In acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land, Ngara – a word of the Darug people meaning to listen, hear and think – was chosen as the name of our wireless broadband technologies. Darug elders gave their permission to use the word at a naming ceremony at our laboratory in the Sydney suburb of Marsfield – part of Darug lands. This painting was painted by Durug Elder Aunty Edna.
Spectrum crunch and connecting communities
All of us can admit to using maps when we are lost, watching a YouTube video on the train or finding the nearest restaurant using an app. But our increased use of mobile data and the number, variety, and applications of personal mobile devices is driving an unprecedented demand for greater wireless connectivity.
It is important for reasons of economic growth and social equity that all Australians have the opportunity to access broadband over a connection that gives them a meaningful level of access back into the network. Getting broadband connectivity to Australia’s rural and remote areas is difficult because the population is sparsely scattered over a wide area.
As we rapidly approach the limit of what current systems can achieve we need to start developing new technologies that can overcome these challenges.
We have developed several new wireless technologies (Access, point to multipoint backhaul, microwave backhaul and E-band backhaul) called Ngara to deal with the growing threat of mobile data explosion and connecting communities in remote areas. These patented technologies have been designed to efficiently use spectrum and service vast and contrasting geographical areas, with very low population density, and little to no existing or planned fixed-line telecommunications infrastructure.
Ubiquitous, superfast broadband will soon underpin how people communicate with one another and how they interact with devices and the environment to a far greater extent than is the case today. Our wireless researchers are playing an important role in developing technology that can help us close the digital divide in areas where laying fibre isn’t feasible due to cost, distance or the inability to dig up certain locations.
Our researchers have demonstrated the Ngara point to multipoint Access technology for both Access an Backhaul applications in real field conditions, achieving individual subscriber data rates up to 40Mbps symmetric over distances up to 20km.
Our researchers have developed a very low latency E-Band backhaul link of 5 Gigabits-per-second, commercialising this technology with Australian company EM Solutions for High Frequency Trading, and are currently testing a 10 Gigabit-per-second link that is tens of times faster than current technology: a performance close to that of fibre. We have also developed a variant of the Ngara Access technology for delivering high bandwidth communications using narrowband channels for emergency services and public transport vehicles.
We are now looking to conduct a wide scale trial of the Ngara technology in remote communities to demonstrate the system’s ability to deliver fast reliable broadband, allowing all community members the opportunity to benefit from digitally broadband enabled health, education and government services.
We continue to explore new applications for Ngara technologies in 5G Mobile Backhaul and Health Imaging, as well as researching new multi-element technologies to expand wireless capacities, reach, reliability, and security.