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CSIRO plans ‘boring’ networks with exciting applications

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The CSIRO has officially been recognised by Nortel Networks for the first use of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) in the Southern Hemisphere.

The demonstration at the Centre for Networking Technologies for the Information Economy (CeNTIE) involved the successful development of haptics – a virtual environment application that allows two people to work on the same virtual 3D object at the same time, according to CSIRO advanced networking R&D manager Dr Dean Economou.

“This recognition is fantastic because we wanted to make sure that Australia’s at the forefront of 10GbE because it’s definitely going to be the wave over the next couple of years,” Economou said.

“The thing we wanted to do which is different is to put some really advanced applications on it and so the haptic virtual reality trainer is really at the forefront of anything on the planet”.

Economou said the haptics trainer will allow doctors and surgeons to practice operation procedures in a three-dimensional environment that feels like the real thing.

The CSIRO demonstrated the trainer at the recent Networld+Interop exhibition held in Sydney.

Economou said that while hospitals are yet to begin using the trainer, a number have expressed interest in trialling the equipment including the Royal Alfred in Sydney and CETEC in Perth.

The first haptics deployments should begin to occur within the next 18 months, according to Economou.

“We’re already using 10GbE and haptics but in terms of wide commercial deployment I would say in the next three to five years you’ll be seeing serious rollouts of 10GbE with carrier networks,” Economou continued.

“To some extent advanced networking can be very boring because if it works properly no-one notices it, so hopefully we’re going to build very boring networks”.

“The sort of applications that are enabled when you’ve got high bandwidth in the core include videoconferencing that verges on realistic, advanced applications like haptics which convey a real sense of touch, and the more mundane things just work a lot better,” Economou added.

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