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Rio Tinto FTTD GPON Network

Starting in 2009 and finishing in June 2017, OSA (in partnership with CommScope and Calix) upgraded, designed and supplied 30,000 man FTTD (fibre to the donga) over several mine camps in the Pilbara region.

“The village entertainment services are a crucial part of the mine camp infrastructure, bringing essential television, internet and phone services to the thousands of workers living in these remote parts of Australia,” says Eugene Botha, Business Development Manager for Optical Solutions Australia’s Western Australia branch.

“In the past a typical legacy camp design just matched like for like, but we came up with a solution that helped overcome the limitations of both distance and technology…and also provided substantial cost savings.”

“By using fibre optic cables to connect new mining camps and to replace the copper cabling in existing camps we were able to overcome the distance limitations of copper cabling, providing the camps with greater bandwidth, faster speeds, and better reliability over longer distances.”

“The fibre optic GPON network is more durable and unlike underground copper cabling, which can act as a lightening rod in the remote dusty environment, the fibre optic cables don’t react.”

Replacing copper cabling with fibre optic cabling also reduced the running and set up costs. Expensive infrastructure, such as switch networks and communication racks that had to be airconditioned were no longer required because the new system is passive between the head end equipment and the remote donga building.

GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks) Networks helped to overcome the limitations of technology as well as substantial providing ongoing cost savings because as technology progresses there’s now no need to upgrade the network. Rio Tinto can simply change out the hardware and plug in the new technology.

Along with distance, remoteness of location and harshness of the environment, another challenge to be overcome was the contractor’s lack of knowledge of GPON technology, which is why OSA invested time into training the contractors on installing and maintaining the new system.

But perhaps the most rewarding aspect of this project was OSA’s ability to deliver a better solution that was also a much cheaper solution.

“Not only were we able to provide a high performance solution for delivering sophisticated services to these remote communities… but we also saved Rio Tinto a lot of of money.”

“The budget for this project was initially $1.2 million, but by using fibre optic technologies we were able to deliver it for $800.000.”

That’s a saving of $400,000 before you even begin to factor in the ongoing costs savings that fibre optic cabling and GPON technology will deliver to Rio Tinto over the decades to come.”

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