Brisbane-based specialist telecommunications provider NetVault has continued to see growing momentum and is seeking to partner with more managed service providers (MSP).
Demand has been running high for reliable telecommunications services during the pandemic and particularly during natural disasters.
“We’ve been on a rapid growth trajectory,” NetVault technical director Radek Tkaczyk said. “Ever since COVID started, we’ve added another six staff members. Telecommunications is one area during the pandemic that has grown rapidly.
“We're looking to be the telecommunications arm of an MSP so that they can offer the best solutions for their clients. With us, you get access to 42 different wholesale carriers in Australia. We’re network aggregators and we aim to present the best solution for the end client.”
NetVault adopts a 100 per cent channel model, has 10 data centre points of presence nationally and became the first provider in Australia for SpaceX’s Starlink high-speed satellite network with Rapid Deployment Kits using its unique Starlink+4G LTE failover technology to provide reliable telecommunications.
According to NetVault, it provides an internet experience that is up to 15 times faster than National Broadband Network (NBN) satellites.
Tkaczyk said it was looking at taking Starlink Rapid Deployment Kits into other markets, particularly New Zealand where the network is available.
“We are closely watching the global rollout of Starlink and looking at other markets to expand into because right now we're only in Australia,” he said.
“The technology from SpaceX has already made its mark on the global market for providing superior connectivity, with its satellites positioned much closer to earth than those used by the NBN.
“NetVault boasts technology that has the ability to connect with these satellites and the Australian 4G LTE network in remote areas, maximising speed and minimising drop-outs so rural communities can have access to speeds of 50 to 150 Mbps, with latency (time taken for signal to travel between satellite and user) of just 20 [to] 40 milliseconds.
“For comparison, the average broadband speed in rural and regional Australia using the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite network is between 10 and 20Mbps, with a latency [of 500 to] 600 milliseconds. Most users experience dropouts or buffering during video conferencing calls when latency is above 150 milliseconds."
Demand has been running high since NetVault took the initiative in supplying vital communications during the February flooding event that impacted parts of Queensland and northern NSW.
As natural disasters continue to evolve in the Australian environment the importance of having a viable back up communications system is proving to be more crucial.
When the recent floods struck, it was so damaging that a lot of places were left without mobile phone coverage and connectivity as fibre cables were heavily damaged. As the flooding situation continued to worsen, it also impacted on emergency services working in those areas.
Watching the situation unfold Tkaczyk took action in responding to the need for communications to get up and running using Starlink Rapid Deployment Kits.
In one particular instance the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service were flooded in Lismore, they were temporarily relocated to the SES offices in Ballina where they were given half a megabit per second of connectivity from Telstra, compared to 150 megabits per second provided on Starlink, Tkaczyk said.
“What we were giving them with Starlink meant that they could actually function, use the internet to do their bookings and get communications through to their teams,” he said.
“Starlink is a viable option in situations like this and as well as being applicable in backup and secondary type connections when your primary connection is washed away.”
Supplying the equipment was one thing, but deploying it was another element altogether because the Starlink network was already at maximum capacity for that area.
To remedy this, Tkaczyk attempted to reach out to Starlink’s SpaceX founder, Elon Musk to enable more capacity in the Lismore area. While Musk didn’t respond, SpaceX personnel did and enabled the capacity, bringing communications back to the masses in the flood zones.
“The only thing that I thought to do was send a tweet to Elon Musk asking to enable more capacity in the Lismore area. All we needed them to do was just turn up the tap a little bit to allow these technicians to do their thing. A couple of hours later, pro surfer Mick Fanning did a tweet to Elon Musk too,” he said.
“I didn't actually get a response from Musk but the guys at SpaceX started to coordinate things with us, enabled roaming on the 10 dishes that we had, which meant that we could get those dishes down there.”
As a result of its work during this time, Tkaczyk saw NetVault's Starlink business escalate, adding customers in the Queensland government sector and the SES.
NetVault itself has been dealing with SpaceX for the past 18 months, which started taking shape as a result of ‘Project Halo’ aimed to get reliable internet connectivity out to rural and regional schools.
“We had SpaceX test out our seamless 4G failover technology, being able to integrate Starlink within our network,” he said. “The failover technology allows Starlink to work even better, because Starlink hasn't completed their constellation, yet it's still in beta, it does drop out a fair bit and this where our technology paired together with Starlink means that we can failover from the primary Starlink connection to 4G LTE in under one second.
“Most importantly, we maintain the same public static IP address and during that failover, if any phone calls are happening in Zoom, Teams, video calls; they can just seamlessly work through compared to older types of backup technologies where it might take 10 seconds to realise that it's dropped out.”