John Holland, Amaroo Sewer Tunnel

Project Overview

Pipe Jacking operations are typically difficult situations for reliable voice communications. This problem has become a thing of the past for major Australian contractor John Holland through their decision to partner with NLT Australia to utilise a rapidly deployable Wi-Fi Voice Communications solution at their Amaroo Sewer Tunnel project in the Yarra Valley.


The confined area, amount of equipment in the area and the development nature of a Pipe Jacking project presents difficulties for traditional RF radio and wired communications solutions.

During the Amaroo Sewer Tunnel Pipe Jacking project, John Holland Project Engineer Cameron Woodgate was tasked with sourcing a solution that would be quickly and easily deployed, provide reliable high-quality communications plus be more cost effective than traditional methods – to ultimately achieve higher productivity and less downtime.


NLT Australia consulted with John Holland and after visiting site, determined a portable wireless solution was required to meet the project needs.

The NLT NetPort-able Wireless Access Point was selected to provide Wi-Fi throughout the approximate 800m of tunnel and shaft entries. NLT supplied IP 2Way Radio Handsets and ICOMM Terminal to operate on the wireless network.

NLT’s NetPort-able is a completely wireless, rapidly deployable wireless access point. With the transmitter, receiver, rechargeable batteries and antenna all installed and housed within a rugged portable carry case, deployment and installation to extend the WLAN further through the tunnel was simple; carry the case to the area and turn on. The NetPort-able WAPs wirelessly mesh together to establish the WLAN and extend the coverage in to longer tunnel sections, as required.

The WLAN enabled the IP 2way Radio handsets to deliver constant and clear voice communications throughout the operation areas. The compact and rugged handset was easily adopted on site as it is operated identically to a traditional digital or analogue 2-way RF radio.

The initial solution was deployed on a lease/trial basis. NLT supported John Holland throughout the project to ensure the final solution was fit for purpose and met all of their needs.

With minimal hardware, no infrastructure installation, and familiar handset operation, only very basic introduction training was required from NLT to fully familiarise the John Holland team with the new communication system.


The easy installation and coverage provided by the NetPort-able WLAN system, plus the intuitive operation and clarity of the IP 2Way Radio Handsets delivered a solution that significantly reduced the time required to establish vital voice communications. Additionally, performance and ease of use was greater than originally estimated. The overall result to John Holland provided up front cost savings on hardware, plus ongoing operational efficiency and cost reductions.

Customer Feedback

“John Holland were completing pipe-jacking tunnels 1600mm wide up to lengths of 785m. We required communications to be available along the entire pipe length. The main challenge is the small diameter with many obstructions along the tunnel string.

NLT was selected as part of a competitive bid and asked to present their solution onsite to confirm that it worked prior to John Holland issuing an instruction.” “The NLT Wi-Fi Voice Communications System has been successful and, most importantly, is simple to use without additional cables. The communications are now used for each tunnel entry.

NLT have been great to work with and willing to assist throughout the trial and commissioning phases. NLT were also happy to make amendments and improvements as trials onsite continued. John Holland is happy with performance of NLT and recommend their solution for similar applications”.