Aust Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Case Study

Aust Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Case Study

The Telstra Next G™ network makes vital marine research possible at a fraction of the cost of other communication solutions. Instead of spending $1.3m for 3 microwave links, AIMS spent $20,000 for 20 Next G™ systems.


AIMS Case Study (PDF, 1.65MB)


Scott Bainbridge, GBROOS Project Manager, AIMS

Coral reefs are suffering from a number of stresses. The obvious one is climate change. We’ve seen that through coral bleaching and coral disease, but also a whole lot of human induced stresses, so what we need to do is understand these stresses and so we can actually learn how to protect these coral reef systems.

AIMS is, or the Australian Institute of Marine Science is, a federally funded marine science organisation. So we do marine research programs but particularly targeted at coral reef systems and tropical systems.

Gavin Feather, Communications & Data Specialist, AIMS

Today we deployed our sensor buoy in the Heron lagoon, now this is the first ever sensor buoy to be deployed and it’s a world first. So it’s great to be a part of that.


The Great Barrier Reef Ocean Observing System is a project funded to look at observing coral reef systems and measuring them and monitoring them. That is we’re taking the temperature of the reef or the pulse of the reef. The project needs to be able to get data back from remote areas, the reefs are not near any infrastructure and so we need to be able to get data back from these areas.

Rob Winter-Cooke, Telstra Account Executive

We’ve been working closely with AIMS to understand the specific needs that they have, one of the main advantages for AIMS is being able to deploy sensors on the reef, 70-80km off-shore and allowing that data to be transmitted back to AIMS Headquarters in real-time.


This is the heart of the unit, this is the Next G modem that sits in here and these are the temperature sensors and we deploy these to measure the temperature of the water. We put a whole series of these at different depths so we can tell what’s happening. We put this inside the buoy, we deploy the buoy and off we go. Very, very simple.


Putting these sensors in the water is vital. Student and researchers alike, they’ll need these platforms to plug instrumentation on so that they can run their specific experiments. Now, they can’t retrieve this data without these platforms being in place. And without Next G™ technology it just wouldn’t be possible, and it wouldn’t be a viable operation.

Rob WC

One of the main advantages that Next G™ offers AIMS in terms of their project is permanent real-time data flow. We’re at 72kms from the mainland, AIMS are using Next G sim cards deployed in the sensors, supported by some high gain aerial equipment to transmit back into the IP WAN network so the data reaches Cape Ferguson in real-time.


Next G™ provides most amazing coverage into areas that we never thought we could get to before. We’re hoping to get more than 100kms off-shore, which is absolutely unique.

Craig Steinberg, Oceanographer, AIMS

Yes, it’s a huge advantage for us to be able to gather all that information in real-time and to be able to collect that back at base at AIMS and then distribute it to others around the world. Going to sea in a vessel like this is expensive so if we can find exactly where we want to go we can just go there without having to spend a lot of time looking for things.


The beauty of this is this whole system costs less than $1,000 [per unit], when if you look at traditional ways of getting connectivity to sites like Heron Island we’re talking in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So we have a pre packaged system that we can take anywhere with Next G™ coverage and get our connectivity, and that’s pretty special.

Telstra have been fantastic to work with because they can give us end to end solutions. We have Next G™ connectivity, we have back end security solutions, we have private networks so the Telstra Next G™ solution provides something that is cost-effective, great speed, good coverage and is secure. What more could you ask for? It’s not an exaggeration to say that without these real-time data technologies that Next G™ provides this project really wouldn’t be feasible.