SAF Australia Improving Data Speed and Reliability for Hunter Region Utility Provider

162020 June


The Hunter Water Corporation (HWC) provides drinking water, wastewater, recycled water and stormwater services across the Lower Hunter in NSW. The Corporation provides services to more than 500,000 people across a 6.5million square kilometer area. Robust and secure communication to monitor and control its extensive network of equipment is critical to HWC’s success. The challenge, from a communications perspective, is the shear geographical size of the area and the remote locations of many HWC assets.


At the time of initial discussion, Hunter Water Corporation’s network included many telemetry repeater sites which were linked using ADSL services. Reliability was steadily diminishing at these sites, and their bandwidth was limited. With the advent of NBN, the ADSL service became unavailable to many of the sites. HWC used SAF microwave equipment links to provide its subsidiary, Hunter Water Australia, with some core IT services.


Impressed with SAF’s performance, HWC sought to:

  • Upgrade the links of core telemetry repeater sites
  • Improve network reliability
  • Increase capacity to satisfy communications requirements
  • Manage risk to their network with quick-response support and equipment spares
  • Regain control of its network from third party service providers



  • Connectivity can be difficult at wastewater sites, typically located at low elevation points
  • For greater asset and access control, HWC preferred to mount radios at their owned sites - restricting link location options
  • HWC preferred to provide redundant paths through self-healing microwave rings, or use alternative technologies like fibre, to improve reliability


To address key challenges, SAF Australia worked with HWC to identify locations and heights for new towers in low-lying wastewater sites as well as provided radios with dual ethernet feeds, cabled to separate routers for greater redundancy. SAF Australia installed 18 licensed 6, 7.5, 11 and 18 GHz links within a comprehensive network design across all repeater and key infrastructure sites. Link upgrades throughout the network occurred in stages to reduce interruption to Hunter Water Corporation’s operation. Optimised network design and link installation was performed in adherence to HWC’s redundancy standards.

“Working with HWC on this project has been exciting due to the very high levels of redundancy and reliability they require.” - Nic Holdgate | Radio Engineer SAF Australia


Hunter Water Corporation’s new SAF network now delivers:

  • A highly robust and reliable network
  • High levels of redundancy
  • Immediate support that includes onsite spares and local support technicians for rapid response
  • Full network sovereignty with no reliance on third party providers
  • Massively decreased levels of risk with no possibility of natural disaster outages


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