UNSW wants NBN for research campuses

UNSW wants NBN for research campuses

Summary: The University of New South Wales' research campuses across New South Wales are crying out for high bandwidth on the NBN.

TOPICS: Telcos, Cisco, NBN, Australia

While the majority of regional campuses for the University of New South Wales are connected via the AARNet network with 1Gbps connections, Greg Sawyer, manager of Communications Services for the university, has said that researchers based outside those campuses are "screaming" for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to be connected.

The UNSW main campus is in Kensington, Sydney, but the university also has 25 regional sites from Albury and Wagga Wagga up to Coffs Harbour. Sawyer said most of the campuses were connected through AARNet, but the university was having challenges with making sure that researchers had decent broadband access.

"We have a water research site in Wellington, about 4km from town, so traditional ADSL is just on that range of being too far. We can pick up some Telstra Next G services, but we've noticed that network is slowing down," he said. "We're really struggling because we've got a field full of bores, and we're trying to get that data from that water research back."

He said that researchers had resorted to putting information onto disk and then posting it in the mail.

"That's the fastest and most-reliable way to get it back," he said. "We are screaming for something out that way. We're looking at needing that high speed connectivity to those regional sites to allow that research."

He said the university had looked at using satellite services, but he said that it was cost-prohibitive to get the kind of speeds that were required.

"We'd be wanting 10Mbps plus, and ideally 100Mbps to 1Gbps," he said. "If you look at something like a genome sequencer on campus, they can produce four 1Gbps streams simultaneously 24/7.

"Having that access in real time is critical for some of this research."

UNSW has 50,000 students, 5,300 academic staff, and 12,000 new students starting each year. Sawyer said that demand on the university's wireless network had almost doubled in the last year alone, with 20,000 concurrent users in peak times now, compared to 11,000 just one year ago.

"Students are early adopters of technology, and they expect that we are as well, to manage and support their connectivity," he said.

To meet the growing demand, UNSW has been deploying new Cisco 3600 Access Points across the network. The project commenced last year, when the network already had 1,000 access points, but the current project will see an additional 1,200 rolled out this year at a cost of AU$1.5 million.

The access points are upgradable, meaning that UNSW will be able to upgrade to 802.11ac standard as it is required across the campus.

Sawyer said that the focus will be on areas where students congregate: The library, the cafeteria, lecture theatres, and large outdoor areas on campus. He said that they were also sure to put an access point near where there was a power outlet, as students tended to flock to those areas to use their laptops.

In the quieter areas, he said the network could get speeds of up to 80Mbps, but in more dense areas, it would be more like ADSL2+ speeds.

Topics: Telcos, Cisco, NBN, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Not likely to get real NBN now...

    Well based on the current state of the Labor Party and it is unlikely they will win the election - it is not likely we are going to see the real NBN - the Libs have already made it clear that most of the Australian tax payers that are paying their wages are going to get fraudband.... oh well back to the dark ages we go and we will continue to drop down the OECD lists for broadband and related services....
    Darren Blackley
    • It is the end

      $60+b should be spent to get bore data from a site near Wellington?

      Putting data in the mail too much for these taxpayer funded researchers.

      Even VDSL/HFC won't give them the 1Gbps they need. Fibre should be run to the site immediately!

      Another useful insight to the public sector mind; representative of those gorging from the govts teat: it's never enough.
      Richard Flude
      • Oops

        Wellington hasn't even made it to the NBNCo rollout map yet; 3+ yrs before work is even to commence (ignoring the massive delays).

        I trust they've bought a few stamps. Sorry cheerleading continue;-)
        Richard Flude
      • Via mail eh?

        "He said that researchers had resorted to putting information onto disk and then posting it in the mail."

        Here is Dick's infamous private enterprise at work, the same PE he says will deliver, we don't need intervention from the Labor leftists (ooh, oh, um... or intervention from the super duper Coalition either)... and look when his twin MT is elected, the researchers can look forward to...

        more trips to Australia Post...

        But nice deflection Dick *sigh*
        • Give Fluddy a bit of credit RS, at least he was able to point out the inadequacies with the Abbott plan this time.
          Hubert Cumberdale
    • "the Libs have already made it clear that most of the Australian tax payers that are paying their wages are going to get fraudband"

      Indeed. That’s the big problem with the coalition clowns plan. It's so poorly thought out that they'll end up paying almost as much as the proper NBN plan but with very little to show for it at the end. That's not smart, it's actually a very irresponsible way to spend taxpayer money. Unfortunately by the time people realise they've been sucked with Abbotts gimped version in it'll be too late so it won’t just be the UNSW that will have to shell out $5000 or more for fibre they would have got and paid off while using it under the more elegant proper NBN plan.
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • ALP screwed us royally

    You know what gets me is that all the ALP had to do was act honestly and not rip off the country they were meant to be running.

    Now we're going to get a conga line of suckholes who will rip off the country but do it was claiming some moral and religious mandate.

    thanks a lot ALP. I'm voting Green next election
  • The reasons given in

    this article don't add up to me. Sure I understand university students want high speed data connections everywhere, but to pull down data from water research sites, why on earth would that need to be delivered in real time?
    Blank Look
    • The reasons given

      Don't add up because you've misread the article.

      It doesn't suggest that the data for the water research site needs to be in realtime. It talks about 4G and a 'field full of bores' so the implied problem there is one of bandwidth availability, not speed.
    • Impossible to believe

      Cheerleading, no substance. 1gbs claimed above required for bore data; it's laughable. The usual clowns fell for it.
      Richard Flude
  • More NBNCo news

    "WEST Australian telecommunications union boss John O'Donnell admits teaming up with more than 100 small-business operators handling the rollout of the $37.4 million National Broadband Network is an unusual alliance.

    But it's one he says is a necessity, brought on by alleged gouging by major contractors and woeful prices being offered to mum-and-dad subcontractors that have already sent four of his members into bankruptcy.

    Adding to the problems, those sub-contractors have been forced to sign strict confidentiality clauses preventing them from publicly airing their concerns, which is why many are choosing to be represented by the union.


    The low rates being offered by the main contractors are one of the key reasons for delays in the program to date, with many sub-contractors refusing to work for the rates on offer. Another major concern with the low rates being offered is the impact it is having on the quality of work performed."

    Costing the taxpayer a fortune, massive delays and now questions raised over quality. Fantastic job NBNCo;-)
    Richard Flude
    • i suspect the nbn co

      contract managers would prefer dealing with a smaller number of primary contractors. However if the primary contracts do not provide transparency of costs to the subcontract level the end result is most likely to be what is now becoming apparent to the public.
      Blank Look