Ngara is our next-wave wireless technology that is optimising the wireless spectrum and helping connect more Australians in more places.
The National Broadband Network will provide faster, more reliable broadband access across most of Australia, but it won’t reach all of our most remote and inaccessible regions.
These communities need to be connected to the NBN via a backhaul system. This is much like the country roads that connect small towns to highways.
Laying optical cables to all small communities would be too expensive. The only option to carry large amounts of data to these communities, in a cost effective manner, would be wireless backhaul.
Currently microwave links, typically providing 150 megabits per second over some tens of kilometres are being used. However, this rate is insufficient for next generation broadband applications.
CSIRO, with funding through the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, has developed a solution, with the worlds fastest point-to-point microwave backhaul system, called the Ngara Backhaul. Ngara is a word of the Darug people, meaning to listen, hear and think. This technology will not only benefit a future broadband network, but also the wider telecommunications industry.
The goal was to develop a 10 giga-bit per second wireless backhaul which can cover distances up to 50 kilometers, or even more in a most spatially efficient and cost effective manner. This technology is ten times faster at least than other existing technologies.
The Ngara Backhaul technology brings small isolated channels together to create wider bandwidth.
The key technology behind Ngara Backhaul is to aggregate a number of different channels in different microwave bands to achieve the required bandwidth.
This technology is called Smart Channel Aggregation.
Bridging the ‘digital divide’ between rural and urban Australians will bring benefits far beyond economics. It will mean improved access to information and the opportunity for increased, enriched connectivity.
Since one dish replaces 44 and can use existing tower infrastructure the deployment cost and environmental impact are greatly reduced.
Completing such a development in two years was not only a major scientific achievement but also a great engineering success. The results of the project will help Australia become one of the world’s leading digital economies.
Developed for Australian conditions, the system also has global applications.
The technology can be used to provide broadband services to island nations in a cost effective manner. It can also be used for dense populated areas where laying fibre is cost prohibitive.
Considerable interest in the Ngara Backhaul technology was generated at the Mobile World Congress attended by CSIRO in Barcelona in early 2012 and has resulted in a number of commercial discussions.
With this technology people in rural areas can enjoy the same broadband services as people in urban areas can.
Ladies and Gentleman, the winner of the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for 2012, The Ngara Backhaul Project Team.