Victoria’s recent storm damage power outages are a reminder that any improvement to mobile network resiliency and uptime is a welcome change.

Motivated by their desire to keep customers connected, Optus employees have conceptualised an innovative solution that will keep transmission connected mobile services on longer.

Optus and Delta Electronics (Australia) under the Eltek brand have today unveiled the Yes! CPX (Critical Power eXtender), a unique-battery solution which can ensure transmission hubs provide dependent downstream mobile sites an extra 10 to 20 hours’ continuity of service when the transmission hub’s main grid power fails.

After nine months of consultation and five successful trial installations, Optus and Eltek have begun rolling out the units to 40 sites as the initial part of the broader Optus 2022 Transmission Hub Resiliency project.

Lambo Kanagaratnam, Optus Managing Director Networks, explained the extra time provided by the Yes! CPX can make all the difference to those relying on telecommunications services.

“The 10 to 20 hours can give power authorities the time to restore services or allow Optus to access a site safely with a portable generator, especially if the area is impacted by extreme weather or natural disaster”.

“We prioritise our efforts to improve the resiliency of our network, knowing customers need our services to be reliable, especially during incidents and extreme events. Time and time again, we are challenged, such as by Victoria’s recent extreme weather and related power outages, which impact communications”.

“Every tower in our network is ‘critical’ – particularly to those whose coverage relies on it. About a third of our towers are transmission hubs, meaning other sites rely on it and if power to a hub site goes down, connectivity to many other sites may also go down. So, we are starting our installation at these transmission hub sites.”

The Yes! CPX monitors the existing battery backup for the critical transmission hub equipment, and when it detects the existing batteries near depletion, it “kicks in” to provide another 10-20 hours back up power for the critical hub equipment, depending on the equipment configuration and load.

The CPX combines switching smarts, along with high power density Li-ION batteries to extend the existing power back up to the hub’s transmission equipment.

It’s low cost to install as it is placed in the transmission rack with the critical hub equipment. Importantly, because it is low voltage, it does not require the extra time or cost to engage an electrician for 240V AC works.

Following the 2019/2020 devastating bushfire season, the NSW Government conducted a Bushfire Inquiry.  Its Final Report stated that throughout the fires, the community valued telecommunication above all other services.

Designed to be rechargeable and last up to ten years, the Yes! CPX is the first critical power extender of its kind.

Mr Kanagaratnam said Optus believes that like safety learnings, resiliency knowledge should be shared across companies.

The unit isn’t exclusive to Optus, and they hope that companies with critical infrastructure around the world can improve the resiliency of their operations with this innovation.