Wireless broadband coming to the bush

Nov 03, 2010
The first half of CSIRO's Ngara rural wireless broadband technology allows several users to upload material at the same time without compromising the data rate of 12 Mbps each. (Photo: Geoff Ambler)

A major CSIRO breakthrough in wireless technology designed to bring broadband to people living beyond the optical fibre network, will be unveiled in Sydney tomorrow.

The first half of CSIRO’s Ngara technolgy will enable multiple users to upload information at the same time, without reducing  their individual systems’ data transfer rate of 12 Mbps.

“Someone who doesn’t live near the fibre network could get to it using our new wireless system,” CSIRO ICT Centre Director Dr. Ian Oppermann said.

“They’d be able to upload a clip to YouTube in real-time and their data rate wouldn’t change even if five of their neighbours also started uploading videos.

“But the really impressive part is the spectral efficiency our team has achieved.”

The radio spectrum is a finite and highly valuable, natural resource.

CSIRO’s spectral efficiency is three times that of the closest comparable technology and the data rate is more than 10 times the industry’s recently declared minimum standard.

Spectral efficiency is about packing as many bits of information as possible into the channel (frequency range) allocated for its transmission. CSIRO’s 12 Mbps, six-user system works in the space of one television channel, which is seven megahertz (MHz) wide.

CSIRO is achieving spectral efficiency of 20 bits per second per Hertz (20 b/s/Hz).

“Even with just half of our system completed, CSIRO is already helping define the future of ,” Dr. Oppermann said.

Wireless Research Director for Gartner, Robin Simpson, said the most promising aspect of CSIRO’s Ngara technology is that it aims to re-use old analog TV channels.

“This means any rural property or business that can currently receive TV signals could in future connect to high-speed internet just by using a new set-top box,” Mr Simpson said.

CSIRO is currently completing the research and testing of the downlink part of the system, which will also run at 12 Mbps per user.

Ngara is a word of the Darug people meaning to listen, hear and think.The Darug people are the traditional owners of the land on which the ICT Centre's Sydney lab sits. This project is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

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winthrom
not rated yet Nov 03, 2010
Seven (7) MHz is for a different TV system (PAL) used in Australia. The US used NTSB TV at 5.0 MHz and 0.5 MHz guard band between analog channels. This is now digital allowing one (1) high definition channel or up to four (4) "normal resolution" (NTSB) channels in the same bandwidth.

That said, broadcasting is "to all receivers" whereas networking is "user/server". A broadcast area of 60 - 70 miles requires a powerful transmitter for each member of the "user/server" team. Additionally, the number and distribution of users must be very sparse, otherwise, congestion occurs.

Either many analog channels must be used or the power is lowered to a much shorter range, say, 5 miles, to account for low density habitat spacing in rural areas, and to allow lower powered user receiver/transmitter, i.e., "user/server" pairing.

Alternatively, focused beam (old-fashioned yagi TV antennas) can create significant multiplication of signal (gain) at the expense of being directional.

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