cause Telstra to seek an alternate replacement node which provided additional features and was more reliable.
After Telstra conducted a tender process, the 1 GHz Arris OptiMax 4100 segmentable node was chosen. TPS conducted an initial deployed of 150 nodes across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. During this FAR (First Application Release) deployment, any deployment limitations were overcome and a blueprint for wider deployment had been developed. Subsequently, TPS were engaged to successfully replace all remaining 4,250 nodes across the national footprint.
Replacement of an optical node wasn’t a straightforward task. Aside from the logistics movements, staff first needed to conduct a site survey, identify the location of first in cascade amplifiers, attend site, pump out water from roadside man-holes, prepare and splice in a new optical link (FAP (Fibre access Point) to new Optical node), recommission the optical and RF links to the exchange and finally recommission all identified directly connected amplifiers, setting new RF drive levels.
The works were conducted on a live production network, so it was necessary for TPS to perform change management, identify and notify effected customers and perform the service migration to the new node in stipulated tight timeframes. As the network is nationally deployed, TPS assembled specialist teams who mobilized into and out of each region, typically rotating on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. At the height of the program, approximately 5 optical nodes were replaced in a single work day, meeting Telstra’s deployment targets.