Many organisations will be greatly affected by the closing of the 2G network and we have already had a number of them coming to us to ask what they can do to. There are many organisations still purchasing 2G modems today. The major impact to these organisations is in firstly finding an alternative, then implementing the change.
There will be some, who may opt for the easy solution of changing to a different carrier if there is 2G network coverage through and alternative carrier over all sites, (but this isn’t always the case and is also delaying the inevitable). In some unfortunate cases the operator may have gone with an integrated (as opposed to modular) measurement and control solution which may mean that the entire energy meter or RTU has to be replaced at significant cost. If the solution is modular then the modem swap should involve finding an alternative which either already supports all the communication commands required or which can be modified to do so. Maxon has helped a large number of customers with this process in the past through our customisation expertise.
Once a suitable alternative is confirmed the major challenge to these customers is in the physical process of swapping these 2G modems out for 3G alternatives. This will normally involve at a minimum, implementation of a cabling change whereby the old modem cable connections are replaced entirely or an adapter cable is custom manufactured. Maxon has dedicated cable manufacturing both in-house, for smaller volumes and through our manufacturing partners.
The final step, which is often the most painful, is the visits to sites to replace the equipment itself; this can often involve significant man hours and complicated logistics, a costly and time consuming process. As this can often be even more costly than the replacement equipment itself it is crucial to ensure that the replacement is going to do the job well and that the technicians have all the tools they need for the swapout. Maxon has some innovative tools to assist in this process, from customer-specific customisation of software and firmware interfaces to modem emulation, we can ensure that your 2G-3G/4G upgrade path can begin immediately and also be as cost effective as possible.
Another important consideration that many organisations are also currently having to tackle is the migration from Circuit Switched Data (CSD) to IP-based communications. Although Telstra has not indicated a specific date for their CSD network shutdown, they announced back in 2010 that this was going to happen at some stage. The motivations for this is for many of the same reasons 2G is being let go; freeing up network resources from a legacy technology. Our team at Maxon has already assisted a number of both high-profile and owner-operator customers through this process, breaking down the hurdle and providing an elegant and cost-effective solution.
Transitioning from 2G to 3G doesn’t have to be difficult. Maxon can provide solutions for modems, cables, firmware and Circuit Switch Data and we will work closely with you to work out logistics and reduce costs. Talk to us today.