UNE, AARNet gigabit fibre link to Taree goes live

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UNE, AARNet gigabit fibre link to Taree goes live
AARNet cable barge in Taree.

Access to digital education set to improve.

The University of New England has switched on a new AARNet gigabit fibre connection between its main Armidale campus and its study centre in Taree, NSW.

The Manning Valley Centre in Taree is one of 10 study centres used by UNE to support its base of more than 18,000 distance education and off-campus students.

The centre provides a range of facilities for students including computers, internet access, quiet study areas, video conferencing facilities, printers and a data projector, along with student support staff.

The new AARNet link operates as a point-to-point service between Taree and Armidale, boosting the speeds available to staff and students to 1 Gbps and allowing the university to provide greater digital education opportunities to the local community.

The link means the Taree study centre gets the same access to the university’s network as any building on the main UNE campus, letting staff and students tap into all the same online network-based services they would have access to in Armidale.

For users with wireless devices, the Taree study centre now also offers a wireless network capable of up to around 800 Mbps.

Internet at the facility at Taree had previously been connected solely through a 2 Mbps Telstra GWIP (government wideband IP) service. An ADSL service was subsequently added to provide additional bandwidth for client PCs at around 10 Mbps, with GWIP used solely for video-conferencing.

The project to implement the new fibre connection kicked off during the first quarter of 2015, and involved divers physically laying new cable under the Manning River in Taree.

“This is an exciting project undertaken by UNE that will make the Study Centre a well-connected research and education hub for students of all levels,” Taree-based UNE PhD student and Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast CEO Lorraine Gordon said in a statement.

UNE already operates similar AARNet gigabit fibre connections to its facilities in Tamworth, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Parramatta.

“This is a great example of a regional university playing a role as an ‘anchor tenant’ for network infrastructure in a region, reducing the impact of distance and enabling communities to reap the benefits of transformative digital technology.,” AARNet chief executive Chris Hancock said in a statement.

UNE is one of a number of Australian universities making significant investments in network infrastructure.

The University of Canberra recently deployed new HP core switches and cross-campus fibre cables, while Southern Cross Uni overhauled its network in partnership with Huawei.

Both AARNet and a group of Melbourne Universities have recently implemented fibre optic test beds for research purposes.

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