CSIRO brings Ngara to NBN Co, regulators

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CSIRO brings Ngara to NBN Co, regulators

Symmetric 12 Mbps wireless to be commercialised.

The CSIRO this week met with vendors, regulators and NBN Co to discuss potential uses of its ‘Ngara’ wireless-over-TV technology.

It invited “decision makers” to assess a prototype that provided symmetric, 12 Mbps connectivity to up to six users simultaneously.

“We can't be specific, but folks coming today and tomorrow include potential vendors, the folks in charge of the regulatory environment in which this and other wireless technologies must operate and, of course, the folks running the NBN project,” a spokesman told iTnews on Monday.

The prototype had also been demonstrated in field trials involving a single, 7MHz channel at the 645.1MHz frequency in Smithton, Tasmania, late last year.

To further the Ngara business case, the CSIRO also commissioned an unnamed third party to conduct a comparison study with a version of LTE.

According to CSIRO ICT centre director Ian Oppermann, the analysis showed that Ngara required a quarter the number of transmission towers by operating at lower frequencies.

During recent field testing from a Broadcast Australia tower in Tasmania, the prototype system operated over distances up to 16 kilometres.

“Ngara needs fewer towers because analysis shows it gets greater coverage,” the spokesman explained.

Telstra has reported LTE test results of an average of 88.1Mbps downlink and 29.6Mbps uplink at the edges of a 75-kilometre cell, and 149Mbps down and 59Mbps up in laboratory demonstrations.

While the Ngara prototype was far slower than Telstra’s LTE network, future prototypes were expected to aggregate several 7MHz channels to provide up to 100Mbps to be shared between uplink and downlink.

Ngara was targeted at the seven percent of Australians who would not receive national broadband network fibre. The CSIRO also planned to field test 10Gbps backhaul for Ngara next year.

“It is difficult to compare technologies optimised for different parameters side by side but we commissioned a reputable third party who conducted an analysis which our wireless guys tell me was as fair and reasonable to each technology as it is possible to be,” the CSIRO spokesman said.

“After all, we need a clear unbiased picture too. We're a scientific research organisation, if the technology we're developing is not at the forefront then there's no point doing it.”

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