Australia to US trans-Pacific 1Gbps link boosts research

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Australia to US trans-Pacific 1Gbps link boosts research

Universities in the US and Australia have created a dedicated fibre-optic link to allow video-conferencing with no interference from other traffic..

The OptiPortal visualisation wall allows students and staff at Melbourne and California San Diego universities to interact using a huge screen.

The display comprises 24 30in LCD panels and is run by 13 quad-core computers.

A high bandwidth link is created by connecting Australia's AARNet backbone with the Southern Cross Cable network to span the Pacific, and ends with the Pacific Wave and CENIC services in California.

The project cost a total of $620,000. The University of Melbourne provided $500,000 and the state government of Victoria provided the rest.

"The real-time nature of the technology means that people on opposite sides of the world can work together on projects," said Professor Iven Mareels, dean of engineering at the University of Melbourne.

"For instance, a surgeon in Australia could direct an emergency surgical intervention by operating a robot in Antarctica.

"Or scientists in Australia and Japan could share research tools such as the Synchrotron, or operate an underwater robot exploring the Great Barrier Reef, all from the comfort of an OptiPortal room."

AARNet chief executive Chris Hancock said that Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and most of the country's universities, had the necessary connections to use the technology.
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