New wireless lab opens in the Gong

The Nortel Networks Technology Centre in Wollongong is celebrating its 15-year anniversary this month with the opening of its new wireless laboratory.More than AU$170 million has been invested in the centre since it was established in 1989.

The Nortel Networks Technology Centre in Wollongong is celebrating its 15-year anniversary this month with the opening of its new wireless laboratory.

More than AU$170 million has been invested in the centre since it was established in 1989. The centre houses the largest wireless core technologies research facility in Australia, with full demonstration, application and interoperability testing across all current and emerging 3G wireless standards.

"The Technology Centre at Wollongong was a strategic R&D investment for us in 1989 and, as the Asia Pacific region becomes the focus of global growth in technology, it only increases in importance for the company," said Steve Wood, president of Nortel Networks Australia and New Zealand.

"I'm very proud of the successes the lab has generated, through collaboration with other local research bodies and with our technical resources in other countries," he added.

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Daryl Williams congratulated the centre saying it was a leading R&D facility in Australia which had received the nationally recognised iAward for Innovation in Telecommunications in 2003.

Located on the University of Wollongong campus, the Nortel Networks Technology Centre recently extended its application development and testing capabilities adding Wideband CDMA (UMTS) capability to its 2.5G standard (GPRS) and 3G standards CDMA2000 1X RTT and CDMA 2000 EV-DO installations.

The lab will also soon install new Wireless MESH product, an enhanced public Wireless LAN architecture that extends the reach of WLAN technology, for customer and partner demonstration.

Bill Barnes, newly appointed managing director of the centre, said the centre recently demonstrated a video streaming at 900kbps and terminal-to-terminal video telephony over CDMA2000 EV-DO, much higher than any existing mobile networks in Australia.

"This is technology that can bring wireless broadband capability to people in rural and remote areas at speeds which are comparable to the fixed broadband connections rolled out through Australia's main centres," Barnes said.

Barnes also announced that they will soon be joining forces with the University of Wollongong and network integrator 3D Networks to make the university a Centre of Excellence for IP Telephony.

The Wollongong Technology Centre has been involved in the development of the Mobile Location Centre (MLC) technology which allows wireless operators to use the location information about subscribers as the basis for revenue-generating services such as personal navigation, mapping, corporate fleet tracking and roadside assistance.

It also allows emergency services like ambulance, police and fire departments to respond more quickly and accurately to calls for help.

The Technology Centre worked closely with the CSIRO on the Centre for Networking Technologies for the Information Economy (CeNTIE) project. The research targeted specific industries such as telehealth and media post-production, which require reliable access to very high bandwidth for collaboration over a virtual, typically temporary enterprise. Haptic surgery, film editing and musical composition have all been demonstrated on the CeNTIE network in the past 18 months.